Is There Room for a Traditional Civilian Semiauto Rifle?

We live in a world today that is completely inundated with AR-15 pattern rifles. In 2016, for just five Benjamins – sometimes even less! – you can purchase your very own fantactical black rifle and rely on it to work when you need to and shoot where you mean to. I won’t try to say otherwise: The AR-15 series is a great design, and it deserves its place at the center of the US civilian market.

However… Sometimes there are people who want, or even need a rifle that’s not an AR-15. There are a couple of possible reasons why. First, the AR-15 has a distinctive look, and one that in some localities can have legal consequences. To many still, an “assault rifle” is a weapon of war, and while there will doubtless be many who rightly protest the contrary in my comments, that sentiment does affect how some willing gun buyers feel about their purchases. Maybe there is a need for a weapon that looks slightly more “domestic”?


French policemen using Mousqueton A.M.D. rifles, derived from the Mini-14. These guns were selected for their domestic looks as opposed to more offensive-seeming “black rifles”.


Second, there are concerns of stowage. The AR-15 is an extremely well-designed rifle from a shooting perspecitve, but it’s a bumpy rifle with numerous snags and protuberances that can make deploying it from behind a truck seat or other hiding place a frustrating effort. It’s possible to build an AR-15 that is much more snag free, but of course such a configuration is far from “off the shelf”.

You could build a rifle like this to take advantage of its snag-free profile, but hardly anyone will.


Recently, Grant Cunningham – steely-eyed wheelgun man and perimeter defense rifle advocate – raised another shortcoming of the AR-15: Height over bore (HOB). Essentially, the issue is that at very close distances (less than 20 yards), the ~2.6″ (6.6cm) offset between the bore of the rifle and the sights can under certain circumstances cause a round to miss – such as for example missing a varmint and going instead into the wall of a new truck bed! The solution to this problem is a design that allows as low a sight height as possible, something impossible with the current AR-15 family.

There are alternatives of course; I’m sure many of you in the comments will point out that the various lever-action offerings, the Mini-14, reproduction M1 Carbines, and even the Ares SCR, offer improvements in one or more of these areas. Each of these alternatives carries disadvantages, though. Leverguns suffer from vulnerable tubular magazines, poor durability, corrosion resistance, and parts life, expensive ammunition, and needing manual operation, while the Mini-14 and its close cousin the M1 Carbine have been plagued by accuracy issues, high cost ($200+ more than competing AR-15s), and severe reactions to dust and debris.

It seems to me that something that solves all of these issues could possibly be created and marketed at a reasonable price… But I ask: Would any of you buy one over an AR-15? Let us know in the comments!

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Juan Carlos Arreola

    I would consider buying one. Would like a mini-14, but it costs more than what I paid for my M1 Garand.

  • Kyle Blaylock

    It’s so hard to even complete with the AR 10/15 family when you consider what your money gets you; Limitless possibilities.

  • Cameron Bissell

    the BLR, Savage 99 are both lever guns sans tubes. both fire larger calibers though
    I don’t own a Keltec but they get past the problem of non AR Mags. I do like them though.
    the Ruger “deerslayer” i think was a beefed up 10/22 that ran 44 mag. expenseive but a top notch rifle.

    • The Savage 99 hasn’t been in production for a great while now, and the BLR is fairly expensive.

      • iksnilol

        They should totally revive that line IMO.

        I mean, they make 30 variants of the 110, they can make a couple of the 99. That, and the lever action is pretty short, could make an awfully handy rifle if you SBRed a Savage 99.

  • Riot

    I think the biggest problem is surplus.
    An M1 Garand has history and a MAS49/56 is another great example.

    So these would eat into the market share of a traditional layout SA.

  • Precious Mettle

    Yes. Preferably in .357 or .44 Magnum. Very low profile, under 5lbs, short. Would be my go-to farm gun.

    That, and a very light, very short 5.7×28 walkabout varmint gun.

  • Maxpwr

    Don’t worry, many jurisdictions will soon outlaw semi-auto rifles with detachable magazine in any configuration so you won’t have a choice. I personally like the Remington 7400 series and successors and used one for hunting for a while. Only problem I had was magazine related jamming, but it’s not a rifle friendly to cleaning/maintenance and doesn’t come in the popular 223 caliber.

  • politicsbyothermeans

    I would be especially interested in this if it was designed to work around the NY Safe Act and California’s incoming legislation. Flood the country with a modernized American version of the SKS (minus bayonet) at a price point at or below a budget AR. Maybe with an en bloc 5.56 clip just for giggles?

    • Twilight sparkle

      Mini 14 fed by an en bloc clip?

      • politicsbyothermeans

        I’ll be in my bunk.

        • Twilight sparkle

          It could be called the mini garand

          I’m not a machinist but I’d assume it’s doable since it’s practically the same action

        • Tassiebush

          bring back firefly!

          • Matthew Wilder

            lol..brilliant reference.

          • Tassiebush

            I liked politicsbyothermeans’ Jane quote!

      • nadnerbus

        That’s actually a really logical next step if the Cal legislation sticks. En block clips in 5.56 are the next best thing if you can’t have a detachable mag. I might genuinely be interested in something like that if it was all I had available to me in this god forsaken state.

        Better still, make them ten round block clips. 90% as good as a detachable ten round mag.

        • gunsandrockets

          You must remember though the anti-gun legislators don’t know guns or use ordinary firearm nomenclature. The new anti-gun laws will quite probably ban M1 rifles by defining clips as “detachable ammunition feeding devices”, the same way they define ammunition belts under current regulations.

          • Marcus D.

            The laws exempt C&R rifles. Pretty sure there isn’t an M1 out there that doesn’t qualify, but Springfield may have some issues with the M1A. Plus the Garand has a fixed magazine.

          • gunsandrockets

            California laws on so-called “assault weapons” and so-called “high capacity feeding devices” have no exemptions for C&R.

          • billyoblivion

            Well, technically it IS an ammunition feeding device.

        • jay

          I’d rather see the kalifornia legislature engulfed in flame, then sucked into the earth, in an earth quake, while in session.
          But the clip is an interesting idea.

          • billyoblivion

            You don’t want to burn the legislature, remember Return of the Living Dead? All you’ll do is scatter the contagion.

          • jay

            I was talking about an act of G-d happening. I’d have a full alibi, and currently can’t cause earth quakes… ;-}

  • Tom – UK

    What rifle is in the cover picture? I like the look of it.

  • Pete Sheppard

    Don’t forget the SU16, especially the C and CA models, where the front sight is part of the gas block, compared to the A and B with their tall, awkward front sight towers.
    Mine had been supremely reliable through close to 2000 rounds. The only problem I had was a fouled chamber causing stuck cases after firing steel. A good chamber scrub cleared that right up (BTW, the rifle has a chromed bore).
    NOT a ‘fighting’ rifle, but a great ‘sport utility’ (SU) arm for general use.
    With the standard stock and 10-rd mags, it’s very inoffensive looking–but takes all AR mags, for ‘serious social situations’.

    • I’d love to see something similar to the SU16, but made a bit more durable/ higher quality.

      • Pete Sheppard

        For an inexpensive, moderate-use rifle, the SU is an excellent value. I have read of users successfully running SU16s in competition.

        • gunsandrockets

          Only time I saw one it was priced $700 retail.

          • Pete Sheppard

            Ouch. I picked up mine on ’08. Demand must be picking up. Plus, Kel-Tec is not the highest volume producer

          • gunsandrockets

            Big5 sporting goods in So Cal a few months ago

    • Schnee

      I need to look closely at one, but wonder if you could make wood furniture for one of these…

      • Pete Sheppard

        It would be a challenging woodworking project.

    • Steve Prince

      I have the SU16B and it has AR sights front and rear

  • PK

    The article tags, for the love of…! Too funny for this early on a weekend!

    ” basically I am saying that no one needs an AR-15 and that we should all endorse Brady Bill Mk. II Electric Boogaloo” and “zumbo special”, indeed!

  • ProLiberty82

    Limiting our self’s because of the look of the gun is more “acceptable” is submitting to those who lacks the mental maturity to understand that the looks alone of a gun has no bearing on it’s function and further enabling and validating their ill informed hysteria. This will not pacify the gun grabbers as evident by the latest attempts of the European Union to ban all semi-auto’s regardless of esthetics, it’s just another victory for them on the road to our ruin.

    Rather, we need to condition the general public’s views on those scary “black rifles” by making them the norm. Also I’ve found that there is a “coolness” factor in the looks of modern guns that really helps in recruiting people into our hobby/sport, In my personal experience it almost seems like once you put an AR15/suppressor equipt gun in someone hands and give them a great time at the range it makes converts upon first outing, it usually ends in a “I WANT ONE!”, this effect lessens a lot by the perceived archaicness of the gun it seems.

    Personally I can’t stand those old super angled rifle grips, they never fit my hand, points bad for me and makes me shot a lot worse, in fact on my Mini-14 that I use for hunting I had to change the stock because I found it would be borderline unethically to use. I just don’t see any benefits to using 200 years old rifle ergonomics over a modern pistol grip solution for hunting, other than of course lessening some soccer mom’s anxiety by about 2% over that of an AR15.

    • M.M.D.C.

      I see what you’re saying, but sometimes compromise can be a very valuable tool in achieving one’s goals.

      As to the purpose of conditioning gun shy folks I’ll tell you what I have done. If I take someone who is afraid of guns to the range I always bring four guns: a 9mm pistol, an AR15, a .22LR pistol and a .22LR rifle. After explaining the safety rules the first thing I do is to hold the two cartridges in my hand, saying they used by the military and the cops and then show them a little 22 round. “This is what you will be shooting.” They are relieved, given a very enjoyable intro to shooting and they invariably want to shoot the centerfire guns. By the end of the day they have lost all the fear and loathing of guns.

      Sometimes giving a little can win our gun shy neighbors over.

    • gusto

      pistolgrips are not the end all of ergonomic design thou.

      And plastic, polymer and so on have absolutely no soul. life is too short to shoot, hunt and bother with ugly guns

      I have brought several people to the range, from different ages and walks of life
      for me the ar15 has not been the most popular, only with teenboys

      but even they liked the older stuff more. heck my mum has fired my 44mag rossi more than me (:

      And my antiques, a BP revolver and musket has been a hit with EVERYONE!

      • john huscio

        “soul” is a vastly overrated concept……..a s&w model 19 might look nice and have “soul” in the eyes of some, but ill take my Glocks over it everyday of the week…

      • ProLiberty82

        Perhaps needless to say, but we have vastly different experiences then. Women especially favor the AR15 over the likes of the Mini-14, finding the later awkward and fumble with it’s operation in my experience.

        I don’t believe in the concept of souls, but even if I did I would not under any circumstance apply the concept to guns, they are plastic/wood and metal, tools is all. For me, modern gun designs fits me the best and is optimal, I think it’s like that for a lot of other people to, ever wondered why you don’t see people running IPSC with a Mini-14? I’ve tried and let me tell you, it’s not about making a fashion statement.

      • James Young

        Revolver grips are often complained about with people I take to the range. I love shooting them but most others I’m with dont.

        Angled grips on rifle stocks really are not ideal. A pistol grip would be prefered unless you live in certain states

        • gusto

          depends on the type of shooting you do, and in waht scenario you are carrying your rifle

          I wouldt want a pistol grip on my bolt action, even thou I use it in both hunting and long range competition.

