Ask Foghorn: Best Rifle to Buy During an AWB Scare

Jeremy writes:

I figure everyone should probably own at least one rifle, shotgun and handgun. I’m hoping you can recommend something for me based off my needs, the current political climate and budget.

In particular, I’d like to get something that I can get now, but maybe can’t get later (esp. ammo) but can also be used for target shooting as well as hunting in case I go someday (and I would eventually like to do so). I like the idea of long-range shooting (maybe even some day up to 1000 yards) but am mostly concerned with sub-500 now. I really like the bolt action stuff but figure that will probably be available for a long time so am looking only at semi-auto stuff at the moment. A friend recommended an FNAR 308 Winchester.

There really isn’t a whole lot on the market right now, but you have options.

The best option is to wait.

In the current political climate, a federal assault weapons ban (or any significant firearms restrictions) is never going to happen. However, the mere specter of an AWB is enough to get people panic buying AR-15s at ridiculous prices. That, combined with the post-election run on guns, has basically sapped every last firearm out of the distribution chain. There are no modern firearms to be had.

At this point, it has been about a month since the scare started and people seem to have run out of money. The manufacturers are kicking their AR-15 production into high gear, and even SIG SAUER has discontinued production of a couple lines (like the Mk25) for the year to focus on semi-auto rifle production instead. So what we will see in the next month is a tidal wave of AR-15s coming on the market, with no one left who has the money to buy them. Supply goes up, demand drops off, and prices tumble. Life is good, and you have your pick of firearm.

But what if you can’t wait? If your state has gone off the gun control deep end, or if you don’t trust Washington to read the tea leaves the same way I do, then getting a rifle now is the only option for you. And for that, the FNAR is a pretty good choice.

FNAR, courtesy FNH USA

The FNAR checks all of your boxes. Guaranteed 1 MoA accuracy, semi-auto, and while technically an “assault rifle” under the definitions of most AWBs I believe that the pistol grip can be removed to turn this into an AWB compliant firearm. And after personally handling a few of these at trade shows, I can say that they actually feel pretty good. The comb is adjustable to suit your face and scope, and the trigger is actually pretty decent. Make sure you get the heavy barrel version though if you’re looking for accuracy beyond one or two shots within a few minutes.

Its a fine choice, but even these guns are out of stock right now at most places I’ve been looking. If you can find one more power to you, but I can’t find a single one.

In short, if you need a rifle right this minute you are pretty much screwed. Even the venerable Mosin Nagant is overpriced and less than available. The best option is to wait, but if you can’t then you should be prepared for some price gouging on Gunbroker.

Shotguns, however, are both plentiful and cheap. Even the ammo is available in bulk. So while you wait for rifle prices to go down, why not pick up a new shotgun? Mossberg’s 930 series shotguns are still around $500 – $600, and even FNH’s SLP Mk I shotgun is available at the usual price just north of a grand.

If you really want to buy a semi-auto long gun, shotguns are where you should be putting your money right now.

[Email your firearms-related questions to “Ask Foghorn” via guntruth@me.com. Click here to browse previous posts]