View Full Version : My first rifle...

April 30, 2005, 11:58 PM
Hi all,

I initially posted because I was contemplating the purchase of a pistol caliber carbine. This was mostly for defense purposes. But the more I read, the more interested I became in purchasing an actual rifle, instead. I live in LA and the main reason would be in the unlikely event of another riot (2 in the last 4 decades) to give my family just enough time/firepower to get out of there.

I hope I'm not sounding too paranoid. I'm just not interested in my family being caught with our pants down should the mob decide to burn our neighborhood instead of their own.

With that in mind, I began looking. Since I'm not really going to be hunting (from lack of wildlife in LA with exception to some polluted squirrls), I figured I'd want a semi-automatic rifle of some kind. Since California has decided to ban all the AR-15 rifles, I'm at a loss for what would be good to get. Those would have been my first choice...

Three CA legal ones caught my eye. The first is this Springfield Armory which makes an M1A that is apparently california legal. The second is an M1 garand. Apparently it's tough to find a good old WWII one, and the new ones are hard to come by as well. The last was a Browning Automatic Rifle. I think this is the same one that they used in WWII except that it is semi-automatic.

The BAR would be my first choice because it is relatively inexpensive compared to the M1A or the M1 garand. I was also looking into the Remington 7400 (being VERY affordable) but so many people complain about it's reliability. Reliability is paramount. I'm not worrying about missing a deer and going home hungry, I'm worried about stopping someone with a malatov cocktail.

Here's the trouble with the BAR though. THe magazine is only 3-4 rounds. The M1A is 10 rounds and the Garand seems to be 8 rounds. Do they make larger magazines for the BAR? Can the gun tolerate being shot several times quickly or is it not designed for that anymore? (This was a big complaint of the 7400 that after it would heat up a bit, the gun didn't perform well)

Also, the BAR doesn't appear to have iron-sights. Though I'm sure I would fit a scope as well, I'd like to have a backup iron-sight in case. I particularly like the M1A and garands because it has the little back circle/front blade one similar to the AR-15 (I've shot one once at a rifle range that had one grandfathered in), not just a notch like my BB-gun has. Can I get iron-sights for the BAR in this back ring/front blade configuration? I think I would get the .308 winchester round. There's also a long-trac vs a short-trac but I cannot for the life of me figure out the difference. The barrels and over-all lengths seem almost identical.

The links to the rifles mentioned are here...
M1A: http://www.springfield-armory.com/prod-rifles-m1a-stan.shtml
M1Garand: http://www.springfield-armory.com/prod-rifles-m1-garand.shtml
BAR long trac: http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/firearms/detail.asp?value=002B&cat_id=031&type_id=218
BAR short trac:

Are there any other weapons you guys know of that would be good besides the ones I mentioned?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. I'm pretty new to most of this stuff. I found this site...
which does a good job explaining some stuff like the gas-operated action vs blowback and how the extractor works. But it doesn't explain everything. Is there a good website or book that simply describes all the various parts of a rifle with diagrams for things like "headspace" and the breech and all those other terms?

May 1, 2005, 12:26 AM
Since it is for self-defense purposes only, you may want to include the SKS carbine to your list. Kalifornia-legal versions are available and they are very reasonably priced (usually less than $200) - not to mention battle-proven reliable. The Russian 7.62x39 cartridge is more than powerful enough to repel goons, gobblins and thugs, and is not too powerful for anyone in the family to use. It holds 10 rounds and can be stripper-clip feed for reloading. Ammunition is plentiful - and cheap! There is a multitude of accessories available to dress-up or trick-out your SKS. They are accurate, dead-nuts simple to operate, easy to shoot and for what you would pay for one M1A you could buy two SKS', a case of ammunition and still have enough left over to pay next month's car payment. ;)

May 1, 2005, 12:33 AM
In your case, I would recommend a shotgun. For self-defence against humans, the primary advantages of a rifle over a shotgun are penetration and range. Since you live in LA, a projectile that goes through the BG, your house, a stray dog, and stops in a car half way down the block (which is what a rifle bullet could do) is neither necessary nor desirable. And with proper sights and a good grade of slugs, a shotgun is effective out to about 100 yards, which is probably much more than you need. A 12 or 20 ga has more than enough power to put down anyone, and the HD guns can carry around 7-8 rounds, depending on the model. For price, you would be looking between $200 and $350.

