$400 SNIPER part 2
Okay, you understand that I despise the M-16. It is meant to spew out large quantities of ammunition ( I mean, DUH, it’s an attempt at an assault rifle and that is what they do ) which is fine in an Oil Age, but the inherent weakness of the design is that it fouls easily. More firing, more fouling, quicker jams in combat. And since the Army itself has NEVER seen a wet dream they don’t want to hump up by waking up and jerking off, they use the wrong kind of ammunition in it so that you need a triple tap to drop a Skinny. That said, and the above the reason I won’t buy one ( besides the whole semi-auto aspect ), they are in many ways a superior weapon. They are amazingly accurate, something an AK or an Enfield can’t brag about ( both are meant for volley fire, anyway ). They have close to zero recoil ( which helps immensely getting that accuracy it is capable of ). Unlike the Enfield, the place is positively buried in a surplus of spare parts for them. I don’t consider their weight an advantage as while nice to go hiking with, it doesn’t serve well as a secondary melee weapon ( buttstroking and bayoneting ). But, germane to this article, getting back to positives, they are almost criminally under priced.
Last weeks weekend newspaper ( before it was mandatory to save money-screw the trees, it cost money!-our local paper always had a weekend edition out on Saturday. Never a Sunday paper. Things were a bit more relaxed and lacked being newsworthy back when the gold sector wasn’t booming ) had an insert ad for a ranch store offering an AR-15 for $429! Okay, granted, it isn’t exactly an even $400 as the title titillated you with. With the fed background check of $25 and the $30 sales tax it is a $484 weapon. But, $429 sounds so temptingly bargain worthy notable I couldn’t help a bit of hyperbole. When I got out of the military in the eighties, in California used rifles were going for $500. That’s a lot of inflation between then and now and the AR beat the Fed’s Humpery. Back then it took a months wages to procure the firearm and now it takes barely over a third ( of course, the same claim can be made for the war surplus rifles, but it is still fascinating to me that something besides microchips and fracking oil are down in purchasing power ).
Of course, you MUST keep in mind that beyond patents expiring or mass market demand or commoditization, one of the reasons the price has fallen is that quality has suffered. Buying a $400 AR is a bit of a risk to your health in a long enough time period. BUT! You must factor in your risks ( plural ). Do you risk running out of ammo because yours is twice the price of 223? Do you risk not hitting diddly and being hit in return? Do you risk not having a distance shooter and being stuck with a rimfire or shotgun? Is the poor quality a better risk to shoulder, for you? If you can accept the trade-off’s, a $400 sniper might just be what the doctor ordered. Before you go running down to the store, wife’s Emergency Only credit card greedily clutched to your heaving chest adorned with erect nipples, you are NOT, and let me repeat this because you can’t hear me with the blood pouring through your ears, NOT!, buying a big and bad and mighty and righteous Rambo killing machine semi-automatic death dealer assault rifle. You are buying a mid range sniping rifle.
If you can’t grasp the tactical necessity of this, do NOT ( blah, blah, repeat…) NOT buy a cheap AR. You will wildly spray rounds out of this less than one hundred percent quality carbine and a part will fail on you from over use. If you are slowly sniping with this, however, the odds are very much against a crap part going bad. And granted, this isn’t exactly a sniper rifle a professional would EVER agree to use. But you ain’t no damn sniper skill wise. You are, at best, with practice most survivalists won’t be getting, a marksmen. The rifle is good enough for you. You could buy a $900 unit with a heavy barrel, but unless that will go with your above average skill, it is a waste of money ( besides which, even high cost doesn‘t protect you against unscrupulous sellers, not in every case. Your odds are certainly better but you still have zero guarantee ). Better to buy more ammo and mags. Which, speaking of, you won’t need as many as the average machinegunner. Buy as many as you can as they are disposable items. Granted, you’ll be keeping ONE in your rifle rather than dumping or tossing or bashing it on rocks as there is no need for Tactical Reloads. Don’t go crazy, but don’t short yourself either.
A war surplus rifle is $300. They are beat to crap. I swear by mine ( when the Queen commissioned the Lee-Enfield no.4, the apex of bolt action battle rifle design was achieved ), but if you want better quality at better value and without the ammo or spare parts challenge, you want a modern gun. A single shot 223 ( break open singles have the most butt simple robust system, and should be seriously considered for post-apoc use ) is $250. Another hundred bucks gives you the option of a mag full of cartridges. But ONLY one hundred bucks over the bolt and you’ll have the most abundant quasi-military rifle of modern times ( the AK is a TRUE military assault rifle, but far from as popular here in the States. Unless the Chi-Coms attack, this will always be so. Logistics matter ). It certainly bears thinking about. As I said, it’s not for me. I want a thirty cal for my open wind swept terrain ( even if I limit myself to 200-300 yards given my middlin skills, the wind rarely wants to stop here and has some bearing almost all the time ). I want a bayonet. And I want reliability in the field ( only the Enfield and AK earned this title from combat. The Mauser, Mossin-Nagant, and M-16 have NOT. You think one firefight and then back to base for cleaning is a shining endorsement? Tell me what the guys who can choose their weapon while on extended patrol carry ). But as always, Your Mileage May Vary and an AR at barely over $400 might be the cat’s meow for you.
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