Did you select the HK rifles for northern nations because of cold weather reliability? Also note that my reading of New York state law includes an unenforced ban on receivers of the semi auto rifles banned under federal law in 1994. This includes FALs and AKs but not HKs or CETMEs. Yes I know that there are thousands of AKs and FALS inside N.Y. state, but I believe that they are still banned under N.Y. State law. [Some commentary for the upcoming Threats survey snipped for later use.] Thanx, -Mr. Yankee
JWR Replies: Yes, I partly recommended HKs for their cold weather reliability. HKs work exceptionally well in very cold weather. Also, their short stocks, large trigger guards, and ergonomics lend themselves well to use with gloved hands and shooters wearing heavy clothing. But the main reason I mentioned them was that HKs are popular in those countries, so that would be conducive to finding extra magazines and spare parts.
I agree with the FAL in .308 choice. With, perhaps, this caveat: If you are an adult, without children, the FAL is an excellent weapon choice. The best, in my opinion. If, however, you are with children, some consideration needs to be given to what rifle can be picked up and used in your absence---temporary or permanent. The AR-15 system in .223 has many advantages. Almost non-existent recoil; lightweight ammo; a platform that can be changed to multiple calibers, .22LR to .458 SOCOM and dozens of others in between. And the changes are quick. For a family rifle I choose the AR-15. Built properly it has been reliable for me. Kids can be taught quickly to use it well, carry it long distances, etc. Killing power has been questioned with the .223. I have found the caliber deadly on game from squirrels to deer, with proper shot placement and proper bullet choice. I hope to never be without my FALs. The main rifle of our house though, is the AR-15. - Straightblast
JWR Replies: We do have one token .223 here at the ranch-- a CAR-15/"M4gery". Everyone here just calls it "The Mouse Gun." It is primarily a low recoil transitional training gun for our kids. OBTW, I'd never risk hunting 180 pound deer with a .223--nor 180 pound two-legged predators for that matter. I plan to transition all of our kids to .308s (our bolt actions, L1A1s, and .308 Valmet) by the time they turn 16 or 17.
I was reading your web page and your suggestions for the best rifle/calibre for England made me frown a little. I'm in England and I currently own (and keep at home),
Marlin 1894 .44 magnum lever action
Ruger 10/22 .22 with silencer
CZ 452 .22 with silencer
Lee Enfield No4 .303
Beretta 0/U 12 gauge shotgun
Euroarms .44 cap & ball revolver
BSA air-rifle with silencer
On my shopping list for next year will be another couple of shotguns - probably a pump action and a silenced single barrel shotgun. Anyone who isn't a felon and isn't mentally ill can legally own and shoot firearms in the UK - it just takes a bit of time/money/effort. One nice thing about shooting here is that silencers are not considered anything special. They are the norm for hunting - you would be considered odd if you didn't use one. They are also increasingly accepted for target shooting to reduce the noise pollution and potential hearing damage. Regards, - Adam.
JWR Replies: I'm glad to hear that you were able to negotiate all of the "flame filled hoops" to get your firearms paperwork approved. Sadly, most of your countrymen have been effectively disarmed. And things are probably only going to get worse. (Hence, my suggestion that you take the gap.) Consider the fact that as a licensed centerfire cartridge firearm owner, you probably represent far less than 5% of the population in the U.K. As a small minority, your prospects for 10 to 20 years down the road are not promising. At the very least I expect that there will be demands that apart for someone that lives on more than 5 or 10 acres that firearms be kept in vaults at shooting clubs. The handwriting is on the wall.
Interesting observations concerning the never ending discussion about this - here are some points to consider from a guy that's currently in Kalifornia:"United States (Except California): L1A1 or FN/FAL in 7.62mm NATO California: FN-49 .308 Argentine Variant (in 7.62mm NATO with 20 round detachable magazines)--most other effective semi-autos rifles are banned " The Argy FN-49s that I've seen are overpriced, and in bad shape. I primarily see them in gun shows - last one I spotted was $850, which doesn't seem too unusual around here, and that specimen was most definitely in "used" condition. Mag prices are up there too. If they were in better condition, and mags were cheaper, they'd be something I'd consider. So as the laws stand, my choice, as a Kali resident, is the FAL in the neutered configuration. 10 rd mag, (removable only with a tool), stripper clip top cover, approved muzzle brake, and the usual number of 922r compliance parts. If I ever make it back to the free states side, the magazine modification will take a couple of minutes to remove (it's just a modified original mag release lever) and presto, we're back in 20 rd detachable mag territory. The usual choices between metric and inch, etc don't really enter into the equation for us here - that's personal preference. My recommendation for folks that are serious about this is to build your own rifle - there's plenty of information out there, the FAL system is very simple, and by the time you're done you'll be able to gunsmith your own rifle easily, if anything should break in the future. There are enough non-FN domestic and imported receivers out there, parts kits are all over the place, and FAL accessories are everywhere too. Who knows? Maybe you'll pick up another hobby! Regards, -G.T.