I am looking for advice on purchasing my first tactical rifle. Since I don’t have the funds to conduct real trials like the U.S. Military, I was hoping ya’ll could help me out with your first hand experience.
It must fire when the trigger is pulled. I am leery of complex sighting systems or fancy parts upgrades. I want to stay away from rifles that are difficult to clean without a few simple tools.
The rifles must be accurate. Accuracy depends on me and the weapon. The weapon needs to be simple to use in a safe manner. I want a weapon that has a sub 2 MOA at 300 yards. Ideally I want to be able to hit a man sized target at 500 yards.
The caliber must have the knockdown power to drop my target when I hit a critical zone. It should be able to kill a large deer at 150 yards. I am not looking for an elephant killer or a shoulder breaker.
It has to have a manageable weight when carrying a full combat load. I would like keep the weapon under 9.5 lbs when loaded with one 20 round magazine and sighting system. I am a small framed guy (5’7” and 145 lbs) so I do not want to pack the kitchen around.
I don’t mind paying good money for a quality weapon. My family’s welfare may depend on it some day. I am more concerned about the high cost of extra magazines or pricey component upgrades. I want to stick with a caliber that I can afford to shoot. Practice makes perfect.
The contenders are
AR from a number of manufacturers (Colt, Bushmaster etc)
Which manufacturer? (Is Colt worth the price?)
What type of configuration (20 inch A2 or 16 Inch M4?)
I like the A2 iron sights, but do I need a site upgrade? (An A3 or something else?)
Does the .223 have enough knock down power? (A dangerous question, I know)
M1A from Springfield Armory
Does the quality match the high price of the rifle and magazines?
How much kick does it have? (No need to break my shoulder on a shoot)
What type (standard, SOCOM 16, Scout or a match upgrade)
AK from a number of manufacturers
I like the price range but reliability and accuracy are my concerns with AK in general
Are there any reasons to throw a bolt action rifle into the mix?
Are there any other factors I should consider?
Thank you for your time and feedback.
P.S. Sorry for the long read.
The Bald Monk
You'll get more and better responses in the technical forums.
None of the rifles you list meet your requirements. I think it's probably time to be more realistic about what you want/need.
No one rifle meets every requirement
I was asking for opinions (based on personal experience) on which rifle best meets the most of my requirements.
I am leaning towards an AR with a 20 inch barrel, an A2 upper but not sure from which manufacture.
The M1A has a lot going for it but the weapon, parts and ammo are more expensive than an AR.
The Bald Monk
Well, I would say a 20" gov't profile A3 AR from one of the major manufacturers would work well, satisfying all the conditions except the "power" one. 20" ARs are among the most reliable, since it was what the AR platform was originally designed to be. They are pretty darn accurate, too, with good frag range. A 20" A3 with carry handle will probably weigh in at around 8-9lbs unloaded, and a 30 round mag weighs around 2lbs, IIRC. It can be had for usually under $900, cheaper if you shop around. Now, as far as the "power" goes, I trust my 5.56x45 ARs to do what it needs, that is drop the enemy. I doubt it will work for deer or whatnot, unless you are really good and make headshots. M193 spec ammo is moderately priced, as are 30 round USGI mags and spare parts.
T-B-M, I'd have to go with a home built "Varminter" style AR. I'd float the barrel and use a quality air gauged hbar (stainless), with a flat top upper. I'd go RRA on all parts, unless you want a jewell trigger, but a RRA is mighty sweet too, less $$ also. I personally like Colt A1 buttstocks, but to each his own and I'd top it off with Leupold glass. Now if you want a DCM style rifle, instead of a flat top use an A2.
Just my 02.
Sorry, that's not what you said.
If that's what you're looking for, then I would have to agree with the others; a target/varmint AR is what you're looking for in a rifle.
I don't know much about hunting deer but 150 yds with an AR would require some finesse on the shooter's part. Not saying you can't, but I've seen 55gr FMJ deflect off of a clipboard.
Good luck with your requirements. Did you look at DSA's FALs? They make some target guns. I used to work not too far from them. Weight'll be closer to 10-10.5.
I have to agree with several of the others. An AR series is what your asking for ... TILL you mention Knockdown power. For that alone you need to step up to 7.62x51 ( .308 ) . I perfer the M14 but for the Market right now and $$$$ I recomend a DSA (FAL) carbine. I would praboly go with the 18" . They seem to make very good FAL's....... The Mag's are cheap, you have your required knock down of the heavier hitting 7.62x51 round. And ammo isn't all that bad for Military surplus. I think the accuratcy is acceptable. Go to DSA's sight and check them out. I have two FAL's and they are very good rifles. Easy to clean, and easy to tote. If not for the Knockdown requirment, I would say an an 20" light barrel AR. These are just Opinion's,,, and suggestion's.. Good luck sir, WarDawg
I've been through this predicament myself.
First off sub-2 moa at 200 yards is more about you than the rifle. remember that.
Kill deear? there goes the AR,( IMO)
Reliability - trigger=bang EVERY TIME , dunno bout the M1A's.
