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I'm going to buy a rifle soon--that's decided. What I haven't yet decided is which one to get.
Here are my requirements:

1. MUST be an assault weapon, meaning intended/designed primarily for use against people. (for a "Crap hits the fan" scenario if the U.S. gets invaded, etc. -- not for home defense, I have a shotgun and pistol for that)
2. The rounds it shoots must be reasonably suited for hunting deer and similarly sized game. (for a "Crap hits the fan" scenario when there is no food -- I do not ever plan on hunting except during such a scenario)
3. The rounds it shoots don't need to be super cheap, but they must NOT be on the very expensive side of things, because I will use it for target shooting, too.

summing up requirements 1-3: It's for target shootin', huntin', and defense.

This will by my first rifle, and I don't have a whole lot of money to spare on guns, that's why I'm trying to hit all 3 of these requirements in one go.

I've looked at .308 rifles (ammo is on the more expensive side though, which means it doesn't necessarily fulfill requirement #3 [cheap ammo]), and I'm looking long and hard at the AR-15 .. the only requirement above that I'm not sure the 5.56x45 ammo is suitable for is #2: deer hunting. Is the 5.56x45 ammo reasonably powerful for bringing down deer?

After telling me which rifle I should get, please explain a little about the rifle and what you like about it.

Thanks,
Eddie
 

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You're not going to find something that does everything (i.e. "Miracle Gun"), but these are close and are super reliable, relatively cheap and use a fairly powerful round. For up close and personal and short range hunting, I would go with an AK-47. If you plan on using the rifle from a little further distance, I would say a Dragunov.

AK-47


Dragunov SVD Rifle
 

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My husband owns a AR-15, and he would give it 100% for meeting all 3 of your requirements, including killing deer or other game if necessary provided he was using a hunting bullet and not the FMJ that he usually loads for plinking. He would have some hunting bullets on hand for that kind of possibility.
 

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Can you even hunt deer legally in Utah with .223? I know this is for a **** situation and legality is the last thing on your mind, but you may take that into consideration. I'd think it's kind of a small round. .243 is the smallest I'd go. So that leaves a AR-15 in .308 which is kinda big for 2 legged critters. Or a 7.62x39 I really like that round for zombies, and deer, but not inside a house since it blasts through multiple walls easily so it fits with your intended use. Look for a SKS, AK-47, both excellent **** guns that are simple to operate and will run well dirty. The AK being the better of the two. I do think that there are some AR-15's chambered in 7.62x39 but don't know for cerain.
 

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Ty said:
I do think that there are some AR-15's chambered in 7.62x39 but don't know for certain.
DPMS Panther makes a Pantherâ„¢ 7.62x39 16" Rifle.

I would recommend against something like this. I'd stay with something more mainstream. Something that you can get parts for and is common. I want an AR-15, trying to build one now. But for when the world falls apart, something a little more rustic and beefy would be my choice. Plainly stated, I would get an AK-47, possibly an SKS, but more likely an AK. It fires when it's full of mud, it's easy to maintain and shoot, it's fairly accurate, it's got a good caliber round and it's quite a bit cheaper than the AR. Plus, the AR is a barbie doll gun, much less reliable than the AK. Don't get me wrong, I love ARs, but they aren't the best all-weather rifles available.
 

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Ty said:
Can you even hunt deer legally in Utah with .223?
I haven't hunted deer for a while, but if I remember correctly, you can use any centerfire cartridge for deer. (You may want to check the big game proclamation to be sure.)
 

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Ty said:
Can you even hunt deer legally in Utah with .223?
Yep. Big game rifles must be centerfire and fire expanding bullets. Personally, I'd say it's a little light for deer, though, whether you're hunting for food or sport.
 

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Dustin WJ said:
Ty said:
Can you even hunt deer legally in Utah with .223?
I haven't hunted deer for a while, but if I remember correctly, you can use any centerfire cartridge for deer. (You may want to check the big game proclamation to be sure.)
Yup you are correct. Any centerfire rifle. Just looked it up.
 

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Im not saying I condone such things but here is a piece of history. During the depression in the North West for many it was a "hit the fan" time. They needed to get deer to supliment their diet but they needed to not alert the game warden. That is why more deer were taken with a .22LR during that time than any other caliber. An AR-15, though light for the job, will absolutly bring down a deer. You simply need to stalk the deer better and carefully pick your shot.
All that being said an AR-15 fits your needs for a "hits the fan" gun.
 