May 1, 2005, 12:47 AM
I'd still take a rifle over a shotgun for what he is describing. If the SHTF, I'd want a multi-purpose weapon.

Find a GOOD Chinese or Russian SKS(Last few yugos I've seen were pretty sorry lookin, though very cheap), get to know the feel of it and your set. Just avoid the surplus ammo for a defensive gun ;)

One other thing to note, for a SHTF gun, I keep a duffle with shoulder strap that contains the needs for that gun(as well as yourself):

100 rounds of ammo on strippers(sks, or really, ak47 even)
Hoppes lube and solvent
collapsable cleaning rod
first-aid kit
am/fm radio(Runs on AA batteries)
1 liter of water
1 Mini MagLite
8x AA batteries

Then again, given say, 1-2 hours, I could be packed up and moving on foot to just about anywhere and stay alive for several days, depending on the time of year for what there is to eat on the land.

May 1, 2005, 12:48 AM
You might want to read the "AR better than shotgun for HD" thread over in the Shotgun forum.

May 1, 2005, 12:59 AM
Blasting an intruder to kingdom come and having to risk fighting through an angery mob are two entirly different things ;)

May 1, 2005, 01:24 AM
Honestly I would think a carbine and a descent HD round would do you fine.

However, I too like rifles so I would choose a rifle over a carbine. SKS seem to have the popular vote, and they are good guns. Are mini-30s available in Cali? Saigas? Maybe even a FAL clone?

I don't think the BAR you linked to is anything like the BARs of WWII outside basic action and name. I wouldn't choose them due to their limitd capacity and the fact that they're hunting rifles. Of the three you listed I would opt for the M1A, due to .308 chamber, detachable mags, not to much recoil and with great knock down ability, and reliable. Garands are great rifles but I would rather have more rounds. Can you have the 20 round mags for the M1As in Cali? Maybe someone else can offer up better options.


May 1, 2005, 04:52 AM
I like the ideas for the SKS. I have Yugo that I picked up for a hundred bucks.

73's Mac

May 1, 2005, 05:13 AM
the SKS is an excellent intermediate caliber weapon, less "evil" looking than an AK (less likely to ever be banned) but just as reliable, easy to fieldstrip, and more accurate in my experience. reloading with stripper clips is relatively fast with practice. The price is right as well. Great for teaching as the recoil is mild. I have had several SKS rifles over the years to teach my children as they've grown. A good addition to anyone's collection of toys. It's cheap, ammo is cheap, you'll shoot more, become more familiar with it, and be able to maximize it's potential.

the M1A is an excellent weapon. I have the M1A scout rifle as my SHTF rifle. I have several 20rd mags ready to go, as well as bandoleers of stripper clips. It was expensive, and I saved for a year to get it, but haven't regretted it.

The current BAR is nothing like the fully automatic BAR of WWII/Korean War fame. Strictly a hunting gun IMO.

A shotgun can do some things a rifle can't, but can't do some the rifle can. It's a different animal.

May 1, 2005, 09:46 AM
I would want a nice AK but i dont think those are legal in california so i would go with a SKS.

Smokey Joe
May 1, 2005, 12:30 PM
Utterly reliable; never break no matter how dirty; fixable with a screwdriver and a pliers. And if you need more than the 10 rds. a SKS mag carries, you need a lot more than one firearm.

The S has already HTF in your scenario. You're not concerned anymore with bullet pass-through.

Make DARN sure the firing pin moves freely in its slot. The one problem SKS's ever have is slam-fires due to cosmoline left over from storage, jamming the pin forward. There is a fix-it part available for this, too.

May 1, 2005, 12:40 PM
Busmaster's .308 would be a great choice, as it takes FAL mags.
It's a tad bit expensive at the moment, though.

