Author Topic: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?  (Read 3756 times)

Offline ghostpines

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Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« on: October 20, 2012, 06:32:42 AM »
I'm looking in the $600 range for a semi-auto rifle for recreation, self defense and SHTF scenarios. That's all I'll be able to afford for another year or two, and at this point a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

A consideration. I'm about to get married, and while my partner has warmed to the idea of firearms as a way to have fun, I'm hesitant to push her comfort level with having tactical style weapons in the house. Especially because she has a three year old son. Teaching firearm use and respect to children is a separate issue- I just don't want her to feel threatened. I bought a shotgun last year with skeet shooting in mind... I'm trying to ease into this.

If that weren't the case, I'd easily go for the SU-16C. It has the option of adding a quad rail at a later date, and I could also use a picatinny ACOG with it at some point. I also like that it's 4 pounds, uses M-16 mags, can support a 1 point sling, and possibly a collapsible stock (bug out bag ready). The downside of it being intimidating looking to a spouse also means it would be intimidating to assailants.

The Mini-14 looks more like a rifle, less combat-ish. Upside is it's still pretty light at 6 pounds. I like the action. It has a longer track record for reliability. Downside is proprietary magazines and it appears more difficult to modify after the fact... no picatinny rails, and only option is a 2 point sling. Recoil might be slightly better with the extra 2 pounds so it could be more enjoyable to shoot for longer periods, not sure. I also want cheap replacement components. I got burned with the cost of add-ons for my Benelli Nova.

The SKS seems to be the cheapest to attain, but 7.62 ammo is more expensive than 5.56 and I want to be able to practice pretty often. Other than that, I assume it's much heavier and wouldn't be fun to carry for long periods. 7.62 is somewhat appealing since it's larger, but it's very unlikely an attacker would have body armor. Quality control would also take some self education.

Any thoughts? Feature wise the SU-16 seems the best choice. Does anyone have experience with persuading their spouse that tactical carbines are wise purchases? I just don't want to regret my choice. I want to buy a gun I can keep for many, many years. I may buy more as I get other survival goals done in the future, this purchase is mainly to keep my ass covered.

Thanks!

Offline bdhutier

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2012, 03:48:12 PM »
I'm partial to the SKS myself.  Super durable, larger more powerful round, excellent handling.  They will weigh more, which will make up for the additional recoil and time on target recovery.  If that's the route you choose, keep in mind there are many different directions you can take the SKS.  There are lots of options for tacti-cool stocks, rails, magazines, brakes, etc.  There are also many different styles and national variants as well, from the 9.5lb Yugo 59/66A1 (mine), to the shorter and lighter Chinese Paratrooper variant.  There are even SKSs designed to accept AK magazines, but they are expensive and can be difficult to find. 

You can have this:


or this:


or this:


7.62 is a little cheaper than 5.56, we're talking about $.01-.02/rd (ammoseek.com).  They're both accurate rounds, but the x39 has more punch.  Take your pick. 

SKS selling point for you: The SKS is a straight up, no-crap-no-frills battle rifle.  It's built for the rigor and abuse of the field, and not for the infrequent plinking of the civilian marketplace.  My Yugo, built with heavier parts than the other variants, will last another forty years, and another forty years, until one of my idiot great grand kids forgets it at the bottom of a swamp never to be seen again.

SKS selling point for her: It's a piece of history, and a great all around hunting/plinking rifle.  Oh, and it doesn't look like a tactical/Tupperware rifle, with huge magazines sticking out (unless you want it to).  Looks can be deceiving...

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Offline ghostpines

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2012, 04:45:13 PM »
Wow... that's a pretty compelling argument. I had no idea the SKS came in so many variations. Also, my information about ammo prices must be out date. I'll investigate the possibility of hunting in the NW with a 7.62 semi auto. That may settle the issue for me, as I had planned to buy a cheap hunting rifle on the side.

