View Full Version : New Multipurpose Rifle?

May 4, 2005, 11:06 PM
Ok, so I am not the most versed shooter around. I am soaking everything up like a sponge though from all of the suggestions that I have received thus far. Thank you all for your input up to this point. I've got the bug for a rifle now. I've got a Walther P22 on layaway as I write this, and it will be mine in a few weeks. This means I'll have 2 pistols...and that just isn't going to cut the mustard around here. I'm seriously considering putting the Walther G22 on layaway after the P22 comes home, but I think that I may want something else (read different caliber) after the .22lr. I currently live in New Mexico, and am trying to find out if there's any interest from people that I run into for someone to camp out on their property and take care of some varmits, and slightly larger nuisances. The question is...Is there a good all around caliber rifle that can take anything from a coyote sized animal and smaller to 200yds (could be longer, but I would like something at least that accurate and powerful)? Also, cost is a conseration for me, so anything more expensive than my P99 in .40 to shoot ($8 per 50 rounds) might be out of the question, as I go shoot every weekend, and it's already killing me (hence the 2/3 size .22lr version of the P99 by getting P22). The guidelines are as follows:

1.) Preference for bolt or semi-auto, no levers
2.) Comes with or can have ghost ring rear and blade front sights (it will remain in this configuration until I get a scope for it, which will be later)
3.) Shoots a rifle round, not a pistol caliber carbine
4.) Has enough power to go through light brush if that's where the target is
5.) Rounds are relatively cheap, in comparison to other closely performing calibers

I do not have a preference towards wood stocks over fiber, resin, or poly versions. Stainless is nice, but I'm not going to ask that you suggest something in that merit alone. This gun needs to be durable, and somewhere around $500 (under, preferrably). I'm not counting price for scope, etc...just looking for a place to start right now. Thanks for all the input, in advance.

PS - Also, If there is no such beast for the laundry list, please let me know. I'd rather know that I'm dreaming instead of not getting help with this. If I am dreaming, just tell me what guidelines I'm out of the ballpark on. Thanks again.

May 4, 2005, 11:31 PM
I don't think your expectations are unreasonable at all and there may be a solution at around $250, with money left to get a scope if you want it! The Russian Saiga Autoloader in .223. Ammo is cheap if you use the Mil-Stuff from S&B and Wolf and it's not corrosive. In a bolt, a good .243! Ammo will cost you more, but it is a fine crossover rifle. Lightweight bullets for Varmints and 90-105 grs. for Deer and Antelope if you do get lucky with a Rancher. Savage is best for the $ around $350, with a good trigger included. Usable scopes, under $150 will work until you need something bigger! ;)

Dave R
May 5, 2005, 04:20 PM
5.) Rounds are relatively cheap, in comparison to other closely performing calibers

That argues strongly for .223 or .308. The former has significantly lighter recoil than the latter (almost none, in fact.)

The question is...Is there a good all around caliber rifle that can take anything from a coyote sized animal and smaller to 200yds

And that argues for a .223. You'd only need .308 if you decided to move to deer-sized game.

This gun needs to be durable, and somewhere around $500 (under, preferrably). I'm not counting price for scope, etc...just looking for a place to start right now.

Many, many options available in this price range. Savage, Howa, Remington 700, Tika, CZ all make a bolt gun in that price range. For semi-autos, I think you're limited to Saiga in .223, and Saiga and CETME in .308. I would NOT recommend a CETME to someone who is not an experienced shooter. It will need some fix-ups before its right.

The Saige semi-auto will weigh more than a boltgun, if weight is an issue. It is for me.

If it were me, I would get a CZ boltgun in .223. But Any of the others I mentioned are right there with it. Try 'em at the store and see which fits you best.

May 5, 2005, 05:02 PM
Thoughts on a Mini-14? I've shot one and found it quite nice. I know there are those on the other side of the fence with this particular gun. I suppose what I'm wondering is am I limited to the Saiga for a semi-auto in .223 because of price? If so, what are my close options (with regard to price)? Thanks for the input so far.

May 5, 2005, 07:11 PM
I think Mini-14's are great, they do tend to eject cases a ways, but recoil springs can be replaced. The SAIGA is a stronger action, but which is the most accurate at 200 yards, I couldn't say for sure, not having fired the SAIGA. Are you hunting for Pelts? If not, the .308 will work and if your sure your max. range will be 200 yards or less, why not, it will buck brush better than the .223 and give yiu power for larger game.

