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Old February 11, 2014, 01:16 PM   #1
ninjaamt
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best practical all around rifle?

I'm looking for an all purpose rifle, probably a military surplus one which will give the most bang for the buck! LOL. That is reasonably reliable, not pricey, ammo generally available etc. Thanks for your suggestions!
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Old February 11, 2014, 01:25 PM   #2
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Do you have an action preference? Bolt or auto? What will be the main purpose of your new weapon? Home defense, target practice or hunting?

It's easier to make suggestions if we have a few more specifics.
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Old February 11, 2014, 01:56 PM   #3
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Semi auto would be nice but probably more selection with bolt action. Defense and distance target shooting are my interests. Not so much hunting.
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Old February 11, 2014, 02:10 PM   #4
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There are still some very nice SKS's available at a decent price but they'll soon cost nearly as much $ as AKs... If you go for one, shop around... don't settle for a beater.
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Old February 11, 2014, 02:15 PM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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I don't believe I've ever heard of any one using a bolt-action rifle for home defense, on purpose anyway.

Honestly, it strikes me that your goals are at odds with one another.

Cheap and long distance target don't usually go together very well, unless you don't particularly care how big your target has to be to hit it.

Sure, you can shoot 4 foot square plates at 1000 yards with a Mosin (maybe) but that doesn't really equate to "target" shooting for most folks. If you're talking about shooting small groups, you need a decent gun. Decent guns aren't usually "cheap" to the same degree as old/surplus military.
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Old February 11, 2014, 02:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
I'm looking for an all purpose rifle, probably a military surplus one which will give the most bang for the buck! LOL. That is reasonably reliable, not pricey, ammo generally available etc. Thanks for your suggestions!

Semi auto would be nice but probably more selection with bolt action. Defense and distance target shooting are my interests. Not so much hunting.
I would like to know "what distance" and "what price range" as "bang for the buck" means I can recommend a more expensive rifle if it is worth the expense. But without that data, anything from a Win 94 to a muzzle loading musket meets your criteria as written.

Jimro
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Old February 11, 2014, 06:03 PM   #7
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You can't beat the SKS for cheap, cheap and effective ammo and compact an light for defensive in surplus. Everything later is select fire and unaffordable. Get it now, and add a nice 308 bolt rifle later for that long distance target shooting.
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Old February 11, 2014, 06:22 PM   #8
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well military surplus arms really don't make good all purpose rifles unless you cut them up in which case the second your blade touches the rifles they emit a pheromone which is only detected by VFW members, senior citizens and sentimental collectors which have spent enough time around them to develop a symbiotic relationship. at this point every member of the forementioned group will gather at your place and curb stomp you for destroying a priceless piece of history.


personally, if you are looking for a good multipurpose light weight semi a SKS is probably the best for you, the M1 is good but 30-06 is spendy, most hunting ammo is not M1 approved and it's a heavier rifle platform.

for bolt actions a good springfield 1903A3 is probably your best if you are keeping original, a russian mosin nagant if you are planning on modifying it in any way.
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Old February 11, 2014, 06:30 PM   #9
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The Ruger Gunsite Scout makes a fairly good all purpose rifle but its $800.
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Old February 11, 2014, 07:04 PM   #10
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The first rifle I bought a very long time ago was an SKS. I like that rifle and really don't care how many rounds get put through it and how fast they get put through it. It is after all for fun.

The second rifle I bought was a model 94 Winchester in .44 mag. I love that rifle and it is super easy to use for defense or in the brush.

I ran across a Chilean 7mm Mauser and man is that thing accurate! It handles very well and was only $200.

I have many more rifles I could discuss, they all have a purpose, but the first three I bought we the best investments I ever made. I really enjoy all of them, each for different reasons.

I hope this helps in some small way.