Offline archer

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 05:01:14 PM »
I've always like the Monte Carlo stock on an SKS:


from http://www.sksstocks.com/ATI-SKS-Monte-Carlo-Stock-p/ati-sks0300-.htm

and here is a manual for it:
https://www.sksstocks.com/v/sksmanual.asp


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Offline Scottman

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2012, 05:11:46 PM »
Don't leave out the unconverted saiga... it doesn't look like a AK unconverted. It can look like an AK if you want it to. Price is reasonable for a new gun too.

Offline Cooter Brown

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2012, 06:35:56 PM »
RE: the mini-14;

Yes the factory mags aren't cheap, though they have loosened up a bit with sales and such. I haven't found an aftermarket brand that will work consistently.

There's a good bit of aftermarket furniture with sling options, rails collapsible or folding stocks, etc, Tapco & ATI coming immediately to mind.

Spare parts? Not so much. Historically you have to send it to Ruger for repairs. I've heard rumors lately of parts availability, but haven't seen any myself.

Despite the downsides, I love my Mini. I like the Garrand style action and the reliability can't be beat.

Part of the allure for me is nostalgic; a  Mini was my first center-fire rifle back in '76. Wish I still had that little jewel. The one I currently have in a 2008 Stainless Ranch Rifle.
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Offline Rutger

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2012, 07:24:37 PM »
Disclaimer: I own an SKS and an M14 (similar to mini14) and I used to own a Mini 14.

It comes down to what you want it for. You mentioned this is for Self Defense/SHTF. I do not have access in Canada to the extended mags for the SKS, but if you still need to load it with stripper clips, take it off your list. I have seen the detachable mag mods for the SKS and from what I understand they are hit and miss, but I could be wrong.

The reason I do not like the SKS is the stripper clip reload. Does it work? Yes. Can I mag change twice as fast with a detachable magazine? Yes. Not to mention you get 20/30 shots with the mini-14.

Now, the Mini-14 was not meant for extended shoots. They used to have a paper thin barrel (They did when I owned one, not sure if they still do) that will over heat very quickly. The mini 14 is more accurate than the SKS but still not "accurate" compared to an M16 (in my experience. YMMV).

When the shooting starts, you go through ammo fast (unless you are WELL trained). This leads me to want a higher mag capacity. If I had to chose on your choices, I would chose the Mini 14 based on mag capacity, speed of reload and moderate reliability (with good mags). I am not commenting on the Kel-Tec because I know nothing about it, but civilian target market firearms are generally less reliable than ones designed for the military.

I saw a couple of AK's on Armslist for under $600, so they could be a good option also (better than both the above IMHO). As for the wife ok'ing the tactical rifle, that is something only you can answer. My wife was not big on it, but when we had the available money (no debt, a little extra cash) I told her I was going to spring for it. That said, I had told her for years (10+), that when the time was right, I was going to buy one. Not to sound like an ass, but when it comes to family safety, I have a couple of things I will not negotiate much on. For the longest time, I had an 870 so I could take care of things around the house, so Tac rifle was not a top priority.

Offline Cooter Brown

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2012, 07:50:08 PM »
Now, the Mini-14 was not meant for extended shoots. They used to have a paper thin barrel (They did when I owned one, not sure if they still do) that will over heat very quickly. The mini 14 is more accurate than the SKS but still not "accurate" compared to an M16 (in my experience. YMMV).

The current models (2008 forward) have a much thicker barrel, but they will still start to string rounds when they get heated up good. Definitely not a tack driver, but mine will hit the 12x12 center swinger on a steel silhouette ofhand at 100 yards for 200 rounds or more. The stringing issue can be if fixed, if desired by installing that Accu-Strut contraption.

Would it be my first choice in a high round-count firefight? Not at all; but I don't foresee Red Dawn in my future and if I'm wrong about that, well I do have an AR as well.
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Offline Patriot:Ex Machina

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2012, 10:38:58 PM »
Considering your concerns voiced in your original post, out of the rifles mentioned I would strongly consider the Mini-14 with the SKS as a definite possibility.
I have a Mini-14 (a 2008+ Ranch model) as well as a Norinco SKS, and both are very reliable weapons, with their own sets of ups and downs. 
My personal choice is the Mini or the SKS, due to the fact that the .223/5.56 could be a more plentiful round in the future over the 7.62x39, and the fact that the mags for the Mini are becoming more prevalent. Some of the newer aftermarket magazines aren't bad, (just have to do your homework on which ones work and which don't).
The Mini does have a  bit more of a "sporting" look, which makes it a bit less threatening, but still quite capable of defense. As far as needing to add picatinny rails to the Mini, there are some options for that on the market now. But honestly, the main item you might really need would be a light, for bumps in the night and such. Anything else on a Mini (or even an SKS) would really be superfluous.
these are just my observations and take them with a grain (or several pounds) of salt.
 
