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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, considering what happened last night (I'm only just getting over the nauseous feeling in my stomach...), I feel it is time to acquire one of those 'Evil' rifles while I still can. I have a reasonable selection of handguns (at least to fit my needs for now), but no real capability to reach out and touch something.

Of course the only problem is that I am a grad student, on a very limited budget (so while I would LOVE to go out and get a $2k+ tricked out AR, the extra money will be much better spent acquiring 30 rd mags and ammo). I have been thinking through some options (and lurking the AR and AK forums here some), and would like to hear some opinions from yall here:

Options:

AR variant: Proven, common, but not exactly inexpensive. Can be very accurate. Standard mounts for optics, ect. What is the lowest I could go to get a reasonable model?

AK variant: Also proven and common, and more affordable. Some less expensive models are not exactly the most reliable, I think I've heard? Do most models have standard (Picatinny) mounts for optics? Again, what price range will get me a decent model?

Ruger Mini-14 or 30: Hear some good and some bad, but more expensive than what I was expecting. Good accessory availability (I think?), and not quite so 'evil'.

Kel-Tec SU-16: I've had good luck with my PF9, and the company seems to be a quality outfit. My local gunshop has them (not sure which particular model) listed for ~500, which would be a nice price with some left over for mags and ammo. Takes AR mags, and the folding aspect is useful as well.

Are there any options that I am over looking? Thoughts?
 

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AR variant: Proven, common, but not exactly inexpensive. Can be very accurate. Standard mounts for optics, ect. What is the lowest I could go to get a reasonable model?

AK variant: Also proven and common, and more affordable. Some less expensive models are not exactly the most reliable, I think I've heard? Do most models have standard (Picatinny) mounts for optics? Again, what price range will get me a decent model?

Ruger Mini-14 or 30: Hear some good and some bad, but more expensive than what I was expecting. Good accessory availability (I think?), and not quite so 'evil'.

Kel-Tec SU-16: I've had good luck with my PF9, and the company seems to be a quality outfit. My local gunshop has them (not sure which particular model) listed for ~500, which would be a nice price with some left over for mags and ammo. Takes AR mags, and the folding aspect is useful as well.
The cheapest way to go AR is likely to build your own and Brownells now has a neat video series to show you how to do it. Brownells - World's Largest Supplier of Firearm Accessories and Gunsmithing Tools

Given that the folks who make them are likely to be backordered until the next election, building your own might be your best bet.

I don't have / or know much about AKs - that's honesty for you.

I have shot mini 14s. With rare exception they are not that accurate and much harder to accessorize than an AR. And as for something being less evil - we're not talking about skirt length here - anything that takes a detachable magazine is likely to be viewed as evil in the upcoming days. This might even include bolt action .22s..... who knows....

The Kel-Tec SU-16s look impressive, but I haven't shot one.

Hope that helps,
Chapie+
 

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I too have been toying with getting another "EBR".

Currently, I have a very early Ruger Mini-14. My expereince with the Mini-14 has proven that its a mixed bag. Mine will give me 4-5" groups at 100yds all day long...hot or cold. Its pretty much bone stock and is one of the early 180 Series guns made in 1976.

I bought it for 400 bucks with several hi-cp mags and I was not expecting a target rifle. One thing I will say for the Mini-14...it is VERY reliable. Mine will spit out bullets like mad and never jams; even with the cheapo aftermarket mags. The Mini 14 is also easier to clean and the gas system does not need the attention that the AR's does.

I actually prefer the Garand's style action of the Mini-14. Since I have a Carbine and Garand...it is familiar to me. Its fairly simple and very easy to care for. I also find the Mini-14 to be a VERY comfortable shooter that is easy to carry and you could shoot it all day long. A very handy and simple rifle.

Someone told me that the newer Mini-14s with their thicker barrels and other mods are alot more accurate than my version. Bad thing is that the newer Mini-14s have gotten more expensive. Most new Minis I see are about 600-650 bucks...thats getting close to AR price ranges. A store near me, said they could order me a new stainless Mini for about 620 bucks....yes..its tempting!

I am toying with either trading my old Mini-14 for a newer more accurate model or keeping it and buying a basic Stag Model 2 AR. Since I am very familiar with the Mini-14 and have gobs of mags for it...its tempting to trade and pay the smaller difference on a newer Mini.

