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Thread: Questions About Certain Firearm?

  1. #1
    Aka Helamann ansuz crowning's Avatar
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    Questions About Certain Firearm?

    1)
    Has anyone owned/fired, or knows if the ar-15 is worth the investment?

    and 2)
    I have heard a few negative comments about 40 cal in handguns. I've had the px4 storm in 40 and have never had any problems, this bieng my only experience with this type why would people have negatives thoughts on this cal?

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    Senior Member Cygnus's Avatar
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    1)
    Has anyone owned/fired, or knows if the ar-15 is worth the investment?
    The AR-15 and its copies are generally good rifles. They are easy to use and magazines and spare parts are plentiful and cheap. Theoretically it is the best choice for a rifle in North America but some people don't like them for these reasons:

    1. the open sights sit high over the barrel (compared to rifles like the M14)
    2. although durable they are not as durable as an AK-, SKS-, FAL-, HK-, or Garand-type actions
    3. the unconventional gas system, while providing better inherent accuracy, makes for lots of powder residue in the receiver after lots of shooting
    There were other concerns about the durability of magazines and the effectiveness of its 5.56 round but these things have been improved so much that they're no longer really concerns.

    Since people seem to have such strong feelings one way or the other I can only tell you to try before you buy.

    2)
    I have heard a few negative comments about 40 cal in handguns. I've had the px4 storm in 40 and have never had any problems, this bieng my only experience with this type why would people have negatives thoughts on this cal?
    In theory the .40 S&W has more energy and its bullet is heavier than a 9x19mm but in practice both rounds are comparable with good quality ammo. With handguns I think 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP are more or less equivalent, with real ballistic benefits coming with the 10mm, .357 mag. and higher. Since 9mm ammo is much less expensive I recommend that. .40 S&W does put more stress on guns long term. Parts like the recoil spring will wear out faster than on a 9mm model of the same type (think GLOCK 19 and GLOCK 23).

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sciuirse Morrigna's Avatar
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    A good AR-15 built right is a fine weapon. The cheapest way to get a proper one is to buy an upper and lower from Bravo Company (their company brand), a Spike's Tactical, and there's often very good deals on S&W M&Ps. Don't go for the ultra cheap ARs like you see in places like the Centerfire Systems catalog.

    The thing with the .40 is that it's a high pressure round, meaning in a pistol, you get snappy recoil. In practical tests, even though it weighs more than a 9mm, and has a larger base diameter, the hollowpoints generally expand to the same diameter as a 9mm, and penetrate about the same. All this at the cost of fewer rounds in the magazine, and higher cost of ammo. Compared to a .45, you can carry a .40 S&W in a smaller gun and carry more rounds in the magazine (in some cases, in otehrs, the round count is the same). Generally, a .45 ACP hollowpoint will expand to a significantly greater diameter than the 9mm or .40 S&W, and some penetrate further, some less, depending on the exact load.

    So, IMO, you have the 9mm with good performance, a smaller gun, and a lot of rounds on one hand, a .45 ACP with fewer rounds (though guns with up to 14 rounds are out there, and a Glock 21 can use the 25 round Kris magazines), a larger gun, and somewhat better performance.

    Then you have the .40 S&W which doesn't really do anything better than either.

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    Senior Member Schopenhauer's Avatar
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    Given the choice, I'd much prefer a AK copy to any commercially available AR-15 type weapon, mostly for the AK types ease of use and the superior ballistics of the 7.62X39 round.

    As for .40s, I know the US Border Patrols uses them, as do the rank and file of the FBI. I think they're using the 180gr bullets, but don't quote me.
    Omnia risus et omnis pulvis et omnia nihil - HPL

    "Oh, you should never, never doubt what nobody is sure about." - Willy Wonka

    “niemand bleibt hier” - Maria Orsic

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    Quite a few US POlice departments have switched from 9mm to .40S&W, because of a perceived greater stopping power of the .40 caliber bullet.
    I have a couple 1911, .45acp semiautos. My stepson has both .45acp's and
    .40S&W pistols. My DSW has a couple of 9mm pistols. The .40S&W certainly have a snappier recoil than either 9mm or .40S&W.
    My DSW likes her 9mm's. I like my .45acp's and my Stepson likes his .40S&W Glocks. They each will do the job.....if the Shooter does his.
    Everyonehas preferences.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cygnus's Avatar
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    I take back everything I said in the first part of post #2. After a recent nightmare experience at the range with a top-tier (Colt) AR in which I was painfully reminded of the serious design flaws, I'm back to advocating the Kalashnikov (Schmeisser actually) look it up). The AR platform falls flat on its face for anyone not getting a constant supply of good brass ammo.