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Offline RPZ

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2012, 11:22:38 AM »
I like the SKS integral 10-rd magazine and stripper clip system, as I like the "Garand" 8-rd enbloc clip system, for the same reasons.

You can have crates of loaded clips; packs, pouches and pockets full of them. Ready to go. There is on the other hand a finite number of magazines most people will have on hand, loaded, and will carry. When they are empty, they have to be loaded again before being of any utiliity at all. That is far slower than the strippers.

With box magazines, the loss of them all renders your rifle a single shot, and the loss of some will increase the time spent reloading them in a sustained firefight. With the basic integral 10-rd magazine and the ammo supply preloaded on clips this can never be a problem.

The integral magazine is also a minimal protrusion which is less likely to interfere when shooting flat prone or over similar profiled barricades.

The Ruger Mini is also available in 7.62x39 as the Mini Thirty incidently.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 11:32:26 AM by RPZ »

Offline Scottman

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2012, 01:44:27 PM »
What does an SKS go for around you guys?

Offline Rutger

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2012, 07:17:17 PM »
In Canada you can get new ones under $200 (Chinese). The Russian ones are just over $200. I have a Chinese one and it works great.

Offline bdhutier

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2012, 08:21:49 PM »
What does an SKS go for around you guys?

Yugos are still to be found for between $300 and $350 or so.  The others are hit-and-miss.  Add your FFL costs.

https://www.samcoglobal.com/1-sks.html

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Offline Scottman

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2012, 03:49:37 AM »
Thanks around here it seems people in the paper want about 400 for theirs...

Offline markl32

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2012, 02:44:49 PM »

I have a Yugo SKS.  I am not at all thrilled with it.  I think I paid about $100 for it many years ago.  If they are really selling for $300 then I have to sell mine and fund something else!  The trigger is horrible.  Accuracy falls off rapidly after 100 yards.  I'll grant you that its durable as hell and I have no doubt it will last 200 more years with minimum maintenance. 

I think limiting your selection based on scary looks is ridiculous, but given the choice of the three I'd go with the Ruger. 

Offline bdhutier

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2012, 08:40:09 PM »
I have a Yugo SKS.  I am not at all thrilled with it.  I think I paid about $100 for it many years ago.  If they are really selling for $300 then I have to sell mine and fund something else!  The trigger is horrible.  Accuracy falls off rapidly after 100 yards.  I'll grant you that its durable as hell and I have no doubt it will last 200 more years with minimum maintenance. 

I think limiting your selection based on scary looks is ridiculous, but given the choice of the three I'd go with the Ruger.

You aren't in south Texas, are you?   ;D
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Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2012, 09:54:53 PM »
What are your prepper friends using? I would purchase something that shoots the same ammo.
All my community prepper ants (except for 1) are carrying carbines that shoot 223. So I have both a mini 14 and the Kel tec (and a few more ;)).
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Offline SheepdogSurvival

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2012, 10:24:04 PM »
+1 on the saiga rifle, better yet get a AK74 if you want cheap ammo or upgrade to an AR. Mini-14's are garbage for the price unless you get a used one for a great deal, even then I'd resale it and get something else. SKS's are ok but I'd rather have a new saiga since the cost is about the same. I dont know much about the SU-16C so I wont comment on it other than I prefer military pattern weapons.
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Offline bdhutier

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2012, 11:07:39 PM »
+1 on the saiga rifle, better yet get a AK74 if you want cheap ammo or upgrade to an AR. Mini-14's are garbage for the price unless you get a used one for a great deal, even then I'd resale it and get something else. SKS's are ok but I'd rather have a new saiga since the cost is about the same. I dont know much about the SU-16C so I wont comment on it other than I prefer military pattern weapons.

Do you know whether Saiga use civilian or military weight components?  As an example, I was excited about the new-build Romanian M10-762.  Then I hear they used civilian weight barrels, and I hesitate.  Tons of reviews I've read say they are great, but I'd really like the heavier durability of military weight parts.  It's not important to me in a 100rds/year rifle, but in a frequent shooter, I'm looking for a long haul.

I wonder how Saiga operates in this respect?
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Offline flippydidit

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2012, 11:41:47 PM »
Bdhutier,

It's hit or miss with Saiga.  From what I've researched, the Saiga's are built on the "sporter" side of the Izhmash factory.  It appears that they sometimes swap in parts from the military side when sporter parts are not in stock, but it's difficult to find reliable information on any of it.  Some people say that all the parts start out the same and are just finished/machined differently for the sporters than the military rifles.  But it looks like most of it is just rumor.

Take it for what it's worth, but until I can find reliable HARD evidence, I'm going with military rifles.

Of some note on the subject, there are some who contend that there are barrels that will shoot .5" groups.  I call BS on that.  And even if they did, we're talking about a caliber that is really only effective out to 300-400 yards.  I'm not buying an AK platform for accurate, long distance shooting.
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Offline SheepdogSurvival

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2012, 07:53:35 AM »
Do you know whether Saiga use civilian or military weight components?  As an example, I was excited about the new-build Romanian M10-762.  Then I hear they used civilian weight barrels, and I hesitate.  Tons of reviews I've read say they are great, but I'd really like the heavier durability of military weight parts.  It's not important to me in a 100rds/year rifle, but in a frequent shooter, I'm looking for a long haul.

I wonder how Saiga operates in this respect?

Mostly military in my opinion (I've converted close to ten and own several). Keep in mind that what is military standard in the AK world has alot of variation over time and between countries of origin etc.

I look at it this way, a quality military surplus built AK is a pretty decent gun (unless the barrel is shot out etc) but it is still a hodge-podge of parts with different amounts of wear on the parts etc. How well would an AR hold up if you took old military m16's and them up hacked and mixed up the parts in new builds? Many would not even fire and would be down right dangerous to attempt to fire! The point is a new milspec AR is pretty damn reliable and tough from the factory which to me says something about having all new parts.

Although the saiga is manufactured as a sporter it still keeps alot of military parts (the receiver already has a hole cut out for a pistol grip nut). My opinion is that although all the parts in the gun may not be all milspec in shape or configuration I think the durability of the components (except plastic furniture and mags) are beyond the quality and durability of milspec parts kit guns and are usually significantly more accurate. And since it's new all your parts wear in together.

-Note I'd stay away from any US made AK barrels.   


The reason AKs have such a reputation for reliability is partially because not many other designs could
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Offline RPZ

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2012, 08:08:52 AM »
The Saiga is made from the same parts as the AKs produced in the Izhmash factory except the trigger group and the "sporting" stock components. They assemble them on a different line, but make no mistake; they are made from the same mil-spec parts as the AK100 series. The Izhmash factory does not run a separate production line for Saiga parts. The Saiga is the best bang for the buck in 7.62x39, and imo the best for any bucks.

Offline patrat

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2012, 11:36:59 AM »
Having owned none of them, and looked at all of them, I will throw this into the mix. The folding kel-tec can be transported in a much more discreet manner, to keep from alarming non-gun people. It can be stored that way too.

Offline bdhutier

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2012, 09:36:19 PM »
Having owned none of them, and looked at all of them, I will throw this into the mix. The folding kel-tec can be transported in a much more discreet manner, to keep from alarming non-gun people. It can be stored that way too.

Hehe... That's an important factor in choosing a location to settle.  Around here, people would almost be alarmed to not see a weapon!
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Offline Scottman

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2012, 11:08:11 PM »
I believe the "civilian" saigas ring your brass and the military versions don't.