Dave R, did bring up some good options and I particularly like the CZ recommendation. While there are many in the ballpark, trigger quality still has to be considered. If you buy a $400 rifle and spend $100 to get a good trigger, it was a $500 rifle to my way of thinkin'. The CZ 527 American uses a micro length action as they call it, specifically for cartridges in the .223 class. It has a single set trigger, that by engaging will give you a very light trigger for precision shooting. The spec on the larger CZ 550 SS trigger is 14 0z. and the 527's should be close to the same, but I don't know the exact weight. Detachable magazine, recessed target crowned barrel, beautiful Turkish Walnut stock and under $500. People that buy 'em rave about accuracy and satisfaction.

For a plains rifle that could include Varmints, Antelope and Deer, I would look at a .243 or 6mm Remington and start handloading. Bullets in 55 grains will match or exceed the velocity of the .22-250 and Deer bullets go to 105 grs. There is not a surplus ammo option though, so .223 and .308 are better options if you don't plan to start reloading! ;)

May 5, 2005, 07:21 PM
I agree with the Saiga recommendation but you might look at the 7.62x39

May 5, 2005, 08:45 PM
Or CZ in a 7.62x39

May 5, 2005, 09:58 PM
I've heard people rave about their CZ pistols, sounds like the same may hold true for a CZ rifle? Sounds like they just make pretty good firearms in every category from what I have garnered thus far. I appreciate the recommendations. I have considered a .308, but think that .223 will meet my budget a little better, and I don't think that I will be doing any actual "hunting" for real game any time soon. This will be the 3rd gun in my collection...the shotgun will come after this! I do understand the possiblity of needing a .308, or at least something higher than a .223 if I'm trying to take a tree with the little bastard in my sights, but I consider light brush to be tumbleweeds, and high grass, or a small hedge/bush. I am fortunate that the land around here is predominately flat...lots of mesas to go varminting on! Anyways, I do not think, upon further consideration that the CZ will meet my initial requirements. I need something that can take or comes with a ghost ring rear and blade front sights. I may be showing my n00b-ness here...the CZ American says that it comes with sight rings...and I do not see a front sight on the American, but I do see a front sight on the others, and am assuming that the rear sight was replaced in favor of a scope. I do plan on adding a scope later, but need something that I can get a feel for and modify down the road as I see fit. Again, let me know if I'm dreaming about having sights come on it factory. Seems that all of the rifles that I've looked at locally, with the exception of the .22lr, .22Hornet, and .22-250...none have factory sights. Thanks again for the info thus far. I have looked at the Saiga's on Gunbroker and found them to be slim pickings. Anyone got a good site for .223 Semi-auto gun auctions? Anyone know if the Saiga mags are of it's own design, or can you use FAL mags, or something else? Thanks again.

PS - I am not hunting for pelts. I am hunting for little annoyances that cause frustration to land owners with legimate livestock concerns. I am hunting to watch the little buggers explode and flip end over end. I hate the American prairie dog. I wrecked a car in Montana in the Spring of '03 because I tried to dodge them. Well that time has come and gone, and now it's lock and load! Besides...who wants to hunt pelts? They don't do much do they? That's be like hunting clay pigeons...where's the challenge? What's it gonna do, run?

May 6, 2005, 09:16 AM
I've heard people rave about their CZ pistols, sounds like the same may hold true for a CZ rifle? Sounds like they just make pretty good firearms in every category from what I have garnered thus far.

[Ed McMayon] YESSS! You are correct, sir! [/McMayon]

CZ makes good stuff. Pistols ===> CZ75, 83, 97, etc. Rimfire rifles ===> 452. Smallbore, light centerfire rifles ===> 527. Fullsized centerfire rifles ===> 550, 550 Safari, etc. Highly recommend any of them. :)


No experience with their shotguns though.