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FBMG Smithy said:
Im not saying I condone such things but here is a piece of history. During the depression in the North West for many it was a "hit the fan" time. They needed to get deer to supliment their diet but they needed to not alert the game warden. That is why more deer were taken with a .22LR during that time than any other caliber. An AR-15, though light for the job, will absolutly bring down a deer. You simply need to stalk the deer better and carefully pick your shot.
All that being said an AR-15 fits your needs for a "hits the fan" gun.
or... I can just come down to your shop and by a silencer, and a .22 too
sure a .22LR will kill just about anything you shoot, you just have to be a good shot
 

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GeneticsDave said:
But for when the world falls apart, something a little more rustic and beefy would be my choice. Plainly stated, I would get an AK-47, possibly an SKS, but more likely an AK. It fires when it's full of mud, it's easy to maintain and shoot, it's fairly accurate, it's got a good caliber round and it's quite a bit cheaper than the AR. Plus, the AR is a barbie doll gun, much less reliable than the AK. Don't get me wrong, I love ARs, but they aren't the best all-weather rifles available.
Dave, how do you know this for sure? Did you read it on the Internet or do you own an AR-15? :roll: :p

I never understood the "dragged through the mud" argument. Your gun is your life and if you decide to drag it through the mud or mis-treat it you are going to have problems no matter what make or model it is. If you take care of the gun it will take care of you.

The AR platform has much tighter tolerances than the AK and so it must be kept cleaner but it also makes for a much more accurate rifle. Accuracy is a huge issue in my opinion and will only help you in a firefight or harvesting food.

Another gun you may want to look at is the Ruger Mini-30. It is chambered in 7.62 x 39 and the newer models are supposed to have improved accuracy but they are not going to be tackdrivers.

Just remember that cheap 7.62 x 39 ammo is currently imported and there have been shortages. If the poop hits the propeller there will not be any ammo available so stock up or get the equipment and supplies and learn how to reload.
 

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I've shot several deer with .223. It is as sufficient as the guy shooting it. I've never had a deer go more than 3 steps and all have been one shot, one kill. But all have also been within 200 yards. With that said, I'd go with an AR-15. If you're really after a doom's day scenario rifle, knowing that the AR is the most popular rifle in America may also be factored into the scenario - it is and will be easy to find parts, ammo, etc.
 

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I would recommend against something like this. I'd stay with something more mainstream. Something that you can get parts for and is common. I want an AR-15, trying to build one now. But for when the world falls apart, something a little more rustic and beefy would be my choice. Plainly stated, I would get an AK-47, possibly an SKS, but more likely an AK. It fires when it's full of mud, it's easy to maintain and shoot, it's fairly accurate, it's got a good caliber round and it's quite a bit cheaper than the AR. Plus, the AR is a barbie doll gun, much less reliable than the AK. Don't get me wrong, I love ARs, but they aren't the best all-weather rifles available.
I would be hard pressed to go with an AK unless you have a Saiga. They are made better and are much more accurate. If you are going to need it as a food getter too you have to have more accuracy than a stock AK or SKS either one. I would still go with my Stag.
 

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thx997303 said:
I don't know you guys, I can hit a 55 gallon drum at 500 meters with my SKS. People and their accuracy myths.
Of coarse it depends on the shooter but the original poster is getting advise on his first and right now only rifle. He may not be able to hit a 55 gallon drum (much bigger than a deer) at 200 meters. Im just trying to get him set up so we know it's user error if he misses.
:fudd:
 

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MarshallDodge said:
GeneticsDave said:
But for when the world falls apart, something a little more rustic and beefy would be my choice. Plainly stated, I would get an AK-47, possibly an SKS, but more likely an AK. It fires when it's full of mud, it's easy to maintain and shoot, it's fairly accurate, it's got a good caliber round and it's quite a bit cheaper than the AR. Plus, the AR is a barbie doll gun, much less reliable than the AK. Don't get me wrong, I love ARs, but they aren't the best all-weather rifles available.
Dave, how do you know this for sure? Did you read it on the Internet or do you own an AR-15? :roll: :p

I never understood the "dragged through the mud" argument. Your gun is your life and if you decide to drag it through the mud or mis-treat it you are going to have problems no matter what make or model it is. If you take care of the gun it will take care of you.

