Question of the Day: Can You Afford a Fully Automatic Rifle?

Now that gun gurus and gurettes have proven that bumpfire stocks do actually work, so what? Do you really want a [Rube Goldberg-style] full-auto rifle? Quite apart from inherent accuracy issues and overall utility, there’s simply no better way to blow through ammo than a fully-automatic long gun. That’s money to you and me. So even if you could—and now you can—would you? Will you?

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

64 Responses to Question of the Day: Can You Afford a Fully Automatic Rifle?

  1. avatarJan says:

    My good drill sgt used to say, “if you’re on full auto, you’re getting desperate.” Or something like that.

    But honestly it would be fun to shoot somebody else’s ammo as fast as mechanically possible.

    • avatarAnon in CT says:

      Yeah. It was a lot more fun with the Canadian taxpayer bankrolling the activity.

      But even then, you’d very rarely fire on full auto. A little bit to practice trench-clearing and CQB, but an AR can already deplete ammo quite rapidly on semi, and remember, you have to carry the stuff.

      Now if we’re talking belt-fed MGs, that’s a whole ‘nother conversation. I would definitely take a reasonably-priced SAW.

  2. avatarGreg says:

    I wouldn’t bother, seems like a lot of waste. Well, except for the one weapon I would love to play with, the M134. If you’re going to throw lead, why not go all the way.

  3. avatarBlade says:

    Sure, why not? It its fun to occasionally let loose a few rounds. Might as well treat yourself once in a while. Afterall, you only go around once in life. Might as well enjoy it.

  4. avatarMike S says:

    Don’t think I’ll ever bother.

  5. avatarjkp says:

    No. Only hits count.

  6. avatarMichael B. says:

    No. Ammo’s too expensive and I don’t see the point.

    If there are any .22lr options I might be interested, though!

    • avatarJay says:

      10/22 option:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxCX3UtqnJQ

      I think the SlideFire branded stocks work with lightweight AR-15 .22 parts.

    • avatarJeff O. says:

      There’s a company that used to make full-auto, scaled down to .22LR, M2 Browning machine guns.

      THAT would be a fun toy.

    • avatarDan says:

      s&w m&p 15-22 with slidefire stock.

      mine works perfectly. though you do have to replace the trigger for one with a lighter pull.

      mine with slidefire stock and geissele works flawlessly. the geissele smacks the rounds super hard and as a side bonus it’s the most reliable 22lr ever. going on 4000 rounds of ultra cheap bulk ammo and not a single fail to fire.

  7. avatarbobo says:

    I wants it cuz I can’t haz it.

  8. avatarJay says:

    I have a bump fire stock and a 75-round drum for a beat-up, ugly old Type 56 SKS action I rescued (I also have the fixed-stock parts and some Tapco 20-rounders). In the People’s Automatic Rifle configuration it serves no practical purpose whatsoever, but it’s a $500 gun that shoots real fast when you ask it to. There’s a reason some of the writers here call a select fire switch a giggle switch. I probably use the fixed stock more often than the bump stock, not least because my range frowns upon automatic weapons or reasonable imitations thereof, but a drum dump every now and then is probably one of the more entertaining to spend $15 in under a minute.

  9. avatarHinshelworld says:

    Full auto is useless unless you are talking about something belt fed… Maybe an SMG could be useful for clearing buildings?

    It always blows my mind when people on here freak out because the police picked up some old M16s or whatever with full auto. It’s just not giving them somekind of unfair advantage. Anyone who thinks that an auto M16 is somehow better or more useful than any other AR has no idea what they are talking about.

    • avatarTodd S says:

      It’s not the usefulness that’s the problem… it’s the extra lead labeled “to whom it may concern” that worries me. I train more with my firearms than do most police (at least around here, YMMV.)

  10. avatarMark says:

    Absolutely right after I pay off my debts and buy my own country.

  11. avatarsurlycmd says:

    Yes. Who cares if it’s practical or not. Fun is fun and if I have the funding, why not?

  12. avatarDon says:

    I don’t really see the point other than fun factor. Given the cost for a relatively modest fun factor I’ll probably never get one. The only one I’m interested in is a 1923 style thompson SBR. I’d be content with a semi SBR version however. (the long barrel ones look goofy).