          I owuldn’t want a free pistol grip on my shotgun even thou I use it for both hunting and trap-shooting
          etc etc

          • iksnilol

            Yup, a free standing pistol grip sucks on bolt actions. Get’s in the way. On bolt actions an open saddle design is optimal :3

    • Porty1119

      Last time I shot an AR, I left thinking “that thing has the worst ergonomics I’ve ever seen. Screw that, I’m sticking with my shotgun.” It didn’t point right (none ever has for me), the collapsible stock made it impossible to get the rifle in a solid position, and it generally felt like it was all out of proportion for human users. It has nothing to do with looking more “acceptable”, and everything to do with not using a clumsy, soulless rifle because it’s the “in” thing. I hate AKs an order of magnitude less, same with G3s and CETMEs. American “tactical” rifles not based on the M1 action tend to be made of clumsiness and ergonomic fail.

      • ProLiberty82

        Well people who run professional competitions almost always run AR15’s, do you think that universally would be the case if they all were “made of clumsiness and ergonomic fail”? These guys make a living out of staying on the cutting edge of modern practical gun design, it can’t be that horrible.

        I get that the AR15 might not fit EVERY body type and shooting style, and it has become the du jour rifle to get, but generally, it’s probably the over all best platform to go with today.

        • Porty1119

          Those are game guns, not made for practical use. If they were truly usefully innovative, we’d see things trickling down from 3-gun to .mil and LEO use. Call me when the skeletonized-AR trend is over.

          • LEOs do commonly use AR-15s…

          • Chief

            Boom dialed, skeletonized-ar’s were never mainstream. They were hyped for a little bit on the ineternet because their pictures garnered viewers, but never commonplace on the competition (or any) scene.

      • Threethreeight

        The AK and the CETME have better ergonomics than the AR? Give me a break. Can’t you shitpost elsewhere?

        • iksnilol

          For some, yeah.

          I am not a fan of most collapsing stocks, they feel flimsy, not really stable. Then again I am used to precision rifles and their stocks. So a collapsible isn’t really comparable.

          • billyoblivion

            Different tools for different uses. Collapsable stocks let you go from 2 inches of body armor to no body armor quickly. That they are a bit less table than a solid stock, well, at 100 yards how much does that matter?

          • iksnilol

            It matters a bit when you’re firing with a sub-MOA rifle.

            And it especially matters when you’re firing this rifle at 300 meters.

    • iksnilol

      Well, it isn’t really limiting yourself. Some prefer the traditional looks or ergos. For instance, I love safeties in trigger guards. Don’t find them so often though.

      • gusto

        And I hate them even more then crossguard safeties, you shouldn’t be inside the trigger guard fiddling about

        best place for a safety is on the back of the stock in the middle like a shotgun
        Browning/savage does it well, euro guns with thumbcockers even better
        lever guns to with a real hammer and halfcock suffices to

  • cwp

    There’s certainly room for a traditionally-styled semiauto rifle, but if it’s going to be chambered in a military cartridge, it *needs* to accept an existing magazine rather than expect buyers to adopt a new one. This is not optional. 5.56 rifles should use AR magazines. 7.62×51 rifles could use M1A mags, FAL mags, or G3 mags — any of the above are fine. 9mm carbines could use Beretta or Glock mags, etc. Not all of these are optimal magazine designs, but they’re out there and they’re cheap, and when you’re trying to get buy-in from customers who may already be wondering why they want a “Fudd rifle”, making the jump as short as possible is in the manufacturer’s best interests.

    I understand why Ruger opted to have the Mini-14 use proprietary mags — at the time it was being developed, the AR-15 was still relatively new itself, and it would have been unreasonable for them to expect that it would become the juggernaut it has in the intervening years. But in an era where AR magazines routinely cost $10 or less, asking $43 for a Mini-14 mag is a very, very tough sell, especially when the rifle itself is already more expensive. A Mini that used AR mags and was otherwise identical to the version Ruger’s making now might enjoy more success.

    • Twilight sparkle

      You can get a used mini for a reasonable amount of dough, even approaching the lower end of the ar spectrum for a used mini in good condition, which I would much rather have than a dpms sportacle.

      You can also get fairly ok 30 round tapco mags for the mini which aren’t too expensive, and pro mag makes junk but their cheap 20 work okay well, I haven’t really had an issue with either of those options.

      • cwp

        The Mini-14 isn’t a bad rifle, it’s just in the same boat as bullpups are. Back when we had a flurry of bullpup-related content a month or two back, Nathaniel F. made the point that since the AR-15 exists, bullpups that want to gain more than niche traction need to compare well to it. If a bullpup has nothing to offer beyond shorter overall length for the same length barrel, it had better not be enormously expensive, have questionable ergonomics, inferior accuracy, and spit brass in your face if you had the bad judgment to be born left-handed. The Mini-14 has a similar problem: unless a traditional rifle layout is an important enough criterion for you that it overrides almost every other consideration, you probably aren’t going to buy one.

        • TC

          Mini 14s and more importantly, Mini 30s, are good alternatives to the ar family. You get steel and wood instead of aluminum and plastic, and a much cleaner running rifle that is less ammunition sensitive. Yes,the magazines are more expensive, but I ain’t going into battle, so a couple of 30 rounds and some 5 rounds for hunting will do just fine. And here in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia, they are not regulated as ‘assault rifles’ yet.

        • Twilight sparkle

          Its my understanding that it used to be backwards because of the 94 ban, minis were popular due to the lack of evil features and ar-15s didn’t have as big of an after market. I believe the mini is still probably more popular in non gun states and it would probably regain its position on top for new sales if we have any other bans on evil features.

          But I wasn’t even born until 94 and the Internet wasn’t as big as it is now so my knowledge on the history of popular firearms back then is rather limited.

          • cwp

            The Mini was somewhat more popular in the 1990s, but I think that was partly because it was still a cheap alternative to the AR. Back then the market hadn’t been flooded yet, so you were actually saving money. I don’t remember exact prices, but I want to say my mid-1990s Mini cost about $500 and my mid-1990s AR cost around $1,000.

            Ironically, the various assault weapons bans probably did more to make the AR popular. Even under the 94 “ban” you could still get mostly normal ARs — you’d have to have a welded brake, a fixed stock, and no bayonet lug, but otherwise it was just the same. It was annoying, yes, but they were trivial changes compared to the craziness California has come up with since.

          • marathag

            They were featured on _The A-Team_, where true to form, magazines were emptied, yet no one ever seemed to land a round on a bad guy.

            So it was truthful, in that regard, that you couldn’t hit a man sized target with it.

            Worst accuracy of any gun I ever owned, and I had a lot of milsurp with shot out barrels, when you could get M1 carbines, K98s and such for under $100

          • Twilight sparkle

            My dads mini is one of the better ones… it does about 3moa this little doodad is supposed to help a bit but I’ve never tried it myself

            I wish k98s could still be had for under $100

          • marathag

            Know how some folks say that their rifle was ‘Minute of Deer’?

            Mine was ‘Minute of Buick’

            At 100, it wouldn’t group, but patterned like a shotgun.
            Bought new, slugged the barrel, had a smith look at it, all in spec,but it stayed a turd.

            Happy day when I sold it.

          • jamezb

            That doodad helps a lot! I made a barrel stiffener with a piece of 5/8″ tubing that was secured tight against the gas block by a flash hider. It improved my groups incredibly for just a few bucks and the effort of bluing the tubing.

          • Twilight sparkle

            Nice to know, I’ve got a mini 14 gb on the way so I may try one of the shorter “mo-rods” and see if it makes any difference

          • Swarf

            “I wasn’t even born until ’94”

            You just gave me arthritis, gout and a monocle.

          • jay

            Oh, my aching back.

    • Wetcoaster

      A model with a fixed magazine and a stripper clip guide would also be good (The SKS or M1 option). I find that the magazine placement on my Savage Mk. II where even the 5-rounders protrude is also exactly where I often want to place my support hand.

      • Kelly Jackson

        Easy there grandpa, nobody is going to use stripper clips when you have 5 to 30 round factory magazines on the market. It makes it nearly impossible to use an optic.

        • Roy G Bunting

          I would. You can mount a red dot forward of the action or offset the stripper clip feedway like the WWII Johnson rifle.

          • Ok, you and about 3 other people.

            On the modern market you are better off using AR-15, SR-25, or AI pattern mags. You can get AR-15 magazines for less than $15 (sometimes less than $10), and there are probably millions of them on the market.

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Bought a bunch of new 30 rds AR style mags for 7 bucks

          • Craig

            Palmetto state?

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Yep. They ship slow but when they have a sale it’s a winner

          • iksnilol

            Por que no los dos?

            Why not both, have a detachable AR mag and have the option to load it with stripper clips.

          • Marco Antonio Gonzalez

            :O Hombre, ¿De donde salio ese español?

          • iksnilol

            I don’t speak Spanish :/

          • Marco Antonio Gonzalez

            :O Man, where is that spanish coming from?

            This is the only comment in spanish that i saw you posted so far

          • iksnilol

            It is a simple phrase that isn’t hard to know 😛

          • Anonymoose

            Why would you use AI mags? Aren’t those generally single-stack and way, waaaaaay overpriced?

          • AI magazines are available for calibers that SR-25, and AR-15 magazines can’t fit. So if you want to go longer than your typical short action design the AI magazines would probably what I would try first before designing a custom magazine.

          • Anonymoose

            Yeah, but with normal .30-06 prices, not many people opt for it over .308. It would be nice if Benelli and Browning made autoloaders that took a common mag like the AI though.

          • ostiariusalpha

            AI has three different general magazine designs: the most common is the AICS, which is a loose single stack (not quite a semi-stagger stack, but a little roomier than most other single stack mags); next is the AIAE, which is a true single stack; and then the AIAW, which is a double stack, dual feed magazine.

          • Kivaari

            M1A are double stacked.

          • Kivaari

            The detachable magazines will be outlawed many places within a year.

          • Zebra Dun

            BUT, still around.

          • Michel_T

            Agree, if your government will let you…
            Trying to get a magazine for a HK SL7 (like the one pictured above) or a magazine for a Valmet Hunter (another nice 308 semi) is A) Next to impossible to source and B) Stupid expensive!

          • Patriot068

            Yeah I have 2 AR platforms I built one with a 16″ for CQB and 18″ barely version for just a little more distance, once om done with my 300 AAC build I might do a 308 ( upper only to away out ( unless I can get a good deal on a BCG /lower/ guts, but ide like a 20 or 24″ but then I’m figuring why waste that when I can go with a 6.5 Grendel ( found ammo pretty cheap but it’s steel cased ( good for plinking, sighting in but can’t reload which sucks but the 6.5 have a way longer terminal velocity at longer ranges and where I live it’s thickly wooded so debating the waste of it ( if I WA lugly to live in the Midwest with open plains I might but short range/med range cartridges are good here that’s how I got saddled the Tha 760 pump 35 rem!:(:which I can’t find bullets for) one gun dealer did say he was interested and for a gun made in the 50’s 60s I believe it’s in not to bad a shape. I bought I new r rd clip ( 42.00) I messed up because the 2 original clips I got all the rust off and we’re gleaming so I spray primed them & was gonna ceracoat them or justpaintv. But I just found a place and got some Bluing so I’ll restrip them and blue them, but back to your magazine sr-25 both of my 308 lowers only use the LR/SR-25:magpul mags I’ve tried the regular 308 mags made by others but they don’t like so I bpoght 10 black for like 15.00-18.0p a piece then they had a sale on desert tan and paid 5 00 for 10 derert tan. ( I’ll just spray them.

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            And you would be in a very small minority

          • Kivaari

            It may be a way to really satisfy places like California that appear to be moving to confiscate all detachable magazine rifles. A Ruger M14 with a 10 round stripper clip feature would be great. An off-set mount or scout scope would allow it. A emblock clip would be fine as well, if the clips would not cost a few dollars each. Stacks of preloaded bandoliers like the M1 rifle would appeal to me. But using GI strippers would be less costly and popular. We fought WW2 and Korea with an 8-shot version.