    My experience was with an AR-15 A2 Carbine that couldn't make it through 150 rounds of common Russian ammunition before locking up - and I mean locking up to the point where the gun's action couldn't be opened without tools! Unlike an M14, a FAL, or an AK, the AR charging handle (the thing you pull to cock it) is hard to pull and get leverage on, especially with a major lock-up like I had. No matter how bad a stuck case is in one of those other guns, one can always yank or kick the conventional charging handle. Also, due to the ARs gas system design, powder residue and carbon is blown back into the chamber. It's worse when dirty, cheap or mil-surp ammo is used because the chamber fouls up even quicker. Due to the chamber and extractor, the steel cased ammo casing can get stuck (after the heat in the chamber has expanded the case - not as likely to happen with brass cased ammo). These 150 were not even shot in rapid succession, one full mag after another. If they were, problems likely would have turned up sooner, because of the heat. It's ridiculous that a $900 rifle will get its bolt immovably stuck using common ammo that cheaper (and more expensive) guns digest without fail. Some people warn against using this ammo in ARs but some report that it is It may vary be rifle. Why chance it? And why not get a better, much more durable design to begin with? Get a durable and reliable rifle first, then get an AR - mostly to familiarize yourself with its operation and quirks. It is after all one of the most common rifle types in North America (but the AK is closing in: there were about four million AKs imported in the last few years alone which, I think, is more than the number of civilian AR-15s produced in their first three decades of existence). If you get an AR the best version is the full-length 20" barreled version. It's the optimal barrel length for .223 and the gas system works best at rifle length. There are piston kits that replace the original gas system and AR-type rifles done up with a piston, but it's still a big band-aid on a flawed design. Plus they're all very expensive.

    I require a rifle be 100% reliable with common ammo. Steel, bi-metal and zinc-cased Russian ammo isn't bad (not all of it anyway). It's the least expensive stuff around and some of it is suitable for things other than plinking. With the prices and availability there is no reason to rely on a flawed platform that won't use this ammo reliably. What if all you could find was steel-cased ammo? What if your carbine locked up like mine did when you actually need it? I couldn't get it open after messing with it for twenty minutes! When an expert looked at it he said possibly the solution would be as easy as sticking a cleaning rod down the barrel, but most likely it would require either beating on the bolt carrier with a mallet or even heating the chamber area of the barrel with a torch for a few seconds. Worst case with an AK would involve kicking the bolt, with most other failures (which very rarely occur) but they should be trained for anyway) cleared by simply retracting and releasing it.

    Here's what an expert with extensive combat experience had to say about the AR, actually the M4 carbine version (and he doesn't work for any gun-seller):

    The M4 [sucks]. Not only does it have all the usual problems of the M16, but it's even less reliable and durable. It's gas port is much closer to the receiver, so the gas tube is shorter. There is less space and time for propellant particles entering the gas system to fully deflagrate before making their way into the receiver, so the user has to contend with more crap gunking up his weapon more quickly. Further, the shortened gas tube significantly increases the cyclic rate of fire, detrimentally affecting the weapon's accuracy in automatic fire; increases parts wear beyond their already short lifespan; and significantly decreases barrel life. The higher RoF also contributes to more frequent incidences of failures-to-feed, because the bolt is moving so rapidly that the magazine follower springs often do not have enough time to push the next round into position where it can be engaged by the bolt face as the bolt moves back into battery. This is called a failure-to-feed. Also, the fourteen-inch barrel with it's conventional rifling does not generate sufficient muzzle velocity with the typical loads to realize the 5.56mm bullet's full ballistic potential, which is a major shortcoming. It's a status symbol. Nothing more.

    Those [police] tactical teams that are switching over to M4 carbines chambered for 5.56 NATO are doing so at their own peril. I work with these guys regularly (I used to be one), so I know the mindset and it is definitely a cult...and not the cool kind where you engage in polygyny, live in a tipi in British Columbia, and refuse to pay taxes. You'd be surprised at how many SWAT cops want nothing more than to equate themselves with some super-secret armored ninja clan (take your pick, it doesn't matter), so they have to have all the same toys. Never mind that most of them have never and will never shoot anyone with the M4 or the MP5, let alone both. Never mind that AARs on the M4 and its ammunition are disturbingly negative--those of the M16 with its longer barrel are less so as far as terminal effects are concerned. Many of us who have gone loud with the M4 are less than thrilled about the prospect of having to employ one again. BTDT. It's bad idea, poorly executed.

