View Full Version : Which for a Truck Gun?

February 2, 2010, 10:22 AM
I'm looking for a short barreled semi auto carbine in either 7.62x39 or 5.45x39 to keep in my truck 100% of the time for the occasional coyote or other critters that cross my path. I'm limiting myself to these two calibers because of cheap blasting ammo, because its only other purpose is going to be punching paper and shooting cans at the range. I have owned two mini 14's in the past and wasnt really satisfied with either for how much they cost, so I'm trying to keep the cost down, and since its a truck gun trying to stay with barrel lengths under 20". I've just about narrowed my choices down to two guns. The first is a saiga carbine in one of these two calibers, which can be had for just under $400 after shipping and transfer fees. The other is an sks paratrooper with the short barrel. I've found one for sale locally for $300 obo, just comes with the basics (wood stock, bayonet, etc).

My question is, how do these two stack up? Pros for the saiga is that its new production, has AK action, easily upgradable. Pros for the sks are price, price, and price. I dont have enough experience with either to know which is more accurate, if somebody could help me out there. I'm not expecting a benchrest gun, but would like to be able to hit a paper plate at 100yds.

Anybody have opinions on this? Other reccomendations besides these two guns?

February 2, 2010, 10:53 AM
I don't know much about the Saiga, but I'd think the Rugers could hold their own against them where accuracy and reliability are concerned. Were it me, and only using the truck gun to flatten little critters and killing paper I'd chose either the 5.56 or 5.45mm.

February 2, 2010, 10:59 AM
I'd personally go with the Saiga over a used, mil-surp combloc leftover.

Saigas are solid rifles and have real accuracy potential (within reason). You won't get a 1/2 MOA tackdriver out of one, but with good ammo and a good shooter you might get 1.5 MOA.

And... given your intentions, I'd suggest the .223 Saiga over a 5.45 or 7.62x39.

Remember that annoying guy in the White House? I wouldn't put it past him, even if voted out in 2012, to change import/export restrictions on "military" ammunition and make that x39 stuff tricky to get.

Just my opinion.

February 2, 2010, 12:04 PM
the sagia in ay configuration is a realy good truck gun i carry my S&W ar15 in 5.56 and couldent ask for anything better

February 2, 2010, 12:51 PM
I bought a Keltec SU-16A. A 1/4" hitch pin allows the piece to be folded in half.

February 2, 2010, 01:02 PM
The other is an sks paratrooper with the short barrel. I've found one for sale locally for $300 obo, just comes with the basics (wood stock, bayonet, etc).You can't go wrong with an SKS Para. I like the safety better than the AK (Saiga). Put a Tech Sights rear aperture (http://www.tech-sights.com/) on it, load up some stripper clips and you're good to go.


February 2, 2010, 02:32 PM
Thanks for all the replies so far.


What kind of accuracy do you get with the paratrooper before and after peep sight?

February 2, 2010, 03:34 PM
I have a converted Saiga...have used it some for your kind of application. I've found that with little practice (maybe 250-300 rounds) I can pretty well hit what I want offhand out to at least a hundred yards. That's all I really expect from that rifle. It seems well made and functions flawlessly so far. I like the idea of a relatively inexpensive rifle that you don't mind keeping in a truck and I think it fits the bill quite nicely.

February 2, 2010, 03:35 PM
I can't say. I never shot it before the tech-sight and I only shoot it off hand. My off hand groups at 100y are not that great, so it wouldn't be fair to the rifle to comment. Just guessing, I figure it's a 2-4MOA rifle depending on ammo quality. The Siaga might be slightly more accurate with top shelf ammo, but with Wolf or similar quality ammo, it won't do any better than an SKS.

It does make it much easier to shoot though (I have other SKS with the original sights). I have bad eyesight and I have a real rough time lining up partridge sights and a long range target. With aperture sights, it is much easier.

A red dot would be better of course. You could put a Ultimak mount and Aimpoint on the Saiga. It's a pricy setup, but a rugged sight that you can just leave powered on all the time. With a red dot, you just look at the target with both eyes open and the red "pipper" is there.