Mel
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Old February 11, 2014, 07:10 PM   #11
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I don't believe I've ever heard of any one using a bolt-action rifle for home defense, on purpose anyway.
Me neither, but in reality there is no reason not to. You see people recommend lever actions quite often and in reality a man who knows how to run a bolt rifle is for all practical purposes just as fast.

Many modern bolt guns are far lighter and more compact than any lever gun and offered with more options for short barrels. My 30-30 lever guns are the heaviest guns I own, out weighing my heaviest bolt rifle, a 300 WSM. Some of my 308 bolt rifles are as much as 2 lbs lighter than my lightest 30-30.

This was the intent of the Scout rifle concept. I strongly disagree with the forward scope mount, but there are any number of options that would work quite well.

My vote for best bang for the buck would be one of the Ruger American compact rifles with a 16" barrel in either 308 or 223 with a street price of $350 with a 1-4X20 scope on it.

http://ruger.com/products/americanRi...ct/models.html

At 6 lbs it would be 1-1.5 lbs lighter than a lever gun, with a 4" shorter, more compact barrel. The scope on 1X is faster and more accurate than any iron sights and 4X is enough for reasonable distances.
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Old February 11, 2014, 07:12 PM   #12
Willie Lowman
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Quote:
I don't believe I've ever heard of any one using a bolt-action rifle for home defense, on purpose anyway.
My dad kept a 03-A3 for home defense.
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Old February 12, 2014, 08:42 AM   #13
ninjaamt
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Thanks everyone for the comments! Its tough when you are on a budget, ammo is getting more difficult to get, and worse of all, when you live here in "New Jersey!". I like the M1, the 1903, and M14. Had a M1 carbine and two "Russian Remingtons. Like someone pointed out, " never sell any of your guns"! LOL

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; February 12, 2014 at 09:41 AM. Reason: Political Invective
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Old February 13, 2014, 11:17 PM   #14
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If you consider an AR15 milsurp, which it isn't but it is a military rifle, then without a doubt an AR gives the most features, most useability and most option to upgrade in the future.

Entirely depends on budget and what you are looking for.
If you want historical value, then a Lee Enfield, Springfield or K98 Mauser would suit you better. If cheap thrills is your thing, then a Mosin Nagant.
Cheap ammo for plinking would be a Mosin, SKS or an AK47/74.

I'm not sure what the price of ammo for 223 is now, but for an accurate, fun, nice and easy to shoot rifle, for a reasonable price and historical value not being important, then I'd say AR15.

Personally if I wanted a milsurp rifle, I'd want something with historical value, and something I would accept I had to reload for. I'd go for a Lee Enfield, or if I could find one a Swiss K31.
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Old February 14, 2014, 03:51 AM   #15
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broad

I'd rule out a mil-surp and go for one of the price point poly rifles....something like the Ruger American or a Savage Axis. On it I'd plant a Leupold fixed 4x, used.....and likely get it in .308.

Oh wait a minute.....home defense? As in down the hallway....end of the driveway sort of thing. For that I'd go with a used Marlin 30-30 with possibly a used 2-1/2x Leu. Maybe a Leu 1-4x variable. Not an ideal long range rig, but handier up close and faster repeats.

You're asking a lot from one rifle.
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Old February 14, 2014, 08:21 AM   #16
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Years ago, when I lived in Colorado I often hunted with a decorated Korean War veteran. His only rifle was a surplus Czech Mauser stamped 7.9mm. The barrel was approx. 24 inches in length. But it fired Winchester 8mm ammo quite well. The military sights had been professionally replaced with modern receiver sight and slim post. I've read that American ammo is loaded to lower pressure than European ammo but this made no difference to my friend. He toppled mulies and pronghorn antelope every year with this outfit. He told me that he killed at several elk as well. I've witnessed that when a 8mm soft tip bullet crashes through the chest organs, the animal topples quickly. Internal damage is quite ghastly. Frankly, its all about shooting a good bullet into the right spot.

For a bolt action surplus rifle, Czech Mausers are keepers.

