First off a personal arsenal is an evolving thing. No gun owner I have ever met is pleased with their arsenal…there is always the new that needs to be added for either utilitarian, cosmetic and/or pure love or desire. There are the outdated weapons which for whatever reason are on the block to be sold, traded or bartered for other more desirable weapons. The personal arsenal is an ever changing entity…that’s part of the fun.
I am thinning my arsenal for two specific reasons. I have some redundancy in that I have too many of one type or caliber of weapon, and more importantly, too many calibers to keep stocked up on. This leads to prohibitive expenses in redundant weapons and having to purchase the ammo for them, as well as the price of ammo for my specific redundant weapons are the more expensive ammo’s to keep stocked up on.
I love my Marlin 336CS Micro-grooved barrel .30-30, but considering my arsenal is either high powered .30 calibers or assault rifles in more modern, smaller calibers, the .30-30 is redundant. And the ammo is expensive too…sometimes damned near $1.00 per round. Considering military surplus (mil surp) assault rifle and high powered .30 caliber mil surp ammo is way cheaper, I just don’t need my Marlin 336CS lever gun, love it though I surely do. It is an awesome little gun that does many things pretty damned good, but baby’s got to go so Daddy can buy other weapons. Yeah, it’s a disease.
I am also selling my CETME .308 assault rifle. It’s my only full sized .30 caliber assault rifle, and given the sheer number of smaller caliber assault rifles I have, and that I have numerous other full sized .30 caliber mil surp bolt actions, I needn’t have a .308 assault rifle too, although it is a great gun and a great shooter. As well, next to the cost of .30-30 ammo, the NATO 7.62 x 51 (.308) mil surp ammo is about $400 or more per thousand – so almost double most mil surp smaller caliber assault rifle ammo.
My new additions to the Whiplash household are many, varied and exciting. I just added two, Mosin-Nagant 91/30 bolt action Soviet rifles. These weapons were made from the late 19th century through WWII in Russia and then the USSR. I already possessed a “carbine” version of this very same weapon…the M44, which is identical in bolt, action, stock, etc., except it is shorter and has an integrated attached folding bayonet.
These rifles are world famous for their accuracy due to rather long barrels, and their dependability, ruggedness and ubiquity. The ammo, the powerful and accurate 7.62 x 54R ammo is very plentiful and cheaper than any other full sized .30 caliber ammo in the world. The 7.62 x 54R round is a full sized .30 caliber rifle round. One can hunt bear or moose with this round with complete confidence. Of course on human flesh this is a real killer, as these rounds were made for defense first. A center mass hit with this round would quickly, if not instantly, prove fatal to its victim.
I am partial to these rifles for their dependability, ease of operation and again, accuracy and availability of ammo at an attractive price. Tens and tens of millions of the Mosin-Nagant 91/30 were manufactured over their 50 year life span and are as good today as the day when they came from their Russian/Soviet arsenals.
My next new additions around here are my two AK74’s – one is a WASR2, which looks totally identical to the AK47, and the other an AK74 with poly furniture as opposed to the wood buttstock, pistol grip and fore end of the WASR2. The AK74 is NOT a misprint of AK47, but is essentially the same weapon as the AK47 in smaller caliber.
The AK47 shoots a 7.62 x 39mm round. That is a full sized .30 caliber in width ONLY, but the round is shorter, thus lighter, measuring in at only 39mm long. The shorter round requires less powder to propel it and as it is of smaller dimension, thus lighter in weight, is less bulky than a full sized 7.62 x 54 round, so the soldier can carry more rounds for the same bulk and weight.
The AK74 shoots a much smaller 5.45mm x 39mm round. The more narrow round for the AK74 requires even less powder and bulk than does the AK47 round allowing the combat soldier to carry even more of this caliber for the weight and bulk trade off.
The Soviet’s transitioned to the AK74 from the AK47 in the 1970’s in response to the American M16, which shoots a 5.56 x 45 mm round. It has been found that smaller rounds do more than sufficient damage at the actual distances of modern combat. The days are mostly gone whereby nations advocated marksmanship, thus a larger round is a waste due to the fact that most bullets never hit their intended targets. If one shot counts as it did in bygone military days, larger is better, but nowadays it’s all about keeping the enemy’s head down in order to successfully employ the mid and later 20th century concept of fire and maneuver. When putting out lots of lead is the goal, smaller rounds but more of them do that job at a very cost effective manner.
The AK74 weapon is built on the proven Kalashnikov design of the AK47 (AK translates roughly to Automatic Kalashnikov). The AK design platform has proven to be the most rugged the world has ever seen from a production military weapon. One can take off the dust cover of the weapon (the tin cover that protects the internals – firing pin, trigger mechanism, magazine well, chamber, etc.), dump a couple handfuls of sand and soil into the weapon’s action, and then replace the cover and fire away…the AK designed weapon will fire every single time almost to a fault, without fail!
The beauty of the AK74 is the sheer reliability of the design, the cheapness of the mil surp ammo and the deadliness of the 5.45 x 39 round. This round is rather unique in that there is a hollow space behind the bullet’s enclosed tip. The hollow space causes the round to begin a cycle of cavitations when it strikes flesh. The damage to animal flesh and internal organs is overwhelming in the extreme. The Afghans, who in their 1979 war with the USSR discovered this first hand. The awesome and deadly reputation of this round lives on in reality as well as legend.
The other beauty is the price of these firearms. I just bought two in this caliber…the WASR2 for $399 plus tax, and the poly furniture AK74 for $389 plus tax. In this day and time of fan boys and their rather expensive M16/M4 carbine variants, of which I too am a fan boy, owning an expensive M4 carbine myself, the AK74 is a refreshing weapon at an exceptionally refreshing price and as it is an AK platform design, is reliable in the extreme.