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Any of these will do. PAX
View attachment 1058998
Awesome collection! The two on the far left are Albanian models, yes? I have a “Frankenstein” Chinese SKS which works perfect and has a lot of character.

Aside from a pristine Russian carbine, the only other model I’d feel compelled to purchase if I stumbled across one is an Albanian! Love the look!
 
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Awesome collection! The two on the far left are Albanian models, yes? I have a “Frankenstein” Chinese SKS which works perfect and has a lot of character.

Aside from a pristine Russian carbine, the only other model I’d feel compelled to purchase if I stumbled across one is an Albanian! Love the look!
Those are a batch I got several years ago over a 12 month period. I couldn't find the pict of my go to Paratrooper. I had 40 but sold off 10 in January. Of the remaining group I've got 9 Paratroopers. My favorite SKS. PAX
 
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I would consider a Mini-14 or Mini-30, although they are more expensive than an AR there are a lot out there and parts and mods for them are pretty reasonable. As an alternative a good lever gun would work well.
 
Those are a batch I got several years ago over a 12 month period. I couldn't find the pict of my go to Paratrooper. I had 40 but sold off 10 in January. Of the remaining group I've got 9 Paratroopers. My favorite SKS. PAX
16” barreled w/bayonets??
 
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For a primary preparedness carbine (assuming we're talking about only being able to have one rifle), I would pick something that is:
  • Overall length of 36 inches or less in the most compact form from which it can be fired
  • Chambered in 5.56x45mm
  • Able to accept high-capacity magazines
  • Threaded barrel
  • Either in current production, or for which there are numerous spare parts, mags, and accessories available on the open market
  • Reliable both as it comes from the factory, and with the aftermarket accessories I may need to use
  • Simple system of operations so that issues can be diagnosed easily and fixed without necessitating outside help
  • Modular components or the ability to reconfigure or change layout of the weapon to suit different applications

I'd be looking for a swiss army knife, not really great at any one thing, but basically adequate for all. It needs to be able to be used for CQB, longer-range engagements, or hunting. I think 5.56 makes the most sense because it's light recoiling (wife & kids can shoot it comfortably), effective at stopping human threats, potent enough to kill game (not as humane as .308, but better than nothing), and the majority of gun owners have guns that use it - that may create supply challenges when times get rough, but it also means it's more likely people will have it if I need to sell or barter resources to get it. Threaded barrel would be essential because if SHTF, I'll probably need to either already have a suppressor or home-build one - if I have to use my weapon, I will want to minimize the sound of gunfire as much as possible so it doesn't bring unwanted attention or more hostiles. And reliability kinda goes without saying.

If budget were an issue (under $1k total spend for weapon, accessories, etc), I would pick the KelTec SU16C. It's cheap , reliable, takes AR mags, has a threaded barrel, and can be fired with the stock in the folded position (26 inches overall length when folded). I know KT's quality has been hit or miss on some things, but I have both the SU16C and PLR16 (pistol variant) and never had a single FTF or FTE with either of them after several thousand rounds fired through each. Picked up them both up for $400 at different times, leaving plenty of cash left over to accessorize. I would probably ditch the bipod forend and replace it with the standard KelTec compact forend. If I had the cash I would also probably get a Red Lion Precision forend in case I wanted more rail space, and a pistol-grip AR stock adapter so that I could reconfigure the weapon as needed.

If budget were not an issue, I would lean toward a bullpup weapon. I know, people love to hate on the bullpups and their creepy triggers, but they are great for CQB, able to be fired one-handed easier than a traditional rifle because center of gravity is farther rearward, and adequate for engaging threats at distance (preferably with optics because of the shorter sight radius). Most hostile engagements with threats will be within 200 yards - beyond that distance, I have other options beyond engaging the threat. The Steyr Aug would be my top bullpup choice, but would settle for a Tavor or KelTec RDB if it was not available. I would get the standard railed receiver option because I hate their new optic style, and would want to mount my own. If bullpups were not an option, I would get a side folder or collapsing stock weapon. My top picks would be a TommyBuilt TG36K (HK G36 clone), Sig MCX or SIG 556 SWAT, FN SCAR 16s, or Ruger Mini 14 (with aftermarket stock). The TG36 is probably hardest to find in a local gun shop, but they can be ordered, so I assume that counts as "legal and somewhat available".

For equipping the rifle, it would need an etched-reticle optic (preferably 1-6x or 1-8x), weapon-mounted light, a handstop / VFG / other device to use as a consistent point of contact for the support hand, 2-point sling with QD swivels, and (if design & configuration permits) a spare mag pouch attached to the buttstock - if I have to grab it in a rush and don't have time to put on the rest of my gear, I want to be able to reload if needed. A covert means of transporting the weapon would also be useful as there may be times when walking around with a rifle would not be the best of ideas. And finally either a suppressor or something I can convert into a suppressor.
 
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More crappy picts of a few of my Bubba jobs.

From top to bottom:

Parts built gun in a jungle stock, scrubbed bits, blue bolt carrier, Alby bayo, navel sling. Thank you Lkermit, RIP

The Canadian Deer Slayer - A rifle that came with the barrel pre cut at 18.5 inches, Mojo peep (had no front sight), neutered FSB, 5 round mag, Butler Creek furniture with no-vent Choate HG, black sling. Came in crappy camo wood. Matching numbers.

Firstist home built Paratrooper in a bayo slot inletted Para stock & cheese greater HG, Williams peep, P50 front sight, TriDelta threaded brake, VZ58 sling, matching numbers.

A restocked Para with French Tickler HG (another gun that came ruin't in camo), an SKS sling I'd not seen before. Receiver, bolt & carrier match, mag and TG match.

They're all really good looking rifles that handle sweet.

I've got a couple KSI Paras that came with a cleanly neutered FBS (no bayo) and inletted stocks, and a Navy Arms Cowboy Companion sans bayo.
I've also got an SAR 8 and 50 mags, but I like the Paratroopers best for general carrying about. PAX

002.jpg 001.jpg
16” barreled w/bayonets??
 
More crappy picts of a few of my Bubba jobs.

From top to bottom:

Parts built gun in a jungle stock, scrubbed bits, blue bolt carrier, Alby bayo, navel sling. Thank you Lkermit, RIP

The Canadian Deer Slayer - A rifle that came with the barrel pre cut at 18.5 inches, Mojo peep (had no front sight), neutered FSB, 5 round mag, Butler Creek furniture with no-vent Choate HG, black sling. Came in crappy camo wood. Matching numbers.

Firstist home built Paratrooper in a bayo slot inletted Para stock & cheese greater HG, Williams peep, P50 front sight, TriDelta threaded brake, VZ58 sling, matching numbers.

A restocked Para with French Tickler HG (another gun that came ruin't in camo), an SKS sling I'd not seen before. Receiver, bolt & carrier match, mag and TG match.

They're all really good looking rifles that handle sweet.

I've got a couple KSI Paras that came with a cleanly neutered FBS (no bayo) and inletted stocks, and a Navy Arms Cowboy Companion sans bayo.
I've also got an SAR 8 and 50 mags, but I like the Paratroopers best for general carrying about. PAX

View attachment 1059278 View attachment 1059279
That top one looks very nice with the dark furniture, bayonet, and blued carrier!

In a SHTF scenario, you’ll be able to arm your own militia!
 
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That top one looks very nice with the dark furniture, bayonet, and blued carrier!

In a SHTF scenario, you’ll be able to arm your own militia!
My house is the designated rally point should the real deal happen. I've told all the youngsters to concentrate on rearing their chillin and families. I got the weapons covered, I'm the armorer. PAX
 
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