PDA

View Full Version : Best semi-auto rifle chambered in 5.56 under $400?


JayRuff
03-13-2008, 12:41 AM
a friend of mine is looking to buy a semi auto rifle chambered in 5.56 and he doesn't want to spend more than $400, what do you guys recommend?

Spyder
03-13-2008, 12:56 AM
A better budget?

sb_pete
03-13-2008, 12:59 AM
ummm, frankly, I'd say save up more cash or buy an SKS or AK type. $400 don't buy much in 5.56. Your friend might be better served by a 7.62x39 rifle anyway if he is on that kind of budget - much cheaper ammo

brokestudent12
03-13-2008, 1:00 AM
if he's on that budget he better not get anything above a 10/22. lol

Fobjoe
03-13-2008, 1:02 AM
Saiga .223. Hell, buy one in .223 and one in 7.62x39. You'll only be around 200 (edited my bad...i suck at math) over budget but you will be very happy. If AR accuracy is not an issue, it won't be a problem.

aplinker
03-13-2008, 1:09 AM
The only thing in that range is a Saiga.

technique
03-13-2008, 1:13 AM
I just noticed a keltec for under 400.00 or it might have been 400.00 even. I don't remember. But as far as ammo, I see a box of 20 5.56 for about seven bucks, same price on the 7.62x39. Its the silverbear 62gr. JSP. My AR gets along with it.

sb_pete
03-13-2008, 1:21 AM
I just noticed a keltec for under 400.00 or it might have been 400.00 even. I don't remember. But as far as ammo, I see a box of 20 5.56 for about seven bucks, same price on the 7.62x39. Its the silverbear 62gr. JSP. My AR gets along with it.

well, yeah but many prefer not to shoot steel case in ARs. It is what it is. Reloaded brass 55gr can be had at gun shows for about $300/1000 these days. The steel case isn't an issue (perceived or real) with SKSs or AKs and new wolf 7.62x39 can be had for under $200/1000.

Why does your friend want 5.56 anyway?

RECCE556
03-13-2008, 1:55 AM
A better budget?
+1

Does your buddy know how much ammo has been going for lately? Maybe he should consider getting a .22LR (10/22 for example) instead because it'll be cheaper to buy and shoot. If he could scrape up a few more dollars, he could get a GSG-5 which is a very fun .22LR to own and it even looks "tacti-cool"...

If you buddy has a Sony VAIO TZ270N/B (U7700, 120G, 2GB, Carbon Fiber Casing), I'll be willing to trade a AR for it. :D

simonov
03-13-2008, 6:09 AM
The only thing in that range is a Saiga.

And that's a great rifle.

I don't understand all the snarky comments in this thread.

For $350, your friend should buy a .223 Saiga. I'd also recommend a Dinzag trigger for it, but that puts you just above $400.

Bizcuits
03-13-2008, 6:38 AM
I'd get a SKS, Saiga or jut wait until he gets more money.

USN CHIEF
03-13-2008, 6:43 AM
Tell him to wait until he gets more money....

Hoop
03-13-2008, 7:48 AM
if he's on that budget he better not get anything above a 10/22. lol

What he said. Maybe he should look at an SKS instead?

joe_sun
03-13-2008, 7:49 AM
The Saiga is an AWESOME rifle. It ranks up there with my M1 for fun factor plus becuase it's a Kalashnikov you can use cheap, crappy steel ammo all day long in it and it won't miss a beat.

Remember, these Saigas are RUSSIAN BUILT at the Izmash factory where they make.. well just about ALL Russian weapons. Don't let the haters tell you otherwise. These are cool rifles for $280.00

I'll edit this in as well. The Saiga has a built in optics mount and the accuracy on these rifles is just fine. We were hitting targets open sight over 300 yards way last summer. People that say the AK isn't accurate can't shoot.

Read this thread regarding AK accuracy.
http://surplusrifleforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=122&t=31796
The poster, Dstorm1911 is a well know AK builder and guru.