The other alternative could be an FAL type rifle at half the cost, then getting the Busmaster .308 later...you'd already have the mags and ammo.

If I weren't monetarily challenged at the moment, that's what I'd do! :)

May 1, 2005, 01:02 PM
in that case:


Or, for a little more money, an M14-style rifle (Springfield or Polytech), .308 win.

Busgunner, if he can't buy an AR or AK-style, I doubt he could buy a Bushy 308 or FAL.

Bottom line:

1. Very tight budget: SKS
2. Low budget: Kel Tec SU16CA
3. High budget: M14-type

And I think you're *definitely* making the right decision to go with an intermediate-powered or full-powered rifle, over a pistol caliber rifle for a first/only. Pistol caliber carbines are fun, but more or less useless for any serious business if you actually analyze it. (save suppressed subsonic 9mm full autos - mostly only mil & G-men need/use these; maybe a specialized security or merc team also).

May 1, 2005, 02:13 PM
The Browning BAR in your post is actually in the same category as the Remington 7400. Both are fragile "sporting rifles". Although, I would give the BAR better marks than the Remington. You can get 10 round mags for the Remington.

I would recommend the SKS in your situation. I like the Garand, but it is heavy and long. 8-10 rounds plus reloads should get you through most events.

May 1, 2005, 05:16 PM
Another vote for the SKS.

If you want a Garand, however, http://www.odcmp.com. One can be shipped to your door (yes, to YOUR door, not your FFL's) for under $500.

Old Prussian
May 1, 2005, 06:28 PM
I guess I went a different way, I went with the Beretta
CX4 Storm in .40 S&W. I found it light, accurate and a well made carbine. Beretta also makes it in 9mm and .45cal.

May 1, 2005, 08:09 PM
The Mini-14s and 30s are way over priced for what you get in my opinion. I've shot a mini-30 several times and the performance was way below the level of several SKS's that I've handled. That and mags are pain to find for the 30.

May 1, 2005, 08:11 PM
This is kind of a tough Topic, because of the variance in the desired firearms.

Bottom Line for me, in this quandry, would be to go the FN-FAL style of rifle.
It's a .308 RIFLE. It has 20-rd. magazines available. It fits the budget.

Mr. V., with 3 posts, hasn't come back to comment on his Topic yet...

I can answer one of his concerns about the BAR/7400 hot bbl. question, though.
There was a test in magazine of both rifles (and I DO have one of each myself; a 7mm Rem.Mag. BAR and the 7400 Carbine Synthetic in .30-06) and what they found was that the BAR shot tighter groups as the bbl. heated up and the 7400 shot looser groups.
I've found with MY guns that they BOTH shot tighter as the bbl. heated up. Yay~!

Since the price range was mentioned re the BAR as his first choice...then the FAL style rifle would fit the price parameters perfectly, as well as addressing the round count availability.
In fact, based on that statement, his ONLY choice is an FAL style firearm.

Since he mentioned the M1A, I threw the Bushmaster .308 in as an alternative, perhaps even later as he fills the .308 role with an FAL --- NOW, and then can use the magazines and ammo later. It works as a plan.

The BAR Sporting Rifle doesn't have any extended magazines that I know of for Civilians...though they may be available to military/police in some aftermarket rebuild/beef-up of the BAR ( there is a company who builds these kinds of rifles ).

The aftermarket 7400 mags have ALL been unreliable in my experience, and make better targets than magazines to shoot targets with. REALLY.

So, if the guy has money for an M1A, great.
If he wants to go Bushmaster .308, even better, IMHO.
If he wants to go FN-FAL / DSA, excellent --- he'll have the option to get another one of those, or a Bushmaster .308 later for a different platform using the same mags/ammo.
OR, he could get an ArmaLite AR10 ( one of which I also have and am completely satisfied with! ) and also put forth the same money as the M1A or BM308, without the possibility of saving money on magazines or having same for interchangability with the FAL.

I try to look at what the original poster is saying and help out with choices close to what they want and also provide alternatives to think about.

