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Old February 6, 2012, 02:46 AM   #1
jersey_emt
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First rifle / only rifle: AR-15, M1 Garand, Springfield M1A, or Ruger Gunsite Scout?

I don't own any rifles -- only two 9mm pistols, a .22 LR pistol, and a 12 gauge pump shotgun -- and I am starting to save up in order to change this.

This will be for general purpose use. I don't hunt. Mostly for fun/plinking and target shooting. Self-defense/home defense -- not it's primary use, but being effective/useful for this would be nice.

Price range: around $1,000 would be great. Around $1,500 would be fine as well. Absolute upper limit is $2,000.

Here are some of the guns I am considering:

AR-15. There's a reason why AR-15's are so popular. Lots of fun, very accurate, and ammunition is pretty cheap. About the only downside is the .223/5.56mm being underpowered compared to the other rifles on my list. This could obviously be fixed by getting a .308 (or similar) upper and switching back and forth as needed, but doing so could easily exceed my $2,000 limit.

M1 Garand. Most likely the CMP "Special" grade, which uses an original receiver, but is newly refinished, and fitted with a new production stock and barrel. It's an absolutely gorgeous rifle, and only costs $1,000. Downside is the fixed magazine and 8-round capacity, but if it was good enough for WWII soldiers, it should be more than enough for me, right?

Springfield M1A. This will definitely be cutting it close price-wise. A bit less recoil than the M1 Garand because it's chambered for the .308 Winchester instead of the .30-06. Detachable magazines are a plus.

Ruger Gunsite Scout. It's an interesting concept. Bolt-action .308 with a 10-round detachable magazine. Forward-mounted scope rail. Cost is reasonable, and I like the black laminated wood stock.

Another option would be to get 2 rifles -- an AR-15 in .223/5.56mm, and a bolt-action rifle in a larger caliber. This would also be cutting it close in regards to price.

Basically, what I am asking is this: If you could own only 1 rifle, what would it be, and why?
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Old February 6, 2012, 02:58 AM   #2
Chinny33
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ummm...i'll take option "E"

well, you have a great wish list. I suggest you do what I did, work hard, save smart, invest wisely, and end up earning/buying them ALL.

I now have 6 AR-15s, an M1A, Ruger Scout, AR-10...

-----------------------------------------

My 1 rifle would be a tricked out AR-15. Entry level S&W M&P Sports can be had for ~$850 out the door. That leaves you with another $500-$1,000 on optics, lights, stocks, pistol grips, trigger mechanism.

-------------------------------------------
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Old February 6, 2012, 03:02 AM   #3
AlBundy
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If your dead set on getting one of those I would go with the AR-15. You could spend anywhere from $700 on a bare bones AR to $1400 on a top of the line Colt. The .223 isn't a .308 but it will definitely do more damage then you would think. A bullet going 3,000+ FPS that explodes on contact can cause some nasty wounds. Just think a shotgun slug that turns into buckshot once it enters the ... animal. You could also get the decent AR and get another upper for it for the same cost as 1 Colt.

If your open to other suggestions I would consider an AK. They are really fun, extremely reliable and rock solid. Again, you can spend anywhere from $500 on a basic WASR-10 to ~$1,000+ on a Vepr or Arsenal. Personally I wouldn't spend more then $600 on an AK knowing that you can buy fully automatic ones in the middle east for $50. You could also get a nice bolt action, an Uzi, a Mac 10, pretty much anything for $1,000-$2,000 really.

If I had $1,000 to spend I would get a nice AK and spend the rest on ammo and magazines. Just remember that you want to leave at least a few hundred dollar leeway for extra magazines and ammo no matter what you get. Also, keep in mind that usually AKs aren't as accurate as the ARs but they make up for it in firepower.
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Old February 6, 2012, 03:05 AM   #4
TMD
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For plinking the AR is going to be the cheapest to shoot. For home defense I wouldn't consider any of these rifles when you already have two 9mm handguns and a shotgun?
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Old February 6, 2012, 03:25 AM   #5
Rifleman 173
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I own like 4 AR/M-4 clones, a bolt action .308 Remington and a couple of other rifles. What I am now looking at is an AK in .223 caliber. They cost about half of what an AR does and you can easily scope it too. With $1K in cash, you could get like 2 of the AKs in .223 and some extra magazines. You could also opt for 1 AK in .223, get a good number of magazines and get a case of ammo for the rifle to shoot and store for emergencies. And the nice thing about AKs is that they are known to be reliable. And, if you get an AK with a folding stock, it becomes so small and easy to conceal.
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Old February 6, 2012, 04:38 AM   #6
Tim R
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I would go with the AR. You think 223 is under powered? I wouldn't want to get shot with one, thanks. People forget we have been using this caliber for about 50 years. Can’t be all THAT bad.