Check around and read the reviews...the newer 580 Series Mini-14s are NOT like the older ones. People on Ruger Forum are getting 2-3" 100yd groups from theirs, bone stock with open sights. Thats about what you'll get out of the average 800 dollar unscoped basic AR from Stag, DPMS, Bushy or CMMG.

Do your research and then decide. I am in the same boat, but leaning towards a newer Mini..only because my original has really never given me a lick of trouble.

- brickboy240
 

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I don't think you are overlooking any options...here are a few thoughts:

If I were you I would stear clear of the Mini-14's/Mini-30's. Some of the newer Mini-14's have better accuracy than the original broad-side-of-a-barn rifles of old. The new Mini-14 Target model is capable of outstanding, even sub-MOA accuracy, but will run you $750+ and has no provision for iron sights...scope only, so you need to put at least $250-300 toward a decent scope. The rack grade Mini's aren't worth a darn when it comes to accuracy (4 MOA rifles), even though they are reliable and well-made rifles.

The Kel-Tec is just a plinker IMHO and not really worth consideration. Yes, for $500 you get a semi-auto 223...but remember the old saying that you get what you pay for. They suffer from poor accuracy and, from what I am told, some reliability issues.

The AR or the AK variants are your best bet.

While the AK rifles are not known for their accuracy, they are rugged, reliable and highly functional firearms that require little maintenance and will gobble up just about anything in the way of ammo that you want to feed them. The Arsenal, VEPR and Saiga rifles are generally better production rifles than others, offering the same reliability with better accuracy (my Arsenal SLR-106FR in .223 is a MOA rifle with good ammo). If you end up with a "surplus" type rifle, the Yugo M70 series rifles are very nice and can be had in fixed rifle stocks and folders depending on your preference.

Now with an AR...the sky is the limit. You can built an AR lower from a stripped receiver and lower parts kit (LPK) for around $200, then order an upper built to your specs from somewhere like Del-Ton for around $500 or so and you are in and done with a nice AR with a couple mags for <$800 (depending on how you equip it and what, if any, optics you want to mount).
 

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If you do some research on Ruger Forums and other places, you'll find that the newer 580 Series "rack grade" Minis are getting 2-3" MOA at 100yds with open sights. Honestly, I have never gotten a bone stock AR to do much better with open sights.

And I love how all the "internet experts" tell me that the Mini is unreliable. My 1976 Mini is not accurate...but it never jams. These "experts" are probably the same "experts" that tell me that my Glock 22 is going to k-boom and the slide on my 96 Beretta is going to crack. 10 plus years later...niether has happened.

So yes, stay away from the earlier Minis, but the newer 580 Series Minis with their thicker barrels and thighter tolerances (you'll tell the difference if you mess with them) are a different animal. And still alot cheaper than the basic ARs that are actually worth owning.

Around here, the basic AR from Stag, DPMS or Bushy starts at 825 bucks and goes up from there. Many don't even come with a rear sight...so much for ready to go out of the box! The basic 580 Series Mini 14 starts at 550 and the stainless ones are 625 at our gunstores. Thats a big differnece...and the Mini has a workable rear sight.

Really, the ARs worth owning start at around 900 bucks and go up from there. The lower lever ARs seem to be iffy problem childs or no better that a Mini-14. Why pay more for similar quality? I am sure that the 900 dollar and up ARs are very fun to own...but again..they're more money to begin with.

The decent AK variants I see around here start at about 500-550 and are much rougher than the Mini-14. The decent AKs (like the Arsenal Bulgarians) are about 600-650. Good guns...but not as comfortable to shoot as a Mini-14 and accuracy is very similar or worse.

So do your research.

Also, alot of choice depends on WHAT you want the rifle for. If you want a target rifle or something to change and build on...spend mor and get the AR. If you want simpiclty and "minute of coyote" accuracy and want to spend less...buy a 580 Series Mini-14.

- brickboy240
 

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You can buy a stripped AR lower for about $125 and then get a rifle kit from any number of places for under $500. That is pretty cheap for a basic AR if you're willing to assemble the lower yourself.

As long as you don't get carried away, ARs aren't really as expensive as people think they are.
 

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I just built my first AR from a kit which can be had for 500 and it is an AWESOME rifle. Fun all day long... wish I needed another but I don't! Get one before they are all gone. I am in the same boat as you, a grad student so I understand the stress. You can pay something like 630 and have all that you need for your build!
 

