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sdclaw21
July 23, 2012, 08:21 PM
Hey folks, I'm a long time shot-gunner from Iowa looking to get into the rifle world. I'm looking for a nice all around AR style rifle that would balance affordable shooting, home defense/zombie use, and some mid size game hunting (coyote, deer, maybe a pig here or there). Any advice?

Is 5.56 enough for deer/coyote? If I'm going to put up $1,000 for a rifle I want to be able to play with it, but I want it multipurpose as well. I'm not in a position to reload right now so that's out.

FrosSsT
July 23, 2012, 08:40 PM
The 5.56 cartridge is very effective on coyote - but for deer I would not reccommend it - not saying it wouldnt work, just saying I myself wouldnt use it. As for an AR or AR type rifle your going to get more answers youll be able to read on this forum - they're all pretty much more or less the same. I have a bushmaster m4a3 i got for around 1k and its been flawless. Some will say the M&P15, some the colt - it usually goes by what THEY have. Good luck!

jmr40
July 23, 2012, 09:05 PM
I'd suggest something with a mid-length upper and 16-18" barrel. Flat top receiver with a front sight and a magpul back up rear sight mounted under the scope. Mount a low powered 1-4X or 2-7X scope in some Quick detachable mounts. I'd lean toward the 1-4X. Standard stock vs telescoping is a personal thing. I have both and if I could only have 1 it would be telescoping. My brother has 4 AR's and prefers a standard stock. This setup would be good for hunting game up to deer. About perfect for coyote. With good bullets and shot placement a 223 is good enough for smaller whitetail out to a max of around 200 yards, cut that range in half for larger deer or hog. For the really monster hogs, it is probably not adequate.

Some don't like a front sight because they can see it through a low powered scope. Yes, with a scope set on 2x or less the front sight is visible, at higher powers it is out of focus and not noticeable. This bothers some, but not me. I can see the front sight when not using a scope and fail to understand why it is a problem to be able to see it with a scope.

The 1-4X scopes are very popular in 3 gun competition where rapid fire shots at multiple targets are the norm. On 1X it is completely adequate for close range SD. At 4X it has plenty of magnification for deer at 200 yards. If you think you might want to shoot farther than that at smaller game a 2-7X starts to make more sense. If you want/need to use the backup sights the scope can come off quickly and with 1 push of a button the backup sight flips up. A strong argument can be made for a red dot sight. One of my rifles has one. They serve their purpose, but are not as versatile as a low powered scope. If I only had 1 AR it would have a 1-4X scope on it with a back up rear iron sight.

Brand is less important. There are several good guns out there at around $700-$800. I personally own Palmetto State Amory, Rock River, Stag, and DPMS. The DPMS is a notch below the others, but serves it's purpose for me. I'd recommend any of the others as well as S&W. There are others that are good as well. Pick the ones that have the features most important to you and at the best price.

You'll get a lot of opinions on barrel twist and chrome lined vs non-chrome lined. I prefer chrome lined and a 1/7 twist simply because that is the military configuration. Half of my guns are such, the other 2 are non-chrome lined and 1/9 twist. For most it is probably not really that big of an issue.

sdclaw21
July 23, 2012, 09:13 PM
I love the red dot. I have one for my deer gun (12 guage BPS, cantilever). It's outstanding for quick target aquisition and hunting to 125 yards. I like the idea of having both a scope and site, for the sole reason that if the fit hits the shan I have a versatile weapons system that doesn't need batteries.

I'm vaguely familiar with interchangeable platforms, do they make them in AR style rifles? Is it possible to have one rifle that shoots multiple size rounds accurately?

RT
July 23, 2012, 09:17 PM
Colt 6920
http://www.gtdist.com/SearchResults.aspx?&Keyword=COLT-

And if you wanna hunt bigger game just switch to a 300 Blackout upper

sdclaw21
July 23, 2012, 09:41 PM
I'm not overly concerned with brand or manufacture at this point. I know there are several on the market that have a reputation for producing a quality firearm. I'm more interested in feedback in ammo size. Again the goal is to balance affordability for plinking/target shooting with field performance on medium size game. Is that the general consensus that the 5.6 is not an ideal size round for deer?

