Monday, May 4, 2015

AR v. AK

AR v. AK, part 96

For you few new readers, I despise semi-auto weapons for the Apocalypse. I won’t rehash the reasons- you can read my free book "Apocalypse Gun Porn". Yet, there are no longer any war surplus rifles available at a cost commensurate to their shortcomings ( my nipples perk up at the very thought of the British Lee-Enfield, my sphincter tightening at the prospect of its no. 9 bayonet being attached- yet, they are NOT worth $400 for a loose fitting shot out barrel ). The only other option for a rifle under that cost is civilian hunting long arms ( you MIGHT still find the odd surplus gun, but never much less than $300 ). Yet they have their issues. One being the less than stellar reputation of most companies, the thinking being more on the quarterly profit rather than an old style reputation. And the bigger one being, compared to military arms, they are rather fragile wallflowers. NOT what you want to enter the Apocalypse with, if you can help it ( no gun save the HK-91 generics are the perfect survival gun, and they suffer from being priced accordingly ). One option is to turn your semi-auto into a bolt gun. An AK can be rather easy, the AR requiring a gas tube block that will need a gunsmith to screw it down. To my mind, this is the way to go if you can afford a $600-$800 rifle. You get the rugged military construction, in a proven design ( in other words, you don’t have to worry about the manufacture, usually ), using relatively cheap ammo ( the days of 25 cent ammo are over-be happy it is still at 35 cent ) and, if you assemble it yourself, the bayonet option, without the ammo waste issue.

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So then, we have to ask ourselves, after choosing for the mid grade price option ( frugal-civilian bolt, mid grade-AR or AK, high price-HK91 ), which one should I pick? I actually like the AR, once the powder fouling problem is eliminated. It is light weight, has zero recoil, and shoots like a mid range sniper rifle. But I like the AK ( I owned the SKS at one time, but the systems are similar enough ) because it is built like a tank and won’t fail you in the field, even if it is a poor marksman. Will the AR fail you if the fouling problem is eliminated? Sadly, yes. It is too high tech with too many fragile parts made to too high of tolerances. Which is why it is accurate compared to the AK which is built lower tech and sloppy. The AR is far superior, in a modern society with resupply, until the thing binds up in the field from dirt and residue. The AK is superior where re-supply is a problem and a gunsmith is not around. You know, like in an Apocalypse. You can garage tool fix a few AK problems ( remember the guy building a AK receiver from a shovel blade and its stock from the shovel handle? ), whereas the AR is strictly a part replacement proposition. Now, I grant you, there will be a LOT more AR’s out there, so in theory this won’t be a huge issue. Yet, an AK won’t demand a replacement, AND it won’t jam on you in combat. I still maintain ( as shown by my choice of the Enfield over the Mauser ) that dirt resistance is still better than tighter tolerances. It IS your life on the line, not a random soldier you command.

END


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36 comments:

  1. Army expects the AR to jam every 50 rounds or so, expects it to. That by itself is enough reason for me to reject it as a primary weapon. AK's are much better in my humble opinion. Nothing wrong with a semi auto as long as you have the concept of fire control well in hand. Having said that, I am a big fan of a single shot 12 ga shotgun. Here in the southeast US, it works fine for most of the distances you are likely to engage in, and with practice, you can get some pretty good cyclic rates. Or give me my old M-14.

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    1. AR is good for resupply, being a good selling point over the AK. But that is about it

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  2. Funny James, because I came across that Poor Man's Wilderness Survival Kit in your link, by Jame's Ballou, just this weekend, and was going to recommend it to you.