Quote:
M1 Garand. Most likely the CMP "Special" grade, which uses an original receiver, but is newly refinished, and fitted with a new production stock and barrel. It's an absolutely gorgeous rifle, and only costs $1,000. Downside is the fixed magazine and 8-round capacity, but if it was good enough for WWII soldiers, it should be more than enough for me, right?
For the M-1 I would go with a CMP Correct Grade. They cost a little more but the ones I’ve seen are really rather nice. I am very pleased with my correct H&R. Worth way more than I paid for it. The 8 round clip is not really a disadvantage. Think about it, the rifle does half the work for you. All you have to do is stuff a new clip in and get back to work.

Quote:
M1A. This will definitely be cutting it close price-wise. A bit less recoil than the M1 Garand because it's chambered for the .308 Winchester instead of the .30-06. Detachable magazines are a plus
.

Believe it or not, I have to disagree the M-14 has less recoil than an M-1. I have a heavy barrel heavy stock, match tuned M-1 in 308. The rifle boots more than a regular ’06 M-1. I’ve shot M-14’s quite a lot in my day too. Don’t forget the two rounds are ballisticly similar.

Quote:
Basically, what I am asking is this: If you could own only 1 rifle, what would it be, and why?
I would go for a nice bolt gun with a good scope in ’06. Why? ’06 is in every store which carries ammo. You can hunt with a ’06 and use a wide variety of ammo selections. Besides, everyone else will have already grabbed the 308. Bolt guns are less likely to have mechanical break downs.
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Old February 6, 2012, 05:51 AM   #7
SR420
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Quote:
jersey_emt

Basically, what I am asking is this: If you could own only 1 rifle, what would it be, and why?
I was a 1 rifle, 1 shotgun and 1 handgun guy for may years.

The handgun: Glock 21
The shotgun: M1 Super 90
The rifle: M1A Scout (2001)

I chose the robust, reliable and accurate M14 type rifle because they were just starting a renaissance period.
The renaissance period is ongoing and it has resulted in many innovations and improvements to the platform.
Fast forward a decade and I've added a few .45 ACP Glock pistols, I still have the M1 Super 90 and currently own a
few custom built M14s with 16.25", 18.0" and 22.0" barrels... you can't have just one, but it's a great place to start.

My advice:
Invest in an M14 rifle.
Don't get stuck on brand name or having a brand new rifle.
Shop for a pre-owned M1A (Springfield) or M14 (Poly Tech, Norinco, LRB, SEI etc...).
Look for one that has USGI and SEI parts (bolt, op rod & trigger group).
... the 18.0" Bush, Scout and MK14 Mod 0 & Mod 1 are my personal favorites.

I hope that helped and good luck.

EDIT:
The first real rifle I shot was the M1 Garand, I've owned many ARs (15 & 10) and
I also owned several AKM and MAK-90. I still own a 7.62 AKM and a 5.56 AR-100.

I did own a 10/22 for a short time... sold it and don't miss it at all.


.

Last edited by SR420; February 7, 2012 at 08:19 AM.
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Old February 6, 2012, 08:51 AM   #8
IrvJr
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Jersey EMT - I'm going to suggest a different route. Before you buy a centerfire rifle, I think you should consider buying a good quality rimfire rifle to practice and plink with. I like the 22LR bolt guns. They are inexpensive, accurate, and fun to shoot. you can use them for target practice/small game hunting/varmint hunting etc.. Even if you do not hunt now, you might want to try it in the future.

you can practice your marksmanship skills with the .22LR and then move on to a centerfire rifle.

Regarding your other choices, i think all of the guns you listed are good ones. choosing one really depends on what you'd like to do with the gun. if you want to target shoot/plink the AR is nice because you can make them accurate and the ammo costs are lower. Also the ruger bolt action GSR is nice because it would be very accurate out of the box, yet it's compact and doesn't require much maintenance. The Garand and M1a are really nice, but pricey, plus they might be a little more picky on what type of ammo they use.

the bolt gun and the AR will probably be more accurate than the garand and m1a (unless you get an accurized garand or m1a - which can be an expensive proposition).

i have owned a couple of AR's (Colt and S&W) and still own a Ruger Hawkeye in 308. Out of the box, the ruger is very accurate (1" 3-shot groups at 100 yards). The AR's were pretty accurate, but not as accurate as my bolt gun. However, with a little money and better ammo, the AR's can be made very accurate. Plus, the AR's are fun to modify and easy to scope (for the flat top models).

I think the Ruger gunsite would be the most versatile from your list, especially if you handload, but all of them are good choices.