        • ChierDuChien

          Ten round stripper clips will be in great demand after Australian-style gun control becomes US law.

          • Kelly Jackson

            Do you ever post anything other than fear mongering nonsense? That’s extremely unlikely given the Republican control of congress and the virtually impossibility of Democrats winning the house.

          • Jim_Macklin

            Don’t count the Democrats out, they are experts at voter fraud and propaganda. Expect more hanging chads, poll watchers carrying clubs and illegal aliens being bused around with voting day registration without any ID.

          • Marcus D.

            It is happening right now in California, where the Bullet Button ban (if signed into law) will force AR rifles to have fixed magazines that are loaded by popping the rear take down pin and loading the mags from inside the action–like it was when the AR ban took effect in 1989 (and before the BB was invented). If it happens here, it will happen in NJ, NY, CT, MA, and MD.

          • Kelly Jackson

            Correct, and all of those places are overwhelmingly Democrat

          • William Taylor

            Except the Senate is in real danger of flipping the wrong way in November, and the Senate determines the makeup of the Supreme Court. If klintonette gets elected and the Senate goes the wrong way, we’ll see at least one uber left-winger added to the court, which tilts it 5-4 the wrong way. THAT is trouble.

          • jay

            You should look at the kalifornia gun laws being pushed through their state government.

          • Anthony Rosetta

            Kelly, I afraid what could happen next November! If the damnocrats do win the election, even for the presidency, we lose!

        • jay

          May not have the choice in kalifornia. Any magazine over 10 rounds is illegal.

      • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Sorry, don’t want a stripper clip or a Garand clip outside of my SKS or my Garand. In fact, I bought 2 SKSs that take AK mags

        • Rob

          I’d love a real “Mini M1 Garand” with en bloc clip and all. I would want it in addition to more modern, magazine feed rifles (AR, AK, whatever), not in place of…but I’d really like to have one. There is always room for Classic firearms design in my collection. The concept of a mini Garand would just be plain fun and cheaper to shoot…A traditional wood stocked semi auto is worth having in my opinion, but should take common mags as already stated by others. (the “mini Garand” is just a personal dream)

          • Karl Vanhooten

            Isn’t an M1 carbine a mini-Garand, except for the ammo? And for a bigger punch than the .30 carbine, the late model Mini-14s using 5.56 are as close as one can get unless you want to shell out major bucks for a Springfield M1A and 7.62.

          • UnrepentantLib

            The receiver of the M1 carbine is sort of a scaled down M1 Garand, but that’s as far as the resemblance goes. The gas system and trigger group are completely different and of course it takes box mags instead of the en bloc clip. What would be a great “domesticated” self loader would be the Winchester Light Military Rifle that competed against the AR15.

          • Marcus D.

            There was an article here about someone who took the basic M1Carbine action and remade it in 5.56 and 7.62 X 39. Company (Universal?) is long defunct, I believe, but something like that would appeal to me. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an M1 Carbine in 300 blk? The issue with the Garand is weight; at nearly ten pounds empty, it is not a gun you feel like lugging around the forest, but the 5.5 lb Carbine is a light weight truck or trunk gun (and it is a hell of a lot better looking than the Mini 14!). The only thing that has limited it is that the three major manufacturers who are reproducing it (Auto Ordinance, Inland, and Citadel) can’t seem to get it right, and Fulton Armory, which apparently does, costs $1300 or more.

          • You mean the Ingram SAM?

          • Marcus D.

            Yes! That right there would be a great civilian semi-auto rifle.

          • Stan Darsh

            Why must you remind us of what could have been? Haunt us no more specter!

          • jay

            They don’t make the M1 carbine in anything other than .30, or 9mm. There is talk of .38/.357. The action would have to be scaled up a great deal to get it to work though. Ruger has come out with the mini-14 in, 5.56/.223, 7.62×39, 300blk out. But it’s on a lot of “lists” as an assault weapon (specifically listed). It’s close in weight to what you seem to be looking for though.

          • Marcus D.

            As Nathaniel noted, the Ingram SAM did it, coming in at 6 1/2 pounds. The scaling is not all that difficult. The primary thing to be done is to lengthen the receiver by about a half inch (as I recall) to accommodate the longer cartridges, lengthen the op rod, accordingly, and then a larger mag well. The basic design remains unchanged from the M1 Carbine. And it looks a heck of a lot better than the Mini.

          • jay

            Yes, you are right. Do you know where I can get one? Or how much it will cost to have one made by a gunsmith or firearm manufacturer? Or you could get something already currently made, and make a few modifications to it, so it’s a heck of a lot better, so to speak. ;-}

          • Kivaari

            A Ruger Ranch rifle in .300 would pretty much be the same thing.
            A conversion of .30 carbines to 7.62mm Kurz (some spell it Kurtz) was a bit popular in the 60s. IIRC it was in .308×1.5″. The bolt face was opened and extractors cut, and were often unreliable. The Johnson Spitfire 5.7mm “22-30 Carbine” was interesting. I would think it would sell well today. A 5.56x33mm would only take a new barrel and ammo. Come on the Mini 14 isn’t that ugly. The new ones in particular are well made. Just not with that “Tactical stock”.

          • Nicholas Trueblood

            they also make a Mini-30 that uses the AK’s 7.62×39 and they have Mini 14’s in .300 Blackout now also.

          • edgy

            Who is They ?

          • Nicholas Trueblood


          • Kivaari

            The M1 carbine is an excellent little rifle. Nothing like a carbine version of the rifle. The “Tanker Garands” are hideous commercial attempts to market what was a huge pile of surplus parts. We could buy new condition M1 rifles (using re-welded receivers) for $80 when I was in high school in the early 60s. REAL M1s were a little over $100. Carbines $40-50. I paid $45 for an M2 carbine, and didn’t know it was a machinegun under the law until a few years later. I wish I still had that, and had papered it in ’68. Same with my 50mm Soviet mortar. I was on active duty when the amnesty came and went.

          • tiger

            Not even close.

          • Anthony Rosetta

            You’re talking about an M-1 Tanker that Springfield used to sell. There are still some around, but you have to look really hard to find them. They’ll probably be pretty expensive though!

          • ostiariusalpha

            He’s not talking about a tanker. He wants to put intermediate cartridges in scaled-down, Garand-style en bloc clips.

          • Rob

            No, I’m aware of the tanker, I was talking something like a Garand version in 7.62×39 or even .223/556. The idea is something with the nostalgia of the Garand, but in a smaller, cheaper round. Essentially a “trainer” for the Garand.

            Now with that said I’m not passing up a “Tanker” if I find one at the right price…It’s just not exactly what I’m taking about when I say “mini Garand”.

          • UnrepentantLib

            Shuff’s Parkerizing still makes them, either a conversion or your rifle or a new build. I think you have to provide the receiver. I don’t recall the price, but it didn’t seem unreasonable. They call it the Mini-G.

      • Anonymoose

        Just put a bullet-button and a flush 5-round mag on an M1 and you’d have that configuration. I really wish we could get those Chicom M14s in the US, but that would probably put Springfield out of business.

    • Budogunner

      The most comfortable, natural feeling rifle I’ve ever shouldered was an M1A in a reclaimed Vietnam Era stock. I never should have sold that thing.

      These days I mostly keep to AR variants as they are cheap, versatile, and easy for a home smith to build with proper tools and training. That said, I’ve never met an AR that felt as much a part of me as that M1A.

      • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        I like the M1A too

      • Patriot068

        I couldnt agree more! A Wooden stocked rifle seems to have a character, of its own . Like the tree the wood came from , not like the plastic guns, ( which I actualy have lost count on the ammount I have, I’m working on a 30 Blackout build but would love a mini-14:in 300 AAC, (;already have one in.223 & magazines would not seat right and kept jamb ing due to bent lips ( found out later was my fault duhhhh) because when I bought my M-14 I learned you gotta hook n rotate the mags in. I wants the new Mossberg scout, ( already have the z Ruger gusite gunscout,and an M-1 carbine ( waste) but I got 1,000 rounds for it & enough powder and bled to read the 5x a lol. I inherited my grandfather’s /Dads Remington 35 ( can’t find bullets for it, it’s a 760 pump ? Wtf?? Lol my dad had a lever action 35 and the lever action part had no sharp edges and had a rear peep site, I was looking foward to getting that but he traded it for some meat of some dumb crap when I was I’n WA state!! ( I knew I should have taken the lever action with me instead of that damn pump) & thanks to Obozo the Garand selection arm the CMP is drying up and him banning the millions of surplus Garands & carbines from Korea & Japan just sucks then I see people bragging how they just got 5 Garands in the Mail but then piss n moan they aren’t in perfect condition. Ide love to get my hands on one but by the time the CMP got around to filling my order they will all be gone unfortunatly . What was it General Patton said about the Garand?? ( greatest battlefield weapon ever devised?) OR something along those lines!! Yeah the CA gun ban wiI’ll be making its way East ( especialy after this last shooting!) The people haven’t even been buried yet the blood suckered ate already yelling for more gun control!! All the laws that were in p k ace should have caught the nut! This falls aquark on Obanas, clintons, lynhes, and the FBI shoulders as well ass the FBI NCIS system!! He was let go after 2 FBI investigations and no red flags popped up nor did one on his domestic violence conviction!! He slupped sm through the GovtvCracks because of the libtards Political Correctness. I dmsay purchase as many firearms as you can now before ( god for bit Clinton gets in office then we TRUE USA CITIZENS WILL LOOSE OUR CONSTITUTUIONAL RIGHTS AND WON’T BE ABLE TO SELF DEFEND!! they know EXACTLY WHO/ WHAT religion does this yeat were the ones who will get prosecuted if we say anything or are wrong and them labeled a racist!:our bounty is rotten ftom the top down! To many sick in the head liberals ans he WORKED FOR A COURT!! and he passed FBI BACKGROUND CHECKS EVEN WHILE INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!! better stock up on mini-14s and M-14s and any style gun that don’t have the SCARY PARTS ON THE BLACK GUN!! WHERE’S BLM?? It’s racist!! It’s a BLACK GUN LOL. GUESS IF WE PAINTED THEM PINK, PURPKE, RAINBOW, OR ANY COLOR THAN BLACK WED BE OK HUH?? also what about that gun ( what’s ismt called ? Has a regular stock made by a company begins with an A but it’s an SCR!! But some of them before the price goes through the roof because of bans

    • Jim_Macklin

      Back in 1976 a Mini 14 cost $200 and 20 round Ruger magazines were $8 each. I wish I still had mine. But it was not a tack driver, 125 yards was a long shot on small game and .223 bullets were not yet ready for deer.

      • gunsandrockets

        My very first firearm purchase was a Mini-14 I bought on sale at Gemco for $187 in 1978. And it actually shot pretty well, I regret ever selling it.

        The SS Mini-14 I bought in 2004 was garbage that patterned like a shotgun. Glad to be rid of it.

    • Except you should have said DPMS AR10 mags instead of M1A. Rock and lock is cruddy human engineering once straight insert was perfected. There is never never a reason do downgrade to rock and lock.

    • NoDakNative

      “This is not optional. 5.56 rifles should use AR magazines. ”

      That is like saying that all cars should use leaded gasoline. The AR magazine is the single biggest weakpoint of the AR-15 and has impeded firearm design for decades by any new design, other than the Mini-14, having to use the damn thing.

      I bought My first Mini-14 folder about 5 years ago, a 1986 model, and it came with a 5 round magazine and a 30 round magazine that was bought new with the rifle. That magazine still works flawlessly to this day. How many 30 year old AR-15 magazines do you see in the wild being used? (In places that don’t have pans on magazines newer than *insert year here*?) Remember back during the AWB how hilariously expensive AR magazines were while AK magazines were quite reasonable?