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I just built my first AR from a kit which can be had for 500 and it is an AWESOME rifle. Fun all day long... wish I needed another but I don't! Get one before they are all gone. I am in the same boat as you, a grad student so I understand the stress. You can pay something like 630 and have all that you need for your build!
Which kit did you use?
 

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Here's the option I chose, being in a similar situation:

1. Saiga 7.62x39mm rifle. Can be found around $300. Better quality than the Yugo AK's commonly found at gunshows. Sporter configuration with 10 round magazines, works fine and is handy.

2. At a later time, convert to AK configuration. Depending on your choice of furniture and parts, can be done for anywhere from $150 to $500. I'll be spending about $200 when I make the conversion.
 

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How about a JLD PTR91?





EDIT:
Never mind. Pricing on these seems to have gone up a little.
 

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Starving college student?

Buy stripped AR15 lower for $79-$125.

Buy at least a dozen 30 round magazines. Get either Mil Spec or P-mags. Right now P-mags are running about $15 ea. So for $250-$300 you can get a good start on your AR-15 with the parts that will most likely be banned.

If you have a few extra bucks pick up a Lower Parts kit for $50 and a Collapsible stock for about the same amount. That puts you at $350-$400 in your AR-15 with a bunch of mags.

If an AWB comes along that requires you to have assembled your gun before the ban, you put your lower parts kit in, put the stock on, then borrow an upper from a friend. Put the upper on the gun, lay it on top of the daily newspaper and take a photo of your assembled AR15 for proof of it's birth day. Then give your friend his upper back until you can buy one of your own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Anyone have any recommendations for places to pick up lowers or the kits for the rest? I've just glanced through the AR forum here, but haven't found too much about building...I'm assuming there is probably a good build FAQ somewhere I should read?
 

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Starving college student?
If an AWB comes along that requires you to have assembled your gun before the ban, you put your lower parts kit in, put the stock on, then borrow an upper from a friend. Put the upper on the gun, lay it on top of the daily newspaper and take a photo of your assembled AR15 for proof of it's birth day. Then give your friend his upper back until you can buy one of your own.
I think what you meant to say was buy an upper from a friend. If he offers you a good price to get it back you can always sell it to him.
 

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Starving college student?

Buy stripped AR15 lower for $79-$125.

Buy at least a dozen 30 round magazines. Get either Mil Spec or P-mags. Right now P-mags are running about $15 ea. So for $250-$300 you can get a good start on your AR-15 with the parts that will most likely be banned.

If you have a few extra bucks pick up a Lower Parts kit for $50 and a Collapsible stock for about the same amount. That puts you at $350-$400 in your AR-15 with a bunch of mags.

If an AWB comes along that requires you to have assembled your gun before the ban, you put your lower parts kit in, put the stock on, then borrow an upper from a friend. Put the upper on the gun, lay it on top of the daily newspaper and take a photo of your assembled AR15 for proof of it's birth day. Then give your friend his upper back until you can buy one of your own.
Good advice. This is the plan I'm currently thinking about. I'm going to ask my boss tomorrow about ordering me a stripped lower (I work at a gun range).
 

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I am in a simmilar boat, trying to afford a hi cap rifle on a budget.
Have decided to go with a Saiga and convert.
about 300-330 for the rifle, can be had in 7.62 or .223
I am thinking about possibility of the .223, the round is a little bit more accurate inherantly, but more expensive to feed, and won't smash through trees, cars, bricks as well.
tapco fire controll group for about 30-40 bucks,
pistol grip and stock options are diverse but tapco makes low end stuff that will work to start, and run well under 100
to use hi cap surpluss mags instead of the saiga specific mags, you need to install a bullet guide, dinzag has a kit with screw, drill bit and tap for under 30 i think.
if you can do the work and have the simple tools and a fair eye you can have a reliable, hi quality(except stock options) ak style battle rifle for about 440-500 and you can upgrade and customize as money and preferences change.
dinzag also has tools to rent out for threading the muzzle for attachments, not to pricey and in my case I am thinking about doing a .223 with a muzzle break and 6 position tapco stock(cheap) to try to get my girlfriend into shooting a battle rifle that is not going to hard on the shooter.
it is a option anyway:D
 
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