    How the M16/AR-15 platform functions at the local rifle range or out popping prairie dogs in the hands of the recreational firearms enthusiast is not the same as how it functions in the hands of a shooter who puts 500 to 1000 rounds (or more) through it in rapid-fire or full-auto training drills. How it functions in an operational environment when not being "properly" maintained is another discussion altogether--with some colorful expletives, I assure you. When used as a tactical weapon system, wear and tear on the M16/AR-15 results in a very limited life span. Replacing parts that wouldn't have broken nearly as soon on a superior platform is a full time job for military armorers. The U.S. government isn't spending millions upon millions of dollars in "upgrades" for the M16 for nothing.
    7.62x39mm and 5.56mm rifles are made to be lightweight short- to medium-range weapons. The reliability of the gun's action and mobility of the wielder are primary concerns. Bench accuracy is not. A carbine that is 90% reliable but extremely accurate is infinitely worse than one that's 100% reliable but merely acceptably accurate. The carbine's purpose is really to hit a human torso up to 150-200 yards away. Anything more precise is just icing. Farther distances call for something like the 7.62x51mm/.308. Although the AR is more accurate in theory, at realistic ranges, standing, moving or kneeling the AKM family performs equally well, especially when they are chamebered in calibers that are inherently more accurate (5.45x39mm, 5.56mm) and with a scope or other improved sights. There are more great upgrades to AKs now than ever before. For accuracy equal to the average AR, a top-tier hammer-forged AK barrel, like those on the Saiga, Arsenal (Bulgarian) and VEPR variants will impress, given good ammunition.

    A well-built AK will serve you better.

  7. #7
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    What do want the rifle to do?

    If I could have only one firearm, it would be any rifle platform that is loosely based on Jeff Cooper's "scout rifle" designation:

    An unloaded weight, with accessories, of 3 kg (6.6 lbs); with 3.5 kilograms (7.7 lbs) the maximum acceptable.

    An overall length of 1 meter (39.4 in.) or less.

    A forward-mounted telescopic sight of low magnification, typically 2-3 diameters. This preserves the shooter's peripheral vision, keeps the ejection port open to allow the use of stripper clips to reload the rifle, and eliminates any chance of the scope striking one's brow during recoil. Cooper has stated that a telescopic sight is not mandatory.

    Ghost ring auxiliary iron sights: a rear sight consisting of a receiver-mounted large-aperture thin ring, and typically a square post front sight.

    A "Ching" or "CW" sling. Against common practice, Cooper advocated the use of a sling as a shooting aid. The Ching sling offers the convenience of a carrying strap and the steadiness of a target shooter's sling with the speed of a biathlete's sling. (The CW sling is a simpler version of a Ching sling, consisting of a single strap.)

    A standard chambering of .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO or 7mm-08 Remington.

    Accuracy: Should be capable of shooting into 2 minutes of angle or less (4") at 200 yards/meters (3 shot groups).
    Enfields, Nagants, Mauser 98s, Springfield 03, etc make excellent scout rifles (if unorthodox). Also SKS and many lever actions can be modified to incorperate many of the best elements of the scout.

    If a weapon is inaccurate (the AK) or unreliable (the AR), why would we consider owning one or trusting or lives to it?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Schopenhauer's Avatar
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    The thing is semi AK clones aren't cheap. In fact, the prices on some of them are getting pretty close to CAR 15 money ($700+). Personally, I really don't see how you can go wrong with one, an AK clone I mean, if you're looking for a dependable rifle with plenty of cheap and readily available surplus parts floating around.

    Of course if you want to save a little dough and still get a dependable rifle in a solid chambering, then pick yourself up an SKS. I've owned and shot several myself, and have NEVER once, in all the thousands of rounds I've put downrange, had one of them jam up on me. And while some people think its internal ten round mag is a serious drawback, I'd say to them hit the deck with one and then do the same with an AK with a 30 rd mag and see which is easier to shoot prone.

    Also, the AK wasn't designed to be a tackdriver, it was designed to function reliably even under the shittiest of conditions. So yes, the looser tolerances means you won't taking the thing to Camp Perry, but then again you probably won't be sitting at the range with one one day wondering how the hell you're going to get that stuck bolt open either as Cygnus found out.

    Of course functional reliability problems with the AR-15/M-16 are nothing new, as Mr. Kalashnikov himself notes,

    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=118133
    Omnia risus et omnis pulvis et omnia nihil - HPL

    "Oh, you should never, never doubt what nobody is sure about." - Willy Wonka

    “niemand bleibt hier” - Maria Orsic

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