May 6, 2005, 06:13 PM
stevens model 200 short action in .243 winchester

lots of power for yotes too much for small varmints but youll love the little red clouds
with the money you save on the gun you can throw on a scope

the only thing i see wrong with this is that the .243 will cost you a little more for ammo than a .223 .308 service round so if you still want a stevens i do believe that they also come in .223

May 6, 2005, 06:39 PM
"Besides...who wants to hunt pelts? They don't do much do they? That's be like hunting clay pigeons...where's the challenge? What's it gonna do, run?"

not hunting pelts, hunting FOR pelts. as in kill the little bugger and take its fur.
ever consider an SKS? with a $500 budget you could buy two and a case of ammo and still have money left over for a scope. and the 7.62x39 is plenty for yotes and even deer sized game. plus the ammo is cheap as all hell, $100 for 1000 rounds. just my .02

May 6, 2005, 08:02 PM
Last time I checked, there wasn't a market for used clay pigeons, but there was for "used" pelts. Sometimes even a very profitable one!

I own an SKS, I could not recommend the 7.62 X 39mm for this situation, not even in the CZ 527, which is extremely accurate even in 7.62 X 39mm. It's just not a 200+ yard gun! ;)

May 6, 2005, 11:27 PM
An SKS is definately being considered. Along that line, what are the good ones, and which should be avoided? Is someplace like CDNN a good place to buy? Where to get the ammo. I got links for days on handguns, but this is going to be the first rifle. Thanks again for the input.

Johnny Guest
May 7, 2005, 02:06 AM
4.) Has enough power to go through light brush if that's where the target is This is not really an option. If there's a very flimsy WEED close in front of the animal, maybe. But a light mesquite limb or heavy grass stalk will seriously deflect even a .308 bullet.

An SKS is a nifty little arm, but it is NOT a varmint rifle. You see the exceptional example from time to time, but typically, a four inch group at 100 yards is about the best you can expect. It is a combination of factors - - The capability of the ammunition, the way the action/barrel are bedded in the stock, the usual cruddy trigger pull, and the relatively coarse sights. The usual way a scope is mounted is nothing to write home about, either. The SKS was conceived as an antipersonnel weapon. It CAN be pressed into service as a short range deer rifle, given proper ammunition, and a lot are carried around in ranch trucks for plinking at coyotes, but a varmint rifle it is not.

Savage does a very nice rifle and scope package deal for a reasonable price.

The really economical deal, though, is the NEF.
New England Firearms/H&R has a line of very reasonably priced single shot rifles. They are not very fancy, but are quite well made and are surprisingly accurate. Some come with iron sights, and several models can be fitted with extra barrels. Extremely versatile. You can buy a .308, .223, or .243 and fit it with an inexpensive scope and rings, all for under $400. See the product line at - -

Wal mart prices for the various models.

Best of luck to you.

Daryl Waldron
May 7, 2005, 07:38 AM
I have propinquity for older military rifles. I will pick an old rifle when I know a new one is better. That is just me. It looks to me that you do not suffer from my affliction and would be happer with a newer rifle. That being said, I too think the SKS is an ok choice but not the best to meet your speciation. I know guys that love their Mini 14’s, but I am not one of them. I had a Mini 14 some years ago and found it lacking in several areas. Another rifle that could maybe do the job for you could be the bolt action military surplus Spanish FR 8. It is a very robust and handy rife in 7.62 NATO. The one I have shoots well, but I would never call it a tack driver. The straight bolt can be somewhat of a pain. I have never seen an FR8 with a scope, so this may disqualify this rife. But, you can use the bayonet if you run our out ammo and defend yourself some wild eyed varmint intend on revenge.

May 7, 2005, 09:39 AM
The .223 Rem / 5.56 Nato is the round called for by your criteria - definitely. Except #4. As has been pointed out, all rifle rounds are deflected by brush. If you eliminated the cheap ammo requirement, look at getting something in .243 Win.

Look into getting an AR15 maybe, or if you want dirt cheap quality, one of the new Stephens rifles by Savage. Lotta other choices too.

Oh, here's the CZ 527, available in a variety of sub-models and calibers including .223 and 7.62x39.


