View Full Version : Looking for input on .223 or .308 rifle purchase

February 1, 2000, 02:46 PM
I normally reside in the handgun forum, since I don't have a rifle, but I'm looking to get a rifle in the near future. I haven't decided between bolt action or semi-auto. I shot a full auto rifle a while back, and while fun, I don't want to pay the difference for full auto capability. I'm looking for target and self-defense.

I'm looking for input on:
* .223 vs. .308 or other caliber?

* Bolt vs. semi-auto? I assume semi- would be a lot better for self-defense, but are semi-auto rifles generally jam-free?

* Any reason not to get a Ruger mini14?

* I'm looking to spend $500 or less. Anything else out there in that price range than Ruger?

Thanks a bunch.

February 1, 2000, 03:00 PM
If you can swing a a couple hundred more you could get an AR. More accurate than a mini and parts/mags/accessories are plentiful and well developed. The mini is reliable enough but doesn't enjoy a reputation for accuracy as a model, but there are exceptions, like always.
Not much out there in a .308 semi for $500.
Tikka is making a pretty nice bolt gun at a resonable price.

February 1, 2000, 03:25 PM
Now you've done it. You've opened up the Mini14 debate again!! Scroll down through some of the posts (or do a search) and you'll see what I mean.

Personally I like the mini14. I've had one for about 10 years and I am completely satisfied with it. Minis are robust and reliable WITH QUALITY MAGAZINES. PMI makes good mags. Ruger factory mags are the best (very hard to find hi caps and very expensive when you do find them). They are not tack drivers. The best I have seen is 2moa at 100 yds..They usually average 3-4 moa. OK for close range hunting and for CQB type situations. You will need to decide exactly what you want the rifle to be able to do.
AR 15 type rifles are great (I have a Bushmaster). They are very accurate and reasonably reliable. They're reliability hinges on a high level of maintenance though. They must be kept clean and lubricated. They usually run about $750 and up though so they are out of your price range.
Another option is one of the many AK47 varients out there. They range from about $300 to $800 depending on what you want. The AKs are crude and do not have the user friendliness of the AR but they are utterly reliable. Magazines are still readily available and they aren't too expensive yet. Ammo is dirt cheap ($100 for 1000 rnds.) AKs average about 4moa. My Bulgarian SA93 will do 2moa with a scope and good ammo. AKs with milled receivers (like my SA93) are generally more accurate than the stamped receiver models but they are also more expensive. Milled receiver Bulgarians are about $700-800 right now.
For 308 rifles check out the FAL and the M1A1. They are both very accurate (especially the M1A1!) and reliable. They are also out of your price range. You can get a Century made FAL for about $600 but their quality is hit and miss. The M1A1 will run you at least $1000. These are more long distance shooting oriented rifles as opposed to the mini, the AR and the AK which are medium range rifles and better suited for close quarters.
Hope this helps!

for more info on the AK go to: www.ak-47.net (http://www.ak-47.net)
for infor on ARs go to: www.ar15.com (http://www.ar15.com)

February 1, 2000, 05:14 PM
Sorry Jaeger,

I stumbled in here from AR15.com. I didn't mean to open a can of worms. I'm not going to beat on them, just gave my .02
Speaking of AR15.com, I can't seem to be able to connect with the forums server there, have you?

February 1, 2000, 05:43 PM
Hi Nukem- It's been down for a couple of days from where I am. You can get to the site but not to the forums.

February 1, 2000, 07:40 PM
Thanks for the responses. I've got some research to do.

February 2, 2000, 12:18 AM
Certainly no offense taken Nukem. Actually we made our posts around the same time so I wasn't responding to your comments. There has been quite a few lively conversations going on here lately regarding the Mini14 so the question "any reason not to get a Ruger mini 14?" struck me a kind of funny. It's not a bad question it's just that in light of some of some of the posts that have been going up here recently I found it humerous.
I haven't tried to go to AR15.com for a few days.They seem to be having a lot of server problems lately.

February 2, 2000, 01:13 AM
All things considered, if you want or otherwise could only have one rifle, IMHO go for a .308 Win. in either a Remington 700 or Pre 64 Winchester Model 70 with a relatively short barrel. 18" to 20" in a lightweight composite stock.


Superior knockdown power.
Superior accuracy.
Superior reliabiliy.
Superior multiple capabilities (Hunting large Game, Self Defense, Serious Target Work etc.)

The only catch...you have to practice religously to become proficient with a bolt gun to be quick enough on your follow up shots to be dangerous to your adversary.

If all you want is a self defense piece capable of throwing a lot of lead down range and you don't intend to train seriously in rifle craft...buy a Mini 14 or a used (not abused) AR 15 which could be in your desired price range.

For a more complete rifle arsenal, in my opinion try to have both. One to get you out of town and to the field, and one to use as your primary tool once you get there.

Also, buy Jeff Coopers book, "The Art of the Rifle" to learn the basics of rifle craft. Paladin Press.