      If I had a time machine I would go back and hand Eugene Stoner a Mini-14 magazine and an AK magazine and say “Making the magazine disposable like a stripper clip didn’t work so well. Make something that is somewhere between the Mini-14 magazine and the AK-Magazine in durability.”

      • cwp

        I am well aware that the AR magazine design is suboptimal, and I’m sorry about that, but at this point it’s kind of moot. Putting out a new traditionally styled semi-auto rifle in 5.56mm and *not* using AR magazines is like making a Betamax VCR — well, really it’s like making any VCR. They’re plentiful. They’re cheap. They’re not great, but they work. They can be purchased for less than an arm and a leg by people in AWB states — I actually live in one, and you can still buy new, unused pre-ban AR magazines for less than you’d pay to get a 2016-production Ruger factory Mini-14 magazine from Brownells. And people under AWB restrictions are going to be a significant market segment for this sort of rifle.

        Note that this is specifically in the context of *traditionally styled* semi-auto rifles. The AUG used proprietary magazines, and you don’t hear me taking them to task for that decision. But if the main thing you have to offer is “being just like an AR-15, except less scary looking”, then you’re really shooting yourself in the foot by not using an existing magazine that’s in plentiful supply. And, for better or worse, the only magazine that fits that bill in 5.56mm is the AR’s.

  • Something similar to the Ruger PC9, that takes Glock mags, and something like the Saiga Sporter, that takes AR mags, would be great.

  • Zachary marrs

    I would not buy one over an AR

    i live in a place where there exists no law mandating a certian magazine capacity

    No requirements for bullet buttons

    No need to have a “featureless” rifle

    My ar deploys just fine from my truck, i don’t see any possible situation where a pistol grip, 30 round magazine, forward assist, and brass deflector would change this. With my ar, i dont have to worry about something blocking the movement of the charging handle, like my M1

    It’s hard to create a new design that is cheaper than an ar15, (and other milsurp auto loaders, sks, mas 49, even an M1 carbine) or as reliable as the rifles mentioned

  • Tom

    As the late Henry Ford didn’t say “you can have any rifle you want, so long as it’s a black AR15 derivative. Unless of course you want to pay several thousand dollars for it.”

    Whilst I think there is a market for a traditional styled semi auto its going to be hard to compete on price with the mass produced (and supported) AR15 or surplus rifles.

    • bee O bee

      They were available in gray, green, blue, red, and of course, black.

  • Brocus

    some actual innovation instead of just rehashing the same pattern over and over would be nice

  • Pete M. – TFB Writer

    I’d be interested. As long as practicality and simplicity were the focus.

    Oh, and no bullpups.

    • PK

      I can’t bring to mind any bullpups that really fall into this category. Are there any currently available which are “friendly” looking, for lack of a better phrase? Bullpup, but semi-auto, primarily wood furniture, etc.

      • Austin

        The Kel-Tec RDB-C is 50 state legal and would look pretty good in a wood stock

        • Pete M. – TFB Writer

          I up voted you on the info, not because I like bullpups.

          • DW

            RDB-C is more of its own thing than a proper bullpup.

          • Pete M. – TFB Writer

            True. Thanks.

          • What? It’s a bullpup…

        • PK

          Interesting, that slipped my mind for some reason. I was primarily trying to think of any which are offered with factory wood stocks, but that’s certainly the general outline of what I’m wondering about!

      • Chrome Dragon

        The Kel-Tec M43, a “cold-war prototype” inspired design, is all wood and steel. It’s based on the same action as the RDB, but styled as a fake historical piece.

    • Major Tom

      No bullpups? HERESY.

      They can make great rifles when shooting from vehicles like hunting coyotes from a truck.

    • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Add that no bullpups to my list too

  • d_grey

    I’d probably stick with an AK, it’s the dominant rifle where I hail from.

  • Joe Goins

    A place for traditional civilian semiautomatic rifle is to not stir up trouble in public perception. Wooden stocks are good; collapsable stocks are back. A Ruger Mini-14 is a well produced item that accepts a standard AR-15 mag and can use a flash hider.

  • DetroitMan

    My hunting rifle is a Remington 742 Carbine. It’s deadly accurate, handy, and comparable in weight to an AR with A2 stock and 20″ barrel, all while chambering the 30-06. The only improvements I would ask for are a Picatiny rail on top and ability to take a military standard magazine. They are still more expensive than entry level AR’s, but easily affordable for the average person. There are still advantages to traditional designs, and hunters still want chamberings larger than the .308. I think there is still a market for these rifles, but they will never approach the volume of AR sales. I think that discourages companies from bringing new designs to market. There are several already established designs available too, which further discourages new development. I would be interested in seeing a new design as a gun geek, I just don’t think it will happen.

  • Limonata

    I want a 10/22 like semi-auto centerline rifle with the precision that you can achieve when you bling out a 10/22 with KIDD parts.

    • ProLiberty82

      With my stock 10/22 Target I get around 1 inch groups at 100 meters with CCI Standard .22, paid about $350 for it NIB with a Bushnell scope and hard case in the mid 00’s, so I recommend you check out the Target version!

  • Rabies

    “Grant Cunningham – steely-eyed wheelgun man” is hilarious!

  • Anonymous

    Innovation is stagnant in gun manufacturing. When was the last time we saw an actual NEW design of a rifle or handgun other than one designed for military use (and even then it’s often a play on an old design)?

    • marathag

      Savage A17?

    • Sam P

      I’d say the Boberg XR9/XR45 was pretty innovative. Expensive though.
      Kel-Tec has produced a number of interesting designs as well.

    • paul

      why reinvent the wheel?
      perfection was accomplished in 1898

  • Mike N.

    The fact that you can get an AR for less than $500 is the reason the market for such a gun would be very limited, even when taking to account political considerations.

  • Dean Carpenter

    The AR design is ugly. There I said it. Sleek? The closest it has come to wind tunnel testing is during a parachute drop. Sure when you need it you take it in your arms, hold it like you love it, press it to your cheek and caress it until the heat of the moment has passed but you would never take it out to dinner. Maybe Apple will design a firearm with that high end look and feel that industrial designers, affluent children and all of China can not resist. Probably not.
    Would adding the words “Grip Zone” help?

    • UnrepentantLib

      Ayup! There are some of us old farts out here who remember when REAL guns were blued steel and wood. And they had smooth, flowing lines that you just had to run your fingertips over. Harrummphh!!! Young whippersnappers ‘n their newfangled doodad laden ugly sticks…..

    • BattleshipGrey

      In reference to the x51 mags, I’d also recommend the sr25 pattern mags since they’re being massed produced at reasonable prices. Aren’t FAL mags starting to disappear, or is there a good alternative now?

      Edit: oops, meant to reply to cwp

      • cwp

        Sure, SR25 mags would be another good option.

        You can still buy new production FAL mags for $20 at Brownells, so I think they’re an acceptable choice. I do have a slight bias as a Massachusetts resident, though — pre-ban FAL magazines are still fairly available, and only moderately more expensive than new ones. Makes me wish FN had opted to re-use the FAL magazine for the SCAR; they’re already close enough that you can make them work if you have a drill press, a file, and a hammer.

    • Tassiebush

      I love the idea of a rifle so beautiful it negates anti gun sentiment! Someone get onto it pronto!

    • Chrome Dragon

      If you think the commodity AR is ugly, it’s possible you might find variants that make you weak in the knees – for me, this is the Cobalt Kinetics BAMF. Looks like the people responsible for Mass Effect reinterpreted the AR-15 platform. I want to spend some quality time with one and a case of tracers one of these days.

  • William Taylor

    The answer has been around for over 60 years – the SKS. Smooth it out, thin it down in places, upgrade the sights and make scope mounting easier, and place more stress on appearance and you’ll have it, and 7.62×39 is a great all-purpose round, too.

    • Schnee


    • Pete Sheppard

      I keep trying to like the idea of buying an SKS and replacing it with a ‘sporter’ stock. While practical, I just can’t warm up to it.

      • Kivaari

        SKSs suffer from problems. Poor sights, poor optics options, BUT I love ’em. I just don’t own or use them anymore due to the sight issue.

        • iksnilol

          Tech Sights.

  • Edeco

    I would not buy traditional, no room in my situation. I like retro, but only if it works, only if it can stand on its own legs. Like a no-forward-assist AR eliminates a part I don’t need which is good. Triangle furniture feels great. And I get pure visual art stuff like steam punk, somewhat, it’s thought provoking. But I don’t like nostalgia for its own sake in serious industrial design, not when there’s a specific more-is-more goal like tighter groups, foot lbs delivered to a plate, etc

  • SLi-Fox

    If I absolutely had to, the Ares Defense SCR would be a good choice.

    • gusto

      a wooden stock and a forend that leaves the barrel freefloated/exposed and a schnabel forend and you might even get me!

      • marathag

        They really need to offer it with decent wood, and not just painted Birch.

        • Raven

          I think I read that the stock is compatible with Remington 870/1100 aftermarket stocks, might get some nicer wood on those.

    • Smedley54

      Right, use an AR upper for simplicity, but a more traditional looking stuck and forearm. Think center fire 10/22.

    • Intellectual Slacker

      I would like to see a more tactical style stock adapted to the SCR like the Magpul SGA, That coupled with a side charging upper (xproducts or Gibbz) would be a sweet shooting I think.

      • SLi-Fox

        I had the same thought. I almost want to get one to tinker with.

  • Bill

    Remington and Browning have made “traditional” autoloaders since forever, though I don’t know if they are in production. Remington tried to sell mag-adapted versions of their pump guns to the LE market, and they would have fit 99999999% of the patrol rifle niche, but weren’t cool enough for cops. Winchester made their .351 autoloader before autoloaders became the norm in the military.

    Autoloaders are a lot like automatic transmissions – they’ve spoiled us and become the norm, when bolt, lever, pump and dare I say single shot rifles like the Ruger #1 would suffice for the screaming vast majority of our needs.

    • Porty1119

      Remington autoloaders like the 750 are very much still in production, but have gotten a bad rap as of late (like most new Remington products). Otherwise, they fit this niche very well- tradtionally-styled autoloading carbine with a street price around $600 or below.

      If I could be assured of its reliability, I would love to have one of their autos or pump rifles. I’m looking to acquire a centerfire rifle that can reach out further than my .22 or smoothbore slug gun, with traditional styling and reasonable defensive utility.

      • Jack Burton

        Almost everything I’ve ever heard or read about the 7X00 rifles says they have more durability/reliability issues than most alternatives, and this was pre-FG Remington. Shame…

        • Kelly Jackson

          And 99.9999999% of the people posting that stuff never fired the gun. The early 740s could chew the internal frame rails up but that hasn’t been an issue since the 7400 was introduced 30 years ago. The 750 was a vast improvement on both though, it used a larger angled gas port.

      • Kelly Jackson

        The 750 has been discontinued as of 2016

        • Porty1119

          Huh, that’s news. Another casualty of Freedom Group.

      • Devil_Doc

        Bless its heart, that’s an ugly gun. lol.. Looks like the Crossman 760 I had when I was 10.

        • Kelly Jackson

          What do you think the Crosman was modeled after?

      • The Remington autoloaders/pumps have gotten a bad rap largely because they are giant sacks of crap.

        • Richard

          They absolutely are. I’ve had Remington 7600s and a 7615, and they are crude beyond belief.

          7615 had the firing pin retaining pin break and fall out after 100 rounds, leaving the rifle jammed solid. Had to get a gunsmith to take the barrel out to get the bolt out.

          The 7615 also had to be loaded with the bolt back or the rifle held at 45 degrees – otherwise the little round pushing plate under the bolt would jam on the shoulder of the first round in the mag.

