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Dr. Zin

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  1. I was moved by BBG's latest thread to ask for some outside advice for my latest firearms purchase.

    For reference, at this point I have a pair of .22 rifles, a pair of shotguns, plus .357mag and .22 handguns. I really enjoy shooting the handguns and the rifles. Right now I am looking for another gun that will run $500 or less. I want to get into centerfire rifle, particularly since it seems like the golden days of semi-auto rifles may be on the wane as surplus parts dry up and legislation is looming.

    Ideally, I want an FAL rifle, but this doesn't look like it is going to happen. All of the affordable ones have been swept off the market by panic buying. I had a lead on a rifle, but the guy was looking for $800, which I simply don't have. Oh, and there is also the fact that I would never shoot it because .308 ammo is ridiculously expensive.

    Anyway, here are my options as I see them:

    - My preferred shop has an Egyptian contract FN49 in 8mm for $500, and I could probably talk them down a bit in price. The FN49 was the predecessor of the FAL (the FAL can be thought of as an FN49 built to take detachable mags and use a pistol grip and stock attached to the trigger group). However, it is limited to a fixed 10 round magazine, and has quite a bit of finish wear (as you would expect to see on a 50 year old rifle that served in Egypt).

    Pros:
    *Cool looking, historical
    *Shoots full power cartridge
    *Surplus ammo is fairly cheap

    Cons:
    *Fixed magazine
    *Cheap ammo is corrosive (thus major cleaning after every shoot)
    *Exterior of gun is worn

    - Greek return (but US made) M1 carbines are available from the Civilian Marksmanship program at $500 for a service grade example. They lack the power of a full power cartridge, but they are also the size of a .22 rifle. Fifteen round detachable magazines are reasonably inexpensive.

    Pros:
    *Cool looking, historical
    *Light and handy
    *New production ammo is reasonably priced
    *Can accept detachable mags

    Cons:
    *.30 carbine is basically a souped up pistol round, it does not compare will with true rifle rounds in range or power
    *Condition can be iffy (a Service grade rifle rifle will be good mechanically, but some exterior wear is expected)
    *Availability of inexpensive ammo can be off and on
    *Have the price of mags on top of the price of the rifle

    - A local shop has AR-15 lowers in stock. I could build my own custom rifle. However, this would be the most expensive (minimum $600) of the options nad there are several issues I have with the platform.

    Pros:
    *A new custom gun
    *.223 ammunition, while a light rifle caliber, is decidedly more powerful than .30 Carbine.
    *Steel case .223 is reasonably priced
    *I already have three 20 round magazines I bought as trade fodder

    Cons:
    *Expensive
    *The AR-15 receiver is constucted of aluminum, and is pretty much only available with plastic furniture. It is not totally logical, but I want my guns to have steel receivers. I think they are more durable, look better, and wear better.
    *Brass case .223 ammo is expensive, and some ARs have trouble digesting steel cases.
    *The AR-15 blows propellant gasses back into the action, which means that cleaning needs to be more frequent and is a PITA.
    *The Ar-15 Kit companies are running a 3-4 month waiting list for kits.

    - Lastly, there is the option of getting another pistol. I believe I made a post a year or two ago where I commented I wanted a Browning Hi-Power. Well, my preferred gun shop doesn't have a Browning HP, but they do have an Argentinean FM model. FM was licensed by FN (owners of the Browning brand, and makers of the FAL and FN49) to produce a clone of the HP. While it lack the finishing detail of the FN, it still is well made and is quite a bit cheaper at $325 (possibly with some wiggle room). Although I already have a .357, it is more expensive to shoot both .38s and .357s versus the 9x19, plus it does not have the capacity of the HP.

    Pros:
    *Looks classy
    *Ammo is comparatively cheap
    *Inexpensive
    *Cheap mags

    Cons:
    *This is a pistol, and I already have two of them. I would like to start shooting some centerfire rifles, but I already like shooting pistols.
    *Again, this is a pistol and is unlikely to be heavily hit by new legislation. I do want to own a semi-auto centerfire rifle.

    Anyone have any advice?

