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Discussion Starter #1
Have my heart set on a plinker .223. I don't hunt but do target shoot and the .223 round is pretty affordable. Not really interested in AK style rifles as I have had them in the past and the sights don't suit my tired, old eyes. I currently ONLY have a Mosin-Nagant 90/31 which I enjoy and a Remington 597 in an Archangel kit which I love to shoot. The 90/31 beats you up if you try to sling many rounds downrange and the AR15 style 597 isn't very accurate at over 50 yards (red dot sight has a lot to do with this). Anyway, I am torn between the different types of .223 rifles. If I get a bolt action (4+1), it will be an inexpensive Savage Axis XP in Camo with a low-end Bushnell 3x9-40 mounted. I know the triggers on these are not great but for fun target shooting, it is hard to justify a Remington 700 at twice the price (without a scope). The other option is a non AR platform semi auto. I have looked at both Kel-Tec SU16 platforms and Rugerr Mini-14. Both have risen in price dramatically due to the popularity of the AR platform and these being about the only lower priced alternatives. It would be hard to buy one for under $500. The AR platform is the last possible choice. I can get a decent complete lower for about $150 and an upper for $385. Total just under $550. I can also get a complete AR for $570 so I would probably go the complete route. The used AR market doesn't offer many bargains as folks think they can spend $600 on a cheap AR or put one together for cheap and then sell it for a big profit, at least here locally.

Looking for opinions as I am loathe to drop over $500 on a target plinker type rifle. I know I could always sell the AR15 for a better price (relatively) than the Savage and that does weigh on my thinking a bit.
 

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I own an AR that I bought and pllayed with for a while then put it my gun safe. I have a Howa 1500 in 223 that I picked up at a LGS years ago and have killed hundreds of groundhogs with it. It is not the heavy barrel varmit gun but it is still just as accurate out to 250 yds. I think I paid about $150 or $175 for it used.
 

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I also have the AR's in a Target gun and a spray and pray plinker. They were cheaper to get and play with several years ago. Usually here after deer season you start seeing used guns in pawn shops and gun stores. Price is usually better after hunting season and if you are not in a hurry good deals can be found. The 223 is a fun round and if you handload can do a lot. Some of my favorite 223's have been single shots in H&R, Rossi, Contender, etc. they are not rapid fire guns, but some have been very accurate. Break action guns are not as much fun to shoot groups with, but I am not into paper punching.
 

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Check out the S&W M&P Sport, they run just over 600 and it's a good budget/starter AR. I'm actually picking one up next week. :)
 

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The beauty of the AR platform is in the recoil - or lack thereof. The buffer tube, bolt carrier, and barrel are all in line, and that makes the recoil go straight back. The muzzle doesn't move much, and that big buffer spring soaks up most of the recoil. For the sheer fun of shooting, it's hard to beat an AR. And with the right barrel configuration they're just as accurate as anything else. With a flat top upper you've got all kinds of choices for optics, too.

If I was going to build one myself I'd get a barrel with a 223 wylde chamber. The leade is in between that of the 5.56 and 223, so you can run both kinds of ammo but without the loss of accuracy you can get by running 223 in a 5.56 chamber. And without the potential catastrophic failure that is possible when running 5.56 in a 223 chamber. JAT
 

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If it's between a bolt gun and a semi-auto for general plinking fun, I would take the semi-auto. If you are wanting to chew the center of the target out at long range, go for the bolt gun. If you just want to ring steel, go for the semi-auto. For bolt guns I think the Savage is the best bang for the buck. For semi-auto in .223/5.56, it's hard to beat an AR-15 IMO.

I have one complete AR and a couple builds started. If I were looking for something to put a lot of cheap surplus 5.56x45 rounds downrange, I would opt for a cheap AR. It really doesn't even matter what the brand is IMO, as long as it has all of the proper staking, the front site doesn't look canted, etc. etc.

Bolt guns definitely have their place, but for me, semi-autos are just more fun to shoot, and generally end up putting more smiles on more people's faces. The only downside is that the round count can go up REALLY FAST! That can get expensive REALLY FAST!
 

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Most bolt guns are going to be chambered in 223, so surplus 5.56 through them is a no go. I think you can get Remington's, Winchesters, and CZ's with a 5.56 chamber, but they'll cost you as much as an AR. That 223 wylde is the way to go, if you can find one in the configuration you want - be it bolt or semi auto.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I looked closely at the AR platform. elitetacticalcomponents.com sells a complete upper for $380 and I would have gone with a Plumcrazy complete lower and stuck them together. I also found a DPMS for about $570 that looked fairly nice. In the end, I decided to buy a Kel-Tec SU-16B. It has a fold up stock so I can carry it in the Goldwing's trunk, has improved sights with ghost ring in the rear, takes standard AR15/M16 mags and has a 16" chrome lined barrel. They shoot either 5.56 or .223. The gun is about 5 lbs (about the same as my loaded Hi-Point .45). I will probably wait and get the Savage somewhere down the line (when the missus figures out what I have done with this purchase). The Kel-Tec costs a bit less than an AR15. Not sure about its ability to hold value as there just are very few used ones being sold but they are a bit hard to find as demand must be outstripped Kel-Tec's ability to crank them out.

SU16B.jpg
 
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