Last edited by IrvJr; February 6, 2012 at 08:58 AM.
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Old February 6, 2012, 09:17 AM   #9
sundog
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From your requirements, I would say go with an AR. Nothing wrong with the others. For cost of ammo, ease of repair, availability of repair parts, adaptability, and expandability, the AR is good 'all around'.
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Old February 6, 2012, 09:25 AM   #10
mpd61
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If you're willing to spend as much as $2000???

It's a no brainer;

Get a nice AR for around $900-1000 AND a "special grade" CMP M1 Garand.......Game, set match!
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Old February 6, 2012, 09:47 AM   #11
zincwarrior
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Quote:
I don't own any rifles -- only two 9mm pistols, a .22 LR pistol, and a 12 gauge pump shotgun -- and I am starting to save up in order to change this.

This will be for general purpose use. I don't hunt. Mostly for fun/plinking and target shooting. Self-defense/home defense -- not it's primary use, but being effective/useful for this would be nice.

Price range: around $1,000 would be great. Around $1,500 would be fine as well. Absolute upper limit is $2,000.

Here are some of the guns I am considering:

AR-15. There's a reason why AR-15's are so popular. Lots of fun, very accurate, and ammunition is pretty cheap. About the only downside is the .223/5.56mm being underpowered compared to the other rifles on my list. This could obviously be fixed by getting a .308 (or similar) upper and switching back and forth as needed, but doing so could easily exceed my $2,000 limit.

M1 Garand. Most likely the CMP "Special" grade, which uses an original receiver, but is newly refinished, and fitted with a new production stock and barrel. It's an absolutely gorgeous rifle, and only costs $1,000. Downside is the fixed magazine and 8-round capacity, but if it was good enough for WWII soldiers, it should be more than enough for me, right?

Springfield M1A. This will definitely be cutting it close price-wise. A bit less recoil than the M1 Garand because it's chambered for the .308 Winchester instead of the .30-06. Detachable magazines are a plus.

Ruger Gunsite Scout. It's an interesting concept. Bolt-action .308 with a 10-round detachable magazine. Forward-mounted scope rail. Cost is reasonable, and I like the black laminated wood stock.

Another option would be to get 2 rifles -- an AR-15 in .223/5.56mm, and a bolt-action rifle in a larger caliber. This would also be cutting it close in regards to price.

Basically, what I am asking is this: If you could own only 1 rifle, what would it be, and why?
Excellent thread topic. I too am a pistol shooter and am interested in a rifle in the near term.
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Old February 6, 2012, 09:52 AM   #12
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
AR-15. There's a reason why AR-15's are so popular. Lots of fun, very accurate, and ammunition is pretty cheap. About the only downside is the .223/5.56mm being underpowered compared to the other rifles on my list. This could obviously be fixed by getting a .308 (or similar) upper and switching back and forth as needed, but doing so could easily exceed my $2,000 limit.
You understand that an upper that will accept .308 will not work on a .223 lower? The action is longer on the .308 and it needs a longer magazine well and lower. Colt has shown (but not yet offered for sale) the CM901, which is a .308 upper that takes .223 uppers and magazines with a conversion.

Second point, I think you need to spend some time thinking about how much power you need. You appear concerned that the ,223 is underpowered, yet you don't hunt, your primary use is plinking/target shooting and you'd like it to be effective for self-defense.

It will be difficult to beat the .223 in plinking since it is the cheapest ammo-wise of the calibers you are considering. .223's often dominate target-shooting as well. Furthermore, there is no question that the ,223 is effective for self-defense. So as it stands, it looks like .223 fufills all of the criteria you say you want in a rifle. Yet all of the other calibers you are considering are heavier hitting, full-power rifle cartridges... why do you think that is?
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Old February 6, 2012, 10:33 AM   #13
MikeRussell
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Absolute upper limit of $2K...

If you aren't into "building" rifles, then buy a decent AR (Stag, BM, etc) for about $800-1000. Buy a few extra mags for about $60. Then, if you decide you want more punch, buy a Remington 700SPS in .308W for about $550-600, then get a decent scope that you can afford.

Or, scour the for sale sections and maybe pick up a deal here & there to get them cheaper.

The AR will give you relatively inexpensive target shooting and is modular. Uppers/barrels are made in many calibers from .22LR to .50BMG (single shot bolt action), including common pistol calibers & even .410 shotgun.
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Old February 6, 2012, 04:03 PM   #14
karlb
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I'd buy a Colt 6920 and a 10/22.
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Old February 6, 2012, 04:48 PM   #15
shrewd
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I have an m-1 and a stag model 2

I adore that garand and consider shooting it almost a special occasion.

