Friday, January 10, 2014

AR or AK


AR OR AK

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We’ve talked about this a few times before, but luckily for me things keep changing so I can revisit the issue each time with something different to talk about.  January 7th over at Rawles there was an article on a paperwork exempt AR receiver ( you drill ).  The new polymer receiver is only $60 and you can do a “jig-less drill” on it ( I’m not hip on the meaning, other than to infer it is easier and less costly ).  Apparently the U-Tube torture tests on it show it holding up better than the aluminum receivers and so the plastic receivers are endorsed by the articles author.  I don’t know about all that, having just focused on the price of the assembled gun at about $700 if you needed to buy all the drill bits and tools new ( I think I remember about a $600 price tag if you had them all already ).  If you recall back to last year’s article, a non-paper trail AK-47 cost about $400-450.  I don’t recall the tools needed for that, but let’s just focus on the guns basic costs.  $600 for an AR or $425 for an AK.  Which is better with most things factored in?  We don’t need to worry about mags or ammo, those being close enough ( you can now buy steel cased 223 for a nickel a round above the Russian rounds, so if you are planning on the lack of reloading gunpowder far into the future you can just get the disposable rounds near enough the same cost no matter which platform you purchase-just buy them NOW in case of import bans or oil costs shutting down overseas imports-in this case I’d think a thousand in debt if paid off quick isn’t a terrible thing ).

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I’ve always hated the AR for its propensity to foul quickly.  I’d much rather buy two bolt action 223’s than one semi AR.  But assuming you want to go with semi, I would recommend those over the AK.  I used to have SKS’s when they were $99 used.  After I got rid of them along with a wife, I never seriously considered replacing them.  They are just too sloppy to be accurate to any degree ( the Enfield somewhat follows the same problem, but not as severely ).  At a hundred yards, okay.  If you have oodles and gobs of ammo, okay.  But if you have a limited supply of ammo and would like a 300 yard reach, the AR is so much more accurate.  If you use the weapon as a mid range sniper/bushwhacking rifle, not fouling it with rapid fire, the AR has a lot of good attributes.  Like NOT wasting ammo.  The SKS/AK was always a short range machinegun, not meant for marksmen.  The AR is currently being misused in the same role, as the M4, but a civilian long barrel version can be used in its proper role.  By NOT wasting ammo, by making each round count, you can have half the ammunition to achieve the same number of casualties and hence the initial price premium is not a penalty.

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38 comments:

  1. James:

    You just open a can of worms.

    I'm sure not many of your minions are gun lovers but for the ones that are, you just disrespected them.

    One thing I got to say, some guns are just plain "JAMAMTICS" .

    What puzzles me is: Why do you want to shoot an anemic round?


    Bruce.

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  2. Lord Bison, I fear you have opened a can of worms with this debate......All due respect, before the tragic boating accident where I lost all my firearms I had AKs and ARs. Not the cheap Wasr-10 variety but an Egyptian Maddi (SP) and a Hungarian. I had a Rock River and a Bushmaster also. IMHO I don't wish to shoot steel cases in an AR due to the tighter tolerances and the stories of broken extractors. I stocked AK ammo at $240/1k although I haven't priced it lately. I also had 2 Russian milled SKSs that will serve as back-ups or secondary guns if the AKs fail.

    If you look at ballistic tables the AR wins in accuracy but the AK has more knockdown power. Twice the bullet weight at 80% of velocity on average. Close quarters, a lot of troops complained about less man-stopping power with the 223. My co-worker stated his Ranger team often carried AKs for three reasons. Ammo resupply, close range power, and the sound of an AK didn't draw attention of an enemy like an M-4 did. For closer in, un-scoped use I think the AK wins. Harder to jam or break. I've personally witnessed an old police partner of mine attempt to stop a chevy pick up and he put several rounds of 223 fmj into the windshield but they did not penetrate. That is why I sold my ARs. This may have been a fluke but something to think about..