I hope I covered all that.

Good Luck and Have Fun, as always! :D

May 1, 2005, 08:17 PM
Another vote for the Armalite AR-10...make mine a carbine with a stainless barrel...

May 1, 2005, 09:41 PM
Now, for me....I just don't understand the need everyone seems to have for the super-de-duper whiz bang tactical rifle. For most of us, even if the "SHTF" we will have neither the logistical support nor the physic to carry the rounds necessary to accomadate a rapid fire arm.

In my opinion, we should discuss two options:

1. A nice bolt gun, in whichever caliber/make he finds easy to handle. A nice milsurp Lee Enfield .303 is magazine fed, 10 rounds. Cycled properly, gives you up to 40 aimed shots per minute, even with mag changes.

2. A shotgun is still a good choice. Even in an urban "gotta get out of Dodge" situation, a nice Mossberg 500 series with 00 buck loads will carry the day.

(Yes, I am a Luddite)

May 2, 2005, 09:19 AM
Guys, as I said before, he's in Commifornia. No FALs or AR-10 types allowed there, I don't think. So *now* what do you recommend?

lee n. field
May 2, 2005, 09:59 AM
The Rodney King Summer Games

Nobody who wants to disarm you has your best interests in mind.

A Califnordica legal "get out of Dodge" rifle? If you're not doing anything else with it: SKS.

The SKS is cheaper than almost anything, cheap enough to abandon with minimal pain if need be, and can be fed with stripper clips (which are themselves cheap enough to have enough to keep a few hundred rounds on). Ammo is cheap and widely available. I need to get some more. . . .

The Mini-14|30 is also viable option, except that some really useful accessories aren't legal where you're at. Bummer, that. Shorter and lighter than the SKS. Load up on ProMag 10 round magazines.

May 2, 2005, 03:59 PM
Lets look at this situation realistically.

1. This person is in a city, so shots longer than 100 meters will probably never be necessary even if TSHTF, but at the same time, having the abiltiy to hit past 50 yards is important to prevent people from getting close enough to firebomb the home. That means a shotgun isn't going to cut it, unless you shoot slugs (which present other issues). Having the ability to hit out to 300 is just gravy, but unlikely, so no need for .30-06.

2. This sounds like this rifle will be put in the closet and left until it is needed, so ease of operation is key. Probably not good to have something that needs to be cleaned everyweek.

3. Reliability is very important.

4. Enough power to end a threat quickly and penetrate cover (remember, we are talking a gun to use to engage threats outside, not inside a house).

5. Be quick to shoot and reload. All rifles in CA will be limited to 10rnds or less, so being able to reload quickly is a good idea. Stripper clips or En Blocs are a good idea here.

With that said, I am throwing my vote in for the SKS.

Consider it to be a lightweight, closer range version of the Garand (i know, blasphemy ;) ). But it is reliable, quick to reload, plenty of accuracy at the distances you are talking about, plenty of power to end a threat or penetrate cover to hit a person engaging you from behind cover. Plus it doesn't get more reliable, even if it is just locked in a closet after the initial test firing.

Even better than the SKS would be a SKS with either the techsights peep sight, or a millet scout mount and red dot optic.


May 2, 2005, 05:34 PM
I'd get an M1 from the CMP. They've got history and are pretty cheap ($325 for rack grade). An 8rd clip of aught-six is no laughing matter and you can reload a Garand in 2 seconds if you're a total clutz. Plus you can shoot out to 600 or 800yds while everyone else is swimming in the shallow end.

It's fun to plink and you can shoot it in matches if you feel like it. Everybody ought to have an M1.


May 3, 2005, 04:08 AM
I would recommend a Ruger PC9 or PC40. Both are available with ghost ring sights and high capacity magazines. The power of these rounds are much greater when exiting a rifle barrel. These carbines are extremely reliable and durable and handle extremely well compared to the SKS. They both offer much better controllability and follow up shooting. The cost of ammo is among the least expensive available. Another option would be the .30 Carbine which is comparable to the .357 magnum and is available in hollow points and there are new models available. Of course the SKS is another option, but certainly not my first. It's more of a long range round and does not handle quite as well. The muzzle blast is noticeably louder also.
I think the most important considerations are shootability, handling and affordable ammo. You need to practice shooting it, and nothing is more enjoyable or functional than the Rugers in my opinion.

