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Old August 9, 2011, 08:34 PM   #1
blackdog_507
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What to buy first, AR-15 or M1A

Ok folks, I know its all a matter of opinion, and its like comparing apples and oranges, but I want some opinions and thoughts on what I should buy first. I'm a young parent of two with lots of household expenses. I've been saving my money for a LONG time, and can now afford to buy the rifle I've been wanting. The problem is, I don't know what rifle I want. What I'm looking for is basically a semi-auto SHTF rifle. I own the following firearms:
WASR AK-47, mostly stock
Remington 870 Combo that I keep with a 21" IC RS barrel
Marlin MR-7 in .270 Win
A few other misc. hunting/sport shotguns and several 22's.
So I have a carbine semi-auto defense rifle, a long range bolt gun, and a shotgun. I'm looking for something nice. I just can't decide between the affordable ammo, low recoil, and lighter weight of an M4 style AR-15, or the complete bad-@$$ness of an M1A rifle. I'd probably be going with a SOCOM 16 or a Scout 18" model with synthetic stock. Any thoughts on what I should spend my hard earned long saved dollars first?
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Old August 9, 2011, 08:45 PM   #2
shrewd
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I sorta solved this problem by buying an m1 garland from the cmp, then an ar15

so much fun to shoot.

of course now I see the m1a scout, and rugers scout rifle, and find myself back in the same boat!
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Old August 9, 2011, 08:46 PM   #3
Jason_G
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I've shot both quite a bit. I own one. Hint: it's not an AR.

That's not to bag on the AR, I just think the M1A is more fun. I'm sure there are just as many others that feel the other way 'round. Best thing to do so that you know what YOU want is to try your damnedest to shoot both so you can make a comparison. At least go somewhere like a gun show or :LGS where you can handle all the rifles that interest you for this purchase, because you're talking about a good chunk of change.

If you do go the M1A route, I would go with the Scout over the SOCOM. Better irons, and not as front-heavy. I would go with the Loaded over the Scout though, personally.

Jason
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Old August 9, 2011, 09:03 PM   #4
chris in va
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Quote:
I sorta solved this problem by buying an m1 garand from the cmp, then an ar15.
Same here.

CMP Garand Field Grade...$499 + shipping to your door.

S&W M&P-15 Sport...$630 + fees.

So roughly for the price of one M1A, you can have two great guns. Or you can just get the Sport and use the rest for ammo or reloading setup.
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Old August 9, 2011, 09:36 PM   #5
Jim243
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What I'm looking for is basically a semi-auto SHTF rifle.

Since you already have one, AK-47, I am not sure what your point is??

You do not like the 7.62x39 for SD? 30 and 40 round mags are no good?

Well that settles it get the M1A. The 308 will be harder to control and very much more costly to shoot and way slower to recover from for the next shot. That makes sense (NOT).

Now the puny 223/5.56 will be much cheaper to shoot, but you will have to use 3 or 4 shots per target, but that works and you can get a cool 100 round mag for the AR ($134.00). That might work better for more and cheaper shooting. (yes you can use it for SD).

Jim
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Old August 9, 2011, 10:13 PM   #6
I be he
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Keep the 870, sell the rest, get the AR and never look back.
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Old August 9, 2011, 10:13 PM   #7
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The only advantage of the M1A over the others is the M1A can really reach out and slam the heck out of someone/something. If I ever get enough money to get one it will have a scope mounted on it. Then again the Garand can do it out over 1000 yards with the right barrel and optics.
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Old August 9, 2011, 10:18 PM   #8
blackdog_507
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Thanks for the help Jim!

Quote:
Since you already have one, AK-47, I am not sure what your point is??

You do not like the 7.62x39 for SD? 30 and 40 round mags are no good?

Well that settles it get the M1A. The 308 will be harder to control and very much more costly to shoot and way slower to recover from for the next shot. That makes sense (NOT).

Now the puny 223/5.56 will be much cheaper to shoot, but you will have to use 3 or 4 shots per target, but that works and you can get a cool 100 round mag for the AR ($134.00). That might work better for more and cheaper shooting. (yes you can use it for SD).

Jim
I assume you own only one hunting rifle for both squirrels and elk? And you own one shotgun for sporting clays and goose hunting? Because I own different guns for different purposes. My AK-47 shoots $0.20 per round steel ammo with iron sights. Its fit and finish is rough and unrefined. I love it, and it makes lots of big holes in a hurry. But what I want is something that will hold a tight group at 100 yards, something that is capable of shooting 200, or even 300 yards with some accuracy (provided I'm capable of making the shot), something, let me see, DIFFERENT!

When I say a SHTF rifle, I was trying to convey that the rifle would have no real purpose, other than my personal enjoyment, and maybe to defend myself someday should the need arise. I am not LE, Military, border patrol, or anyone who would have a real use for this rifle. I will shoot it 3-4 times a year, show it off and brag about owning it, and generally just enjoy owning a piece of American military tradition.
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Old August 9, 2011, 10:44 PM   #9
Jim243
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Quote:
Blackdog pick one:












They only allow 6 pictures,so you have more to chose from, maybe someother time.

Get what you want to, it's going to be your baby.

Jim
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Old August 9, 2011, 11:45 PM   #10
Jim243
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Blackdog,

Maybe I was too harsh on you, with 2 kids ( I raised 5) and house expenses, the rifle that makes the most sense for your first is the AR-15. Unless you reload (I did not get that sense) the 308 will be a lot more expensive to shoot unless you get a rifle that uses surplus NATO ammo. An M4 style AR is a lot more fun to shoot and will be the one you take out a lot more than 3-4 times a year. It is a good target round as well as an excelent varmint gun from parrie dogs to coyotes. And can be used efectively for SD.

But that's just my opinion. You could go with a AR-10, but you are back into the 308 round and cost.

Tough choice, but the AR-15 makes more sense. Then start saving and get your 308, I am sure it will be a bolt gun. (lighter, more accurate and a decent hunting round)

Jim
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Last edited by Jim243; August 9, 2011 at 11:58 PM.
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Old August 10, 2011, 12:58 AM   #11
Chinny33
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100% AR-15 in 223/556

AR-15.

You'll have so many more opportunities to shoot the AR-15 without having to scratch your head thinking "why am I paying $1/round" for a larger caliber. Im not hating larger calibers, I have a 458 Socom that is about $3/round.

You'll only be as good as you practice. You cant expect to shoot a few hundred rounds a year and think you'll be proficient.

If the SHTF and all I had was my M1A...I would be deaf after the first magazine is done. The ringing in my ears was torture during a pig hunt with my M1A. They rang for 3 days!

I suggest you start with Stag Arms, RRA, or Daniel Defense. They start with their decent rifles at ~$900. Spend another $500 on an optic. $100 on extra magazines and $300 on 1,000 rounds. dont feed the rifle crappy ammo.
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Old August 10, 2011, 07:43 AM   #12
jborushko
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M1A
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Old August 10, 2011, 07:56 AM   #13
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I missed the "SHTF" comment in the original post. I don't know what "SHTF" scenario you envision, but you need to think about ballistics if you have HD in mind. A .308/7.62 NATO round is going to have approximately the same "umph" at 1000 yds as a .357 magnum at point blank range. If you live in an urban setting, and are thinking HD, you are looking at a serious overpenetration liability IMO. If HD is the "SHTF" scenario you are envisioning, you might ought to be posting in the shotgun section and asking a slightly different question.

If the rifle is to just plink and nothing else, then the AR15 would certainly be cheaper to shoot.

If the rifle is going to be used to do any hunting, or any long range target shooting, IMO, you probably don't really want that little sub 100 grain bullet, and this is where the M1A shines. You could go AR10 just as well, but I never liked the way they feel.

Like I said in my first post, you really need to try to handle both, if not shoot them both, before plunking down that kind of cash.
Don't let anyone talk you into one or the other without doing that.

Jason
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Old August 10, 2011, 09:03 AM   #14
madcratebuilder
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The AR15 well be half the price to shoot, good 5.56 is .25 a round and good 7.62nato is .45-50 a round. Pick the rifle that feels best to YOU. You know you well own both before long.

The 7.62 platform AR would also be a good rifle, AR style with battle rifle caliber. Out of the fifty or so rifles I own the AR10's are by far my favorite.

The CMP Garands are a great buy, ammo is about .65 a round for Greek HPX surplus M2. The Garand shoots like a M1A, uses the same rear sights, the -06 has a bit more recoil than the 7.62.

M1 carbine is about the same cost to shoot as the Garand. Has the same small feel of the AR, 15 rd mags, 30's also but not 100% reliable.
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Old August 10, 2011, 04:01 PM   #15
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Consider the 50 Beowulf?

If I was in your position this is what I would do. Grab an AR around 1000 bucks and purchase an Alexander Arms 50 cal Beowulf upper for it. All together should be the price of an M1A, but you get the best of both worlds. Cheap shooting with the 5.56 upper, and lead freight trains speeding torwards your target with the 50.
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Old August 10, 2011, 05:58 PM   #16
Chris_B
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Quote:
What I'm looking for is basically a semi-auto SHTF rifle. I own the following firearms:
WASR AK-47, mostly stock
You already own the rifle you're looking for then. Buy ammo
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Old August 10, 2011, 06:13 PM   #17
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If you're looking for something a bit different, that's a tough choice. We might need a bit more information about your envisioned SHTF environment and your more immediate shooting preferences.

If you live in the city, forget either and buy a pistol-caliber carbine. I'm a big fan of the Beretta CX4 Storm (9mm + .40) and the Hi-Point carbine (9mm, .40, and .45). If it were me, I'd get the Hi-Point in .45 and a WHOLE bunch of ammo for the cost of a decent AR or M1A.

If you live in the suburbs or the country... and I hate to say this... get the AR. If you already have a full-power rifle (I assume your 270 is a scoped bolt-gun) then the extra power of the 308 isn't really going to contribute much to your shooting capability IMHO because it's unlikely you're going to be engaged in a firefight beyond the effective range of the AR in which a semi-automatic is going to make a difference.

I know the AR and the AK are similar, but if you look at the two rounds, they're really different beasts. I have an SKS and an H&K 93, and I don't feel that those two guns are redundant even though they have the same mid-power cartridges as your AK and an AR would.

All I can say about the AR is, get one with a gas-piston. Buy an extra extractor and shoot steel-cased ammo - the practice will be worth it.
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Old August 10, 2011, 08:38 PM   #18
DnPRK
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AR is easier to shoot well and uses cheaper ammo.

9 ARs
3 M1As
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Old August 11, 2011, 08:00 PM   #19
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M1 Garand

M1 Garand from the CMP!

Everybody should own one,

A piece of history.
Fun to shoot.
Surplus ammo available from CMP
Get them while you can they will not last forever and the price will go up.

http://www.odcmp.com/Sales/rifles.htm

Then take it to a Appleseed known distance shoot.


Doug
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Old August 17, 2011, 01:54 AM   #20
jborushko
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrosSsT
If I was in your position this is what I would do. Grab an AR around 1000 bucks and purchase an Alexander Arms 50 cal Beowulf upper for it. All together should be the price of an M1A, but you get the best of both worlds. Cheap shooting with the 5.56 upper, and lead freight trains speeding torwards your target with the 50.
the 50 beowulf is garbage, i had one -traded it for an FAL- its expencive, ammunition is/was scarse, its only good for about 300 yards ballistics are a joke...

M1A or look into a VEPR (russian made 308 ak) mine is very accurate shooting out to about 700yds... $800 or less
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Old August 17, 2011, 03:26 AM   #21
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Both are great rifles and you will enjoy either of them for decades to come. No wrong choice.

First, I agree with a couple of posters that suggest you consider an M1 Garand from CMP (I like the Service Grade at $595). You can get surplus ammo from CMP for just under 50 cents/round. Not cheap but you won;t be hosing down targets with 200-300 rounds, or more, per range trip either. I just ought my third and it is a beaut! Only drawback is mounting a scope is not as clean as on the M1A, but you won't be spending $30 per mag either (more like $1.50 per clip).

If you are dead set on only an M1A or the AR15 then:

- M1A now that you have enough money saved. It will be harder to save that much a second time. Easier to get the M1A now and the less expensive AR15 later.

- On the other hand, the AR15 is more likely to be something your wife or eventually kids will want to shoot. So it may be more versatile for a family man. And the ammo is much cheaper, as are the mags ($12-$18). It is a LOT of fun to shoot.

If you live in a city then I think that favors the AR15 as you are more likely to be defending within a building and close quarters. If you live in the suburbs or rural area then I would lean toward the M1/M1A for SHTF as warding off thugs in vehicles may be some concern.

As another poster mentioned, you already have a decent battery of rifles. I would make sure you have a couple of pistols and lots of ammo for your primary pistol and rifle before buying another rifle. If TSHTF and all you have are lots of rifles with a box of ammo for each then you may wish you had more ammo and fewer guns.

I used to have an M1A, loved it but got laid off many years ago and sold it. Since then I bought a couple of Garands and then a couple of AR15s and then a third Garand. Two of the most fun rifles to shoot and they both have superb iron sights. I ought a PTR91 for a .308 semi auto, out of curiosity as well as it being about half the cost (used) as an M1A. My next rifle will be another bolt action and then another AR15, but with 20" barrel this time. The AR15 made it easier to get my sons-in-law to get interested in shooting and are now my best range buddies. They like the Garand but it is more of an old man's gun in their minds than the "modern" AR15.
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