What Just Happened?
03-13-2008, 8:07 AM
If he saves up to around $700 - $800, he'll have an actual selection. AR-15, SU-15, Mini-14, Saiga. Until that point, the only semi-auto is the Saiga. If he wants to stay down there, tell him to switch to a bolt-action.

simonov
03-13-2008, 8:32 AM
If he saves up to around $700 - $800, he'll have an actual selection. AR-15, SU-15, Mini-14, Saiga. Until that point, the only semi-auto is the Saiga. If he wants to stay down there, tell him to switch to a bolt-action.

A lot of questionable advice in this thread.

The Saiga and the SKS are excellent sub-$400 semi-auto rifles. None of the people slamming them here can give a single viable reason why the guy shouldn't buy one.

On the other hand, there are plenty of good reasons to stay the hell away from SU-16s. They are crap.

I would love to hear the reasons why anyone would recommend an SU-16 over a Saiga or SKS.

Patriot
03-13-2008, 8:43 AM
A lot of questionable advice in this thread.

The Saiga and the SKS are excellent sub-$400 semi-auto rifles. None of the people slamming them here can give a single viable reason why the guy shouldn't buy one.

On the other hand, there are plenty of good reasons to stay the hell away from SU-16s. They are crap.

I would love to hear the reasons why anyone would recommend an SU-16 over a Saiga or SKS.

They fold in half and are probably just fine for plinking? There aren't any SKS carbines in 5.56, though how important having that particular caliber is to OP's friend is unknown.

hoozaru
03-13-2008, 9:04 AM
do not buy a saiga, the gun is way over-priced, and it's not accurate, not reliable.
if you already own one, ship it to my FFL
i will help you get rid of it :D.

Paradiddle
03-13-2008, 9:31 AM
Used Mini from Gunbroker or perhaps perfectunion.com

What Just Happened?
03-13-2008, 9:39 AM
A lot of questionable advice in this thread.

The Saiga and the SKS are excellent sub-$400 semi-auto rifles. None of the people slamming them here can give a single viable reason why the guy shouldn't buy one.

On the other hand, there are plenty of good reasons to stay the hell away from SU-16s. They are crap.

I would love to hear the reasons why anyone would recommend an SU-16 over a Saiga or SKS.

I don't mean that the Saiga / SKS is not a good rifle. Nor do I mean that an SU-16 is superior to any of the other listed rifles. I just meant that there really aren't any options below $400. The SKS is a great rifle and it is what I would choose as my first one (I'm a cheap guy), if a $100 lower didn't pop up.

Paradiddle
03-13-2008, 9:40 AM
A lot of questionable advice in this thread.

The Saiga and the SKS are excellent sub-$400 semi-auto rifles. None of the people slamming them here can give a single viable reason why the guy shouldn't buy one.

On the other hand, there are plenty of good reasons to stay the hell away from SU-16s. They are crap.

I would love to hear the reasons why anyone would recommend an SU-16 over a Saiga or SKS.

Do you have an SU? Mine ran fine after the extracter swap and was accurate enough for what it was.

I'd say the biggest reason to own an SU is the use of AR magazines if you aren't comfortable owning and shooting an OLL but you have older pre ban mags, or just want to get cheap 10 rounds easily. I agree that the Saiga is probably a better made rifle.

Iknownot
03-13-2008, 9:49 AM
SU's go for $400-500 used. It's a nice little, light weight 223 rifle. The one thing I'd watch out for is K-T does have quality control issues. Most are easily fixed (by installing a bushmaster extractor) for example, but there have been other, more rare, issues that require a mail in to the factory for warranty service.

K-T does have a lifetime warranty though, so you could buy with confidence and they do have very good customer service.

I would recommend the SU to anyone looking for a simple, lightweight, easy to use rifle. It may not be as durable (over a long time period) as other rifles in it's price range, but I think with the warranty K-T has, it really doesn't matter much.

IMO of course. I know it's pretty popular to hate the SU around these parts.

1lostinspace
03-13-2008, 10:04 AM
And that's a great rifle.

I don't understand all the snarky comments in this thread.

For $350, your friend should buy a .223 Saiga. I'd also recommend a Dinzag trigger for it, but that puts you just above $400.

+1 on the saiga mine will shoot a little over an inch using my reloads and is built like a tank, I bought mine for $279 I have owned a keltec (unreliable junk) a Mini 14 (reliable but not accurate). I tested my siaga vs my AR and they shot the same size group at 200 yards!.