          It doesn’t say that in the manual, found out in the field.

          They are very poor weapons, no wonder no police force wanted them.

  • CJS3

    A civilian version of the SKS would give the Mini 14 a run for the money. It would need to be set up for optics and have a detachable magazine that would sit flush or extend just slightly below the receiver, for a sleeker appearance. 7.62×39, 300BLK or 6.8spc would be the calibers of choice.

    • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      I bought some in the 90s from a guy in VA Beach VA that had SKSs made with detachable mags [AK]. They are great little guns

  • gusto

    There are several options available
    Browning Bar
    Sauer 303
    Benelli Argo
    Merkel SR1

    especially a nice Sauer 303, is pretty indistinguishable from any old woodstocked bolt action at a glance from afar. nice looking, accurate with probably the best stock trigger. dependeble, now the argo might have it beat on that last criteria, that thing is built like a tank but looks too sci-fi for my taste.

    the price is on the high end thou, but most of us euros have fixed number of guns we can own so in the end we probably spend as much as you guys do but have less guns 😛

    heck even remington/winchester makes sami-auto huntign rifles

    The H&K of old the 600 series were pure awesomeness, great rifles but probably too expensive

    this fixation with stuff taking ar-15mags is silly. even if society collapses you won’t go around engaging in firefights that requires fast mag changes and dumping a mag of 30 rounds.

    rifles will mainly be used for hunting and defense against stray marauders, and if yo uare on the offensive you won’t be doing frontal assaults but rather hit and run tactics, guerilla warfare or sniping/designated marskman tactics

    • Zachary marrs

      Buying 5, 30 roumd mags for $50 beats the crap out of buying 1, 10 round magazine for $50

      It isn’t only about having a 30 round magazine, it’s about having commonality with other weapons, and being able to easily replace lost or damaged magazines, that are not only cheaper, but can be found easily

      I can go to any LGS near me, and walk out with several ar magazines, but when i need a magazine for my fudd-blammer .223, my only option is what i can find online

  • roguetechie

    Nathaniel I think for lots of us it comes down to the question why…

    Why would I spend more money on inferior ergonomics, reliability, durability, availability, and aftermarket support?

    Especially since it won’t make the gun haters happy?

    When I buy old milsurps I will pay A premium sometimes, but with these I’m buying history and a connection to bygone eras. I’m paying specifically for the powerful effect these have on my education and firearms knowledge as well. I wouldn’t get any of that buying a new design.

    • “Why would I spend more money on inferior ergonomics, reliability, durability, availability, and aftermarket support?”

      Why would the ergonomics, reliability, and durability have to be inferior? I see no reason.

      • roguetechie

        I was referencing where the market seems to currently sit than where it might go. However on the ergonomics front I will flat out say I dislike the ergonomics of more traditional layouts compared to pistol grip and stock arrangement. All I can comment on is my own experience and personal opinion, but for me the modern layouts help me shoot well.

        • Ric S

          Thermold makes very reliable and affordable polymer Mini 14 mags. I have some from the early 90s and bought more in 2011. I have about 25 of them now. I also have AR mags and they make an awesome stripper clip loader that fits mini and at mags both. They also make FN FAL mags among others.

          • roguetechie

            FN FAL is definitely in the nontraditional bracket. As for the mini 14/30, even putting aside that the AR is truly a better gun, it’s almost emblematic of the bill ruger incident. I wouldn’t and couldn’t feel right about buying one for that reason alone. Some may find this stupid or whatever, but I was taught that the American public derives much more power from the cash register than the ballot box.

            One of the ways I choose to deploy my cash to make the world I want is by supporting pro 2nd amendment businesses and businesses who don’t moralize their products. As a shooter and gun owner only I can make good choices about using my guns legally and safely. I don’t want or need companies limiting my access to prevent me from doing something I shouldn’t! Nor would I ever want a company I patronize to be held liable for my choices, or I theirs.

            This same attitude is why I read ATF determination letters on products and don’t just trust that because someone sells something it’s legal. I also wouldn’t put children in a front seat that can’t have the airbag disabled… I’ve never had to sue a business for damages or to recoup lost funds, I’d like this to stay the case. The only way to do that is to be an informed consumer.

      • Zachary marrs

        Todays companies just can’t build firearms that are as durable as an AR 15, M1, SKS, etc

        Not only is there very little demand, but we are talking about firearms that have been to war, and have had many years of development.

        On an ar, and a lesser extent, an m1 or sks, the firearm can be modified to make it easier to use, from different grips and stocks, to different magazine releases, etc.

        Satisfy my curiosity, who would you have make this new rifle?

        • So, I think it is possible to design a rifle that is economical to manufacture and reliable in operation, that would be lower cost than a Mini-14. At the lowest possible cost, I don’t think you could achieve the kind of durability expected of TDP-compliant military rifles, but that’s OK for a civilian mass market gun.

          “Possible” is very different than likely, as I tend to agree with people who say there is little market for a rifle like this. Still, it’s a concept I fancy, so why not write about it and get the commenters involved?

          Now, who would I have make the gun? That depends on the exact design. I think Ruger’s casting capabilities are very impressive, so it might be worthwhile to design a rifle for casting specifically.

          • Zachary marrs

            what design characteristics do you feel this rifle should have?

          • You mean operating mechanism and whatnot? I have a pretty clear picture in my mind, but don’t want to publish it. Even if there’s not really a market for such a design, it might still be useful to keep in my back pocket.

          • Zachary marrs


          • Tassiebush

            Coming soon! The TFB commenter design committee series:
            The ultimate semi auto rifle
            the ultimate lever rifle
            the ultimate pump action rifle
            The ultimate boltaction rifle
            the ultimate “survival” rifle

          • Tassiebush

            and will there ever be a consensus?…

  • Porty1119

    In a heartbeat, if the price was right (street price under $400 and I’m sold). Virtually every AR-15 I have ever handled or fired is not balanced correctly- they are too front-heavy and tall to really point correctly, as opposed to traditional semi-pistol-grip stocks. I would prefer that it be in a caliber other than 5.56; bouncy little poodle-shooters do not appeal to me. 7.62×39 is the best mix of affordability and terminal ballistics, in my opinion. The SKS about fits the bill for me; I’m just waiting to find a good one at a price I can live with.

    • Alex Agius

      “bouncy little poodle-shooters do not appeal to me” clearly you haven’t been using xm193 out of a 20 inch, that stuff is nasty

      • Zachary marrs

        Clearly he hasn’t used any 5.56 load out of any barrel length at all

  • Critter

    I’d buy a Mini 14 if one could hit a barn from the inside with one. Until that day arrives, I’ll stick with my AR15, thank you.

    • ProLiberty82

      My 583 series stainless Mini-14 Ranch Rifle shots around 1.8 inch groups at 100 meters with 62gr Nato case handloads, with cheaper 55gr ammo it’s around a 3″ grouping rifle, not awesome but it sure surprised me!

      But if you live in a country where you can get an AR15 readily available, DO NOT get the Mini-14. I live in Norway where you can get the Mini-14 on a hunters license so it makes sense over here if you want a semi-auto 5.56 rifle for hunting, we can also get an AR15 (or AK, Sig 550, AUG etc) for IPSC but that is a really involved process with 2 year “quarantine” waiting period and you can’t use it for hunting.

    • marathag

      Though to be fair, the post-2009 ones you could hit the barn door.

      Be the ones before that?

      every AK or SKS I tried was more accurate than the 1980s POS Mini14 I had

    • TC

      Critter, I don’t know if you have actually shot the Mini 14, but the older ones would shoot a three inch group at 100 yds, and the new ones will do better than that. I don’t know how big that barn is that you can’t hit.

      • Critter

        I’ve owned 3 over the course of 30 years or so. None of them could hit a 2 liter soda bottle at 100 yards. It could be hit, even by me, with an old Mauser or Enfield, regularly. If they’re better now, I applaud Ruger, but I’d have to shoot one first before I sank that much bread in to one. My apologies to barns everywhere.

        • iksnilol

          No need to apologize, it’s not like you hit them.

  • DW

    VEPR rifles in “sporter” config.

  • Michael A. Pickle

    Browning BAR in .223? Possibly taking AR mags so that the 5 round is flush?

  • kevinp2

    Re: height over bore: The Ares Defense SCR (which another commenter has posted about) can solve this problem for the AR family. The straight buffer is replaced by a shotgun-style buffer that reciprocates into a traditional curving buttstock.

    • It definitely reduces it, but it’s still got like 1-1.5″ HOB.

  • Swarf

    I would love– love!– to have a not-AR semiauto rifle. For $500. Without the problems mentioned above.

    I’m one of the people who just doesn’t like the pistol grip, goin-to-war look of the AR (and AK, for that matter). I get that many people like them because or in spite of that look, and that’s cool if it’s your thing, but it isn’t mine.

    A traditionally stocked, accurate semiauto rifle using non-proprietary mags for under $500 (sorry mini-14, you’re out)? There would be at least one in my safe as soon as I could locate it.

    • ARCNA442

      I find it interesting that so many consider the pistol grip do be a warlike feature. Historically, sporting rifles often had a semi-pistol grip to be easier to shoot while military rifles used fairly straight stocks (probably to assist in bayonet fighting).

  • Aono

    The Ares SCR really is a good fit for this as indicated by your lack of listed disadvantages, but several key issues need addressing before it can close the gap with and truly be considered an equal alternative to the AR-15/10:

    1. Free-floated wood or laminate handguards, oh what would I give for a classic Schnabel.
    2. Aftermarket trigger support (I hope that we’ll get there one day. Timney? Elftmann? Hello?)
    3. SR-25 magwell. ‘Nuff said.

  • Kelly Jackson

    I LOVE the Mini 14 and i’d buy another semi auto traditional looking rifle in a second

    In particular one in .308 that could accept 5 or 20 round magazines.

  • Kelly Jackson

    I’m just gonna leave this right here

    • Hahah! That tagline’s great!

      • Tassiebush

        I like that it also has “is the .45auto dead?”

        • Well, at the time the US Army was set on switching to 9mm, so I think that was a reasonable topic!

          • MarkVShaney

            Asked and answered.

          • Tassiebush

            Oh yeah it was and I could see it on a magazine or blog today

          • ozzallos .

            The click-bait of the golden age of magazines 🙂

      • PK

        There are literally dozens!

    • KestrelBike

      haha amazing. Nice! Also LOL at the .45 auto dead.

    • Jim_Macklin

      Such stocks are still available, if not from Ruger, from Bishop or Fajen .
      The 1960 Ruger 44 Magnum Carbine has in internal tubular magazine. It looks very civil.
      But an AR powder-coated PINK should be good anywhere.

      • Chrome Dragon

        “But an AR powder-coated PINK should be good anywhere.”
        You would think that, but I brought it up once on Soylent News and – while most people were civil, there was this one guy who said something to the effect of ‘People like you should be taken out without warning’ on a thread about reducing gun violence.

        I don’t think he stopped to consider that the synchronized assassination of a third of the American population was a counterproductive way to reduce gun violence.

        Oops – hang on, I printed a PDF of the conversation. Here’s the actual quote:

        “And by the way, an assault rifle with pink and Hello Kitty, or at the Mauheur Refuge, Fluffy Unicorns, is an even greater sign of displaced childhood fixations. These ones are to be put down without warning.”

        Not quite as remembered, but definitely the most threatening thing I’ve heard in a few years, given that “these ones” was an oblique reference to *me.*

    • iksnilol

      The definition of optimism:

      Somebody having faith in one of the old Mini-14s.

  • Jay

    To answer your question.
    Yes….in California.