Jack
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Old February 14, 2014, 09:13 AM   #17
BillM
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SKS. Prices are coming back down a bit. Not the best accuracy, but
they are reliable and ammo is available. And they are a heck of a lot of fun.

For not much more than the price of the SKS you can get a bottom end
AR. Recently saw some with a polymer lower for $399. Hang an inexpensive
optic on it and you are still under $500.

In a bolt action the Mosin Nagant is probably the most bang for your buck.

If you don't care if it is 100% original, there are LOTS of "sporterized"
1903's, Enfields, 1917's, etc. out there for not much money.

CMP Garand. A piece of history and one heck of a rifle. Get one while you can.
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Old February 14, 2014, 10:48 AM   #18
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jmr40

Quote:
Many modern bolt guns are far lighter and more compact than any lever gun and offered with more options for short barrels.
How can you even say this? Point out 5 bolt guns to me now.....GO!

I will agree with the fact that the bolt guns may be lighter, but not handier or shorter. You know how many variations of the guide gun marlin has made? Not to mention most any 30-30 or .35 carbine is much shorter than a factory bolt action.

I own a Ruger Gunsite scout, but both my Marlin in .450 and 35 are handier.

It would take years of practice with a bolt action to get it anywhere near as fast as a lever.

To the OP, ever consider a pump rifle? They arent for me, but are slick. A Remington 7615? Takes AR mags and is cheap to shoot.

http://www.remingtonsociety.com/jour...a0407p31p1.jpg
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Old February 14, 2014, 10:55 AM   #19
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And pump rifles are faster than a lever, second to only the semi auto.
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Old February 14, 2014, 02:44 PM   #20
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M14/M1A with an 18" barrel.
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Old February 14, 2014, 02:54 PM   #21
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I like my thin barreled scoped RPK --- in 7.62x39 --- and my scoped Romanian PSL --- in 7.62x54 --- with PSL translates into: scoped semi automatic rifle. The PSL is a beast --- though mild recoil --- that likes a firm hold...along with a trigger press that likes the bone just ahead of the first distal joint.

Use only 147 grain bullets in the PSL, and not the 174 grainer's, which might wear out the receiver. The PSL has a very rigorous right hand ejection of the spent shell --- which could put somebody's eye out --- so use a brass catcher if people are nearby. It likes 147 grain Sierra Matchkings.
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Old February 14, 2014, 03:05 PM   #22
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What SR420 said!
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"The only purpose for a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you never should have laid down."

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Old February 14, 2014, 04:08 PM   #23
tahunua001
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And pump rifles are faster than a lever, second to only the semi auto.
I believe that any brit who served in WWII or any person that witnessed them in action would disagree with you. the germans thought that the brits were being issued semis due to the rate of fire that they were able to possess with the proper training. without the proper training, a lever is just as slow as a bolt. to another point, rate of fire is meaningless unless you areable to put all of those shots on target. I could probably drop 5 rounds from a marlin 1895 in 5 seconds if I put my mind to it but I highly doubt many of them would hit what I was aiming at. at the same time I could fire 5 rounds from an AR15 or SKS in 5 seconds and probably still have trouble hitting but much higher precision than the lever.

as for handier, I know I can cover a heck of a lot more distance with a 30-06 than I can a 30-30, 45-70 or 44 mag.
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Old February 14, 2014, 04:14 PM   #24
mehavey
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Quote:
all purpose rifle...defense & distance
target shooting...most bang for the buck...
Barring a semi-auto/"assault" milsurplus caliber that I do not regard
as cannonically compatible with "distance" and (precision) target
shooting), I'd still get a used/sporterized `03 at a gunshow, or a
used Model-70.

30-06, of course.
(best fit "all purpose" cartridge -- arguably of all time)

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Old February 14, 2014, 06:51 PM   #25
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Not trying to start an argument, but a pump in 223 I am willing to bet is still faster than an enfield
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