FatOnCoke
03-13-2008, 10:11 AM
Under $400 semi .223 = crap if you can find one. Stay far far behind your friend when he shoots.

Get something used!

joe_sun
03-13-2008, 10:25 AM
Under $400 semi .223 = crap if you can find one. Stay far far behind your friend when he shoots.

Get something used!

So you're saying that the Saiga.. based off of the Kalashikov action and built in the same Russian factory as the AK series.. the most used rifle across the world by militaries.. is crap and will blow up?

You people are talking out of your butt!

If you don't know then don't post. The OP asked for the best .223 semi auto rifle for less than $400.00. There ARE VIABLE options. You don't have to spend $1000.00 on an AR.

simonov
03-13-2008, 10:40 AM
I just meant that there really aren't any options below $400.

Here's an option for $329 (http://www.coldwarshooters.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=348), and it's .223.

SKSes in 7.62x39 are even less expensive.

Do you have an SU?

Yes, I own an SU-16, as well as a Saiga, a handful of SKSes, an AR-15, a Mini-30, an M1, an M1 Carbine and about 50 or 60 other rifles.

My SU-16 can't group worth a damn, which is about what I expect from a plastic rifle, and for some inexplicable reason the molded Picatinny rail doesn't even follow the standard recoil groove specifications. I have heard other people have had better luck, but I don't believe purchasing a commercially made and sold rifle should be a matter of luck.

But I can fold it in half.

simonov
03-13-2008, 10:44 AM
+1 on the saiga mine will shoot a little over an inch using my reloads and is built like a tank, I bought mine for $279 I have owned a keltec (unreliable junk) a Mini 14 (reliable but not accurate). I tested my siaga vs my AR and they shot the same size group at 200 yards!.

Dude, there was another thread here recently where some guys were talking about how their $450 Saigas grouped as well as their $1,500 M1As. Man, some of the M1A guys sure hated hearing that!

hoozaru
03-13-2008, 10:45 AM
besides saiga, don't forget WASR-3 in .223

including the cost to refinish handguards and buttstock, still under $400.

technique
03-13-2008, 10:56 AM
A lot of questionable advice in this thread.

The Saiga and the SKS are excellent sub-$400 semi-auto rifles. None of the people slamming them here can give a single viable reason why the guy shouldn't buy one.

On the other hand, there are plenty of good reasons to stay the hell away from SU-16s. They are crap.

I would love to hear the reasons why anyone would recommend an SU-16 over a Saiga or SKS.

I hate keltec, I had a hard time even posting that, but for 400.00 you kinda get what you pay for. I don't have any experience with saiga, and I would definitely recommend an sks but he did specify 5.56.

caldude
03-13-2008, 10:57 AM
I'm regretting buying my SU-16, and should have gotten a Saiga (for cheaper!). I've had nothing but problems with it, either with FTFs, firing pin issues, or just general crankiness. I shipped it back Monday to Kel-Tec, so now I'll wait to see what comes back. Sure they may have great service, but I'd rather have a reliable rifle.

technique
03-13-2008, 10:59 AM
Dude, there was another thread here recently where some guys were talking about how their $450 Saigas grouped as well as their $1,500 M1As. Man, some of the M1A guys sure hated hearing that!

Were the targets 10 feet away....lol

vorpar
03-13-2008, 11:09 AM
Keltecs do not like 5.56 (at least not steel cases). My friend had a case (from Bear) break in the chamber.

The Cal-AR had no trouble with this kind of ammo, btw.

Ironchef
03-13-2008, 11:19 AM
Do we know if the OP's friend knows the difference between the 5.56 and .223 cartridges? Or if the guy wants an actual 5.56 chambered rifle for under $400, which probably doesn't exist? I'm hoping he isn't thinking he can fire his 5.56 ammo in a saiga/SU-16/mini14. If I'm not mistaken, you can fire .223 in a 5.56 barreled rifle, but not the other way around.

technique
03-13-2008, 11:28 AM
Do we know if the OP's friend knows the difference between the 5.56 and .223 cartridges? Or if the guy wants an actual 5.56 chambered rifle for under $400, which probably doesn't exist? I'm hoping he isn't thinking he can fire his 5.56 ammo in a saiga/SU-16/mini14. If I'm not mistaken, you can fire .223 in a 5.56 barreled rifle, but not the other way around.

