Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Best all-around rifle if you could only have 1?

    Hello, I'm a relative newcomer to this site, so I apologise if this has been posted before (I wouldn't be surprised that it has, just I didn't see anything in my brief searching.). I am basically a handgun person, 1911's in particular are my "thing". But I am thinking about adding ONE rifle to the stable. What I'm considering is what I've started to call a SHTF rifle, as some usr that term on this forum. Basically I'm looking for something that's reliable, easy to maintain, plentiful parts and ammo supply, and would be accurate and easy to shoot. This would be a weapon that would/could be used for defense as well as a food gatherer. Also I'd be interested in what optics are considered in this same catagory. I know that there are probably as many opinions on this topic as there are guns and calibers out there. I guess what I hoping to hear are the opinions of other more experienced people, and as important, their reasoning behind their choice(s). My attitude towards this gun would be to keep it as simple as is reasonable, but it's gotta work, all the time. So there's my question(s). Any input/opinion is welcome. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Ransom, Pennsylvania
    (Lackawanna County)
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    Default Re: Best all-around rifle if you could only have 1?

    For me, the Mosin-Nagant, specifically the Finnish M/39, fairly short (for a Mosin), great balance, relatively light, excellent trigger, unsurpassed reliability in any conditions, amazing accuracy, cheap ammo, readily available parts, and it's actually chambered in a cartridge that would be plenty powerful enough for anything you'll likely encounter.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Best all-around rifle if you could only have 1?

    I'd choose something chambered in .308. Good enough for either SD/HD or hunting. Relatively cheap ammo that will be availible for a while (until Nato and half the countries in the world stop using it).

    A Mosin is a good cheaper alternative, I'd choose either a M38 or a 91/59. You can get cans of ammo under $100 (440 rounds).
    Honesta Mors Turpi Vita Potior ~ 3%

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    altoona, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Best all-around rifle if you could only have 1?

    I edited this before posting it so I dont sound like a lunatic survivalist.

    Back to topic I guess I would choose a 20" AR. Simply due to parts and ammo availability and the ability to scavenge parts and ammo from the battlefield. If I could only have one gun that is.
    I would prefer something like a G3.....but if it breaks its worthless, you wont find parts for it while roaming the countryside.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
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    Default Re: Best all-around rifle if you could only have 1?

    AK47

    “If I had to go to a planet, an unknown planet, and I was allowed to take one firearm, it would be an AK 47. When Western Civilization melts down, I want an AK 47.”

    Richard Venola

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania
    (Berks County)
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    Default Re: Best all-around rifle if you could only have 1?

    AR would be my first choice, however that being said they can be finicky and require frequent cleaning. The AK on the other hand would be a fine choice, load it, shoot it and forget about it...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Centre County, Pennsylvania
    (Centre County)
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    Default Re: Best all-around rifle if you could only have 1?

    Couple of assumptions:
    OP is in York County, PA, so if he is to hunt with it legally and at the present time, it can't be a semi automatic rifle.

    If he is only going to hunt after SHTF, then it doesn't matter.

    In non-semi auto rifles, a lever action or pump gun probably has the edge in speed. However, part of surviving is evading, not necessarily engaging every enemy. I am partial to bolt guns because of their simplicity and relative lack of many moving parts and their ability to really reach out and touch something (Before you readers get upset, please understand I fully realize they are not the ONLY rifles able to do so). KISS applies here, IMHO. Fewer moving parts means less to beak (hopefully!)

    For a bolt action, I posted some of my opinions on a bolt action hunting rifle in a different thread (certainly able to bring down any four or two legged game you might encounter locally.):
    http://forum.pafoa.org/rifles-42/132...le-page-2.html

    Much of what I said there applies here, although there could be some serious differences. OP, a lot depends on if you are going to have to walk around a lot carrying this rifle and how exactly you would employ it. Weight is important when you are on the move. Do you need "sniper" accuracy or is "minute of deer" enough for you? Lots of other questions come to mind, but others will address them, I am sure.

    I hope others with differing opinions will post well-thought out reasons for their positions. That way, you can consider the alternatives and the justifications for the different alternatives and then make a more educated choice.

    There are too many variables in your question and not enough known facts or assumptions to give you an answer that is more than an opinion (and opinions are like sphincters: everyone has one). However my vote is to "go simple."


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Henryville, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Best all-around rifle if you could only have 1?

    As stated above if the hunting will be done when there is any sort of Government than the only way to do that is with a bolt or lever action.

    I like to tinker with my guns and it is relatively easy to convert a .308 Mauser into a scout rifle. Gives you the ability to knock down any game in the US yet with stripper clips and fast target aquisition can be used for self defense. (as good as any non semi-auto could do)

    If your hunting will be done after SHTF and you would use a semi-auto then I would choose an AK-47. One with a side mount would allow you to use several different optics depending on the task. I have a Saiga AK with a 1-4x32 scope on it. With no magnification it is a very fast shooter which would be great for defensive use and just turn up the power for longer distance or more accurate shots as needed. If (or when ) the scope fails it takes less than ten seconds to pull the whole thing off and go to iron sights.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Pittsburgh Area, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
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    Default Re: Best all-around rifle if you could only have 1?

    Yeah, living in PA throws things off b/c semi-autos are illegal for hunting. So inside PA I'd go with a Lee Enfield in .308 Winchester. Arguably the best battle rifle of its time, great for hunting, useful out past 500 yards, caliber good for anything in North America including moose and grizzlies, fast cycling bolt action, not bad price at $300-$400.

    Outside PA I'd go with an M1A for all the same reasons except the last two, plus all the advantages of the M1 plus detachable magazines and improved gas system. Still affordable, albeit pricey, around $1,500.
    The military deciding policy is like your fork deciding what's for dinner.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    (Lancaster County)
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    Default Re: Best all-around rifle if you could only have 1?

    Right now, my favorite rifle is my Spanish FR-8.
    It is a Spanish Mauser rechambered (by the Spanish) to 7.62 NATO with a CETME barrel.
    No scope, but a fine all around weapon with good (useable) iron sights.
    I could put a scout scope on it, but that would require removing the upper forgrip.
    I really don't want to take it out of its original configuration at this time.

    I have a Longbranch No.4 Enfield rechambered in 7.62x39 and set up as a scout.
    Very handy, accurate, and quick.
    About the ballistics of a 30/30, uses single stack WASR mags.

    I also love my trusty old 91/30.
    Really accurate rifle.
    Not as smoth or handy as the FR-8 or Enfield, but the ammo and rifle cost really makes up allot of the difference.
    For the intro price of either of the other rifles, I could have a 91/30 and over 1000 rounds of ammunition.

    All three of the rifles I mentioned have numerous spare parts available out there.

    I excluded all of my semi auto rifles from this discussion because of the hunting regulations in PA.
    AFAIAC an all around rifle would have be useful now in the real world, and semi autos don't fit the bill because of their current legal status as a hunting rifle.

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