That said, my ar15 is the rifle that Always comes to the range with me. And I buy my rifles for the same reasons you list. Fun.

Ive recently been shooting some informal carbine matches and stuff. great times. Go with the AR dude. You can buy a case or two of ammo, some fun mods, and be great to go!

Also, I should add; you can get an upper in a 6.5ish caliber if you ever want more oomph. Or go crazy with a suppressed .300 blackout
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Old February 6, 2012, 04:50 PM   #16
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If you don't hunt and have SD covered (you do) then I'd get a 10/22 or maybe the S&W .22lr AR clone.

LK
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Old February 6, 2012, 05:28 PM   #17
chris in va
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I have a Garand and an AR. 223 is a lot easier to shoot, both on the wallet and the shoulder.
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Old February 6, 2012, 05:36 PM   #18
rickyrick
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.223 is pretty gnarley at home defense range and beyond. While it doesn't hold on to velocity as long as the .30 calibers it holds its own within its useable range.
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Old February 6, 2012, 06:41 PM   #19
jersey_emt
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Thanks for all of the recommendations everyone. Your input is greatly appreciated.

Couple of points:

Quote:
You understand that an upper that will accept .308 will not work on a .223 lower?
Yes I do. I meant to say .30 Remington AR not .308 here. It's not as powerful as the .308, but gets fairly close (pushes a 125-grain projectile at 2,800 fps versus a 150-grain projectile at the same speed). Ammo can be a bit tricky to find however.

Quote:
Before you buy a centerfire rifle, I think you should consider buying a good quality rimfire rifle to practice and plink with.
If I didn't already own a .22 LR pistol I would get a Ruger 10/22 as my first rifle. Down the road, I definitely will get one, but at this point in time I'm not interested in a .22 LR rifle.

If I shoot enough .223 / .308 / .30-06 / whatever else to where ammunition costs are too high, I'll probably start reloading.

Quote:
I would go with the AR. You think 223 is under powered? I wouldn't want to get shot with one, thanks. People forget we have been using this caliber for about 50 years. Can’t be all THAT bad.
When I said it was "underpowered", it was because I just want something with a bit more oomph to it. I like shooting more powerful rifles -- while an AR-15 is definitely a lot of fun to shoot, I had more fun with a friend's M1 Garand and .308 bolt gun (basic Savage rifle, not sure of the exact model) than an AR.

Quote:
If you're willing to spend as much as $2000???

It's a no brainer;

Get a nice AR for around $900-1000 AND a "special grade" CMP M1 Garand.......Game, set match!
I'd rather not spend $2000 if at all possible. I would be willing to do so if absolutely necessary, but $1,000 - $1,500 would be much more comfortable.

Another option I just thought about would be a nice AR-15, along with a Mosin-Nagant for when I want to shoot something more powerful.
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Old February 6, 2012, 07:10 PM   #20
Young.Gun.612
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You could get a Garand and an AR and still be at or below $1500...


PSA AR and a service grade CMP garand, with money left over for ammo
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Old February 6, 2012, 09:23 PM   #21
Therealkoop
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My one and only rifle would be an M1a.

It simply does everything you would need a rifle for.

Mine is a scout style.
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Old February 6, 2012, 10:57 PM   #22
dvdcrr
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If it was going to be your first and only, I would get the M1a because its in a versatile caliber and you can scope it.
M1 Garand is great but no scope.
AR 15 can be scoped but you can't use it for hunting big game.

There's a variety of M1a models out there but I recomend the standard or standard synthetic.
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Old February 6, 2012, 11:58 PM   #23
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I own all those and if I had to keep just one it would be Steyr Scout. I have the ruger gun site scout too, but I would want something light as possible to carry all day if necessary.

But to me weight is a big issue as I have lot to carry if SHTF.
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Old February 17, 2012, 02:08 PM   #24
Paulo
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I would like to suggest another possible entry. Have you considered an FN/FAL /L1A1? They're good shooters (depending on who assembled them), accurate, fire .308 and IMHO (the H is for humble), a good looking piece. A DSA built rifle is probably one of the better choices and that would fit nicely into your budget. If not, I'd concur with the consensus and say get a .223. It's a lot more round than people give it credit for and it's fun to shoot. It won't beat you up at the range, parts are plentiful, ammo is reasonably priced, and it could double as a home defense weapon although your shotgun has that job covered well.

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Old February 17, 2012, 02:55 PM   #25
Indi
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I would go with the ar, its cheaper to shoot. But I would also buy a 300 blk out upper. U can shoot 300 blk ob the same lower, same mags and bolt carrier. Actually I'm in the process of doing that now....LOL.
O yeah, u can buy a. 22 conversion kit for the ar and blast it all day for cheap.
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