I have heard here before that its fine with a mini, But its good you pointed that out!

And, a WASR-3 is an excellent choice.

tiger222
03-13-2008, 12:09 PM
fwiw ~ in 1983 AR15's (SP1's) were $485 and you could take them home the same day :)

you could also do ppt face to face and you used to be able to post them in the recycler!

hoax
03-13-2008, 12:18 PM
I vote Saiga too.

My 7.62x39 has so far performed flawlessly.

rksimple
03-13-2008, 12:22 PM
Given the criteria, a saiga will fill the bill. One who has a $400 budget usually won't notice the finer aspects of a more expensive rifle anyway.

FatOnCoke
03-13-2008, 12:45 PM
So you're saying that the Saiga.. based off of the Kalashikov action and built in the same Russian factory as the AK series.. the most used rifle across the world by militaries.. is crap and will blow up?

You people are talking out of your butt!

If you don't know then don't post. The OP asked for the best .223 semi auto rifle for less than $400.00. There ARE VIABLE options. You don't have to spend $1000.00 on an AR.


Yes I am! I don't believe this is a fact finding task. Just opinions!

Kalashnikov action has nothing to do with it. The Saiga is crap.
Saiga never passed my fugly test, so functionality is not important.
It's like SKS. Crap because of fugly!

Shot one at Angeles where the ejecting brasses were hitting the back cover killed one of their lights.

JagerTroop
03-13-2008, 1:03 PM
fwiw ~ in 1983 AR15's (SP1's) were $485 and you could take them home the same day :)

you could also do ppt face to face and you used to be able to post them in the recycler!


Haven't you ever heard the term, "ignorance is bliss"? You're going to make a lot of people feel like they missed out. Even guys like me, who where a little too young to buy an AR in '83. Great... now I'm bummed.:(

I hope you picked up a couple of those in '83 :)

1lostinspace
03-13-2008, 1:09 PM
I'm regretting buying my SU-16, and should have gotten a Saiga (for cheaper!). I've had nothing but problems with it, either with FTFs, firing pin issues, or just general crankiness. I shipped it back Monday to Kel-Tec, so now I'll wait to see what comes back. Sure they may have great service, but I'd rather have a reliable rifle.

I sent mine back 5 times and told them to keep it, I got a check in mail andbuild my first AR

1lostinspace
03-13-2008, 1:14 PM
Do we know if the OP's friend knows the difference between the 5.56 and .223 cartridges? Or if the guy wants an actual 5.56 chambered rifle for under $400, which probably doesn't exist? I'm hoping he isn't thinking he can fire his 5.56 ammo in a saiga/SU-16/mini14. If I'm not mistaken, you can fire .223 in a 5.56 barreled rifle, but not the other way around.

the 5.56mm chamber has a longer throat therefore more space less pressure,
I have shot M855 and M193 5.56 military loads out of my Saiga with no problems. The only thing I dont care for is the trigger pull and the dinged cases.
Over all the saiga .223 is the best bang for your buck, hell it's as good as any AR using iron sites but when you mount a scope the AR is in a class of it's own:D

mk3mitch
03-13-2008, 1:56 PM
I know everyone hates on SU-16's, but I've never had a problem with mine. I drag it though the dirt everytime I go out, it rarely jams, and shoots any ammo I put through it, not to mention you can find a used one on here for $350. Plus uses AR mags

ar15barrels
03-13-2008, 2:42 PM
If I'm not mistaken, you can fire .223 in a 5.56 barreled rifle, but not the other way around.

You are mistaken.

5.56 and 223 cartridge dimensions are the same.
Only difference is the chamber dimensions, 5.56 having more room for dirt and such.

Everyone likes to compare 223 match chambers (which MAY not chamber heavy bullet 5.56 ammo) with military type 5.56 chambers with their huge/long throats.

Any modern (produced in the last 30 years or so) 223, will probably run 5.56 just fine.
Where you run into issues will be twist rates not agreeing with bullet lengths.