  • randomswede

    “Leverguns suffer from vulnerable tubular magazines, poor durability, corrosion resistance, and parts life, expensive ammunition, and needing manual operation”

    If you add “traditionally” or “commonly” to that sentence I’ll agree, there’s no reason a lever gun built today would have to suffer any of those drawbacks save for being manually operated.
    Infact I’m quite sure one could be built from an Ares SCR.

    • Lever actions have a lot of potential, although they still require manual operation which isn’t ideal for the niche I am thinking of.

      The Savage 99 is still the best lever action ever designed, to date.

  • Andrew Benton

    Oh, you mean an SKS?

  • Captain Obvious

    I am a big fan of traditional looking rifles. Saiga makes or made sporter versions of the AK in various calibers. They are kinda funky and triggers awful but they are kind of low key looking sleepers. Even though HK hates us they used to have a couple wood stocked semi auto “sporter” rifles called the SL6 (5.56) and SL7 (7.62) that used their detachable mags. They were ugly as heck though. The Winchester Model 100 was detachable mag semi auto hunting rifle. It’s was based on the M14 gas system. It was pretty good but lost out in sales to the Remington 740/742/7400/74 series. Among my ARs and AKs, I have a M1 Carbine, Mini 14, a Saiga sporter, a bunch of SKSs, a Winchester 100, a Remington 742, and a Remington Model 81 which is also a semi auto. I guess if I wanted another semi auto sporter I would go with an Ares SCR simply because it is infinitely configurable, 50 state legal and compatible to the AR.

  • TDog

    I would certainly be interested in a pistol-caliber “domestic” carbine. Something that was about the size of an M1 carbine and took Glock mags would be great.

    • abecido

      I would be interested in something about the size of an M1 Carbine in 5.7×28, using Five-Seven mags.

      • TDog

        That would be interesting! Talk about low-recoil! 😀

  • Oglog

    What’s the gun in the photo? Is it a design mock-up, or a real gun that was (once?) in production?

    It looks beautiful, and I love the diopter rear sight.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Looks like an HK SL6.

  • Roy G Bunting

    We’re not going to get there for less then $500 in today’s money. But I think that in that $500-1000 range there is room for a Mini14 and ACR competitor. I’d love a modernized Remington Model 8 looking rifle in 300Blk, with the fixed magazine, or a single stack 5 and 10 round magazine. The operating system might get changed from long recoil to roller locked or piston for economy’s sake.

    Or a modernized Johnson with a 5 round internal rotary magazine with barrels again 223 and 300blk.

    Both if these would be fine hunting semiautomatic rifles, 50state compliant and especially in the case of a detachable magazine Model 8, also serve for personal protection.

    • Critter

      Remington Model 8. now we’re cookin’.

  • squareWave

    Not all lever action rifles use tubular magazines. Some, like the Browning BLR, use detachable box magazines. Lever actions are pretty fun to shoot, and they were sort of the “assault rifle” of the Old West.

    Another possibility is the VEPR line of rifles. They’re Kalashnikov rifles, but with wood sporting stocks. They’re based on the beefy RPK receiver and by all accounts are rugged well made rifles. Now I’m kind of reminded that I want one.

    • That’s true, although the BLR suffers the same issue of expense as do the other lever guns, only way worse.

      The only levers that are cost competitive come from Rossi and those are… Rough, to put it nicely.

  • Longrange

    In the European Union there is a BIG hassle going on concerning guns able to accpet magazines over 10 rounds and any guns “resembling a military automatic”. If the POS EU directive goes through there WILL be huge European market for self loaders that a) do not resemble any military weapons and b) do not accept any readily available assault rifle mags with bigger than 10 rnd capacity.

    The law proposal may not pass but if it does then the first to market will get to sell tens of thousands self loaders to sport shooters and hunters alike. And no, SKS will not cut as there have been fullauto versions and they will be banned too. A Mini-14 with decent accuracy could be the ticket but as we know it does not come with good accuracy.

  • wetcorps

    Well, cops patrolling in the mall right now seem to have no problem with totting MP5 and G36. People are used to it and don’t give it a second thought as long as they feel protected. If anything, the AMDs tend to rise questions. “what are those, hunting rifles?”

    But it might have been different back when they adopted the AMD. Less black rifles around.

  • WillJC

    Well I do want an Ares ACR and a Kel-Tec SU-16C, and an M-1 Carbine and a Mini-14 and an SKS. So yes, I would want one of these. I would love to see Ruger or Marlin bring a pistol caliber rifle back to market. I had hopes for that one that came out modeled after the M1 Carbine that took Beretta 92 mags, but I haven’t heard good things. I’d also like to see someone branch out a little and use maybe the 5.7×28 or 7.62×25. A break down survival rifle in one of those calibers would be nice and I would definitely buy one as long as it’s reliable.

  • gunsandrockets

    I actually prefer a conventionally configured rifle with a low-sightline and wooden stock.

    In addition, a ‘sporting rifle’ should have a wider array of cartridges available for it, such as .243 and 30-06.

    I would like to see a lightweight high-power sporting rifle that uses the inertia-recoil operating mechanism popular with semi-automatic shotguns.

    • Donnie Buchanan

      I’m 100% with you on that.

  • Laserbait

    Remington 7400.

  • Bob

    What about that M1A thingie in 7.62×51? Too expensive?

    • Definitely too expensive, and it also suffers from similar problems to the Mini-14.

  • clampdown

    Even at today’s much higher prices, a good SKS is the only one that makes sense. $3-400 is what the Mini series should cost, and that’s what a good Chinese SKS goes for in my neck of the woods. That said, it doesn’t shoulder and balance as well as an M1 Carbine or Mini. Too front heavy, but it’s what I’ve got.

  • Rusty S.

    An excellent query, Nathaniel.
    I am still involved in firearms retail in an area that does not have any restrictions on capacity or features of firearms, and I can answer your question from a realistic business perspective: No, right now the market is not supportive of such models. In fact, any semiauto rifle that is not an AR or AK variant has been an extremely tough sell for the past 9 years. My associates in wholesale also share this view. Personally, when I do go to restrictive areas, I use a levergun or SOCOM-16 for the same purposes as my AR’s, so there could be “room” in such legal situations.

    • Rusty,

      A few years ago, I was also behind the gun counter, so I basically knew the answer to my own question. However, it’s always fun to see what my commenters have to say about these sorts of topics!

      • Rusty S.

        I couldn’t agree more, thanks for the interesting post. Seems to have stirred a lovely conversation!

  • jamezb

    That HK SL6 pictured is a beautiful gun. I would dearly love to have one. HOWEVER, at around $2000 USED and with 4 and 10 round magazines going for $295-$389 EACH on Gunbroker, I just don’t think that’s ever going to happen.
    Yet the military sights, sling, wooden over-barrel fore end and classic WWII stock lines really appeal to me, but I’d prefer it in another caliber than .223…say, .300 blackout, or .458 SOCOM – something with more one-shot “thud”.
    Additionally, it would have to be priced quite a bit lower than the stratosphere, and have 10-20 round magazines available in the sub-$50 price range to go very far in my opinion.
    Were a manufacturer ever able to bring something of this sort to the US market reasonably, they would have my full attention.

  • Bub

    Us AR15 lovers have to admit it our little black guns take up a lot of real estate bagged even with stock collapsed. About a year ago I started carrying a Remington 870P as my farm truck gun with buckshot and birdshot shells in one of those scabbards or whatever you call them. Overall very compact package. PS still carry a 22lr 3″ revolver for smaller tasks. I have kicked around carrying a M1 Carbine if I could find a five round mag with a 30 rounder loaded in reserve, but the reliability of a 70 year +/- CMP parts gun worries me alittle. Usually runs OK for first 100 rounds or so when clean and lubed, but does like to be ran on the wet side. Another option I have been playing around with is a AK style rifle a WASR is this case. I changed

  • Ryfyle

    Pretty long article to endorse the Kel-Tec SU-16. We could also just remake the SKS with a better trigger and chamberings.

  • H&R Canada

    The Benelli R1 are somewhat popular north of your border bc the AR is restricted and range use only. Would I go for a reasonably priced traditional looking semi auto. Hell yes but only bc of our silly laws in Canada. If the AR wasn’t restricted I wouldn’t bother to buy a semi civil rifle.

  • TheHussar

    I’ve always been partial to the FN49.

  • Bob

    Sounds like a lot of people think a modernized SKS would be a good deal. I might be tempted for such a thing, preferably with AK or AR mags, depending on caliber. Too bad the actual SKS is rather expensive for what you get these days. I almost bought one for $200 a couple of years ago, but for $400 these days, I’ll just stick with my AK.

    • marathag

      At a $120, Yugos were the best deal going, but not at 3X that they are going for now.

  • Schmiss

    Who says we need mags? Stripper clips all the way. Make a Mini 14 that accepts enbloc clips, perfect snag free civilian rifle. Of course with the accuracy issues solved. Maybe just an SKS in 5.56.

  • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    I would buy one depending on a lot of factors . Caliber, style, etc. I had a Mini-14 and I loved it but mags were always a problem.

  • Tassiebush

    A moot point for me as I can’t own semi automatic longarms. But I’d say totally as evidenced by the Ruger 10/22… I know the discussions are centrefire focused but the question isn’t. I think that the market for well priced rimfire semi auto rifles has room for new models. Especially in the magnum rimfires. Someone could really popularize the .17wsm with one.
    As for centrefires by the look of things it’s a hard ask to displace the AR15/10 or AK unless laws shape the choice. Personally if I had the choice of an AR15 and something else the something else would need to match on price, be as accurate, have a great trigger and superior magazines but similar prices and be in a nicer handling less sticky out snaggy configuration. I reckon it’d probably be a well thought out design using high quality polymer to reach the price point but ultimately it’d be better business to just make AR15 anyway.

    • marathag

      be nice if Savage could get the A17 out at a 10/22 price

  • ChierDuChien

    A “traditional” rifle is actually better suited for spraying unaimed hip fire into a target area because the grip is more comfortable in that mode than a a pistol style grip.

    Appearance should never be used as a criteria for firearm lethality — that’s what officially made the “Jungle Carbine” SMLE an assault rifle.

  • Tassiebush

    The levergun option doesn’t fit the semi auto description but since it’s mentioned i really reckon that platform in the tube mag format could be improved dramatically in mag and chamberings with John Pedersen’s spiral mag (patent below) housed within a full stock free floated forend. Just make it synthetic. I don’t mind! In fact give it swappable buttstock modules like the Ruger American rifle. Make it scope friendly but give it irons. It could be a 336 or 94 clone in chamberings like .223, 7.62×39, 6.5 Grendel, 6.8spc or .300blackout. Price it like a Rossi.

  • Aaron E

    Absolutely, but a red dot/reflex optic would be better than irons without adding too much “scary” to the rifle.

    BTW – Where are all the French protests and outrage about their “militarized” police? They’re carrying rifles! They have military folding caps! They have bloused pants! They are wearing heavy ballistic armor on the outside of their uniforms!

  • Darrell

    Unconverted Molot VEPRs. Nice wood.

  • Jim_Macklin

    The Remington 742, the Ruger 44 Magnum Carbine with an internal m4 round tubular magazine or ten M1 Garand or even a Johnson Rifle are lethal but are wood and without a big magazine [ I think that a large magazine is available for 742 and the public is so ignorant they have no idea. They might identify an AR or an AK but they think it is powerful. But a .30/06 Garand or Johnson or 742 is just not as accurate as an AR and if I could afford to buy an AR I’d retire my SKS with the 10 round magazine. I have lots of strippers.