The AR platform has much tighter tolerances than the AK and so it must be kept cleaner but it also makes for a much more accurate rifle. Accuracy is a huge issue in my opinion and will only help you in a firefight or harvesting food.
Yes, I do have an AR at the moment, I'm building a second. I agree with the ammo issue, 5.56 is going to be easier to get than 7.62x39. I guess what I was trying to say is that you can get a nice AK for about $600, whereas a nice AR is going to be about $900 (yes I know there are cheaper ones, but there are cheaper AKs too).

Both are good options, like I said, I am building a new AR, not an AK - so there's what I want. But it seems that an AK would fare better in a crud hits the fan scenario because you might not have the time or materials to upkeep a rifle as well as you can now. It's just my opinion, and yes, I am versed in both rifles.
 

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FBMG Smithy said:
thx997303 said:
I don't know you guys, I can hit a 55 gallon drum at 500 meters with my SKS. People and their accuracy myths.
Of coarse it depends on the shooter but the original poster is getting advise on his first and right now only rifle. He may not be able to hit a 55 gallon drum (much bigger than a deer) at 200 meters. Im just trying to get him set up so we know it's user error if he misses.
:fudd:
Uh, how often do you see 55 gallon drums? They are actually smaller than deer. probably around 4 ft tall, and about 2-3 ft wide.

I understand trying to set him up with a good gun, but people keep perpetuating the myth that SKS and AKs are horribly inaccurate.

Because of these myths, I was very surprised at that sort of performance.
 

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AR-15.

Some of these are points others have already made but here are my reasons why:

1. Most popular assault-rifle platform. Parts are EASY to come by. Most likely your neighbor has one too....
2. AR's are very reliable. As someone else already said, why would you be dragging your rifle through the mud anyway. If you really get down to it, you can completely clean an AR in about 2 minutes if for some reason you do decide to drag it through the mud. AR-15's are VERY reliable rifles.
3. Ammo. Not the cheapest, not the most expensive, but generally readily available.
4. Upgrades options and versatility. You can customize and tweak and AR to do darn near whatever you want. Within 15 seconds I can have my AR go from a long range gun with a nice optic, to a close quarter combat rifle.
5. Size and weight. Don't get much better than an AR here, especially if you expect to be dragging it around. Also my 8 year-old can handle my AR, not sure he would do so well with an AK. An AR can easily be handled by almost any man, women, or child.
6. Hunting. A .223 will take down a deer, as long as you can shoot your gun accurately. An AR will also take down smaller game without blowing them to bits.

Most important IMO however is this: Whatever you buy, have ammo and spare parts stockpiled. I have enough parts to replace every single moving part in my AR's at least 3 times. I also try to keep a good stock of ammo on hand. Most likely if the zombies attack, ammo is going to be the hardest thing to come by and the quickest thing to go. Ammo will become more valuable than the gun IMO.
 

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Good post PW.

thx997303 said:
I understand trying to set him up with a good gun, but people keep perpetuating the myth that SKS and AKs are horribly inaccurate.

Because of these myths, I was very surprised at that sort of performance.
I didn't realize that hitting a 55 gallon drum at 500 meters was the new accuracy standard. How about a pop can at 100 yards? :wink: :lol2:

Seriously, I didn't see anyone on here saying the AK was innacurate, we all said the AR is more accurate.

Is an SKS or AK accurate enough to go deer hunting? Maybe, but you should know your gun and it's capabilities before making the purchase. In the initial request he said that he wanted to do some target shooting so I made a recommendation for a gun that would perform better on paper.
 

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MarshallDodge said:
Good post PW.

thx997303 said:
I understand trying to set him up with a good gun, but people keep perpetuating the myth that SKS and AKs are horribly inaccurate.

Because of these myths, I was very surprised at that sort of performance.
I didn't realize that hitting a 55 gallon drum at 500 meters was the new accuracy standard. How about a pop can at 100 yards? :wink: :lol2:

Seriously, I didn't see anyone on here saying the AK was innacurate, we all said the AR is more accurate.

Is an SKS or AK accurate enough to go deer hunting? Maybe, but you should know your gun and it's capabilities before making the purchase. In the initial request he said that he wanted to do some target shooting so I made a recommendation for a gun that would perform better on paper.
+1 and thanks for the back up. It was well put.
 
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