May 7, 2005, 07:37 PM
The Savage/ Stevens is the best buy in a bolt action, the NEF ss is the best buy of anything at Walmart prices.
Forget shooting through brush, even a .50 BMG can be deflected by brush and limbs.
.223 if you buy the ammo, .243 if you get set up to load your own.
The .243 is much more versatile.
A very basic reloading setup can be as little as $14 plus the components.
Slow but effective.
Don :cool:

May 10, 2005, 08:14 PM
It doesn't meet all your requirements, but I would consider picking up a Lee Enfield No.4 Mk.1. This is a .303 Brit rifle that has peep sights and is magazine fed (10rds). The .303 is cheap if bought correctly (milsurp), and is plenty powerful for anything you've mentioned. It's not the flattest shooter or most accurate, but plenty good for most applications. The best part is that it can be had for $150 or so.

Good luck trying to find the perfect rifle. I don't think it exists, but good luck! Perhaps a Savage Scout, but it's in .308, discontinued, and costs a bit more than $500 if you can find one. There's one in my local shop for $550 or a little higher (I forget.)

May 11, 2005, 10:03 AM
Pick up a Mosin Nagant for about $80, put a scope on it and buy lots of ammo. That'll take $200....then, the rest of the money you can use for beer or whatever.

Seriously, buy an old milsurp. Most of them can be fitted with scopes, the milsurp ammo is CHEAP and you'll have a blast.

Plus, cleaning the cosmoline off will make you very familiar with your rifle.

May 11, 2005, 12:02 PM
jwise, I would like to know where you get your .303? My friend got his SMLE back in April and he has been searching for surplus stuff for a while now.


May 12, 2005, 10:07 PM
SOG International. www.southernohiogun.com

#4 Mk.1 $105.00

May 12, 2005, 11:55 PM
I'm sorry, I was talking about the ammo.


p.s. But thanks for that link I will have to remember them for my milsurps.

Red Tornado
May 13, 2005, 10:29 AM
Fanoblack, check here. (http://www.ammoman.com/) Ammoman has just about everything, and some of it with free shipping.


If you might consider a milsurp, look at the Swiss K-31. It's widely considered the most accurate of the milsurps (1 MOA is common) but the ammo is more expensive than you are looking for. However, the gun is around $100, so you can buy lots of ammo, even at $40/100.

My recommendation has already been mentioned, the NEF in .223. I don't own one yet, but I've done much research and I'm getting one. It's now down to 2nd or 3rd on my list. A very accurate $200 gun with a $200 scope and 500 rounds of ammo is a pretty good varmint setup for $500.

For coyotes, you'll get something else. Your badly hooked, I can tell. :D You've got a pistol on layaway and you're researching a rifle...you'll have a safe full of guns in no time. I know the signs, I've seen them in the mirror. ;)

Good luck with whatever you decide.

May 13, 2005, 10:43 AM
You dirty rotten....#$%^&[email protected] You are absolutely correct. I am badly hooked. And in desparate need of something relatively cheap to shoot. Appreciate the suggestion on the Swiss armament. Definately a nice looking gun. However, I am sure that the ammo will kill me, as I tend to put close to 400 rounds through my P99 every trip to the range as it is. Hence the P22 on layaway (i could shoot that all day and pay less than what I am paying now for 100 rounds of .40). I have seen several suggestions regarding the NEF as a good gun to consider. I have also heard that Wal-Mart may carry them. Who are they made by, or is NEF the manufacturer? Please be gentle, I am a n00b, but learning quick. Maybe too quick...I can't afford all the stuff that I want!

May 13, 2005, 11:43 AM
The k31 is a very good rifle, you do need to go the scout mount and a pistol scope as it ejects straight up, I find the carry uncomfortable due to the protruding box magazine.
If you go the k31, it will be a practical necessity to handload, otherwise you will not be able to buy anything else if you spend all your money on factory ammo.
H&R-NEF is owned by Marlin and are made in the US, very nice , I have a .45-70 and am going to send in the action and get at least 4 additional barrels, about $100 or less per barrel, fitted to your receiver.
Walmart has them, go to Walmart.com,sporting goods, special order rifles.
The .223 NEF has a shortcoming for me, it has only a 1-12" rifling pitch, so the heaviest bullet that probably will stabilize properly is a 55gr, if you wanted to use some of the heavier bullets, they might not be very accurate.
This is the reason I would get a .243, rather than the .223, the pitch on the .243 will handle 55 to 105gr bullets .
Graybear outdoors has a very active H&R-NEF area with a bunch of good info, try that before you make up your mind.
Don :cool: