Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Modern Rifles, Shotguns and Carbines

Falling Out of Love With the AR

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David in MN:
I'll start by saying that I love the AR, think everyone should have a few, and it is the modern rifle. The M4 style is awesome. You can aftermarket it to anything you want. And I'll go so far as to say in many competitions it's the #1 choice hands down.

But there are some nagging things. The AR for better or worse was designed for  a 1950s battlefield in East Europe. It's a balance of options (all tools are) and maybe not right for me. The 5.56 might be ideal for a military needing to supply thousands of rounds per day or a marine on patrol carrying a couple hundred but that's not my life. Unlike a modern military my top concern isn't logistics. I don't need massive amounts of ammo.

The range is wrong too. We could argue but the AR has a 200-300 meter sweet spot. I live on 1/3 of an acre. If I needed home defense a shotgun makes more sense. Off the property I'm in the flatland of the midwest where I see for miles. If 2 guys decided to get violent and one showed up on a wheat field with a kitted up AR he'd be in real trouble if the other brought his .300 Winmag elk gun.

I spent last night at a social event and found myself talking to a couple where she is an engineer at Federal and he works for the Anoka Sheriffs. He was very curious about my shotgun expderience (I am at home with it and gave advice on building a police gun) and I was curious about his thoughts. He is building a .308 AR-10 because in his mind if he's out on the farms and needs a gun he wants to hit hard at 500+ meters. He, like me, is dead set that under 50 meters you want a shotgun and beyond that you want a hunting round.

I also have the opinion of my father, a Vietnam vet. He was awarded marksmanship medals with the M14, his favorite gun and had utter disdain for the M16 which he felt was little more than a "spray and pray" gun. I'm not on board with that but I'm not ignoring someone with combat experience who will openly voice that he had more confidence in the .308. And hey, call a spade a spade he was a 170 lb draftee and I'm a ~240 lb weightlifter. We're not remotely the same people.

I'm not trying to hate on the AR. I have some. But I can't shake that it was designed to solve problems I don't have. I don't need a military load, don't need to ship ammo to a battlefield, and never intend on using its optimized range. It wasn't built for me or my needs. As a simple example it does nothing for bear which is realistic for me.

10 years ago I was much simpler in the head. Buy an AR, slap a red dot on, and get training. And it's still not bad advice. I will build an AR with my daughter (have the lower) when she's old enough. It's a great gun and it builds skills. And it's fun and easy to shoot. I've handed mine to women in their 60s with arthritis and assured them it wwould be an easy shooter. But again that's solving a problem I don't have.

I'm curious of this phenomenon. If you had to build a "ground up" rifle for your life would it be an AR?

Alan Georges:
David, is it the 5.56 cartridge that bugs you, or the AR platform in general?

This is such a huge question you're batting around, one that has set off holy wars on other, less-civil forums.  But like you, I can see the both the good and the shortcomings of the ubiquitous AR-15.

Those are all reasons I have always wanted a PTR-91. Cheap, durable, good platform, and .308. Only reason I built an AR instead, was because you can build them cheaply, and in increments. I'm cheap, so I would rather fool myself, and nickel and dime a build.

If someone would just make a modern cock on closing bolt action rifle that would shoot as fast and smooth as the Endfield, now that's a gun I would buy. Grin

Alan Georges:

--- Quote from: armymars on November 13, 2018, 09:14:59 AM ---If someone would just make a modern cock on closing bolt action rifle that would shoot as fast and smooth as the Endfield, now that's a gun I would buy. Grin

--- End quote ---
Second that!  A nice short action, maybe a mid-range cartridge (6.5, 6.8, etc.), a few tacticool flourishes (flash hider especially), and it would be a formidable "hunting rifle."  I could see making do with it.


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