View Full Version : Need some help with rifle selection.

December 29, 2012, 04:58 PM
Hey all,

I'm a college student, and as such I don't have much money to throw around. I was looking around for a semi-auto rifle that's cheap and reliable. My first thought was the SKS, but they've shot up in price and now hover between 300-400 US dollars, which is double my available budget. I have a mosin-nagant, which is a beauty, but really slow firing and the 5-round clip is a hassle.

Any thoughts from the community on a gun that fits these parameters? Cheapness and reliability are the two real deciding factors. If AK's were $200, I'd be buying one of them!


December 29, 2012, 10:51 PM
An SKS is still probably as close as you'll get for a cheap and decent centerfire semi - especially these days. Keep looking, and ask around - lots of folks bought SKS rifles when they were cheap, and you just might find someone who doesn't shoot theirs and just wants their money back. Not everyone knows what the prices are these days.....

December 30, 2012, 12:46 AM
Does it have to be centerfire?

.22lr is cheap, especially on a college budget and Ruger 10-22s can be had in the $200 range.

December 30, 2012, 12:57 AM
if you look around there are still vendors selling SKS for around $250, I picked mine up in the midst of all the hubbub for $239 and the shop even threw in a box of ammo for me. they weren't supposed to but they did it to keep the customer happy and if you look hard enough you should be able to find a store willing to just about anything to make sure you keep coming back. for the $200 range that you have listed a semi auto 22 cal is about the only thing I can come up with. a marlin model 60 or 795 would only cost you around $150-180 while a ruger 10/22 would cost closer to $200 or slightly over.

however it sounds as if you are looking for something that could be used for self defense or hunting and the 22lr is not a particularly fine example in either of those regards so I am stumped. my only advice to you would be to save up for a little while longer and try for something just a bit better like a HI Point carbine in 9mm, 40 S&W or 45ACP, all are fairly cheap to shoot as they all use pistol caliber rounds and all could be used for hunting or self defense if need be.

December 30, 2012, 01:42 AM
Be patient, find yourself an SKS in good condition for a reasonable price, and enjoy.

December 30, 2012, 06:16 PM
It doesn't really matter what caliber, but I definitely want something big enough to take down, say, a moose. It will be target gun first, but when I leave college, I'll go hunting more.

Also I heard there were knock-off SKS' from some obscure country? Sort of like China's knock-off AK's. Would these kind of guns be cheaper?

Also, what exactly is a center fire? Sorry, all I have is a mosin, and even then I just know the basics of how to take it apart, how to load, etc.

Thanks all, helpful info so far!

EDIT: I don't have much gun experience, but it seems odd from a business industry standpoint that you can get a Mosin-Nagant for as low as $65, but the next cheapest gun shoots up to over $200. There has to be a middle-ground gun in there somewhere!

December 30, 2012, 07:34 PM
SAMCO GLOBAL ARMS have some pretty nice yugo sks's left for under $400 but there going fast

December 30, 2012, 07:48 PM
You can't be serious about hunting a moose with an SKS, I hope.....

Why does it need to be semi-auto?

With practice, a bolt gun can be manipulated nearly as fast .......

December 30, 2012, 08:14 PM
I agree taking a moose is incredibly difficult in the first place, no less taking one with a 7.62x39 of any load and bullet construction. I would not recommend an SKS for hunting anything larger than deer, maybe elk assuming you are a very good shot and know when to let them go and when to wait for a better shot. I recommend nothing lighter than a 308 for moose, your mosin nagant would be able to handle that task given a decent hunting bullet was used.

as for countries making knockoffs, there is no such thing as an SKS knockoff. much like the AK47, they were manufactured all across the communist world. russia, China, Yugoslavia, Romania, Korea, Vietnam and I think even Cuba all manufactured their own SKS at one time or another. China, having made the most and using them the longest tends to import the most SKS these days with much of the russian and Yugo rifles drying up.

December 30, 2012, 09:23 PM
I don't hear self defense being a high priority, so I would question the semi-automtic aspect as well. I would echo a bolt .308 or even a lever .30-30 such as a used Marlin 336, though I wouldn't call the latter a "moose" rifle/cartridge either except up close with "shot placement" as usual. The .30-30's certainly done it; it's just not what I'd choose as either a precision target rifle or dedicated "moose" (elk) gun.

The .30-30 and x39 (AK, SKS etc) cartridges are dimensionlly similar, almost to extent one has been called the flat nosed or spitzer version, respectively, of the other. Not exactly so. While the spitzer point of the x39 may suggest "better" long (mid) range ballistics, the .30-30 bests it as a hunter with bullet weight--by. a considerable margin. At both these rifles' inherently limited range, weight trumps the pointy bullet as a hunter. (Hornady's Leverlution bullet/cartridge makes any theoretical x39 range superiority moot anyway if you go that route). The "point" here being, I'd choose the .30-30 over the x39 as a dedicated hunting rifle. Neither as a precision target rifle.