  13. avatarSid says:

    I don’t shoot full auto anymore. I shoot bigger bullets.

    What had happened was….. my team was sent on a rescue mission. A cabinet member or state dept staff was in a chopper that strayed over the border and was shot down. My team picked up the trail and followed it. We found a SF team that had been skinned alive. We raided a rebel camp but it turns out the person we were sent to rescue was CIA and died just prior to the raid. An alien started hunting us. After it killed two of our team members, my weapons sergeant shot at it with 200 rounds from an M60. Then, he capped off another 1000 rounds from his dead friends minigun. Our team members formed a firing line and we all began firing on automatic. 7.62mm, 5.56mm, 9mm, and 40mm grenades. We thought we missed it. Turns out we had wounded it. But when we fired on automatic, it did not work. I finally killed the thing by dropping a tree section on it.

    I can’t afford to shoot full auto in the hopes that my target will die. It gets too expensive. I can get tree sections for the cost of chainsaw fuel.

  14. avatarPyrotek85 says:

    It’d be nice to have it, particularly if it’s true to the original design (like an AK or AR). If it weren’t regulated at all and you could modify how you wanted, I’d probably make the full auto a burst fire where possible. Still, it’s more for the fun factor and ‘just because’.

  15. Only reason I can think of to get a bump-fire stock would be for the novelty. I suspect, once I’ve shot it a few times, I’d revert back to a normal stock for reliability and accuracy. (ok, to save ammo) Now if we were to get rid of the NFA and the price of fully automatic rifles came back down where it should be, I’d be interested in owning one.

  16. avatarjwm says:

    When I get the urge to go full auto I go to a free state and hit the rental range. If I owned my own full auto I would be tempted to use it regular so then I’d have to buy a secluded piece of land away from the RSO’s. That’s the part that would make it expensive.

  17. avatarUtahLibertarian says:

    Yes, yes, and yes. My son and I love to go “Redneck Full Auto(tm)” with our 10/22. For a minute, then we get down to more serious stuff. But for $23, why not?

  18. avatarPaul W says:

    not a chance in hell. even discounting the license fees and crap, most full auto guns seem pretty pricey. and then ammo’s an arm and a leg.

  19. avatarAharon says:

    The opportunity cost would be too high for me to pay in not being able to purchase other things that I find of greater value and importance while still being less costly than a fully automatic rifle. Therefore no I cannot afford a fully automatic rifle.

  20. I would love a full auto Rugger 10/22. I would pay money for that.

    I don’t even think .22′s should be classified as firearms. They should be given the same status as bows or BB guns.

  21. Personally I can’t keep them in stock. We sell an aluminum bump fire stock for about 7 different rifles and I love shooting them all. You can buy an M-16 for 14K or so or spend 369,00 and have a bunch of money for amm and no tax stamp.

    • avatarBurnOut says:

      I own one of stocks that Louis is referring to, but have not yet had a chance to use it. That said, the fact that I own one provides my answer to the question posed here.

      I have used a SlideFire and found it to be entertaining in a big, dumb way; I fully expect Louis’s setup to have a similar result.

  22. avatarensitu says:

    An FA 10-22 is to die for!

  23. avatarspeedracer5050 says:

    Yes Yes Yes!!! If I had the funding and a really good progressive press reloading setup then….OH HELL YES!!!!
    An original M60 MG with the bipod and a starlite scope. Ma Duece would be nice but .50 is so expensive and a lot of work to reload.
    7.62 not so bad.
    And since we are semi dreaming I would set up a machine shop to build a full auto 6″ barreled 1911!!! Yep just a dream but hey!!!

  24. avatarDisThunder says:

    I think once I got the money together, all the other toys I could buy, like more SBRs or suppressors, or a gently used Honda Civic….would probably entice me away.

  25. avatarAverage_Casey says:

    In the Marine Corps, we learned that full auto is pretty much useless for most things. If you are in combat, it’s a lot better to shoot, aim, breathe, shoot. You will hit a lot more targets that way and go through a lot less ammo. We wouldn’t even fire on three round burst unless it was training with blanks and we had to get rid of them.