    Oh, and to compare ammo prices:

    9x19 Luger: 20c per shot (reloadable)
    .223 Remington (Steel): 26c per shot (nonreloadable)
    8x57 Mauser: 26c per shot (nonreloadable)
    .30 Carbine: 31c per shot(reloadable)
    .223 Remington (Brass): 46c per shot (reloadable)

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Snarboo

      Snarboo

      Naked Snake said:

      Out of those choices, I would go with an M1 Carbine. .30 carbine is comparable to .357, and .357 is nothing to sneeze at. External finish isn't really important if it has a good bore and goes bang.

      I can second this. I was recently given an M1 by my father and it's a great little gun. Very little recoil, and it's very accurate. Ammo isn't too expensive, and like Snake said, magazines are very common. If you're looking for a tack driver or plinker, you really can't go wrong with an M1.

      I'm currently looking into getting an SKS as my next centerfire rifle. I don't know too much about them, but I do know they fire the same ammo as an AK, which is dirt cheap. I like the aesthetic of older combat rifles, too.

    3. Dr. Zin

      Dr. Zin

      Naked Snake said:


      I'm not really a big fan of the pistol grip style AK. I was thinking about getting a Saiga, but prices have shot up since everyone is converting them to the military styling.

      Also, I am left handed so bolt-actions and me don't get along very well. I'm also more of a fan of semi-autos.

      Snarboo said:

      I'm currently looking into getting an SKS as my next centerfire rifle. I don't know too much about them, but I do know they fire the same ammo as an AK, which is dirt cheap. I like the aesthetic of older combat rifles, too.


      SKS are nice, but around here they are bringing inflated prices due to the panic buying (I have no clue why). If you like classic military rifles, you would love the FN49. It is kind of like an SKS meant for use with full power cartridges. Too bad they tend to be very expensive (outside of the local shop Egyptians seem to bring a minimum of $600, and the other contracts go up from there).

      So I guess the vote is for the carbine at this point. Still, the FN49 is extremely tempting. There is nothing quite like ten shots of 8x57 Mauser on tap. But then again, the M1 gives fifteen shots of a .30 caliber .357 equivalent. For further reference, I would probably say that the Egyptian FN at the local shop would probably qualify as service grade on the CMP scale. Its a shame, as there is a refurbished rifle for $40 less than the one I am looking at, but the last two inches of the barrel are devoid of rifling. If the barrel was good on that one it would be a slam dunk.

      Decisions, decisions.

    4. Naked Snake

      Naked Snake

      Dr. Zin said:

      I'm not really a big fan of the pistol grip style AK. I was thinking about getting a Saiga, but prices have shot up since everyone is converting them to the military styling.

      Also, I am left handed so bolt-actions and me don't get along very well. I'm also more of a fan of semi-autos.



      SKS are nice, but around here they are bringing inflated prices due to the panic buying (I have no clue why). If you like classic military rifles, you would love the FN49. It is kind of like an SKS meant for use with full power cartridges. Too bad they tend to be very expensive (outside of the local shop Egyptians seem to bring a minimum of $600, and the other contracts go up from there).

      So I guess the vote is for the carbine at this point. Still, the FN49 is extremely tempting. There is nothing quite like ten shots of 8x57 Mauser on tap. But then again, the M1 gives fifteen shots of a .30 caliber .357 equivalent. For further reference, I would probably say that the Egyptian FN at the local shop would probably qualify as service grade on the CMP scale. Its a shame, as there is a refurbished rifle for $40 less than the one I am looking at, but the last two inches of the barrel are devoid of rifling. If the barrel was good on that one it would be a slam dunk.

      Decisions, decisions.


      Have it counter-bored, presto, fresh rifling and crown.

      EDIT : for $700 you can get a CETME with 2 20 round mags from classicarms.us . It's no FAL, but it's another nice .308 battle rifle, so it may tickle your fancy.

      If you buy a Saiga, in order to use magazines with a capacity greater than 10, you must be 922(r) compliant, so basically you'd have to replace the gas piston with a US made piston or replace the fore-arm with the Tapco Saiga-specific Galil forearm and then use US-made Saiga magazines.

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