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Old June 22, 2012, 03:21 PM   #1
Nine the Ranger
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Looking for a 'Survival Rifle'

Do here it is. I'm a bit of a Prepper, and I'm looking for a relativly cheap, semi-auto, reliable firearm for protection and survival.

I have my mind set on:

-A Ruger Mini-14
-A Century Arms WASR 10
-or an SKS of some form.

I can't decide, so would you all please help me weigh out the pros and cons of each? Thank you.
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Old June 22, 2012, 04:15 PM   #2
NXMR
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Hi Nine the Ranger!

I'm just curious - what's your budget like, will this be your first rifle, and have you thought about (and yes a lot of posters here will probably die laughing at this, but) have you thought about a couple of .22lr's?

Please don't take my questions as insults - not at all intended that way. I've more of a 'hunting' background than 'prepper' so bear with me.



ETA: Me, personally, of the list you just gave, my first take was the WASR. Now that's just *me* - you'll probably get as many opinions as posters.
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Old June 22, 2012, 04:54 PM   #3
Nine the Ranger
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My budget is around $1000 for the rifle, I've found WASRs and Minis for around $600 new.

I'm just looking for an addition to my collection and a reasonable grab-n-go gun. I already have a Marlin 925m .22mag, and a Marlin 336cs 30-30, so I'm really looking for a more practical rifle.
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Old June 22, 2012, 05:02 PM   #4
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Mini 14 all weather would be a good choice. Everything but springs is stainless (even the shield in the bottom of the stock) and the synthetic stock stands up well. Mine shoots great with irons and has been completely reliable. I've fitted a scope on it now but have yet to shoot it scoped. Factory ruger mags seem like they would take an abundance of use (even abuse) and still last decades (OEM mags are very sturdy steel magazines). It is also very simple and easy to disassemble and clean.

Of those you listed, it would and is my choice (along with the all weather ranch I also have a mini 14 tactical with the same black synthetic stock).

For a "survival" gun I'd also be thinking about a stainless bolt action too - simple, reliable and effective. Again, a stainless gun on a synthetic stock would be a great hide out in the boonies sort of gun.
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Old June 22, 2012, 05:11 PM   #5
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I'm a huge fan of Mini-14s but out of the box they aren't much more accurate than an AK47 (2-3MOA or so) but of those on your list it would be my choice. What they are is super reliable, light and handy, and non-threatening looking. They must have expensive factory magazines to feed reliably and do not play all that well with optics (poor cheek weld) and I'd plan on getting a trigger job (~$40) to bring the trigger down from 7 to 3-4lbs. Done up right and with good mags they're a great survival, ranch, and home defense carbine. I had mine customized by Great Western Gunsmithing.



On the other hand a top quality 1-MOA (Colt or BCM) AR15 will run you about $1100 but the magazines will be $11ea instead of $40. Do the math on say 13 magazines and the $380 that you save on magazines goes a long way to paying the difference between the $700 Mini and the $1100 AR15. If you're not worried about "parachute into combat" levels of reliability you can still get a darn good S&W M&P15 for under $1000.

You should also have a good hunting 22LR in you survival battery because a 556 round will disintegrate dinner if you're hunting rabbits for dinner . I'd pick up a Ruger 10/22TD (takedown) and hang a Weaver RV4 4x28 Rimfire or Leupold VX-1 2-7x28 Rimfire scope on it.
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Old June 22, 2012, 05:26 PM   #6
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The handiest/lightest of the rifles mentioned is by far the Mini-14. In a rifle you're planning on lugging around all day long those are very nice features to have. They are excellent rifles and ultra reliable with the factory mags. I have a stainless Mini-14GB model and I absolutely love how light and handy it is. I pretty much just use the 20rd mags in mine, they are considerably lighter than the 30rd mags are and they keep the bulk of the gun down to what I consider a reasonable level. The primary advantage of the Mini-14 is its compactness and I feel like the 20rd mags are more in keeping with that idea.
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Old June 22, 2012, 05:29 PM   #7
Nine the Ranger
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I'm counting 3 votes Mini.

0 Votes for SKS.

1 Vote for WASR.

Last edited by Nine the Ranger; June 22, 2012 at 06:17 PM.
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Old June 22, 2012, 09:50 PM   #8
johnwilliamson062
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Quote:
the magazines will be $11ea instead of $40.
For really cheap GI mags that you can bend by pinching between your fingers. Buy decent magpul mags and the price isn;t much different.