    Just my thoughts. Both weapons have a place.

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    1. I agree with all. BUT. In an environment of scarcity, conserving ammo takes precidence over other factors. Post-Apoc, wounding will be far more serious and hence knock-down isn't as important. This all assumes you ain't too close. Hence, the sniping/bushwacking comment. Vehicles soon won't be a factor, but I agree with the complaints on the 223 penitration. When you can't knock down a Skinny with one round, you got issues. But again, this is close range concern. If you are far enough away, you can wait for them to bleed out.

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  3. Given current prices, I wouldn't buy a semi-auto rifle now, period. As you state, you could get two accurate, bolt-action rifles in .223 for the costs above for one semi-auto. The AK's are almost twice what they were a few years ago, and no longer worth the money people are charging for them. I got two SKS's for about $250 apiece, and thought that was on the edge of their value. There are just too many other survival tools that one could benefit from to get into a price war over securing a few firearms for one's protection. Solar power, water collection, food storage, etc. There are a lot better uses for $700 than for one rifle that is designed to waste ammo.

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    1. Waste ammo issue-the whole premis behind "Apocalypse Gun Porn" book.

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  4. OMG!!! You actually said something GOOD about the AR!

    I am shocked.

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    1. I've said it before. Great accuracy, weight, no recoil. Mared by fouling issue.

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  5. Okay.

    Bolt action vs. semi-auto rifles re: the ammo-wasting concept.

    Hells bells! It don't make a damn bit of difference which one you're shooting if you have your brain pan engaged! It boils down to the operator.

    Don't want to waste ammo with a semi... don't pull the freaking trigger so damn often.

    If you have some discipline, you can shoot a semi conservatively - and should the situation and need arise, you can shoot it really quickly. You can not, however, shoot a bolt action really quickly no matter how badly you might need or want to. And yes, I'm also referring to the Enfield-types which can be cycled "relatively" fast, but not "really" fast.

    It's the old "rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it" philosophy.

    Mike

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    1. Stress reaction is training. Most of us can't afford to train adequately. Hence, you aren't going to train to conserve ammo with a semi. A bolt will force this on you. I don't disagree that in a perfect world you are correct. Welcome to a not so perfect world.

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    2. Let me put a scenario in here (I know, anyone can create the most fantastic scenarios, so I'll try to keep it plausible).

      SHTF home invasion (or maybe not having to wait for SHTF..anyway...)..

      Three, maybe four or more determined scum crash your/my door in search of whatever the hell they're looking for.

      Given that not too far-fetched possibility, I'd MUCH rather have a semi than a bolt.

      Or even if being outnumbered in any scenario that might involve close range work.

      I'm no combat master, but I do have the capacity to choose whether to repeatedly pull the trigger or not. And I'd prefer not to have to try to flawlessly go through all of the motions necessary to try and get off 4 or 5 quick shots with a bolt if my life depended on it.

      My take - bolt action; great for hunting and sniping. Semi auto; much better for close up work and defense against multiple adversaries.

      In my view it's not so much about perfection as practicality.

      Guess it's a matter of preference.

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    3. Home invasion- have a revolver. Still not perfect, but yes, better than a bolt. The restrictions come from being cornered and not able to run and hide. Where the bolt is used, this restriction doesn't apply.

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  6. Lord Bison of the Great Basin and King of Coiffure;

    I understand the importance of maintaining multiple firearms in common calibers in order to be versatile on the battlefields of the future (read the neighborhood market and its environs). I understand the need to conserve precious small arms ammunition to persevere and outlast the skittles eaters and I understand that both platforms are the most commonally used long-guns on the planet since 1967. What I don't understand however is if conservation of small arms ammunition is paramount, then doesn't semi-auto wreck the conservation paradigm? There are many here who have done this for real as opposed to the self-styled tactical expert, schilling for some over-priced/under-performing piece of crap. I find that in my experience that when ample cover (as opposed to concealment) is available and one has friendlies adjacent to their location; bolt, pump and lever action is a better method of accurate fire-control in all cases except for engagements at the final protective line, where automatic fire-control is best for eliminating human wave assaults. Besides, this loyal minion followed your advice and dumped the costly semi-autos and embraced military-surplus bolt action rifles and or all things, a lever-action shotgun. The money was quite ample to stock up on the cartridges and besides now I really take time to make the shot matter as opposed to the programming that was drilled into most of us while we were out overseas. I'm hoping that there's a happy medium here somewhere?