    Another one that you might find interesting is "One New York Man's Journey to Off Grid Living in Montana" by Rich Scheben. I don't think that you will personally learn much about homesteading from this book that you don't already know, but apparently this guy has a rather refreshing, tell it like it is, non-pc style of writing such as yourself. And boy did he piss off a few liberals in the reviews! Despite this, the overall reviews were great, providing some hope that you just might make it to the big leagues yet! Kindle edition is only $5.00 James. I just ordered it for the assessment alone, on why modern society is so F'ed up!

    http://www.amazon.com/York-Mans-Journey-Living-Montana/dp/0578128691/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430750771&sr=1-1&keywords=one+new+york+man%E2%80%99s+journey+to+off+grid+living+in+montana

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    1. Sounds interesting, I've Wish Listed it. Thanks

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  3. Likely distance to target is worth considering. In flat, barren desert landscape, without a ream of shooters to spray rounds, I'd go with a bolt hunting rifle. In heavy woodland, AK or shotgun would be my preference.

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    1. Doesn't flat ass desert, such as Mohave, have the heat wave shimmer? Should screw most long range shooting other than from experts.

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  4. AR vs AK? Huh? BOTH. There are bunches of varients of both kinds. I like the ones with long barrels. Same as why Lee-Enfield and Mauser and M-N are good: long barrels give extra fps and reduce flash. M44 is a flame thrower and self-blinding carbine, but M91-30 is fine and has more reach with the sticker. M-4 with 11.5" barrel has muzzle velocity of 2700fps. .223 needs 2700fps to allow bullet to break up. M16A2 has 20" barrel with 3100fps MV, so good performance at least to 200M. Short barrels are accurate, but bullet performance beyond breaking paper or ringing steel are velocity-dependent. Whatever someone thinks about the AR, Unca Sam has millions of rifles and hundreds of billions of rounds, so ya gotta be familiar.

    If I had too much money with everything else bought, and needed a rifle, I'd be looking hard at Valmet, HK-91, Belgian or Argentine (pre-ban imports) FAL-pattern, or M-1A/M-14 (+ really good Taiwan clone), then the AK-74 & AR-15. Why can't I get a Chinese bullpup? Watch what the Russians use for their Specials, because they have Motivation/Funding/Skill to build-issue what will work. Watch Israeli Specials, also, though they might be confused by our donated "gizmos" that seem free.

    Regular guy starting now? Pump shotgun for immediate cheapness. PT more. Save money for ammo and training. Buy at least Level IIIa (pistol, super-light) armor, like this http://www.firearmsprostore.com/dkxmaxiiiarmorplate-shooterscut-1.aspx. Save funds and ask around who might be selling what is right for you. AR-15, probly. No credit cards, no debit cards, cash only. Cash-only for ammo, if you can get it locally.

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    1. I just don't think any other platform beats an HK, if ya got the bucks

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    2. I know a special forces guy who was in Nam as an adviser in the late 1950's. he threw away his weapon and took the dead Viet Congs AK47 and never regretted his choice!

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    3. Wasn't there an issue where they were worried the retort ID'ed them as Cong to their own forces?

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    4. I guess they were either at base or so far past the wire that it didn't matter. In any case, US combat troops weren't on the scene until '65, at least in any official capacity.

      That said, considering the AK had only been adopted by the Russian Army in '49 and the Chinese Type 56 only started production in 1956 (hence the name I suppose) and apparently wasn't dumped into Vietnam in any reasonable quantities until at least 5 years later, odds of finding one to pilfer would have been slim at best.

      "Special Forces Guy" might be indulging in a bit of "collective memory" whereby one soldier's story is recalled by many.

      That said, the use of the AK by US troops is well documented. It's worth remembering that the Vietnam war era Stoner gun was a complete fuckup due to several cost saving measures that in reality would cost thousands of soldiers their lives while they were "desperately trying to unfuck their guns". Next to that, the possibility of being misheard to be an enemy combatant might have been a relatively acceptable risk.