The only rifle that comes close to your concerns would be an accurate AK -
It all depends how much importnace you give to each concern. You should rate them each 1>10.
e.g. for you it sounds like it is reliability=9, accuracy=8, ease of cleaning=8, cost=4, stopping power=8.
Weight should not be an issue, cause if you look at these numbers, you're pretty much searching out the impossible, unless you stray from teh semi-auto's. If all you are shooting is 150 yeards, maybe a 50 boewolf AR or a lever gun in 30-30 would do.
If I had your requirements, I'd give a little on the accuracy, drop it to 3 moa at 100 yards. that would get me a. saiga or vepr maybe sent to krebs for tuning and/or conversion. With practice those will do, and they fire everytime, simple to clean, light enough, cheap parts and accesories and don't cost all that much.
Thanks for all the quality feedback and insight. “Upon further review”, I am looking for a tactical rifle that will allow me to protect my family in an urban SHTF situation. To me that means short term civil unrest due to a natural disaster or terrorist attack. Where my primary concern is protecting the family, house and emergency supplies till order is restored. I am not preparing to evacuate the family to the hills for long term situation ala “Red Dawn” Besides geekdude tells me I just need to be able to get to Camp Bookhound and every thing will be fine :- )
It is too pricey, twice the price of an AR. IMO, it’s more a marksman rifle than an urban tactical rifle. I am not looking to be a sniper. Beside the rifle is heavy and I don’t want to hump the extra weight.
I have shot the AK and didn’t much care for it. I like the value but comfort with my weapon is more important.
Deer hunting requirement
I’ll buy a .308 bolt action rifle. One can never have too many weapons :-P
I have shot the weapon and know I can hit the target. The price is right. I have humped a mile or 12 with one so I am used to the weight. Lot’s of options at a reasonable cost. I like the FAL at DSA but I still prefer an AR
Now I just have to decide which manufacturer and options
1. Is Colt worth the price and where do I buy one?
Given my urban tactical requirements
2. What type of optics?
3. What barrel length?
4. Am I forgetting any thing?
The Bald Monk
No. (and I own Colt's) Bushmaster would be my first choice, with RRA a close second.
Aimpoint out to 150 yards, or an ACOG if you're expecting to take longer shots.
16" carbine, or one of the custom 18" tubes.
It looks like you've covered all your bases. Good luck with whatever you choose.
I am a newbie, therfore I don't know squat. I start all my posts that way, otherwise, someone with more posts than me will jump down my throat for sharing my opinion.
Here's what I have learned in my short time as an AR owner: (By the way, I am the proud new owner of a Colt LE6920HB and have one LE6920 for sale - not cheap)
1) When you're buying a Colt, you're paying for the name. It seems like you can get roughly the same quality from a Bushmaster, RRA, or others. Personally, I like having the designer crap, brand name, etc, and I'm willing to spend the extra money to buy a product with a long standing reputation, and the most proven combat experience. Therefore, I went with the Colt. Now that I've got a Colt, I'm ready to buy a Bushmaster that I believe will do the same thing for less money. I think you can get a Bushy equivalent to the LE6920 (without 1:7 twist) for around $800 - $900. If you're only buying one, may I suggest a flat top model. It gives you more options which, IMHO, if you only have one, why not have more options?
2) Optics: For CQB, go with the EOTech 512/552 or the Aimpoint Comp M2/ML2 (models depend on whether or not you need night vision capablities). If you want a little magnification, go with the ACOG TA31. All of the models I have mentioned (CQB and magnified) give you the ability to shoot with both eyes open, which makes target acquisition faster and easier. Also, Those 3 are the most commonly used optics in the US Military. Just look at any photos of US Marines in Iraq carrying an M4 and you will see one of those 3 mentioned. The way I see it, if it's good enough for the military, it's good enough for me. You'll also want to get a good set of BUIS. I prefer the GG&G MAD because of it's very low profile when not in use. That's what I bought. Others also like the ARMS#40L. I think you'll like either one about the same.
3) Barrel Lenght - longer gives you greater accuracy for distance shooting, so you decide what you need. You mentioned 'tactical', so I'm guessing you'd be better off with a 16" barrel. 4" is a big difference, especially if you're talking maneuvering in an urban setting. Compact and lighter. I thinkt that's your best bet. It still has an effective range of 600 meters. That's over 1/4 mile. I don't really see the need for a longer barrel unless you'll be mostly shooting at things very far away (In which case, get a magnified scope too)
4) Anything else? - This is the wrong place to ask that question. Everytime I come to this website I find something else I 'need' for my AR.
- Tactical Light
- Vertical Forward Grip
- Tactical Laser
- Rail system to mount all this crap
- New pistol grip
- Larue quick release mounts (in case you decide to have both CQB sights and a mangified scope - it lets you swap them out quickly and easily)
- Lots and lots of mags
- 1 Beta C MAG
- Tactical Case
How's that for a newbie? Can anyone tell me how I'm doing so far? I'm sure I made a few mistakes, so let's have it.
Thanks again for all the helpful information.
I am off research building my own AR.
I shall return.......
With more questions heLooks like lots of good info to be found there how ever I prefer posting here.
People on the hometown sections, even those outside the peach state hI appreciate every one's help.
The Bald Monk