May 3, 2005, 06:17 PM
Are Rugers and .30 carbines legal in Cali? That is the major point of this thread, right? What is Cali legal?

May 3, 2005, 08:23 PM
The ideal situation would be get out of CA. If this is not an option (maybe you're attached to the place or something? Maybe you have an awesome job?), than petition your state lawmakers to allow you to use your second ammendment rights.

Guys, CA doesn't allow mags with any more than 10 rounds. This SEVERELY limits the average CA residen't ability to defend themselves in a SHTF scenario. The Democratic People's Republic of California would much rather just clean up YOUR corpse than deal with cleaning up the criminals' corpses, or something along those lines.

Honestly, I'd say SKS. I don't own one (YET), but I know quite a few people who do and have shot them, and they're a GREAT weapon for the money.

May 3, 2005, 10:50 PM
Sorry I didn't post earlier... I was reading the thread and looking at the options.

The more I've been reading, the more it seems like the ideal weapon is an MG42. Suppress and get out. However, since a semi-automatic 20 round rifle with a pistol grip is illegal, I'm gussing a fully automatic 250 round belt rifle with a pistol grip is too. (I appreciated the suggestions but the bushmasters and FALs I looked at along with the Beretta Cx4s are all illegal in california because of the pistol grip.)

So it looks like the SKS has the most votes.

Here's my worry about buying a used gun. There's something broken in it upon buying it since my knowledge about "slam-firing" and replacing pins is limited at best. I worry that this is akin to my experience at buying a used car, even though it was a "reliable" used car that 2 different, independent mechanics assured me was good and then broke in a week.

If I do look at the SKS, first of all where do you buy a used gun? There's a big 5 that sells a mauser and some Mosin-Nagants. And a couple of other stores I found that sell hand-guns and shotguns (and the ruger pistol carbines);I haven't seen an SKS though. They even have an old Lee-enfield (which by the way I really liked...it's too bad I couldn't find a good looking one anywhere). The problem is how do I know the rifling on the barrel is still good? Or that it doesn't have a piece broken that will cause it to jam? Is there a good store in LA that sells vintage good-quality rifles for a reasonably price?

It's too bad no one still makes new SKSs (or mausers or lee-enfields or garands) especially if they are so good . It seems like there would be a big business in making new "vintage" rifles. From my reading, the SKS and garand were supposed to be very cheap to pump out, epecially now if you switched from using wood to a synthetic). At least it would be popular in california and other states where all these AR/FAL/Bushmasters are illegal.

The two new ones I've looked at are the ruger minis and the kel-tec, which are california legal. I thought that the KEL-TEC SU-16CA was nice especially since it has space for 2 extra magazines in the stock and was half as expensive as an M1A.

Should I worry about buying an old SKS? Is there a trick to make sure I don't get screwed? Should I buy a new gun like the minis or the kel-tec instead?

May 3, 2005, 11:01 PM

In california there is a whole list of banned weapons but here are the generic criteria.

1. No magazines larger than 10 rounds on anything (handguns/pistols too).
2. No pistol grip on rifles. Thumbhole stocks are also out of the question.
(this is apprently to prevent accurate shooting from the hip...though, I had a BB-gun with a pistol grip and shooting it from the hip would frequently lead to a broken window and a REALLY angry mother)
3. No folding stocks that would allow you to fire the weapons. (the kel-tec SU-16CA gets away with it because it apparently cannot fire when folded)

This eliminates pretty much anything bushmaster makes.
It also eliminates the FALs and ARs. It eliminates any pistol caliber carbine with a pistol grip, e.g. auto-ordinance's M1 thompson, Beretta's Cx4 series, and others.