February 2, 2010, 03:56 PM
Being more of a hunting kinda guy, I'd think carefully about something like an H&R Handi-Rifle, with some kind of non-rusting finish and a 3-9x Scope. Caliber might be .243, 7mm-08, or .308.

In retrospect, I'd probably get a Rem Model 7 stainless synthetic in one of the above calibers. It's a tough little gun and it has four-shot capability. The scope is the ticket for animals along the road, which may be several hundred yards away, or in dimly-lit woods. One shot-one kill...hopefully.

February 2, 2010, 04:08 PM

I dont disagree with you at all, the guns you mentioned would be great for this, except, I would really like a semi auto for burning up a lot of cheap ammo at the range. I've got several boltguns now and they are still my favorite to shoot, but really just looking for an inexpensive auto.


February 2, 2010, 05:50 PM
If you really want to shoot cheap ammo, maybe something in 9mm is a better deal...

It's a lot cheaper to shoot. And, 9mm +P+ is more than enough for oaties and varmint critters out to 100 or 150 yards.


February 2, 2010, 06:46 PM
What kind of accuracy do you get with the paratrooper before and after peep sight?

Can't say how it works on an SKS, but I've got a set on a Marlin 60 and a Ruger .44 carbine. In both cases, I can get on target much faster, but it's harder to get a precise point of aim as the aperture is a little bit large for detail work. I can spin all 5 2"x2" steel plates on my reset target at 50 yards in under 10 seconds with the Marlin though.

February 2, 2010, 08:26 PM
I can get on target much faster, but it's harder to get a precise point of aim as the aperture is a little bit large for detail work. With the SKS TS100 aperture (the one that is NOT elevation adjustable), you can use regular AR15 apertures in it.

I swapped in an XS Sight systems "same plane" aperture in mine, but you could also use one of the finer "match" sights in it.

Tucker 1371
February 2, 2010, 08:38 PM
short barreled semi auto carbine in either 7.62x39 or 5.45x39

SAR-2 AK74, about as cheap as centerfire ammo gets and it'll do just about anything .223 will. I have to recommend an optic or at least better sights though, AK/SKS sights SUCK.

February 2, 2010, 09:10 PM
For what it's worth, I've shot AK's, SKS's, and have AR's in both 7.62 &5/45x39. As for popping coyotes and smaller critters with either AK or SKS, you're going to need to be fairly close or catch them on a really unlucky day. My AR's in either caliber have the accuracy to make 200+ yard hits but bullet performance is wanting. If you really want to do critter control, get a cheap 223 like the H&R and put a $75 scope on it. If you want to burn ammo , anything will work.
There are some specialty ammo types using V-max bullets which improve the 7.62 and I've heard there will also be the same in 5.45 soon but neither is going to make an SKS a coyote rifle past it's normal distance.

February 2, 2010, 10:12 PM
That is nice, I would not mind having one of those for myself.

February 3, 2010, 02:33 PM
I also considered a pistol caliber carbine and the m1 carbine. With the pistol caliber guns, range is very limited. And with the m1 carbine, reasonably priced ammo can be hard to find. Not to mention both of these are pretty high priced (excluding the hi point carbine).

February 3, 2010, 04:08 PM
Since you still seem to still be looking I normally recommend the Remington 740/7400 series rifle in .30-06 for the truck gun application. The weapon is inexpensive, powerful, light, accurate and has universally available ammo in many different loading types. You can find one at most pawn shops and on line for under (sometimes well under) $300. The range and power is unmatched by any carbine on the market. You can pickup the surplus stuff on line and US surplus nearly as cheap as cheap Russian steel cased ammo.

The only major drawbacks are the low capacity and no capability to send lots of lead in a hurry (the advantages of a modern carbine). But for your purposes you mention it should be fully capable.

February 3, 2010, 04:36 PM
Excellent idea and it is something I have thought about. I wouldnt mind finding one of the remington autos in 243. A browning bar in 243 would be nice too but a little pricey.