    Keep keeping it real James! .

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    1. I don't think the semi and bolt people can happily meet in the middle.

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  7. You could have the best of two worlds with a Saiga in .223

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    1. Doesn't the Saiga still have a sloppy AK action?

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    2. Yes it does, but the accuracy is good though, from a reliable source at the shooting range. I know it isn't that great a reference, but at least it's a flesh & bone person (the human equivalent of a brick & mortar business). I now tend to trust people more than I trust anything on the internet (and "internet consensus" even less - in the Middle Ages, people on forums would have had a consensus that the Earth is flat)

      Besides, the Saiga is inexpensive and can handle the widest spectrum of manufactured ammunition (the homemade ammunition you don't knwo are a liability no matter what weapon one has).

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    3. Sounds like a good enough source to me, as most of us don't have much info at all. But remember, Gore Warming is excempt from the usual Internet vetting proceedure. Just accept what your betters tell you.

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  8. So, the end IS near because Jim Dakin said kind words about the AR. This is more telling than you not paying child support or that restaraunt opening in Elko. Unless, of course, you are just trying to up your comment counts. :) When the fun starts there will be plenty of ARs to be had, vis a vie LEO battlefield pickups ala Liberator pistol style. Also, night vision, ACOG scopes, vests, etc. Be patient, bwana.

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    1. Remember, I suck on the timing but the event itself is pretty easy to call, even for me. I still think the Jack In The Box Apocalypse was a good call.

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  9. I think it was Victor David Hanson's book "Culture and Carnage" where he dissected the British victory at Rorke's Drift, about 80 active Brit's held off around 5k Zulus. He noted that the American soldier of the day was equipped with the Henry repeater ( 12 rounds ) and the Brits were using the Martini-Henry (single shot). The American Henry was .32 - The Martini-Henry was .45. Shoot them 5x or in the leg once and forget them. If I'm wrong on the details, it is due to an antique memory. More fuel for the fire.

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    1. I might have to check out that book

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    2. Hanson's book is a study of Western culture filtered through its military dominance. As a counter point I also suggest "Invisible Armies" by Max Boot - this is a history of guerrilla warfare and its strength and, more importantly, its weakness.

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    3. I simply MUST have the Boot book. Just rather expensive so I'm waiting on it. I have to get over the sticker shock first.

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  10. I pretty much agree with you.

    The ammo and the scope always seem to wing up dominating most of my purchases anyway. So I would go with the better weapon which would be a piston driven (vs. gas impingement) AR if I was going that route.

    I have a bolt action .223 (not an AR). The .223 is a pretty good varmint round, and certainly can take down the smallish deer that we have a lot of around here. I think the .243 is a slightly better round over all, but I went for the more common ammo type.

    The AK round is much better for the purpose of in close fighting than the machine pistol rounds that were used in WW2, but not good enough to want to invest in such a one dimensional (because of its ballistic coefficient) round. I don't really disagree with those who choose otherwise, its just not the way I decided to go.

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    1. If I had seriously invested in an SKS arsenal in the 90's I could have had the ammo needed for spray and pray. Although I imagine they might have not survived a move or three.

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  11. "The American Henry was .32"

    I believe that it was chambered for the .44 Henry Ardmore? A rather anemic .44 rimfire, whose main advantage was multiple capacity, rather than knock down power. I do believe that all of the pony express riders were issued this model due to having to travel through hostile territory in their quest to deliver the mail.

