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Old June 23, 2013, 06:07 PM   #1
Join Date: March 11, 2012
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Rifle Newbie

Hey all I've been around handguns and shotguns my whole life (I'm 55) but I've decided to purchase a New rifle. An AR type home defense & range weapon. I'm not too sure on a caliber yet, but I've been thinking either a 5.56mm or .308 My question to you all is where do I start looking to learn what would be the best weapon for me? I do enjoy different forums, but you know what comes out of these besides good info is at times CRAP! So if you could please direct me in the correct direction. Thanks All,

ps: Would a Barrett .50Cal be overkill?
Dennis in Idaho

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Old June 23, 2013, 06:41 PM   #2
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I"m going to say that a .50 cal is probably a bit overkill for your first rifle. However, I certainly wouldn't talk you out of it.

There are a couple of forums that have good info on AR-15s. But, you'll find that you can get similar answers here.

The AR 15 is most commonly chambered in 5.56/.223 so for your first, I'd definitely go that way. There are several manufacturers out there and many will suggest that you build your own. I purchased my first as a complete rifle with warranty and then got the bug to assemble a stripper lower for my second. That way, I had something I could reference on hand.

Many will tell you to go with a Colt 6920. I can't disagree. It's a great AR. But there are also many others in the game now that will fit what you are looking for. S&W has a great line of M&P 15's on the market ranging from around $650 on up. Palmetto State Armory (PSA) sells some nice completes but also components to build your own. Sig has a couple of nice ones as well as Bravo Company (BCM) and on the higher end, Daniel Defense and Noveski. Others will chime in with other brands as well.
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Old June 23, 2013, 07:52 PM   #3
Join Date: March 11, 2012
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Re: Rifle Newbie

Sorry but I thought that the joke was implied. First I couldn't afford a Barrett.

Dennis in Idaho
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Old June 23, 2013, 08:23 PM   #4
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That's what smiley faces are for.

Actually, I think a .308 is overkill for a home defense rifle unless you live in a rural area, and maybe even then. The problem is with over penetration. But I'm sure somebody will disagree.
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Old June 23, 2013, 08:44 PM   #5
Dr Big Bird PhD
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For my first rifle I would stay away from a semi-auto .308 for two reasons.

First is recoil. If you're just getting used to firearms, trying to acclimate yourself to a heavy recoil and fairly bulky firearm might discourage you from going to the range and/or bringing friends who are also new.

Second is price. Even if you have the $1500 to drop on a .308 AR (which is cheap mind you), the price of ammo is an inherent obstacle. The less rounds you put through it will make you less likely to function confidently and effectively in a high stress situation.

If you want your first firearm to be a bolt-action hunting/recreation, that's entirely different.
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Old June 23, 2013, 11:39 PM   #6
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Everyone on here has made valid points. I would also stay away from the .308's as well (and I really hate to say that lol). Unless you have a farm/ranch setup that you can justify having the extra range and knock down power, then a .308 might be something to consider but still not my first choice. As far as brands, S&W, PSA, Windom, Colt, and many others are very good rifles. I've got a S&W M&P Sport and Colt LE6920. If you don't want/need the forward assist button or the dust cover the Smith is actually a really nice rifle for the price (700ish pre-panic). My Colt is also extremely nice (better be, its a Colt) and functions flawlessly. Now, PSA also has decent rifles that may be a little more than my Sport but less than my Colt and I've never heard anything bad about them. Thats part of the reason why I'm using them to build my wife a AR for most of there parts.
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Old June 25, 2013, 07:18 PM   #7
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Pick an AR in 223 that suits your needs and budget. If you decide you want/need a 308 that can come later.
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Old June 28, 2013, 08:08 AM   #8
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Personally, if I were to have only one rifle, it would be chambered in 7.62x39. Reasons are:

1. You can easily find this ammo;
2. It's not crazy expensive like .308
3. It's a good all around, proven cartridge.
4. Most platforms made for this caliber can shoot the steel-cased stuff with little or no problem.

Whether its an AR, AK, Mini-30 or something else, that all can be debated. But, for these times, given what is and is not available, that's the caliber I'd choose.
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