On the California table is the:
1. M1A (original only, apparently the SOCOM is also out)
2. M1 Garand
3. SKS
4. Ruger Mini 14/30
5. Ruger PC9/40
6. A shotgun
7. A pistol
8. Keltec SU-16CA
9. The BAR or Remington 7400 (which both apparently are not what I'm looking for).
10. Any other bolt-action rifle like the k98, lee-enfield, or springfield. Assuming I can find a good one.

May 4, 2005, 03:52 AM
Also, any thoughts on the Saiga .308? or where I would get one? It seems like a good rifle and cheap. Is the Kel-tec better?

May 4, 2005, 04:02 AM
the M1 socom isnt NOT illegal in California, i could go over to turners and pick one up tomarrow, if i had an extra 2 grand sitting around that is.
Mr. V, the aforementioned Turners sells the SKS. there are quite a few in the LA area, i live in Long Beach myself. and thats where i bought mine.
visit www.turners.com
and currently they're on sale. that'd e my vote. they have adjustable iron sites and at turners you can pick up a kit to put a 4x scope on it

i've heard only good things about the Kel-tek su16. but i just wouldnt trust a 5.56 to protect my family in a SHTF situation. now if they made the su16 in 7.62x39 or even .308 i think i'd probably cream myself

Death from Afar
May 4, 2005, 04:05 AM
I will wade in on the Mini 30. They take a scope very easily, are a delight to handle, very reliable with a good mag, not "evil " looking, and ammos cheap for practice. The only way to get to shoot properly is practice, practice, practice..

May 4, 2005, 04:09 AM
but i've heard over and over again that an SKS can do anything a mini30 can do, but at half the price. in california magazines can only hold 10 rounds, so thats not an issue

May 4, 2005, 08:02 AM
V, the Saiga .308 is great; I have one. And it's only 8 round mags. BUT, aren't any and all AK-style rifles specifically banned? That's why I didn't recommend it. If not, it's a good budget option. If it is banned, I'm still liking the Kel Tec SU16 for you, on a budget, or M1A if you can spend more. With the SKS, it's hard to go wrong - many of them are like new, and replacement parts are for sale in various places. But they're so cheap, you're not out much if you don't like it. As for slamfires, that is a concern. Just don't be racking in rounds at home - wait till you get to the range. Use hard-primer military ammo, and find out which ones are more likely to slam fire than others; maybe put some replacement parts in - have a local gunsmith do this.

May 4, 2005, 09:09 AM
Check out this forum for milsurp SKS & others:


These guys are great, and there is a lot of information available.

One of the great things about SKS prices - you can afford more than one!

They really do appear to be easy to handle and all. I'm getting one for my 12 year old. (I prefer the bolt guns, myself, so I'm going after the bolt milsurps).

Milsurps aren't really that much of an issue. The SKS was designed to be used by illiterate kids from the whole of Russia. If they can learn to use one, you can, too.

May 4, 2005, 10:18 AM
Just don't like when everyone says the .223 or 5.56 is not powerful enough to use. I have read studies done by military surgeons on the damage done by current military rounds, (can't find the link but will try to get it). The damage done by the .223 or 5.56 is much more significant than the .30 and 7.62 cal rounds. The difference in penetration between them does not matter since they will both penetrate over 12 or 15 inches of ballistic gelatin (and also poor test animals). Since most people's vitals are not protected by 12-15 inches of tissue the penetration sort of cancels out. The US used 5.56 because .308 and .30-06 are just too hard to control when used on full-auto and the 5.56 is easier to carry. The studies have also shown the smaller round causes greater injury. The myth, that still is believed, wounding causes your enemy to use more personnel to care for the injured is just plain wrong. In our conflicts that the 5.56 round has been used, the enemy did not care about wounded, they were usually left behind for our medics to treat. If you like the Keltec SU-16CA don't let the fact it is chambered in 5.56 stop you from getting it. The recoil from most semi-auto rifles in 5.56 is also barely noticed.