  • Kivaari

    The HK was on the right path – EXCEPT – it had several design faults. The safety was on the side of the stock in an awkward location. The rifle is heavy. The brass is mangled beyond use, even if you could find it after ejection. The scope mount is expensive. A tool is needed for takedown.
    The Remington M740-742-74-7400 was/is cheap. The Winchester M100 had serious gas parts issues and the stocks broke frequently, after the normal falling off a log. It is easy to fall off a log.
    A rifle like the HK, but done better, would be a great thing to have. The SL6 and SL8 have great eye appeal to me. I just never could figure out why HK made such odd choices for design features.

    • Anomanom

      Well, its a roller-delayed rifle, which is what H&K made back then. It does what HK roller-delayed rifles do. You’ll find your brass in the next zip code to your right.

      • Kivaari

        I live in North Idaho, so If I aim north and fire, the cases end up in Montana. Then they are so mangled that finding them for reloading is a waste of time.

  • marathag

    love the tags that Nathaniel uses.

    basically I am saying that no one needs an AR-15 and that we should all endorse Brady Bill Mk. II Electric Boogaloo

  • Karl Vanhooten

    I have an 850 series Mini-14 (5.56) and can nail 2-inch groups at 100 yards with my red dot reflex sight. I also have a post-WWII (1965) M1 carbine and can do 2-inch groups at 50 yards and three inch groups at 100 with iron sights. Both have 20 and 30-round (Ruger or USGI) mags. Both rifles cost me about $850. Neither one has ever jammed. Both can be field stripped and cleaned, almost with your eyes closed. A 300 blackout or 7.62 rifle would offer some advantage if I hunted, which I don’t. I see no advantage an AR15 would offer me.

  • RadicalizedModerate

    In the pre-WWI years, Remington and Winchester had commercial autoloaders that fired cartridges in the 30-30 class (bu they were not very sleek). They could be nice.

    • marathag

      Model 8 looked good.
      The Win 1907, well, it was beat with the Ugly Stick to my eyes

  • Edgy

    I would like a Browning or Benelli in 30.06 or .308 that used 5-10 and 20 rd. M1A magazine
    That doesn’t cost $ 2000.00 .

  • Old Gringo

    I take issue with the mini-14 pattern rifles having “accuracy problems”. In 1976 I bought my first and carried it as a police and a park ranger….it was always open sights and would group as well as open site gun on the planet including my M-1 Garand about 4.5 inches via peep sight. Now, upon returning home from Desert Storm I bought mini-30, ranch rifle and killed a large whitetail early on….I found the gun will shoot about 1.5 moa with Remington ammo and exit wounds on the off side look just like the ones from my 30-06….the mini 14/30 is a great platform and is perhaps the most cost effective semi auto on the market (about $650 at Walmart) so if there is evidence from some authority about widespread accuracy issues, please quote it, apparenty we cops did not get that word….I own ARs in several calibers, and AKs and SkSs….and at my advanced age (67) I have a bunch of levers and don’t seen any issues with them whatsover…..when camping in bear country now, I often tote a Rossi 454 Casull stainless…not a survival caliber, but I also own one in 357 and it works well as does my 45 year old model 94, 30-30—-never ever had a failre to fire, eject or feed……so my comment is for a prepper dont waste a bunch of time or money on the newest gizmo you read about…shoot it a bunch and learn to use it in the dark and forget about it…

    • “When I was at Ruger I tested hundreds of Mini 14 rifles of all configurations, conducting audit shoots of normal production, as well as R&D testing of the full-auto AC556, AC556 and the experimental XGI rifle in .308 Win, and assisting in the development of the Mini Thirty in 7.62×39.

      “To be COMPLETELY honest I was disappointed with its accuracy when compared to the M16A1 and A2 rifles, with which I am very familiar. The Mini 14 gives reasonable performance for an American-made rifle in its price range, and is safe, serviceable and reliable. It just isn’t all that accurate. You can find individual rifles which shoot well, but these are statistical aberrations.

      “We tried to test a large enough sample of rifles to pick “good” ones, then painstakingly took them apart and gaged every part to see if we could tweak tolerances or make design changes which would significantly improve accuracy without increasing production cost. It couldn’t be done. We did learn a few things, however.

      “The long run average group size for standard Mini-14 rifles fired from a test stand is about 4-5″ for ten-shot groups with M193 or M855 ammunition of “average” quality, producing an acceptance Mean Radius of 1.6-1.6″ at 200 yds from a test barrel. The M16A1 or A2 do this at 200 yards from a machine rest. I believe the biggest factor in Mini-14 accuracy is irregular contact between the gas block and the face of the slideblock, welded to the slide handle (aka operating rod).”

      -Ed Harris, former Ruger Quality Assurance Manager.

      • somethingclever

        Yeah, well what does he know.

  • Southpaw89

    You don’t seem to know your lever guns very well, the Browning BLR feeds from box mags and is chambered in anything from cheap to shoot .223 all the way up to magnum calibers, and Henry just introduced a rifle they call “The Long Ranger” that appear to be very much the same design, and is chambered in .223, 243, and 308. Both are priced competitively with mid level AR designs. But as to the subject of the post, yes I believe that more traditional semi autos have a place in todays world, that’s why I bought my SKS.

    • Oh, but you forgot the Winchester 1895, Savage 95 and 99, Marlin 56, Ruger 96, and Winchester 88! Let’s see, did I miss any? Ah, probably a few; lever guns aren’t really my specialty.

      The BLR is a neat rifle, but it’s fundamentally much heavier and more expensive than is useful for some people.

      • Southpaw89

        Was focusing on current production in cheap calibers in relation to the comment, although I never considered my BLR to be heavy in comparison to other hunting rifles, someone who’s used to ARs might have trouble adjusting.

        • Well, part of my thinking with regards to this concept is the “old lady market”. Many times I have spoken with a person, usually a woman and/or elderly, who doesn’t participate in the gun hobby but wants to defend themselves. These people aren’t very strong, and aren’t used to firearms so handguns and larger rifles are not a good fit for them. Also, convincing them that rifles like the AR-15 are “normal” is tough. So something lightweight and low recoil, but centerfire and with good terminal effectiveness is called for. “Non-military” looks are a bonus and help the sale.

          For big strapping dudes like myself, the BLR isn’t really very heavy, but for the people I just mentioned it is. That, and it’s manually operated, which isn’t ideal for that market, either.

      • Tassiebush

        You missed the sako finnwolf you doophus! 😉

        • Durnit! How could I forget the fabulous Finn!

          • Tassiebush

            Hehe i’d forgotten about the marlin 56! They’re all pretty interesting these box and rotary mag leverguns!

    • Tassiebush

      I just looked up that Long Ranger. Very nice looking!

  • Sianmink

    A traditionally styled rifle that takes AR magazines and is easy to break down and clean would be an easy choice.

    The Mini-14 is not easy to break down and clean and doesn’t take standard mags.

    I’d certainly like to see more development on this front.

    • T Rex

      You don’t know what your talking about Sianmink, a Mini 14 is simple & easy to field strip and clean, but it does require a bore snake or Otis flexible pull through cable in lieu of a cleaning rod to avoid unecessary wear on the muzzle crown while running brushes & patches through the barrel, While the standard Mini-14 might not shoot as tight a group as an AR, it runs a lot cleaner & cooler with its short gas piston configuration that a direct impingement AR rifle. Other than keeping the gas pipe tube lightly lubricated to avoid rust and carbon build up that can cause the bolt assembly to seize, the Mini 14 doesn’t require meticulous cleaning & lubrication (but I do anyway) to run flawlessly and is much more immune to dirt, dust, & mud than any AR.

      • The Mini is a pain in the butt to take apart, come on.

        • iksnilol

          That’s a Ruger patented feature. Just look at the MK2 and MK3 pistols 😛

        • T Rex

          Nate, hard to believe you’re supposed to be enough of a firearms expert to write for TFB yet you still insist a Mini-14 is difficult to field strip. Has anyone ever shown you that if done correctly a Mini-14 field can be field stripped in less than a minute? If not, seek out someone familiar with Ruger’s to demonstrate how so you can avoid letting those of us who know better that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Stop digging Nate, you’re embarrassing yourself.

          • First, I have never claimed to be a firearms expert. Many times I have disavowed that label. I am a guy who writes about firearms, and I do my best to get things right.

            Secondly, let’s break this down, since you’re having difficulty following the conversation, apparently. Here’s the field-strip procedure for an AR-15:

            1. Push rear pin.
            2. Pull charging handle.
            3. Remove bolt carrier group.

            Here’s the field-strip procedure for an AK:

            1. Push in return spring guide.
            2. Remove dust cover.
            3. Remove bolt carrier group.

            Here’s the field-strip procedure for a Glock:

            1. Pull trigger.
            2. Pull the slide to the rear slightly and hold it.
            3. Pull down on disassembly tab.

            Here’s the field-strip procedure for a MAS-49 from the 1950s:

            1. Push down on disassembly button.
            2. Pull off top cover.
            3. Remove bolt carrier group.

            Finally, here’s the field strip procedure for a Mini-14:

            1. Put safety in the “ON” position”
            2. 2. With the rifle inverted, pull out on the trigger guard, away from the stock.
            3. Remove the trigger guard housing.
            4. Remove the stock.
            5. Pull out the recoil spring and guide rod.
            6. Push out the guide rod retaining pin.
            7. Remove the guide rod retainer.
            8. Pull the uperating rod to the rear until it lines up with the takedown notch, then remove it by wiggling it free.
            8a. Ruger adds a procedure for removing the bolt stop, which I have never done on any Mini-14 before when field-stripping it. I guess you could though. This adds like three or four extra steps.
            9. Lift the bolt out of the receiver by wiggling it.

            So first, you see that the Mini-14 has, depending on how you count it, three to four times the number of steps to its field strip procedure than does an AR-15 or an AK. Just by looking at this list, though, you can’t really tell how much of a pain it is, especially removing the bolt. It takes some practice to remove and replace the bolt on an M1 Garand, but on the Mini-14 it seems like there’s some kind of tolerance stacking issue or something that makes it an extra super special pain in the rear. The bolt just doesn’t ever seem to want to come out (at least on the guns I’ve disassembled), and it sure as hell doesn’t want to go back in again. You find yourself sitting there for 10 minutes trying to fiddle with the stinking bolt alone.

            So Tex Rex, or whatever the heck you call yourself, keep saying that the Mini-14 is easy to disassemble. Those of us who’ve actually done it will continue to disagree with you!

      • Sianmink

        Are you implying that an open-top design is less susceptible to debris than a closed one with a dust cover? Cause all test I’ve seen of the garand-style action seem to trend otherwise, and that it’s rather sensitive to debris.

        • T Rex

          Always amusing to read comments by virtual small arms experts. Not hard to spot comments by those who’ve never owned or fired a Mini-14. There are many reasons why an AR is preferable and superior over the Ruger, none of which have a damn thing to do with being difficult to field strip & clean, or reliability.

          • All of those reasons have to do with the AR being easier to field-strip and clean, reliability, and let’s throw accuracy on top of all that, while we’re at it.

          • Sianmink

            I’m a ballistician, buddy. I’ve owned both. The Mini-14 is a PITA in every comparable feature when put up against an AR, reliability included. (mostly because of bad magazines, but also because it’s open to the environment)

          • Kelly Jackson

            So in other words you haven’t owned an Mini 14 in the last decade? Because Ruger sells factory 20 and 30 round magazines that feed flawlessly.

          • Sianmink

            Which weren’t readily available for less than a home mortgage until Bill Ruger passed on, and some of those older ones were kind of suspect too.

  • The_manBEar

    Ya I really think there is

  • Charles Applegate

    Do my M-14 and my Mini-14 count?

  • Oldtrader3

    I am much older and carried and M1 and an M14 in my Army days, during Berlin Wall guard duty. I have never wanted to own an AR, AK or any black rifle. Nothing against them, I just like traditional walnut and bolt actions better. The only semi auto that I have ever owned was a Ruger .44 Mag as a truck gun. It was small, handy and fully functional for that purpose.
    Now, if we ever have to go against our own leaders in a civil war, I will pick up the first AR that I can find and use it. However for my peaceful purposes, I will stick with what I have.