Now, on the Ak you can save a bundle on mags b/c AK mags were not made to be disposable.

THere are SKS-M rifles that take AK mags. They come at a premium for novelty, but I am quite happy with mine. Some are designed to work only with double stack mags and in my experience polymer mags are iffy with them.

I have an SKS-M and stainless mini-14. The finish on the mini is more rust resistant, but for the price difference I could get the SKS hard chromed and then they would be more or less equal.
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Old June 22, 2012, 09:54 PM   #9
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I'd go with the Mini also. Magazine as stated will be a bit more expensive but they're pretty heavy duty and should last a lifetime. Most SKS rifles are fixed 10 round mags so if higher capacity is an issue for you that rules out the SKS. Newer Mini-14 rifles should be capable of 2 MOA with ammo they like.

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Old June 22, 2012, 10:03 PM   #10
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Mini all the way


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Old June 22, 2012, 10:52 PM   #11
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.22 LR is a must.

I have a Mini-14. Love it. Mags are not too bad anymore, just ordered a bunch from Midway USA for a reasonable price. Yes, more than an AR-15 mag, but these things are steel and seem tough.
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Old June 22, 2012, 10:53 PM   #12
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If I had to be stuck if want my Stevens .22/.410 goo for squirrels and some small fowl can even shoot some slugs through the little guy maybe not the best choice but if I gotta survive I assume drawibg attention to myself with a loud semi auto is not so good.
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Old June 22, 2012, 10:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
For really cheap GI mags that you can bend by pinching between your fingers. Buy decent magpul mags and the price isn;t much different.
Those "really cheap GI mags" are dead reliable and for $11ea you can buy a few spares. Magpuls run $14-17 shipped so even if your buying Magpul mags your still only paying 35-42% the price of a 30rd Ruger magazine. The downside to Magpuls is that they are really bulky and don't fit all rifles or pouches. The only modern 20 & 30rd magazines that are close to 100% reliable in a Mini are Ruger's.
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Old June 22, 2012, 11:33 PM   #14
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$1000 for a rifle...... Buy a mini-14. I would look for a tactical with 16'' barrel. Buy a nice scope to take advantage of the mini's accuracy in most 580+ series rifles. Get 4-5 new ruger 20rd. mags. They are very well built and will last many years under normal conditions. Its very reliable, a scoped mini is capable of some very good accuracy out to 2-4 hundred yards. Its not very heavy, its compact and you can carry alot of rounds without alot of weight. Very good all around carbine. Better than your other choices in my opinion.
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Old June 22, 2012, 11:46 PM   #15
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My question is, if you've got a $1000 to spend on the rifle, why choose between those 3 options? For that amount you could can something better than all of the above. Higher end AK's like the VEPR, or Arsenal SGL or SLR-series, for example. Vz.58's can also be bought for that amount and are excellent rifles. There's decent AR's to be had for that sum as well.
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Old June 23, 2012, 06:36 AM   #16
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I'd much rather have an AR than any of the others in a centerfire. But my survival rifle is one of the Ruger 10-22 takedown rifles.
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Old June 23, 2012, 07:28 AM   #17
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For 1000, you can buy an AR AND a 22 bolt and mag.....(and maybe have a little left over for ammo)


It would also give you options to move to an upper in 300BLK or 6.8,
If you wanted some more "ummph"

The more options you give yourself the better
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Old June 23, 2012, 07:51 AM   #18
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If you force me into just those 3 choices, I would go for an SKS and pocket the extra $650

If you are a prepper that extra $650 could go to MANY other places

An SKS can be used to hunt (hornady 120g SST will knock down any deer or boar) I wouldnt hunt with a 5.56.

The Mini is similar maybe slightly better than the SKS on accuracy...

The SKS is slightly better than the AK rifles in accuracy

I would also challenge you to look at feedback on CAI..... Its mostly not pretty

Within 150 yards, the 7.62x39 hits harder than the 5.56

The SKS can tolerate enormous abuse and can operate dirty.