How is your reliability with the su 16? I've thought about picking one up.

Offline RPZ

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2012, 04:50:43 AM »
I believe the "civilian" saigas ring your brass and the military versions don't.
Some Saigas do, because they have a stepped chamber neck. See:

http://forum.saiga-12.com/index.php?/topic/7303-case-neck-swelling-pics/page__st__60

Offline Rock Deer

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2012, 04:41:04 PM »
I MUCH prefer the SKS for MANY reasons. I CURRENTLY have FALs, I have Mini-14s, I have SKSs, I have ARs. IMHO Firearms are TOOLS. Unless you were forced to do so you wouldn't want to use pliers to change spark plugs. Firearms and the associated calibers are job specific. With that being said... One of your members said something on another thread that, IMHO, hit the nail on the head! ! !

It was something about .... "I'd rather work with a prepper that had a Hi-point C-9 and 500 rounds than a prepper that didn't have anyting because he was saving to buy a 1911 Gold Cup"

I am a type 7 FFL manufacturer. I would NEVER tell a new prepper, "Oh yeah you need to buy an AR / H&K / etc ...." I say, "Whats your budget like? Is this specifically for you? Is your wife going to learn to shoot it? How about your children? Where do you live? Do you intend to use this specifically for self defence? " and so on.

As to ammo cost
http://www.ammoengine.com

7.62x39 Lowest price is $0.21 a round
http://www.ammoengine.com/find/ammo/7.62x39mm

.223 Lowest price is $0.43 per sound (over TWICE the cost for half the bullet. Yes, I've heard the argument,"Yeah but I can carry twice the .223 you can 7.62x39." True, very true. Physics don't lie. Yet my resonce is this. "If you hit what your shooting at, I'll need half as many rounds." 62 Gr .223 VS 124 Gr 7.62x39 JMHO)
http://www.ammoengine.com/find/ammo/.223_Remington_5.56x45mm

This is ONE of the reasons I prefer the SKS. Another is a SKS is KISS simple. You can, IMHO, beat it against a tree, drag it through mud, pick it up and fire it. It will take down a deer as easily as a human. Kalashnikov built the AK and SKS for it's simplicity. He recognised the fact that at the time the majority of the soldiers were uneducated, "peasants". They were built SPECIFICLY for durability and reliability.

Please before flaming me, just please remember... This is just my OPINION.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 05:07:11 PM by Rock Deer »
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Offline Rock Deer

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2012, 04:49:35 PM »

The SKS seems to be the cheapest to attain, but 7.62 ammo is more expensive than 5.56 and I want to be able to practice pretty often. Other than that, I assume it's much heavier and wouldn't be fun to carry for long periods. 7.62 is somewhat appealing since it's larger, but it's very unlikely an attacker would have body armor. Quality control would also take some self education.

Please see my above post as to ammunition costs.

http://www.ammoengine.com/

« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 04:57:05 PM by Rock Deer »
Better to be thought a fool than open ones mouth and remove all doubt.

Type 7 FFL manufacturer of long distance rifles.

Offline bdhutier

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Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2012, 08:55:25 PM »
+1 for the links and assessment, Rock Deer!  I'm a red-rifle guy myself.  I don't hate the AR system, I just don't like it.  Similarly, I don't like Glocks.  Doesn't make them bad, for me it's a preference.

Psst: Simonov designed the SKS, not Kalashnikov.   ;)
Tolerance is the virtue of the man with no convictions.
-- G. K. Chesterton

So go do some PT, then by all means take some ninja classes.
-- Chemsoldier


Offline Rock Deer

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    • Rock Deer
Re: Mini-14, SU-16C/CA or SKS?
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2012, 08:02:27 PM »
"Psst: Simonov designed the SKS, not Kalashnikov. "

You're absolutely right! Thnx for the correction. My flub.
Yet the point stands...

He / They recognised the fact that at the time the majority of the soldiers were uneducated, "peasants". They were built SPECIFICLY for simplicity durability and reliability.
Better to be thought a fool than open ones mouth and remove all doubt.

Type 7 FFL manufacturer of long distance rifles.