What about the M1A/M14? It would get my vote, even over the FAL. My M1A ("Irene") has over 8,000 rounds through it, and has never so much as stove piped. And she is a real tack driver. - Gung-Ho
JWR Replies: I was a big believer in M1As from 1981 until 2003. (I owned five of them at one time.) But in Aught Three I faced facts, took a deep breath, and I sold my M1As and replaced them with L1A1s. Functionally L1A1s are comparable (but, granted, not quite capable of match grade M1A accuracy), and their accessories and spare parts are much, much less expensive. A spare all-G.I. M1A parts set would cost around $900 these days. I was able to replace my M1As with larger number of L1A1s, with a full set of parts for each (everything but the receiver, and 40 spare magazines per rifle, and I still had a lot of money left over. (I spent that on scoping most of the L1A1s.)
In reference to rifle choices for those of us who live in the People's "Republic" of Kalifornia... our esteemed rulers have (so far) neglected to ban the M1A and its variants (at least as sold by Springfield Armory). I do believe that the M1A is a suitable battle rifle. Thank You. -Eric L.
JWR Replies: As I recall, to get around the ban, M1As have to be retrofitted with a California-sanctioned muzzle brake instead of a flash hider. Also, "E2" style stocks and folding stocks would also be a no-no in California. And, of course you also had to have your lifetime supply of high capacity magazines in hand by the end of 1999. (All sales of anything over 10 round became legal on Jan. 1, 2000.) California makes me want to retch.
I am Active Duty USAF stationed in the UK and was strongly discouraged from bringing any firearms with me when I moved here last year. I made contact with some British gun owners through www.gunboards.com to learn about the regulations and restrictions. After joining the local Rifle and Pistol club my full membership was expedited due to my military background. The club officials were very helpful and friendly. I am using the clubs rifles until I get the paperwork and permits completed; currently my firearms are being kept by her majesty in a customs house. Most bolt action rifles, semi-auto .22s and shotguns are legal here. You can even own a revolver with slight modifications if the barrel is 12 inches. Thanks for the hard work you put into the website. - Deros