May 4, 2005, 01:31 PM
SKS is a good choice, but the M1 Garand is by far the best choice. For $529.00 bucks you will get yours sent via fedex to your home. The history behind this rifle is worth 500 bucks alone. 30-06 is a sure round you just cant go wrong. Forget about the SU-16

May 4, 2005, 01:32 PM
Just to clear up one little misconception.....

You can buy a CA legal FAL....DSA does make them, although, since it is DSA, its $$$$.

They are legal because it uses a fixed magazine, and is fed by stripper clips like the SKS.

I still vote for the SKS though.


May 4, 2005, 01:45 PM
Rack Grade M1's start at $325 (delivered to your doorstep).

FWIW, I don't think stopping power/caliber matters one bit for Mr V's scenario. He could arm himself with a .22LR and the fattest magazine available (although it wouldn't be desirable for late-night home intruders). The unwashed hordes aren't going to continue advancing against any kind of fire unless they are undead zombies. They're going to turn and go to the house down the street.

May 4, 2005, 01:47 PM

May 4, 2005, 07:29 PM
It's too bad no one still makes new SKS's

If they were newly manufactured, the machining would price them out of reach to most of us. Made in communist countries more or less by slave labor, they are still well made, even by todays standards. Although packed in cosmoline for years, many SKS's aren't really "used". Many were never issued, or just issued to like local militia/police forces. You could spend a lot more for less of a weapon.

May 12, 2005, 05:10 AM
I finally went to a gun store in LA to look at the various options. The guy who worked there steered me away from the SKS because most of the ones around LA are made in the former yugoslavia and apparently they weren't initially california legal because of an illegal integrated muzzle break so they hacked the ends off the barrels. He said the chinese and soviet sks's were good but they were a bit harder to find in california. Holding the yugo SKS I wasn't too thrilled.

The next gun I looked at was the Kel-tec SU 16 CA. I liked the integrated bi-pod and the fact the magazines are swappable with the M16 but it felt very light an plasticy.

I also looked at the ruger pc40. It seems like a good gun and useful for home defense along with slightly farther range than a pistol. It also would let me fire it at my range (the range is indoors and no shotgun/and no ammo >=.223)

But I really liked the ruger mini-14. It's the stainless steel model.

When buying a gun what is the pricing situation? The ruger mini-14 stainless steel on the website says MSRP $809.00. The store I was looking in was selling it "new" for $680. Is it usual for guns to cost less than the MSRP? Do people normally negotiate the price? What should I expect to pay for a new ruger mini 14? Is that gun not really new?

Thanks again! Sorry for all the trouble.

May 12, 2005, 08:33 AM
I will ditto any of the x39s mentioned, but psychologically like the SKS option among the choices as it is most often associated with the 10 rd issue (vs AKs, Mini 30s, etc.). A Mini 30 or 14 would frustrate me that I couldn't use the larger mags available elsewhere (also true of an SKS but somehow less an issue with me there). Ditto on the M-1 Carbine issue (I have two and don't live in Kahlifornia), which would otherwise be a good choice. I like the .40 Cal carbine choices mentioned (mated with similarly chambered auto-pistol)--again, most of them 10 rd limited anyway. The Ruger Carbine and pistols share mags, so that's a good choice),...anyway that rifle perhaps as "back up" to the x39. For the purposes mentioned, the Garand to me is heavy, limited in capacity 2 UNDER what even Cal will allow and "more gun" than needed. The "mini Garands" (x39s) make more sense all around.

I agree on the "stopping power" issue; should be enough to spray bullets at 'em at a reasonable rate and put a world of hurt on if hit, beyond that overkill--in this scenario. Hell I don't want to get hit with a jhp or sp (or ball!) M-1 Carbine round-and I don't think anyone else wants to be either! Another choice would be a pistol caliber lever (Rossi, Marlin, Win) in .357 or .44 Mag--most of them 10 rounders max anyway, not "threatening" looking, very reliable and more than fine in the "stopping power" area. Only "problem" there is quickly reloadable, which they are not. Bolt actions a distant third choice here, but again probably a mag fed x39 (CZ, etc.).