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  5. As to AR or AK for after lights out, your gonna dance with the girl you brought.
    if we are at this point, and you REALLY haven't decided (I doubt that), just remember, IF you live long enough, yet going to be making ammo out of scrounge cases, black powder, match heads, and scrounge lead. A good time to melt down the silver you hoarded away. Or my favorite, the old prison trick of pulling teeth for the fillings to make boolits with. Theirs, not yours, IF given the choice, of couse!
    In that case, the ability to work with dirt and BP fouling is gonna matter, but only to you. In that case AKS win, but a strong shotgun wins more.
    the way I look at it, if you shower daily, go with the AR. It has more accessories than Barbie, and just like her, it is high maintenance.
    If you forsee a future where bathing is a luxury, you need something that will work YEARS after the bluing has worn off.
    just my two cents...
    -eviltwin

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    1. And a single shot scattergun will reload better with weak case wall improvised reloads.

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    2. Another argument in favour of my all time favourite post apocalypse gun; the flintlock musket. No shells to deal with, a low tech ignition system, a shotgun for fowl and small game, or a huge lead ball for the big stuff. And if you're going to make powder, it's almost certainly going to be black powder, unless you're a chemist.


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    3. Remember "Vandenburg" with the crazy guy using his BP rifle to fight?

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    4. To be clear James, I am not advocating the use of a flintlock as a defense gun. Obviously it would suck badly for such a purpose. A bow would be even better. But in a long term, post collapse scenario, where the use of a gun as a game getter without broadcasting one's where a bouts to undesirables, it will be the last gun to still be firing, long after all the others have become paper weights and clubs.

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    5. If you are a bushwacker, a BP gun works just fine. Higher risk, but not in prime bandit country

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  6. I still have trouble believing that someone who reads Lord Bison still has not made up their mind on this decision. That is a "debate" for people with flush toilets, and 500 channel big screens, not folks who are just braiding there flowing locks, and waiting for the Persians...
    -e

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    1. I know there has got to be a single newbie arriving here occasionally. But really, the article applies to all since the McGuiver aspects of PA field maintainence hasn't been highlighted before by myself. See how I keep writing new articles? One added aspect to a horse already beat to death makes it fun and exciting and some damn other thing I'm sure.

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  7. Let's get the info right, OK?

    BOTH AK and AR are presently +/- 23 cents a round.

    YKW
    MM

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    1. Stock up while at that price, even if you must sell your wife into chattel slavery

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  8. Jim off topic here is a free book that is a hilarious post apocalypse read. http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Outpost-Scott-Freiheit-ebook/dp/B00H40LL5M/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1430794184&sr=1-1&keywords=beyond+the+outpost

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Please feel free to interupt at any time with reports of free books! Thanks

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  9. Another book that you may wish to look into at some point James: Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, By Brad Lancaster.

    http://www.amazon.com/Rainwater-Harvesting-Drylands-Beyond-2nd/dp/0977246434/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430829358&sr=1-1&keywords=rainwater+harvesting+for+drylands+and+beyond

    I believe that you now haul water from your place of employment, but you should start planning for the future for when you no longer have that job. (I know that I don't see myself being employed for too much longer?)

    I read through all of the reviews and have wishlisted it. Since I'm now considering getting some land in Nevada, I would like find more ways to maximize my water storage, and I can't afford to punch a $15K plus well. I gleaned part of the review below, and found it to be inspiring.

    By Mark J. on July 27, 2013
    "His strategies for harvesting rainwater (and other water resources) and storing not only in cisterns but--more importantly and efficiently--in the soil where it is needed were developed in the aridness of Tucson AZ, but can be adapted to other climates."

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    1. I also wish listed it. Thanks. Not cheap for both volumes, but I've wasted more money on worse books before.

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  10. The AR is not a 100% perfect system. IMO none are perfect. The AR does have several things going for it though. One being better sights and many choices of optical aids for the folks with vision probems. Another is the huge pile of spares available now. The powder fouling issue has been addressed years ago. I helped coach a state Jr rifle team years ago and few of the kids ever cleaned the AR match rifles they were provided. I know of several that went the whole season with no maintenance and they worked flawlessly using reloads exclusively. We forced them to clean them before they could turn them in. These guns were assembled by guys that knew what they were doing, maybe that was the key to them working so well. BTW, they would average 250-300 rounds a week for 7-8 months. The barrels were replaced after the season if it had more than 3k. They would shoot longer than that but we didn't want to have the accuracy fall off in the middle of the next season. Not disparaging the AK at all. I do hear a lot of folks repeating what they hear about the AR or the bad experiences they had with the floppy crap they trained with in the military. Do watch out for the junk rifles at gun shows, some of them are assembled with the cheapest substandard parts they can find. All that said, I love my bolt rifles. I have more confidence in them working and finding the target every time. Every tool has its place and use.
    Nice hair. ..

