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Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated Centerfire rifles, carbines and other gas operated rifles.

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  #1  
Old 03-13-2008, 12:41 AM
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Default Best semi-auto rifle chambered in 5.56 under $400?

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?
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  #2  
Old 03-13-2008, 12:56 AM
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A better budget?
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  #3  
Old 03-13-2008, 12:59 AM
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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
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Old 03-13-2008, 1:00 AM
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if he's on that budget he better not get anything above a 10/22. lol
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  #5  
Old 03-13-2008, 1:02 AM
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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.

Last edited by Fobjoe; 03-13-2008 at 1:05 AM..
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  #6  
Old 03-13-2008, 1:09 AM
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The only thing in that range is a Saiga.
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Old 03-13-2008, 1:13 AM
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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.
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Old 03-13-2008, 1:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technique View Post
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?
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  #9  
Old 03-13-2008, 1:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder View Post
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.
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  #10  
Old 03-13-2008, 6:09 AM
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Originally Posted by uclaplinker View Post
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.
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  #11  
Old 03-13-2008, 6:38 AM
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I'd get a SKS, Saiga or jut wait until he gets more money.
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  #12  
Old 03-13-2008, 6:43 AM
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Tell him to wait until he gets more money....
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  #13  
Old 03-13-2008, 7:48 AM
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Originally Posted by brokestudent12 View Post
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?
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  #14  
Old 03-13-2008, 7:49 AM
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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/viewtop...?f=122&t=31796
The poster, Dstorm1911 is a well know AK builder and guru.

Last edited by joe_sun; 03-13-2008 at 7:57 AM..
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  #15  
Old 03-13-2008, 8:07 AM
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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.
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  #16  
Old 03-13-2008, 8:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by What Just Happened? View Post
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.
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  #17  
Old 03-13-2008, 8:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonov View Post
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.
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  #18  
Old 03-13-2008, 9:04 AM
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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 .

Last edited by hoozaru; 03-13-2008 at 9:09 AM..
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  #19  
Old 03-13-2008, 9:31 AM
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Used Mini from Gunbroker or perhaps perfectunion.com
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  #20  
Old 03-13-2008, 9:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonov View Post
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.
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  #21  
Old 03-13-2008, 9:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonov View Post
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.

Last edited by Paradiddle; 03-13-2008 at 9:43 AM..
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  #22  
Old 03-13-2008, 9:49 AM
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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.
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  #23  
Old 03-13-2008, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonov View Post
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!.
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:11 AM
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Under $400 semi .223 = crap if you can find one. Stay far far behind your friend when he shoots.

Get something used!
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by FatOnCoke View Post
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.
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by What Just Happened? View Post
I just meant that there really aren't any options below $400.
Here's an option for $329, and it's .223.

SKSes in 7.62x39 are even less expensive.

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Originally Posted by Paradiddle View Post
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.
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 1lostinspace View Post
+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!
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:45 AM
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besides saiga, don't forget WASR-3 in .223

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

Last edited by hoozaru; 03-13-2008 at 10:50 AM..
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  #29  
Old 03-13-2008, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonov View Post
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.
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:57 AM
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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.
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:59 AM
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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
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:09 AM
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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.
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:19 AM
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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.
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Ironchef View Post
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.
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:09 PM
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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!
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:18 PM
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I vote Saiga too.

My 7.62x39 has so far performed flawlessly.
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:22 PM
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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.
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_sun View Post
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.
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Old 03-13-2008, 1:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger222 View Post
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
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Old 03-13-2008, 1:09 PM
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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
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