07 August 2012

Is It The Destination Or The Journey

Once upon a time I had a Mini-14.

It was a bog standard 6.4 lb. wood stocked 18.5" 1:10 barrel with a plain muzzle and a five round magazine.

But it was my "assault rifle".

I got it for a whopping $375 used at Jacobson's Gun Center in Story City, Iowa.  In 1991.

Because it was my "assault rifle" I needed to add some features.  Bear in mind that this was a bit before the assault rifle ban.  What I really wanted was a Galil (too expensive at $1,200), not a Mini-14; so I set out to make one...

First I changed the stock out for a polymer one with a metal folding stock.  $89.

Then I bought a bunch of USA brand 30 round magazines.  $14.30 each.

Then I tore off the front sight and replaced it with a combination front sight, flash-hider, muzzle brake.  $37.50.

Then I added a sling stud to the front of the stock and a Harris bipod.  $59.66.

All told I turned it into a 9.5 lb. gun.  At least it was lighter than the 11.3 lb. Galil!

A 9.5 lb. gun that would not hold a zero.  That had trouble hitting a coffee can at 50 yards.

Must be the sights!  So I bought an Aimpoint 1000 and a B-Square scope mount for it.  $270.

Now I have a 10.3 lb. gun!  That won't hold a zero, that has trouble hitting a coffee can at 50 yards.  That cost $905 including tax, $616 before optics.  A Colt AR-15 Match Target HBAR was $932 new at the time and was a mere 8 lbs.

I have a couple of AR's that don't cost that much and certainly don't weigh that much.  I didn't manage to make a Galil out of a Mini-14 and when I was finished I'd managed to ruin all of the good attributes of it.

By way of comparison, Dottie is all decked out modern style.  She ran me $2,486 including optics and light ($1,550 for a bare rifle).  She's 9.5 lbs all-up.  No wandering zero, can easily kill a coffee can at 200 yards repeatedly.  No bipod though...  But an unfair comparison considering that she's also in 6.8.

A better comparison would be The Lovely Harvey's Kevina.  $1,163 for the bare rifle plus $459 for the EOTech and $200 for the light.  STILL no bipod.  The best comparison might be her bare bones KISS carbine, Cheyenne, for $692.

Kevina, top.  Cheyenne, bottom.

Seems like a bunch more doesn't it?  $616 in 1991 is $973.48 in today's money.

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