May 12, 2005, 08:41 AM
Is it usual for guns to cost less than the MSRP?
I have never found a gun that cost the full MSRP. I would not be surprised at all that the store would knock $129 off the factory quote.

May 12, 2005, 11:07 AM
This is everyone's favorite type of thread - a chance to offer a creative opinion!

How hacked up were the Yugo SKSs? Just lopping off the grenade launcher won't effect performance. Like a lot of folks said, they are dead reliable, and in my opinion might be better for your situation than an M1/M1A because they are lighter and shorter. The cartridge is very effective out to 250 yards, and you aren't going to use it beyond that distance. I love my SKS, and so does everyone I know who has one. $250 max plus stripper clips are 10 for a dollar (compare that to detachable magazines).

The SU 16 is the lightest repeating rifle around, so if you are on foot, it makes sense. I wouldn't worry about the .223 round, if you get hunting rounds (softpoints or hollowpoints) they are much more effective than the military surplus rounds. They are pretty new on the market, so, while a bit of an unknown in terms of overall longevity, everbody seems to love theirs. price dunno.

One option I have not read here yet is to get a Winchester lever-action 1894 in 30-30. It shoots a round that is a bit more effective than the SKS round, is light and handy, carries six in the tube magazine, and the rate of aimed fire can be quite fast (close to the SKS), although reloading the magazine is not as fast. The best feature is that most people do not view it as threatening as a 'military-style' rifle - you look like a cowboy! In a place like LA this might be very important. $150 used-$300 new.

You can also get compact lever-action rifles in .357 and .44, and these carry 10 rounds in the magazine. Don't let people tell you that pistol-caliber carbines are not effective - that is true of the 9mm, but these two rounds are very effective out to 100-150 yards in a rifle. These short lever rifles are as light and compact as the SU-16. In a city, I would not feel underarmed with one and a pocketful of shells. $350 new.

The main complaint with the mini-14/30 is accuracy, but I think for what you are needing it, their accuracy is sufficient. Other people complain about Ruger's politics, but you might not want to worry about that. I wouldn't pay more than $500.

Whichever rifle you get, I recommend a good peep sight (available for all these rifles) and plenty of practice.

May 12, 2005, 03:01 PM
here's some info on the su16....actually a torture test...


There is nothing wrong with 5.56 for SHTF and even the mil spec FMJ fragments and does a pretty nasty job. The problems we hear about nowadays with the 5.56 are with the m855 round which was intended for use on troops in body armor, and not on un armored folks.

The SKS is also a good choice

Followed closely by the su16 series

Then lever guns in .357, .44 mag, .30-30 (common fairly inexpensive calibers.)

May 13, 2005, 10:03 AM
I think Roscoe makes a good point about the Win 94 30-30, esp if over pistol-caliber ranges are envisioned. Otherwise, the .357 or .44 mag levers should do the job in that 100-150 yd range (which I'd bet would be the 99% need), and have 4 more capacity. 20 (or even 16) inch barrel does wonders for the .357 and .44 mag, which are not sissies out of a 4" to begin with.

May 13, 2005, 10:43 AM
Well the levergun in .30-30 IS a good idea, but if we're gonna add non-semi-auto repeating rifles to the mix, then IMO an Enfield in .303 is equally fast, PC, and a little more powerful (between .30-30 and .308 power). My No. 4, Mk1 Smelly is my pickup gun now, with a mag of 180 gr Rem Core-Lokt.

May 14, 2005, 12:28 AM
I like the Enfield, too, but it is a fair hunk of steel and wood to haul, and longish to maneuver in a tight spot. I was thinking that something short might be very important if you are escaping in a car and find yourself surrounded by people who do not hold you in high esteem.

Since you probably won't be picking off folks at 600 yards, some sort of shorter barreled rifle might be desireable, hence the SKS over the M1, etc.

Also, if you have been contemplating spending the type of money that an M1A or BAR commands, you could get any one of the rifles recommended by folks here plus a good handgun for much less than what Springfield wants.

Anyway, keep us posted. We love to offer our opinions around here.