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    1. The AK doesn't require good vision-it shoots too sloppy to reward the best marksmen :)

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    2. AK-PATTERN guns can shoot accurately, just not your Paki/Afghan charcoal-forge copy. US made AK-style from Russian tooling are pretty good when newish. Finn's and Israelis did okay with AK patterns.

      Single-shot breach-loader like NEF HandiRifle in a vintage cartridge like .45-70 will work great with factoryloads, handloads with jacketed bullets/smokeless, "whatever" bullets with blackpowder in the final supply solution. The final shortage will be primers and cartidges with tight primer pockets. A couple hundred brass cartridges and a couple thousand primers will probly be a lifetime supply, but multiples of this in multiple places with spare weapon kits are cheap enough. HandiRifle is pretty reasonable, even new, when threaded for muzzle device. Muzzle-loaders are DIY, but sllllllllooooooooowwwww to reload. A full minute for a practiced 18th century soldier is too long. This is where crossbow starts to compete, longbow rocks, along with IED's.

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    3. Aren't the US AK's in the close to $1k range? Seems you'd just tack on $300 and get an HK clone. Although, if ammo is an issue, half the price for reloadable, I can see the attraction.

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    4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSuAPjw2Jgw

      I know five tenths of fuck all guys who can reasonably blame missed shots on any part of the gun other than the nut at the end of the butt.

      Personally, if I lived in the US of A then I would figure out what the local yokels were using, both civilians and law enforcement, and make that my go-to option. Between mutual aid pacts, battlefield pickups and trade it makes a lot of sense IMHO.

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  11. Your reference to converting semi's to pull bolts. The AR charging handle and pull is long and akward. Don't think its an option for an AR-15. SKS and AK? It will work.

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    1. If you are using the AR as a mid range sniper, I don't see the issue. You have time. Which you need to be using anyway, as you need great shot placement to compensate for crappy round.

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  12. I like my AKs and SKS. Ammo is cheaper. $205 for a 420 pack versus $219 for a 1,000 rounds of Tula. A PTR HK clone is going for about $1000 right now. I had one. A great weapon but my department would not let me qualify with it so I sold it and bought an AR. I got rid of two ARs.I traded one for an Egyptian Maddi AK and sold the other during one of the Obama panics for $1,700. I'll likely get another AR though. People give you a hard time about Semi auto articles but they sure raise the comment count.

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    1. If all your peeps has the AR, it would be the thing to have. Damn peeps.

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    2. They do. Not just your peeps, but the armory at the local PD is full of official AR's as well as property room full of AR's. You need to be very familiar with The Gun of Bubba (and 40 years of US-Mil) as well as the SKS/AK47/AK-74.

      Add familiarity with Ruger 10/22 as well, although there will not be new rimfire available in decade 2 of the post-collapse era, and the older preserved ammo will start getting somewhat less reliable. Center-fire ammo preserves and reloads fine, but not rimfire primer. ;-( My experience with perfectly-preserved boxes of .22LR from Grandpa's basement (very stable temp, no sunlight, bone dry, paper in perfect "collectable" condition) wall locker of ammo is that about every mag has a round that needs 2 strikes from the firing pin to go off. In about every 10 mags (250 rounds), one wouldn't go off at all, regardless of being pounded and rotated. This probably okay for squirrel hunting, still better than bow hunting, but not what you want for a combat load (whatchu doin' combatin' with a .22?).

      pdxr13

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    3. Good intel on storing rimfire-thanks

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