Thursday, May 17, 2018

$337 AR part 1 of 3

$337 AR

As you are all lamenting the gods, begging to be spared once again my wraith on all things AR-15, I want to talk about playing the Devil’s Advocate.  This is where you can make a case for the other side of an argument.  Yes, believe it or not, you can disagree with an idea but still see merit in it to some degree.  So, yes, while I disagree with the M-16 weapon platform as an adequate military rifle, I still see it being a viable choice.  I can argue for OR against it.  In the past, I’ve despised the weapon.  Currently, it is LESS of a bad choice given that there are not a lot of ready substitutes in the frugal weapons arena.


When compared to the Lee-Enfield rifle, the AR suffers in all comparisons except accuracy.  And that accuracy was only in the more costly versions of the AR.  A cheap AR gained you little to no accuracy increase, if you had a less abused Enfield.  But that all was back ten years ago when AR’s were not cheap to start with and Enfield’s were selling for under $150 all day long.  You got a thirty caliber battle rifle that carried a bayonet and could be used as a substitute for a bat with good effect.  For $600 LESS, you got a better caliber and a better gun for dirty field conditions.  A more perfect apocalypse gun.


Well, the only Enfield’s left are TWICE the price of a cheap AR now, and I’d wager only the really crappy ones are left for sale, the ones dug out of the bottom of the bargain bin back when they were half the price of already cheapest guns and nobody would touch them they were so abused and used past the point of usefulness.  Then there were the Mosin-Nagant’s, the old Russian bolt guns that sold for $70 and you could buy the power equivalent of a 30-06 ammo for a measly twenty-five cents a round, and that was during the ammo price run-up.


The problem with a Mosin-Nagant was that they were NOT designed with a gas bleed safety.  If the primer erupted, you only got a burned face.  If the case ruptured you got NO face left.  Granted, gas bleeds were necessary a 120 years ago because the chemistry of powder and primers were far more primitive and ruptures were common.  Not nearly so much today.  But while modern brass case ammo is safe, communist era steel cases probably didn’t have as great of quality control as other modern ammo ( nor will your improvised chemistry powder and primer ).  It seems silly to trust it.  Yet, you know, $70 for a battle rifle.


When I started buying Lee-Enfield’s for Y2K I was buying $100 rifles.  $120 for a “select” model where they picked one that didn’t rattle as much and threw on some spray paint.  I didn’t care about the accuracy or ammo cost.  I was still ahead of the game financially.  More importantly, I didn’t have to worry about the One Is None issue that all the expensive AR rifle guys had to.  I ignored the Mausers as they were much more expensive and had far more recoil, even if they were more accurate.  Pie Plate Accuracy was just fine for me.  I wasn’t going to be a sniper.


Well, we all know how much things have changed.  There are no more surplus rifles left at reasonable prices, and AR prices have plunged.  The AR still has all the issues it always has.  Accuracy is attained by using a highly engineered product.  Tolerances are fine.  It is pretty easy to get 4 inch groups at 100 yards with cheap AK-47’s and cheap ammo.  Not that AK’s are affordable, cheap or frugal anymore.  But the AK could handle dirt in the field much better than the AR.  Your commercial AR might not jam like my A1model in the military did, but it does require constant cleaning in the field.  This is not exactly what your first choice should be in an apocalypse rifle.


HOWEVER.  Accuracy is pretty darn important in an apocalypse because of your low and lowering all the time ammunition supply.  Simply, slinging bullets down range is a Industrial Economy Oil Age tactic, NOT a post-apocalypse one.  A rifle jamming in the field blows rabid monkey testicles, but if you use one forth the ammunition for the same hits, it is a foible that is acceptable even if not ideal.  It is a compromise.  As for the caliber, a carbine round is also less than desirable.  Beyond 200 yards the smaller bullet is too easily deflected.  But as we discussed with the rimfire article, put distance between you and the target, and you can wait for the wound to kill.  You don’t need instant incapacitation.


What the M-16/M-4 and the like are used for by the military is, basically, an M1 Carbine improved.  Light weight and light ammo, used for short ( relatively ) range.  What it SHOULD be used as is a mid range sniper rifle.  Short range is where the enemy can kill you with his less accurate weapon.  You want to avoid short range if at all possible.  Forget treating the AR as a superior submachinegun ( an assault rifle is just a submachinegun with better ammo ).  Who cares if it reloads faster than any other semi.  You shouldn’t be using it so that you increase its disadvantages ( dirt and carbon jamming ) and negate its advantage in accuracy.


IF, and only if you can sip ammunition with an AR instead of dumping it, you negate most of the things wrong with the weapon.  As you know, I even believe you should go so far as to block the gas tube and turn it into a bolt action, almost completely eliminating all its disadvantages.  And I won’t repeat my severe displeasure with semi-automatic.  But that brings us to the whole reason for using a AR as a survivalist gun, other than the commonality and ability to create a Ghost Gun ( non-registered ). 


And that is, at least currently, its insanely low cost.  Because 99% of survivalists have adapted the AR as the de facto rifle, so many companies sell them that they are in some instances cheaper than bolt action hunting rifles ( it used to be they were so expensive a Rugar Mini-14 was much cheaper-remember those insane days? ).  We are seeing bulk purchasing power applied to the AR and almost all of its accessories.  I don’t have to like the gun to realize its insane advantages compared to almost any other firearm.  So, tomorrow, we discuss the AR as a starter gun.  A Better Than Nothing gun, a frugal prepper gun.  How for barely over $300 you can build your own AR that is unregistered.

END ( today's related link )
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  1. Since you mentionned the M1 Carbine : interesting interview on the M1 carbine iot which it is mentionned as being expendable.

    Ken Hackathorn on the M1 Carbine: Reputation vs Reality

    I guess the m16/m4 is expendable too. AK47 was expendable from its inception.

    1. Blech-terrible sound quality. I couldn't watch it. Thanks for the link

  2. It's hard to believe that there are no comments for the B_T_N AR-15.

    Bubba LOVES this weapon! Uncle Sam has spent BILLIONS of dollars and 5 decades to make it as good as it is (which, when used/maintained/fed properly, is darn good). When you are not restricted by BATFE (or have tax stamp & armorer money), the weapon system can be everything from a pistol/SBR to a precision self-loader with 800M+ effective range with fancy bullets(but, NOT a light machine gun!). It's not a .30, but the AR was designed from the beginning to be slightly Better Than Nothing, and Just Fine when used in Squad-sized formations (of Marines) in conjunction with a SAW and/or a Medium Machine Gun (& Carl Gustov for harder targets).