    Looking through my 1897 Sears Roebuck and Co Catalogue (Amazon reprint) you would be amazed at how many rimfire cartridges were in use in the day?

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    1. I'm sure rimfire was an easier manufacturing method. Or at least cheaper.

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  12. in my opinion,a 500 yard shot is a waste of ammo.Can you even see a person at that range?And if you decide to fire,use a 30.06 with a scope.Even a 308,7.62 has no energy at those ranges

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    1. I'd say it would be the limit of your guns ability, not an everyday shot.

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    2. "And if you decide to fire,use a 30.06 with a scope.Even a 308,7.62 has no energy at those ranges"

      That's utter nonsense. From the chuckhawks.com website regarding 7.62 energy at muzzle, 100, 200, 300, 400 & 500 yards.

      7.62 NATO (168 grains @ 2700 FPS): 2719, 2355, 2030, 1742, 1486, 1261

      Think that 1261 ft/lbs is no energy? Ha.

      And in the Marines, we had to qualify at 500 yards with the M14, so yes - you can see a person at that range.

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    3. Perhaps he meant the 223 as far as energy. Also, perhaps at 500 yards an older set of eyes can't see crap. Just guessing

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  13. James,

    Hobbyist level response on "jig-less" -

    Jig-less means without jig (sometimes called a fixture). A jig is a device used in (for instance) metalworking that holds the work while you work on it. The advantage is that the work (in this case the partially completed receiver) is properly oriented and perhaps less prone to flop around. Using a jig will tend to produce more accurate cuts and drilling.

    I'm not conversant with the "jig-less drill" receiver, but they may have pre-marked hole locations and/or the shape of the receiver to make it easier to hold and/or work on. Just a guess on that last part.

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    1. I kind of infered the meaning but I wasn't going to show my ass writing about it.

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  14. My experience with the AR goes back to the late 70's. I personally found that a properly assembled AR with good ammo(right type propellent) would work perfect even without regular cleaning. The same weapon with the wrong ammo might not make it through a 2 day event. I learned this while attempting to coach a state High Power rifle JR team. Most of the kids hated cleaning the rifles and just blew it off or did a really quick wipe down, I know one kid never cleaned his AR the whole season and not only did it work flawlessly he was one of the two high scorers for the year. After saying all that my choice is a bolt action....

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    1. And of course, Mr. Murphy will make sure you almost never have the right kind of ammo when you need it.

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    2. My experience with AKs has only been with professionally (and reasonably custom built ones). When tightly constructed, we can get them to consistently plink mansize targets at 600 yards ...if you go really cheap, then you are aboselutely screwed, but a quality rifle, even with the surplus ammunition, can make it a reasonably accurrate rifle if an optic is used .... outside of good glass, then its limited to your own eye balls in range.

      In one class, one drill involved shooting from multiple positions, and the instructor requested that we drilled whole through the targets eyeball. Between 20 guys, the holes ranged from a single tennis- ball sized hole (extrapolate to man-size at 500-yards) to being a watermelon sized blast radius (which in our short range, would not be ammo conserving by any stretch of the immagination).

      Buy crap and you end up with crap .... buy something reasonable.... put a reasonably optic on it .... and you can end up with something that is capable of conserving ammo.

      An additional step you can take is buy a collection of 10 round magazines (keep the 30s in your house), but when you venture outside your house start with 5 or 10 rounders in your rifle (available for both ARs and AKs) ..... have the big ones available as reloads. The smaller magazines will assist with carry and getting it into action, make it easier to aim and set up your sniper hides in a hurry.

      If you are going to put your life in the quality of your rifle, regardless of how long you can without cleaning your rifle, CLEAN YOUR DAMN RIFLE! Unless you are coming after my stuff, then feel free to leave it dirty and as gummy as possible.

      C is KS.

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    3. OK, that is a great take on it all. I've only experianced the low end and I wasn't really aware an upscale one existed.

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