  26. avatarPete says:

    She sure does have a cute little arse…..oh wait, what were we talking about?

  27. avatarRalph says:

    M14. Even if I had to unretire to buy it or feed it.

  28. avatarLTC F says:

    I can barely afford to keep my semi autos fed. That and frankly full auto isn’t that much fun, at least with an M16 or M4. Now an M2, that’s fun, but at a couple of bucks a round I couldn’t afford it, even if I had the 15 or 16 grand to buy the gun and another grand for the tripod. Hmm. I wonder if I could bolt a pintle to the floor of my F150 and use the sunroof as a gunner’s hatch. That would make the Austin traffic more interesting.

    • avatarspeedracer5050 says:

      Close!! Austin traffic would be better served with a Ford F550 truck and a Bushmaster Chain Fed Auto Cannon in 20mm!!!
      Remote fire control and thermals. Two racks of APDST rounds and a HUD in the windshield. If you are going to go then go big!!!!!

  29. avatarGregolas says:

    Only time was a rented 1927 Thompson and 100 rounds of .45.
    From a historical, sensory,experimental, experiential, standpoint IT WAS GREAT!!!
    If I only had had the dough….

  30. avatarsanchanim says:

    Short answer is not on your life!
    Sure I could sell the farm and get one, but I couldn’t afford to shoot it. Then again hitting the giggle switch on occasion makes you smile like nothing else can! :-)

  31. avatarBrian says:

    dat ass! so distracting…can you please repeat the question?

    Might be fun as a novelty, but after firing it a few times it’s probably just a good way to lighten the wallet

  32. avatarGreg says:

    Can, and have one, an M-11 with a .22lr kit when I don’t want to shoot 9mm. It’s a ton of fun, and I shoot submachinegun matches with it in the summer to get rid of the monotony of just shooting paper.

  33. avatarGreg in Allston says:

    Sadly, no. I’d love to own a Thompson. Not likely to happen. That said, a good semi will generally lay down what one needs.

  34. avatarThpbltblt says:

    Got my dose of full auto in the Marines when I was toting a SAW. I’ve seen a video of the bump fire thingy before, and thought it was pretty neat. Then I had the opportunity to fondle one at a gun show. The amount of slop in it confirmed my suspicions that it couldn’t possibly be accurate. Fun, but not accurate. I’ll pass.

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  36. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    No, mostly because (as most others agree), they’re expensive to feed.

    They’re also expensive to maintain in the civilian world.

  37. avatarBen Keim says:

    I wouldn’t mind being able to burst-fire.

  38. avatarJerryboy says:

    so long as it’s not regulated, and if i reloaded for those rounds, sure why not?

  39. avatarensitu says:

    I have used the above on a few occasions, $400 for the stocky thing plus $12.00 a mag dump, it’s still cheaper than any of my wives on a cheap day and it never complains when I put it away dirty or don’t buy it a Birthday card.

  40. avatarScott says:

    The artificial market inflation of full-autos and the gun control regime involved has successfully made me not want to get one.

    However if the NFA and Hughes Amendment were to magically disappear you bet your ass I would be the first in line at a gunsmith to convert them to full-auto.

    Ill go against the grain here and say full-auto can be a useful feature. Does that mean I will use it every time I shoot? Of course not but I believe in the philosophy of its better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. If full-auto was useless then why do gun manufacturers of assault rifles still add the full-auto feature if they are useless?? Why does our military and police forces still have that feature on them if useless? Why did British soldiers in the Falkland War ditch their L1A1′s for the Argentine full-auto FAL’s?

    There is a time and place for full-auto rather than to declare it useless. Why do you think the government still makes them nigh impossible to get unless you have the money with a squeaky clean record?

    A right not exercised is a right denied especially those here who don’t mind being denied a function a lot of their rifled originally came with but banned from government tyranny.

  41. avatarAaron says:

    These firearms do have a legitimate self defense purpose, but not in the way most people think. The average DGU takes place at point blank range, so a machinegun pistol would be an extremely effective self defense tool, point at the groin and let the muzzle flip bring the pistol farther up the body. As W.E. Fairbairn said in “Shooting To Live,” “The more closely our own pistols resemble machine-guns, the better we like it.”

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