Best of both (.308 for "moose" (deer, elk) + lever for handiness) worlds to me would be a Savage 99 or Winchester 88--however, both out of production and out of your price range. Back to the .308 bolt idea, lots of 'em out there. Look for a used Savage, already a great value new, even more so used. Gret hunting and target rig in one gun.
THEN, if self/home defense becomes a priority, I'd look more to. pistol-caliber carbine to match a handgun in the same caliber....anything from the aforementioned Hi Point 9mm, .40 or .45 to a .38/.357 lever.

December 30, 2012, 10:05 PM
OK, lets start with education on centerfire and rimfire. A .22lr is a rimfire cartridge. If you look at the base of the catridge, you will notice just flat brass. The primer material lines the inside of the base of the cartridge.

Compare that to your 7.62X54R catridge that your Mosin shoots and on the base of the cartridge, you will notice the round primer. This is centerfire.

Rimfire firing pins strike the base of the catridge nearthe rim. A centerfire firing pin hits the primer in the middle of the catridge base. Makes sense? My terminology is not correct here, but I am trying to give you a lesson in the basics without giving you the full 200-level course on cartridge anatomy.

You lamented that there should be an intermediate weapon in between your Mosin and the SKS price wise. You need to study the market more to understand the offerings out there and how your Mosin and other rifles fit into the strata.

Your Mosin is a fine gun for what it is: a WWII, communist built battle rifle firing a full power cartridge. They are cheap because there are so many of them on the market and they are not the prettiest girl at the dance. Other bolt action rifles now fetching big $s used to be cheap as well: Springfield 1903s, 1917s, Pattern 14s, etc. It would not surprise me if one day good examples of Mosins will fetch more than they do now.

Jumping into a semi-auto format jumps the price a lot compared to your Mosin. Had you looked for an SKS 10 years ago, you could have had one cheap, well within your price range. But as stocks dried up and demand increased, the prices began to rise. Hence that $100 SKS a decade ago could be sold now for 3X that.

If you are looking for a surplus (read, prior military) semiauto, the cheap end is marked by the SKS and the upper end by the high dollar ARs, rare M-1 Garands (think sniper), M-21s, SR-25s, etc.

Even on the civilian side, an older Winchester model 100 semiauto is still going to set you back ~$5-600 with Browning BARs, Mini-14s, and others running from there on up.

So, with this dose of reality, you need to sit down and really think about what you want. If you want a hunting firearm on a college budget, there are bolt actions and maybe a lever gun out there that will do the job. If you want a semiauto for hunting, you are going to need to save your pennies and wait.

If you just want a semiauto for plinking or target shooting, I still maintain a .22lr is your best bang for the buck on a college budget and there are a few semiautos to be had from $200 and down.

January 1, 2013, 10:36 PM
I'm not sure, I've never hunted moose!

Well, I suppose it doesn't NEED to be semi-auto. I just like semi's better.

Yeah, I suppose I'll take that advice and just save up for a good SKS.

Also I heard recently that Russia is melting down all the old Mosins and SKS's? Say it ain't so!


January 2, 2013, 01:39 AM
it aint so, russia has been selling their old crap off to fund their new stuff ever since the iron curtain fell and before that they were giving their hand me downs to the smaller provinces of the USSR. there would be no point in melting a reliable source of income down for scrap metal.

the problem is that they aren't making anymore SKS or mosin nagants, haven't for decades. the number that they still have in their possession is dwindling so it is getting harder for importers to keep them coming in.

Ignition Override
January 2, 2013, 04:30 AM
Gunbroker has had four full pages of SKS rifles for days. A few days ago a nice, refurbished Albanian was bid only up to about $300.
Although some on GB now have laughable prices, many have initial (seller) prices, or those following a few bids which are only $350-$400.

Considering that in March '08, months before that watershed election a fair number were listed at $270-300, today's prices really aren't bad.
Adding the fully-adjustable Tech Sight is very easy and makes it much more accurate.

When the AR price bubble starts to deflate (weeks from now?), or pops, it should bring down both SKS and AK prices with it.
No price bubble lasts forever: lots of AR/AK buyers never needed or wanted them before the recent panic; wives' "frustration" and increased Obamacare costs/taxes (or layoffs, reduced hours caused by new employer healthcare costs) will put many back into the market.

January 2, 2013, 08:39 PM
I like single shot for first time shooters.With that in mind:

Semi-auto- Marlin 60

Bolt with clip- Marlin or Savage

Single shot bolt -Savage or Henry

Pump or lever action -Henry*Marlin lever is nice but expensive.

These are my choices, take him with you, to make sure rifle fits properly!

January 2, 2013, 10:03 PM
Eeeewwww! You said clip!:p

January 2, 2013, 10:08 PM