Just my opinions. Thanx for listening

February 2, 2000, 02:59 AM
I have a Century STG-58 FAL that I ordered for around $600 plus fees through an FFL. Mine works fine and seems well put together. I like it. Maybe I was lucky. Its a .308 (as you probably know).

I also have a few AR-15s. I also like them, and would probably prefer a 16" AR for self defense (unless long range or great penetration were required). They are fun to shoot.

Finally, you might look into a Romanian SAR-1 AK-47 clone. I've got a couple of these and enjoy them a lot. They are pretty roughly finished (especially the stocks), but they are reliable, easy to maintain, shoot a .30 caliber bullet (albeit much slower than a .308), and ammo is very cheap ($100/1,000). I ordered these for $320 each (total was just under $400 after all fees, shipping, etc.).

I don't have any experience with the Mini-14, but I'll probably get one someday. They get mixed (mostly negative) reviews here, mostly due to accuracy problems as the thin barrel heats up. But I'm not too worried about this. Another issue is that good high-capacity magazines are expensive and tough to find. If you are going to get 8 or 10 high-caps, factor that into the price difference between the Mini and an AR (you can probably find good AR mags for around $20-$25 each, maybe less for used).

Alan B
February 2, 2000, 10:26 AM
An AR for less than a grand....where, In the city where I live they can't keep them on the shelf at $1100 - $1200 range. I see them advertised all the time for $800-$900 but they are usually out of stock. By the way the local gun shop has had one Y2k gun come back an AR, and it left the same day.

[This message has been edited by Alan B (edited February 02, 2000).]

February 2, 2000, 02:23 PM
Alan, You can get postbans in OH at shows for under 1K. They have them to sell here.

February 3, 2000, 12:40 PM
Magnum Force in Monroe,MI(734-457-4242)had a few in ealier this week. I think they were all under $900, except the colt. I won't even get into that.

February 3, 2000, 01:50 PM
you might consider a Garand rifle, 30-06 or .308

February 3, 2000, 04:10 PM

If you are interested in an AR, one of our moderators at AR15 by the name of Stokes is selling some very nice looking Olympic AR for less than $700.00. check him out.

As for cruiserman, mini-14 is really not that accurate.



[This message has been edited by Brainiac (edited February 03, 2000).]

Art Eatman
February 3, 2000, 10:09 PM
I tend to think of self-defense as an "on the street" problem, or at home. In either expected case, I think in terms of a handgun and maybe a shotgun at home. So, a rifle isn't my usual notion of self-defense.

For the mix of casual target shooting and self-defense, I favor the Mini 14 over any of the AK types. With the wood stock, it doesn't look like the "dreaded assault rifle" and is certainly easier to aim--at least, for me. Back when I could use iron sights, I got 2" groups from my Mini; with a scope I could get 1-1/2" from the bench. Don't recall anything tighter than 1-1/4 or so. It's certainly a 100- to 150-yard coyote or jackrabbit gun, as far as accuracy.

A bolt action in .223 or .308 will be more accurate, generally, than the average semi-auto. Those cartridges are pretty cheap, so you can do enough practice to become proficient.

Note that in pre-WW II military matches, the British teams could shoot the rapid-fire strings with their bolt-action Enfields as well as the US teams with the Garands. Training and practice leads to proficiency.


February 4, 2000, 12:35 PM
I'll echo some of the opinions above and suggest a semi-auto .223 (AR-15 if you can afford it, Mini-14 if you want to save some bucks). Leave the .223 iron sighted or perhaps try a red dot sight.

Then get a lightweight .308 bolt action with a variable scope of about 2-7x or 2.5-8x.

You'll have short range defensive capability with the .223 and long range capability with the .308. Also, the .308 is excellent for hunting or just learning rifle craft as usual.

I went with the Mini-14 (although it is true that the expense of magazines cuts down on the price differential between it and the AR-15) and a Ruger 77MkII bolt action in .308 with 1.5-5x scope. Those two will handle just about any centerfire rifle needs. Of course, I couldn't stop there and have since bought a bunch more! The best advice I've heard is to buy less guns and spend the money on more ammo and training, so that you can get the most out of your weapons and realize your potential. Be advised that I have never followed this excellent advice, however!

Good luck and welcome to riflecraft!

February 6, 2000, 03:20 PM
Well first off a bolt action rifle inherently is far more accurate than semi auto. When you talk about .308 you really do not need to hit someone or something more than once with a well placed shot. Now .223 is different at long range it will lose substantial energy at 400 to 500 yards. However .223 sp or hp will not normally over penetrate. It has a tendency to fragment and is less risk to "innocents" or your furniture than .308
Personally I have a mini 14 and am pleased.
I also have a Rem 788 bolt. It all depends I would say on what you will ultimately use it for.

February 9, 2000, 09:19 PM
If you can qualify, you can get a used M1 Garand for about $425 from the Civilian Marksmanship program...and qualification isn't too tough. Just belong to an NRA sanctioned shooting organization, prove that you have shot 50 rounds of something in the last 5 years, and you are basically in. I got one, issued in 1944, a true piece of history. Shoots great too.

check the web site, www.odcmp.com (http://www.odcmp.com)