JayRuff
03-13-2008, 3:09 PM
thanks for all the replies, I recommended him a saiga as well at first but he wanted something else, he says he wants it in .223/5.56 because the ammo is not on the expensive side, he wants something that has decent power with minimal recoil, he wants it as an defense/target rifle. He's a handgun type of guy. I think he might be interested in a wasr-10.

Mac
03-13-2008, 3:19 PM
....

viras
03-13-2008, 3:24 PM
thanks for all the replies, I recommended him a saiga as well at first but he wanted something else, he says he wants it in .223/5.56 because the ammo is not on the expensive side, he wants something that has decent power with minimal recoil, he wants it as an defense/target rifle. He's a handgun type of guy. I think he might be interested in a wasr-10.

Is he aware that Saiga also comes chambered in .223?

See here:

RAA Saiga (http://www.raacfirearms.com/Saiga.htm)

He can get one for $279.95...

See here:

DDs Ranch .223 Saiga (http://ddsranch.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=20_46_286&products_id=586)

JayRuff
03-13-2008, 3:27 PM
^ I think so

tophatjones
03-13-2008, 3:30 PM
You should be a good friend and warn him that 5.56 is on the expensive side these days and going up fast. For a cheap blast, try 7.62x39 or 5.45x39.

XOne
03-13-2008, 3:34 PM
Honestly, look into WASR-2's in 5.45x39.

The price of .223 is getting rediculous. Here is an example:

1000 rounds of .223 = $360
1000 rounds of 5.45x39 = $112

Josh3239
03-13-2008, 3:43 PM
thanks for all the replies, I recommended him a saiga as well at first but he wanted something else, he says he wants it in .223/5.56 because the ammo is not on the expensive side, he wants something that has decent power with minimal recoil, he wants it as an defense/target rifle. He's a handgun type of guy. I think he might be interested in a wasr-10.

How about an SKS?

The rifle is cheap, ammo is cheaper, the cartridge is stronger, and the recoil isn't that bad.

JayRuff
03-13-2008, 3:43 PM
Honestly, look into WASR-2's in 5.45x39.

The price of .223 is getting rediculous. Here is an example:

1000 rounds of .223 = $360
1000 rounds of 5.45x39 = $112


hows the recoil and power on 5.45x39 compared to .223?

JayRuff
03-13-2008, 3:45 PM
he lives around San Leandro, CA, where is the closest place that carries sks's or a WASR-2's?

tophatjones
03-13-2008, 3:56 PM
Don't know who in the Bay has what, but if you have an FFL that is decent with out of state transfer fees, you can get a wasr from ddsranch.

http://ddsranch.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=600

They also have the wasrs in other calibers and saigas in a couple calibers as well.

JayRuff
03-13-2008, 4:32 PM
Don't know who in the Bay has what, but if you have an FFL that is decent with out of state transfer fees, you can get a wasr from ddsranch.

http://ddsranch.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=600

They also have the wasrs in other calibers and saigas in a couple calibers as well.

but they come with hi-cap detachable magazines, how would he go about making it CA legal?

tombinghamthegreat
03-13-2008, 5:21 PM
Saiga since it is under 400 dollars and it is a russian made. I got a few more days before i can pick it up, the wait is killing me.

tophatjones
03-13-2008, 5:34 PM
but they come with hi-cap detachable magazines, how would he go about making it CA legal?

I'm sure Dean will work it out with you. He is up to date on Cali laws, so most likely he'll omit the mag and pistol grip. I got a lower from them, and they were fast and helpful. They even have their own section here on Calguns, feel free to ask them questions there.

XOne
03-13-2008, 5:43 PM
hows the recoil and power on 5.45x39 compared to .223?

The 5.45 is the Russians answer to the 5.56.

76231b
03-13-2008, 6:19 PM
http://www.lanworldinc.com/AK47.html

4th one down

1lostinspace
03-13-2008, 8:01 PM
The 5.45 is the Russians answer to the 5.56.

on paper it they appear the same in reality the 5.45 bullet jacket is too thick and too slow lacking the fragmentation and stopping power of .223
if you want power get a saiga in 7.62x39 and some Barnual Soft Points.