February 3, 2010, 10:19 PM
Look into the 6.8 SPC, its the latest AR/M4 cartridge. Looking at carts 500yards it still has 1500 lbs engery from a 16" barrel.

young mosin
February 3, 2010, 10:51 PM
I would not spend the money on a AR-15 as a truck gun. id just get me a M44 or a sks

February 4, 2010, 12:12 PM

February 5, 2010, 04:09 AM
DMK is that the original wood stock on your gun? If it is what did you paint it with? It looks good. I like it.

I have both a paratrooper and a regular carbine with a 20" barrel. Of the two I like shooting the longer gun better. I haven't ever shot them for groups but I can hit 13oz coffee can sized targets at a hundred yards with a field rest most every shot. I don't think hitting a coyote at that range or a little further away would be a problem.

February 5, 2010, 07:22 AM
DMK is that the original wood stock on your gun? If it is what did you paint it with? It looks good. I like it.

I replaced the original wood stock with a Chinese fiberglass "Jungle Stock" that I painted with Alumahyde II. It also has a Tech Sights rear aperture. I have the original wood and sight stored so I can put it back to original condition if I ever want to.

The fiberglass stocks used to be all over the place for under $15, but now you need to really search to find one. I wish I would have bought more back in the day when they were cheap (how many times do we say that).

February 5, 2010, 08:10 AM
both have folding stocks (the cheap Ramline ones) but the kicker is I managed to find and install 20 round non detatchable mags on both. I need to take them out and shoot them sometime.

February 5, 2010, 11:34 AM
Thanks DMK. I have seen the fiberglass stocks before but not in a long time. I might paint the stock on my rifle but I don't think I would do it on the paratrooper. People are willing to pay too much for those rifles. The one the OP found for $300 is a steal. It would be my choice for what he is wanting to do.

Yep Blume go shoot them. Nice guns for what they are and what they sold for.

The para model I have I recieved when my dad passed away 7 years ago. It was unfired. Plus I got 800 rounds of the Norinco steel core ammo with it. The rifle SKS I bought of GB a couple of years ago for $235. I have around 3500 rounds of assorted ammo in FMJ, hollow point and soft point.

February 5, 2010, 01:31 PM
The Para SKS' are a fairly uncommon relatively speaking.

You could try searching around for another wooden SKS stock, coat it with polyurethane to seal and smooth it out and then paint it. You should be able to pick up a Chinese stock pretty cheap somewhere if you're patient.

Here's my other Jungle stock on a Norinco Sporter (AKA: SKS-D). This is one of the SKS models that takes AK mags so I didn't want to do any permanent mods to it either.

I painted this stock with semi-gloss black Alumahyde II. The 1st can was getting low and splattered, but it turned out to be a fortuitous glitch because it gave the stock a pebbly/grippy texture to it. I was lucky that I was able to keep this texture consistent over the entire stock, then gave a more even cover coat from a second can the next day.

Norinco SKS Sporter with Hungarian 20rd "Tanker Mag", fiberglass "Jungle Stock", Tech Sights TS200 elevation adj rear aperture and Williams "Firesight" fiber optic front post.

February 5, 2010, 03:51 PM
That looks good DMK. An SKS with detachable mags is the ultimate in that style of rifle. Is the buttpad an after market or did it come with the stock?

I have a couple of after market pads and neither one looks that good. One looks like the rifle has galoshes on. Its UGLY with a capital U.

fearless leader
February 5, 2010, 03:53 PM
The SKS is about as powerful as a 30-30, it holds enough ammo to take care of 2 or 4 legged predators, they are reasonably cheap, the ammo is cheap and at the rate guns get stolen from trucks, easily replaced. If your truck gun will likely take a beating, I would look at the SKS or a military surplus bolt gun; a Mosin-Nagant maybe.

One thing I never really liked about having a truck was unless you put some strong box or something in it, anyone with a rock has a "key" to the contents of the cab.:(

There are some nice seat covers for bench style seats that conceal your toy from criminal eyes that are worth looking into.

February 5, 2010, 03:58 PM
Fearless Leader your coming through loud and clear.:D:D:D

February 5, 2010, 04:04 PM
The SKS is a good all around semi-auto gun but I have to agree with fearless leader, the mosin nagant is a good truck gun. For a bolt gun it is a decent, affordable, reliable tool to keep in a truck.