For cheap shooting, the sks beats out the 5.56


The negatives on the SKS are many, but within your parameters, it seems to
be a decent choice


I like my SKS, not my favorite rifle, but for the price/ function unbeatable
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Old June 23, 2012, 08:49 AM   #19
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Scratching my head in disbelief that somebody suggested an AR unsolicited in a crappy old semi auto thread!!!

Just Kidding
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Old June 23, 2012, 10:17 AM   #20
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In my humble opinion...

Out of the choices you give, for the purpose you have stated, I would definately choose the AK variant.

The Mini-14, while it is a great rifle, has a couple of Drawbacks compared to the AK. As others have mentioned, the price of the magazines may or may not be a factor for you. if you have 1000 to spend, you could certainly buy the rifle and a duffel full of mags, but never the less, AK mags are cheaper and a bit more robust in my opinion. But from a survivalist standpoint, I think the AKs most notable advantage is ruggedness. The AK is proven to be able to sustain VERY long periods of use with little to no maintenance and alot of neglect. The Mini is a great functioning rifle, but I do not think it would survive as long as an AK in extremely harsh situations where frequent care and cleaning may not be feasable. Also, I personally believe that the 7.62 warsaw cartridge is a bit more versatile in some ways than the 5.56. The extra bullet weight and beefier construction gives it a little extra punch when it comes to barrier and brush penetration.

In my opinion, the SKS is not a great choice for a survival weapon, though I dont believe its woefully inadequate, I think its drawbacks are severe enough to take it out of the class that I would seriously consider for a survival rifle. Its main drawback is its inability to use removable magazines with a high degree of reliability. I think for the size and weight, you could get a much more effective weapon. One of the main draws for an SKS used to be its price, which was a great price for what you got, with prices now, you can get a Saiga for the same price as an SKS..no brainer.

I am not getting into the whole accuracy thing here, as I believe not only are these three weapons in the same class in that department, but as a survival weapon, the only requirement is that they be Minute of Meat at an acceptable engagement range, whether for hunting or defense. All of these are certainly capable of that.

I judge a weapons suitability in a survival role on the basis of the following criteria. This is my own system that may or may not suit you, use it at your own discression.

1. Reliability, Survivability
2. Ergonomics-this is a broad category that encompasses the rifles ability to be carried and used for long periods as well as its capacity to be manipulated in adverse or combat conditions.
3. Calibre Capability and versatility
4. Parts and ammunition availability

There is no perfect survival rifle, there will always be a trade one way or another amongst these attributes but, in your own opinion and experience, the better grade it gets overall is how well the rifle will serve you if its ever needed.

Best of luck
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Old June 23, 2012, 10:28 AM   #21
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Of the choices given, I would go with the SKS.

The WASR, while having the reputation of the AK, doesn't really warrant it IMHO. It may or may not be using military grade parts and isn't the same as it was delivered from the factory. It may be fine, but how many part produced by Tapco would you consider "military grade".

The Mini makes a very good ranch rifle. But it is not a military arm. Nor has it demonstrated the durability, survivability that the AK/SKS rifles have in combat.

The SKS is and was designed as a military arm. It has many years of service in armies across the world. You can actually get a SKS just as it was delivered from the arsenal and therefore, you get those advantages.

But leave it in it's as issued condition. Learn to use stripper clips, don't try to turn it into a rifle that it is not.
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Old June 23, 2012, 10:52 AM   #22
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What's happens if all your mags crap out SKS and a .22 seem like a good deal.
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Old June 23, 2012, 10:55 AM   #23
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An AR with a .22lr conversion would be a good way to go.
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Old June 23, 2012, 06:21 PM   #24
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AR-15--with any decent standard of care, it is reliable. Magazines are not overly expensive. Add-ons and parts are easily found. You can customize it to your desires and specs, if you feel the need.
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Old June 23, 2012, 10:05 PM   #25
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For a survival rifle my choice is a .22.

But based on your three I'd go with the SKS.

Its accurate enough.
Reliable
And can handle neglect if needed. And most have chrome linned bores and chambers.

Unlike other posters I find the fixed mag a plus rather than a deterent. Its quick to load with stripper clips and can be loaded and topped off singly. I see the weight of the extra AK magazines as more ammo I can carry with the SKS. Plus ther are no detachable mag to become lost.

Plus I like the location of the safety on the SKS. carry loaded and ready to go, when you need to fire your finger takes they safety off on its way into the trigger guard to fire, very slick.
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