  • Tormund Giantsbane

    I’ve been saying for a couple years now at the gun shop where I work that a little carbine the same size as a 10/22 in 5.7mm would be pretty darned useful and sell a lot of guns and ammunition. I definitely would love to see a traditional type rifle storm the civilian market.

    • marathag

      The 10/22 Magnum didn’t sell well.
      Mostly because that it had poor accuracy, and blew out cases.

      But you might want to look at the Savage A17 or A22. It uses delayed blowback, and doesn’t have the above problems.

  • smitty26

    Soon this will be not the question in the EU.Last friday the news papers came up with this : there will be a ban on all semi auto rifles like ar15/m16 and ak in the whole EU for civillian’s.

  • Jas

    Would love to see a modern version of the SAFN. Looks very ‘civilized’. In europe they are working on a ban on anything that looks like a military fullauto. I am quite sure that the M1 carbine and the SAFN will be declared sufficiently civilized. As long as nobody tells them about the M2. Or the fullauto SAFN. Politicians…..

  • AHill

    Sure many of the older shooting generation place a high value on conventional looks either because of the “assault rifle” stigma or the fuddlore of wood and blued steel is the only “real” gun for a “real” man.

    Personally I would love an SL6 in a synthetic stock that took STANAG mags to be manufactured again. Mainly because I love the HK33 (this and the MP5 is where the delayed blowback really shine, the G3 is a step too far up for the system in my personal shooting experience / opinion) and because the SL6/7 along with their earlier sporting parents are the only HK roller guns available to me in Soviet Canuckistan.

  • smitty26

    New EU law soon:civilians are no longer allowed to own legal semi automatic firearms.

  • Bub

    I commented yesterday on your question, but after sleeping on it overnight I have a new opinion. It’s really a dumb question. All of us born from the baby boomers on think the AR is a tradition semiauto rifle. Walk into a gun store and ask to see semiauto rifles and my guess is they will escort you to the black gun section. Anyway I had a hard time thinking of any new US guns other than mini 14 outside the odd hunting rifle that no one really wants anyway. Yes the AR may not be the easy to conceal as we would like and yes the sights make you compensate for close up shots, but it’s still the pick of the litter.

  • smartacus

    Like I said, I wish SureFire made a short fatty 32rd mag

  • jay

    It soon won’t matter in kalifornia. All semi auto rifles with removable magazines, will be “assault weapons”, and bullete buttons will be illegal. So any ar-15’s will need to be disassembled to be reloaded.

  • Vizzini

    We’d be better served continuing to work to improve the public image of the AR-15, making sure it stays legal (and restore legality where it’s restricted), and fighting additional gun control at every turn. We shouldn’t worry about wood stocked guns just to please the gun grabbers and hoplophobes. They’ll never be satisfied.

  • ToddsMonster

    I certainly would. I’m not a fan of the pistol-grip black rifle stuff. I prefer the feel of the smooth wooden stock. There’s a timeless quality to it and a certain aspect of beauty in wood over plastic/metal, and I find it easier to shoot and carry with a sling. I’ve wanted something like this for years, always looking to the Mini-14, M1Carbine, and SKS, but never biting the bullet because none of them satisfy the price, ammo, functionality requirements as listen in the article.

  • Mark H

    Use the best tool for the job.

  • Anthony Rosetta

    I wouldn’t want any weapon the French carry!

  • Dave

    Forgive me for not knowing thing but what is that rifle in the top picture?

  • Tassiebush

    A friend made the observation that a lot of people seem to be drawn to guns via video games instead of hunting these days. A lot of people seem to be into 100yard or less plinking. It makes me wonder if some truly awesome self loading hunting rifles were to hit the market which ticked all the boxes on accuracy, durability and would they be passed over anyway? Another question is what self loaders in medium to large game cartridges sell most?

  • Clip

    I believe there is room for a more traditional looking rifle.

    I would love a modern MAS-49 that’s simple and affordable. The Ares SCR is damn close but it takes compromises that already existed on the AR and transfers them onto a format wholly incompatible with the AR layout.

  • Roadman

    Buy a Kel-Tec SU-16

  • Nils

    What kind of gun is the one in the first image?

    • gunsandrockets

      H&K SL6

  • Adam D.

    I’d really like a reliable, modern pump action, tube mag .357 carbine,
    or a semi auto .357 like what Ruger offered quite a few years back.
    Would be awesome if they revisited the design, adding a synthetic stock, or maybe even takedown capability like with the 10/22.

    I’m just guessing, since I don’t have firearms engineering experience,
    but if designed correctly, a pump action tube fed gun could probably work reliably with different length cartridges like a 3″ chambered shotgun.
    (Though in this case the different bullet designs make it more difficult.)
    A .454 Casull or even a .460 S&W chambered gun could be very interesting.

  • Old Gringo

    Nathan: Thanks so much for your reply. This is the first time I ever got a reply from someone with detailed hands-on expertise. I am a retired trial lawyer, military and cop and know from experience that very few people are truly experts at anything. My personal Mini-30, must be the rare bird, but one inch at 100 is what it will do, even with the lousy trigger so it is a keeper. I am also aware that folks like Accuracy Systems guarantees a 1 inch group but a very expensive fix. I am also told that an adjustible muzzle break will fix the problem. Now as to ARs….I carried them in the Army, Air Force and personal use for about 46 years and have built a few. And I see lots of them at my gun club. Basically every brand out there is moa or very close….all brands seem very accurate the last decade to me. And I also remember the XGI….I think I still have a catalog where it was listed but never made the market…I recall is was trashed because it was totally no accurate…is that true? Anway, thanks for the informative reply….best on I ever had….

    • Old Gringo, no problem! Definitely check out Grant’s blog (that’s where that Ed Harris quote comes from), he’s written a lot of interesting stuff.

      Take care!

  • Twilight sparkle

    Well it certainly does do that, especially if you stick a straight triple k mag in

    It does seem like it would effect barrel harmonics and I would think it would probably stiffen it at least a little which would be a good thing in the case of the mini, usually I advocate to keep everything off a barrel but in this case if it locks down rather well and doesn’t move at all it would probably help to dampen the erratic vibrations of the minis barrel.

  • John McPherson

    Mini14 duh!!!!!!!!!

  • Bonzaipilot

    He’ll yes a accurate semi auto hunting rifle was definitely needed especially if it has a box magazine

  • Tothe

    I would love to see a modernized SKS in .30-30 with a better trigger and safety and removable mags. Hunting caliber, traditional look, etc.

  • Elijah Decker

    Last year I bought a VEPR Pioneer in 7.62x39mm. It’s a politically correct Kalashnikov. It features a full length wood stock, a 23 inch barrel, a cross bolt safety in front of the trigger guard, and a non-standard, rather unwieldy magazine release. The mag release is really the only thing I hate about the rifle. It’s two small knobs on either side of the trigger guard assembly that you have to grasp and pull back on. It makes one handed magazine changes painful and slow. I really wish Molot had designed the rifle with a traditional AK paddle release for the magazine like they did with their thumbhole stock Hunter and Super series rifles. Everything else about the Pioneer is great, but mag release makes me want to sell it or take it to a gunsmith to have them extensively modify the rifle with a normal AK mag release.

    In my experience, the biggest downside to most of these traditional looking self loaders is the unergonomic controls.

  • David Fryauff

    I personnaly dont like the typical looks of an AR but adding some wood stocks which are available makes the rifles a lot “prettier”. Of course my son disagtees and loves his AR as is.

  • Old Gringo

    Thanks Nathan. I know who Ed Harris is and have read his stuff before. I had heard the subject of poor performance with the mini-14, but as I stated my mini-30 in moa with Remington ammo and 1.5 with other stuff. The Russions stuff is however not that good, maybe 4 inches. My barrel is .308 and the steel ammo is .311 so that could. …..thanks for the follow up.

  • fleetwrench

    Back in the 80’s i had for a short time a mini 14. With the water pipe thin barrel pot metal rear sight that woobled around my $95.00 sks was far more accurate. Shimmed the sight glass bedded the action for a marginal improvement. The newer mini’s with the heaver barrel and the other improvements are doing better but not worth it at the price ruger charges now.

  • Zebra Dun

    My personal go to rifle is a Winchester M-94 in .30wcf-30/30 I find it is accepted by LEO as a sporting rifle and is easy to maneuver for all storage.
    Now a semi-auto hunting rifle will work well in any make and style.
    Pick a common easy to find caliber and go for it.

  • Zebra Dun

    Actually new hunting/sporting semi auto rifles are quite rare unless they are in the AR style platform.
    Unless you plan on a Lever, Bolt or single shot you will have to settle for an AR.

  • maodeedee

    I don’t think that a lot of people are aware of the Remington 760 and 7600 pump-action rifles. These rifles could be fired and have the actions manipulated without disturbing the sight picture very much like a semi- auto, and were available in calibers from 6mm rem to 35 Whelen. Remington made a semi-auto version but it had serious extraction problems that the pump version did not have. I’d prefer one of these rifles any day over a lever action any day of the week.

    I found one error in the article. The Mini-14 is not a close cousin to the M1 carbine The mini-14 is actually based on the M1A which is the civilian version of the M-14, which is an M1 Garand chambered in .308 and adapted to use box magazines.

    The M1 carbine uses a short-stroke gas piston design that is different than the Garand although both use a similar rotating bolt. The M1 Carbine is a great little rifle but the chambering us underpowered. It should have been chambered in .351 Self-loader.
    Probably the best commercial “sporting” semi-auto is the Browning BAR. Reliable, accurate, and chambered in magnum cartridges including 338 Winchester.

    • Tassiebush

      The Remington 7600 isn’t past tense yet. I did have a little panic and checked though!

  • Cottersay

    Yea; I’d buy the rifle you show in your first picture. (Looks out-of-production and expensive though…)

  • billinfl

    What is that rifle in the first picture of this article? It kind of has a mauser look.

  • tiger

    Short answer, yes. The days of the black rifle are numbered. The political heat is going to force the industry to lose the mall Ninja stuff or face more calls for bans.

  • bluesea

    I would buy it. Tho the AR platform is the “new norm”, I still like the old style. The only rifle I have is a cowboy action (lever action). I would take a semi-auto if it was the same style as my Henry.

  • whamprod

    I’d have no problem with a more traditional looking wood-stocked semiautomatic rifle, as long as: it (a) used detachable box magazines; (b) those were commonly available magazines; (c) was available right out of the chute in .223/5.56 and .308, with .300 Blackout coming along not too long after; and (d) included quality iron sights as well as a top rail for mounting optics. I’m thinking of a semiauto version of that rifle made for the Canadian Rangers (I forget what it’s called).

  • RealitiCzech

    I want a new variant of the Remington Model 8.

  • Daisuke0222

    That’s slick looking. I bought a Mini-14 back in the 90’s when ARs were expensive and not nearly as ubiquitous as they are today. If I had it to do over I’d probably make a different decision. Mostly it sits in my gun safe. This looks like something I’d actually take out and shoot.

    These days in my state ARs are more or less verboten, so something without a pistol grip like the Ares or Kel-Tec RDB-C has a lot of appeal. Plus, call me crazy, but I like the lines.

  • Mook

    I’ve often thought a light weight rifle using basic 5 round .30 caliber stripper clips (or 10 round 5.56 clips) with a 5 or 10 round integral magazine would be very handy. Easy scope mounts for regular or scout scope built in. Sling mounts and wood stock with flip up front and rear sights and you would have a handy carbine or rifle.