February 5, 2010, 07:24 PM
Is the buttpad an after market or did it come with the stock? It didn't come with the stock. Those jungle stocks have the standard metal SKS butt plate.

I believe it may actually be an aftermarket AK pad that I picked up at a gun show or something. I'm sure I found it collecting dust in my junk box when I put it on there.

February 19, 2010, 08:49 AM
I'm still stuck here. I've got the guy down to $265 on the sks para, but I can get a new saiga with shipping and transfer for right around $340. With both of these, I'm just scared its going to be a crapshoot as far as accuracy. Like I said, not looking for a bench gun, but want to be able to hit what I'm shooting at. :confused:

February 19, 2010, 11:05 AM
+1 on the seat cover. It keeps the rifle out of view and also cuts down on the banging around because it is made of heavy cloth and rests against the front of the seat.

February 19, 2010, 11:13 AM
7.62x39... those SKS rifles look ideal... the AKM is also a good choice.
Another good option for a truck gun would be a less threatening looking lever gun.

Mine is a Marlin .45-70 Guide Gun that has been enhanced just a little :)


February 19, 2010, 12:37 PM
lever action marlin gets my vote. :D

February 19, 2010, 01:39 PM
you were not satisfied w/ a mini-14, as they are one of the truck guns around here. Accuracy is at least the equal of any of the rifles you discuss, and Ruger is now distributing factory hicaps if you want 'em. The Ranch rifle is easily scoped, triggers aren't bad. Mini's are real carbines, easy in and out of the truck (or the window on your own property). Not so SKS in usual form.

Wally World will sell you a new one, and used ones seem common enough, as does .223 ammo.

What's not to like?

Ignition Override
February 20, 2010, 02:01 AM
Many owners of the AK-74 (Century guns) report bullet 'keyholes' at 100 yards.
The only country which produces 5.45x39 is Russia, and so a lot of 'supply line' eggs are in one basket, but the ammo is quite a value.
With enough of such ammo stockpiled and one of the better rifles, the problems might be solved.

Some Mosin Nagant 44s are accurate, but both of mine produced very bad groups at 50 yards (only had surplus Bulg. ammo), and the shooter was one factor.
My tough, handy little Lee-Enfield "Jungle Carbine" is much better.:)

February 22, 2010, 08:41 AM
I guess I answered the question myself this weekend. Found a used mini 14 this weekend for a good price and bought it. Like I said before, had two in the past that I was satisfied with accuracy wise, but that was before some of the accessories we have today that are supposed to help. Got a good price on the gun so I thought it was worth taking a chance on.

February 22, 2010, 08:54 AM
:) Your SKS para really looks nice. Good job on the paint, etc. You intersted in selling it?

February 22, 2010, 09:58 AM
Thanks! I really enjoy it, and no, it's not for sale. :)

They aren't completely rare though. Keep your eyes open and gun shows and pawn shops. They turn up every once in a while if you are patient.

February 22, 2010, 10:10 AM
Fearless leader and others,hit it on the head. Ballistics are about the same on the 7.62x39 and a 30-30. I grew up shooting a 30-30 on a sheep an goat ranch.Shooting coyotes and dogs was a several times a week happening. Got my first SKS and was in love. Don't let the bolt action elitists blow smoke up your butt,the SKS(and I have had several) is a good choice for 200 yard shots,excellent for 100 yard and with practice and matching the ammo to your gun 300 yard shots. Best record I had was 4 dogs(they were already chasing and killing sheep). I started shooting at 150 yards--killed the last at over 300.I will admit the last one took 3 shots but it was a blue heeler. They won't kill any more sheep. Best shot off of a tractor at a coyote is about 220 yards. My SKS loved the Wolf brand hollow points.

February 23, 2010, 12:07 AM
I'd go with a Marlin 336 in .30-30 with a low power compact scope on it.

February 23, 2010, 11:06 PM
a56x300 I agree completely.
I have rarely met a 30-30 that I disliked. A Marlin 30-30 with a nice tough scope would be a good choice. It also has a side benefit in this paranoid world of being a "safe" gun. Lawmen see you with a 30-30 and think hunter,with a SKS some might see a survivalist nut. I hate political correctness.