I have some ideas regarding using a Remington 742 as a main
battle rifle (MBR) that you may find of interest. The Rem. 742 is
chambered in .308 or 30.06 among other calibers. The standard detachable
box mag holds 4 cartridges. But I found that you can get 10-round steel
mags from Cabela's for around $21.00 each. A used Rem. 742 can be purchased
for about $350.00 depending upon the quality. This would get you a
semi-auto rifle chambered in .308 or 30.06 with the capacity for multiple
detachable mags. If you think this idea has merit feel free to share
with the Blog members. Of course I'm not too sure what an Army Captain
would say about using a hunting rifle for a MBR!
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JWR Replies: Outwardly, using a semi-auto hunting rifle such as the Remington M742 as an MBR might seem like a great idea for someone who is budget conscious or for someone that lives in a restrictive state, but I do not recommend it. In a SurvivalBlog post on October 22nd, I replied to a gent who had essentially the same idea. (He had suggested a Remington Model 7400.) I stated:
I agree that a.30 caliber centerfire a rifle is essential, both for hunting and self defense. Keep in mind, however, that civilian hunting semi-autos and pumps are not designed to withstand the sustained high rate of fire that might occur in a full scale post-TEOTWAWKI firefight. Their internal tolerances are so precisely machined that they are likely to bind up when the action gets hot. Also be aware that they are more tightly chambered than military arms.(Which have intentionally loose dimensions.) You cannot depend on something like a Remington 760 or 7600 to keep shooting reliably after 200 rounds of rapid fire. Nor can you expect them to keep shooting reliably with muddy or gritty cartridges. (As a test, with a Remington 740 or 760 series, try chambering some cartridges that have had their necks smeared with toothpaste. (DO NOT attempt to fire the rifle in this condition--this is only to demonstrate chambering limitations!) Now try the same with a FAL, HK, CETME, or M1A. Odds are that the bolt on the Remington will not go fully forward, whereas the bolt on a military arm usually will. A civilian pump action or semi-auto hunting rifle might suffice in a pinch, but not in an extended firefight!
The fact that "small base" (reduced brass dimension) reloading dies are recommended for Remington semi-autos in order to make them chamber reliably should be a strong indication that they are not built to military specifications. Don't expect a civilian semi-auto hunting rifle to do the same job as a military rifle. It won't be up to the task.
For those of you
that are stuck in states like California, New York, and New Jersey that have
so-called "assault weapons" bans, I recommend that you buy an early-generation military issue semi-auto
rifle such as the M1 Garand (.30-06, fed from an eight round en bloc clip),
the FN-49 in .30-06 (10 round semi-detachable
if your state law will allow it, the Argentine contract FN-49
in .308 (10 or 20 round detachable magazine.) A poor second choice
might be a Russian or Chinese SKS (7.62 x 39mm, stripper clip fed, with a fixed
10 round magazine.) OBTW, I
the French MAS series semi-autos of the same era,
because they have demonstrated reliability issues. Nor do I recommend the U.S.
M1 Carbine, because it shoots an under-powered pistol class cartridge. (.30