Quentin2
July 24, 2012, 12:24 AM
I'm not overly concerned with brand or manufacture at this point. I know there are several on the market that have a reputation for producing a quality firearm. I'm more interested in feedback in ammo size. Again the goal is to balance affordability for plinking/target shooting with field performance on medium size game. Is that the general consensus that the 5.6 is not an ideal size round for deer?

In that case you likely will want a 1:7" barrel twist which excels as the bullet gets longer and the weight goes above 62 grains. I agree with the earlier recommendation of a midlength gas system and on a 16" barrel. For a compromise rifle as you described earlier and leaning toward SD/HD I'd say get a BCM which can come in around your price point. I doubt you're going to find a more reliable, well built AR. I'm pleased with their 16" LW midlength upper which on a lower I built up myself.

5.56 is legal for deer in Idaho though I'm not sure how popular it is or how many other states allow it.

Palmetto-Pride
July 24, 2012, 05:28 AM
Is 5.56/223 acceptable for deer? The best way to put it is.....yes, but SHOT PLACEMENT becomes more critical than with bigger calibers.

sdclaw21
July 24, 2012, 06:52 AM
I should also note im a lefty. Any others out there that use an AR platfirm? Ive heard most if not all come with shell deflection systems and ejection shoukdnt be a problem but honestly I think Id prefer a true lefty gun.

jmr40
July 24, 2012, 07:34 AM
Stag makes a left handed AR. Most have a deflector though. My brother shoots lefty with right handed AR's with no problem.

jmr40
July 24, 2012, 07:41 AM
5.56 is legal for deer in Idaho though I'm not sure how popular it is or how many other states allow it.

Someone on another forum asked about which states don't allow 223. I don't recall the exact states, but there were only 6 states where the 223 was not allowed, and other caibers were. There were 4-5 states where no rifles are allowed which also included 223. So it is legal in the vast majority of states here rifles are allowed.

Most places where it is not allowed also had much larger game such as elk or moose which the 223 is certainly not acceptable for. I can see keeping things simple. Making a 223 legal for deer and not for moose could make enforcment a little more complicated. But it seems odd that those same places who allow you to hunt 1500 lb moose with a 243 don't allow a 223 on a 150 lb deer.

Beentown71
July 24, 2012, 08:42 AM
I wanted an all around AR also since I had a short/light version and a 24" white oak already.

I built a clone of the RRA ATH with some personal modifications. I will put up my parts list when I get back on the puter. The phone makes it hard to copy and paste.

Sent from my DROID2 GLOBAL using Tapatalk 2

Beentown71
July 24, 2012, 08:58 AM
18" stainless Wilson barrel with Wylde chamber
RRA Chrome BCG
RRA lower with National Match trigger
RRA half quad, rifle length handguard
BCM Gunfighter with mod3 tactical latch
Magpul BAD lever
RRA Operator Stock in FDE
Hogue grip in FDE
Magpul pmag in FDE
Winter/oversized trigger guard
Burris Xtreme "high" rings
Vortex Viper 3.5-10x50 scope with BDC reticle
Bushnell red dot on Daniel Defense one o'clock mount
Ares Armor Amentum Sling
Magpul Angle Forward Grip II
VTAC FDE light mount
Streamlight Polytac HP light

http://i524.photobucket.com/albums/cc329/beentown71/session22.jpg

http://i524.photobucket.com/albums/cc329/beentown71/session21.jpg

Fishbed77
July 24, 2012, 09:37 AM
I should also note im a lefty. Any others out there that use an AR platfirm? Ive heard most if not all come with shell deflection systems and ejection shoukdnt be a problem but honestly I think Id prefer a true lefty gun

The AR is one of the more lefty-friendly rifles out there. The shell deflector keeps brass out of your face, the charging handle is ambidextrous, and ambidextrous safeties and mag releases are easily installed (though not really needed since the mag release is easily operated with your right-hand thumb, and the safety can be operated by shifting your hand a bit and using your left forefinger). To be honest, I don't really see the point of the left-handed uppers.

sdclaw
July 24, 2012, 09:39 AM
Do left handed models cost more?

Crow Hunter
July 24, 2012, 09:49 AM
Do left handed models cost more?

The big problem is that they are "non-standard".

Many of the critical components are specific for a left had action. They can't be replaced with "standard" parts if something breaks.

It is your money, though.

I shoot my standard AR left handed alot for training. It isn't a problem other than I am very right eye dominant which makes the red dot seem to float in space to the right side of the rifle. My brain just can't comprehend why I would be looking through my left eye at something.:D

Beentown71
July 24, 2012, 11:22 AM
Meant to add a link:

http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=526

RRA also makes the in lefty versions:

http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=547

I am also partial to the Daniel Defense V5, BCM RECCE 16, and Stag 3g.

Mobuck
July 24, 2012, 12:09 PM
You're going to have to set some priorities and make some compromises. A light weight 16" carbine is not going to be the best choice for longer range target shooting or coyote hunting. A 20" HBAR is not going to be optimum for a 3 gun rattle bang afternoon or home defense. Most importantly, the .223 is a very marginal deer killing cartridge except under perfect conditions/presentations.
I carry a 16" HBAR profile carbine most of the time during winter. It provides adequate range(up to 250 yards before performance falls below my expectations) for coyote calling and target of opportunity coyote hunting. This combo would work for run and gun games although a little heavy.
The 16" barrel gives up significant velocity versus a 20" making the already wimpy .223 even more inadequate for deer. To keep this in perspective, I've shot and watched my kids shoot 20-25 deer with a .223. I am(w/o bragging) a very experienced deer hunter and stood ready to backup the kids should it appear their shot was not properly applied.
To recommend the .223 as a general use deer round is unethical and uniformed. It works sometimes well, sometimes not so well, and sometimes is a disaster(but so are many other rounds). There just isn't as much wiggle room compared to more effective cartridges.

sdclaw
July 24, 2012, 12:42 PM
As a slug hunter fromIowa Im well used to compromise. I have no problem accepting and staying within a particular weapons limitations. If I were to use the 223 on deer it would certainly be within 200 yards and only in ideal conditions and with an ideal game presentation. I do like the idea of multiple uppers down the road.

jmr40
July 24, 2012, 03:30 PM
The 16" barrel gives up significant velocity versus a 20"

Around 100-120 fps. depending on the load according to my chronograph. Not an issue at all within reasonable ranges.

To recommend the .223 as a general use deer round is unethical and uniformed. It works sometimes well, sometimes not so well, and sometimes is a disaster(but so are many other rounds). There just isn't as much wiggle room compared to more effective cartridges.

As a general use round you are correct, but in a multi use rifle it is very effective as you have do doubt discovered. It is not however unethical as long as it is used within its limitations, just like any other chambering. Bullet technology has improved dramatically in recent years and some of the old rules just don't apply anymore. With the premium bullets available today a 223 round will give complete penetration and excellent expansion on deer sized game. Old school tiny soft point bullets at near 3000 fps would have blown up and not been effective.

With most chamberings you reach the point where hitting the target is almost impossible well before you reach the chamberings limitations to cleanly make a kill. With a 223 you can easily make hits farther away than the round can cleanly kill. Taking shots outside the rounds limitatons is what is unethical.

At closer ranges with good bullets it is as effective on deer as much larger chamberings. The small velocity loss from a shorter barrel just won't be a factor at ranges within the 223's limiations. As long as a shooter knows the guns limitations and is disciplined enough to only make ethical shots the round works great. You and your kids have proven this.

For what it is worth, I don't make a point of hunting with 223. I don't want to have to work within its limitations. I often hunt in areas where a bear would be legal and shots often present themselves at greater ranges than I'm comfortable shooting a 223.

But unethical, no. No more unethical than someone who chooses to hunt with a handgun, bow or muzzle loader. Those are also weapons with severe limitations, but when used within those limitations, and by people who have mastered them they are effective and ethical.

Caliber
July 24, 2012, 06:59 PM
why not get an ar setup in 6.8 or .308?

sdclaw
July 24, 2012, 07:37 PM
It was my understanding that 6.8 was more expensive and much harder to find than5.56

sdclaw
July 24, 2012, 09:36 PM
I'm interested in the idea of a low variable power scope over fold down iron sites. The thought of quick detachable optics to reliable iron sites is interesting... is this a type of setup you were talking about???

http://www.stagarms.com/product_info.php?cPath=13_21&products_id=322

jackpine
July 24, 2012, 10:20 PM
20" standard A2 lay out. Don't mess with it and it will give you all it's got.

Smit
July 24, 2012, 11:11 PM
Dont use it deerhunting, otherwise should be a fun purchase.

sdclaw
July 25, 2012, 07:35 AM
if I don't use it for deer hunting it defeats the purpose.

Fishbed77
July 25, 2012, 12:14 PM
if I don't use it for deer hunting it defeats the purpose.

Then you should be looking at an AR-15 chambered in 6.8 SPC (or 6.5 Grendal or .300 Blackout).

But you "affordable shooting" requirement will get pretty much thrown out the window unless you reload.

sdclaw
July 25, 2012, 12:41 PM
at this point I'm leaning toward the 5.56 nato with plans for a 300 blackout upper down the road. I'm an eexperienced hunter who is used to working with in my tools limitations. I'll have no problem working within the limitations of a 223.

sdclaw
July 25, 2012, 12:46 PM
there was a great article in field and stream a few months back about this exact topic. a government contractor charge with dispatching heard the barrel mules, who commonly way to to 400 pounds found the round that dispatched them the quickest, provided you stayed within its limitations, was the .220 swift.

i wouldnt go so far to say its ideal, nor a good idea for everyone, but it seems clear to me its perfectly capable under the right circumstances.

Fishbed77
July 25, 2012, 01:50 PM
I'm an eexperienced hunter who is used to working with in my tools limitations. I'll have no problem working within the limitations of a 223.

Honestly, I feel the biggest problem with hunting deer with .223 is not necessarily the lethality, but the blood trail (or absense therof). Even with a good-quality soft-nosed hunting ammo, it makes a small hole.

This issue is especially magnified if you are hunting in heavily wooded areas, like those we have here in SC. It's sometimes an issue even if you are using the (much more powerful) .243 Winchester round.

gak
July 25, 2012, 02:28 PM
Sdclaw said:
"It was my understanding that 6.8 was more expensive and much harder to find than 5.56."

True, but it's a more proper round for the OP's intentions, much more IMO. (And vs the 6.5 and .300, more available off-the-shelf). Pay the freight and "always use enough gun" (not trying to start a magnumitis war, but the .223 is marginal at best for a "dedicated" medium game round, or a gp cartridge used regularly for such). In my experience, as fine as it may be for other purposes, it doesn't belong on a bona fide deer hunt. The 5.56 is the darling of non-experienced weekend warriors when it comes to deer hunting. See a lot of them out there. I've seen way too many sad cases of wounded/suffering animals out there. Yes, "shot placement" is paramount for anything, but why use a round that is so dependent on the perfect shot? Do the hunt and animal justice. At least companion your 5.56 with a 6.8 upper. Better on hogs too.

If the above doesn't satisfy, get a Mini 30. The x39, while not as good as the very similar .30-30 as some claim, is still better than. .223 for medium-game. Minute-of-critter accuracy suffices for short-to-mid ranges of the x39 cartridge.

Back to the AR, I'll also +1 the idea of shooting a righty left-handed. Not a problem (to me).

Justice06RR
July 25, 2012, 07:41 PM
I'm not into hunting, so I can only suggest adding a separate 300Blackout upper to your 5.56/.223 AR15. The 300Blackout has ammunition ranging from 110gr to 240gr depending on your application, but i'm sure a 155gr would be sufficient for small to medium sized game.

jason41987
July 26, 2012, 01:08 AM
heres an idea if youre a left... get a left handed AR.. they make them

sdclaw
July 26, 2012, 06:48 AM
Im aware...

jason41987
July 26, 2012, 05:09 PM
im building an AR15 from parts soon... was actually looking for the same criteria you were.. a good all around cartridge that i can use for a variety of purposes, even hunting.. settled on getting one in 6.8mm SPC.. can kill deer out to 800 yards, though highly irresponsible to do so, and i hunt usually inside 150... but it gives the power and ballistic boost to the AR to make it a better all around platform