Lever gun vs. semi-auto

Discussion in 'Survival Gear' started by scott_n06, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. scott_n06

    scott_n06 G&G Newbie

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    For a survival situation which do you think would be a better gun. I am wanting to buy a mid caliber gun for deer hunting as well as a survival gun if god forbid The SHTF. Since I am on the cheap I am debating between a marlin 30-30 or a sks. I like the idea of a lever gun because if there is ever a missfire or something of the like you just cycle the action again and ready to do also there is less moving parts to break. You also dont have the black gun syndrome. However you have a higher ammo cost as well as larger ammo with the 30-30. With the semi-auto you have a faster rate of fire as well as quicker reloading and the ammo is smaller and cheaper.

    What is everyone's opinion?
  2. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Enthusiast

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    I'm a fan of both.

    All round, I'm more a fan of the SKS over the 30-30.

    Those faster follow up shots and cheaper, more accurate ammo tip the scales for me.

    Besides, a bayonet and detachable mags/stripper clips are AWESOME!
  3. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

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    Essentially, you're asking the forum to advise you on mechanical energy versus gas energy operation. Call it a variation on the Bolt Action versus Semi-Auto Rifle debate.

    Frankly, of greater concern to me is the caliber. 7.62x39 ComBloc is a whole lot easier to find than .30-30 WCF. (I also just learned from the gunsmith who runs my favorite gun store that the new Hornady .30-30 Leverevolution round is not compatible with older (or old) .30-30s, especially not old Winchesters. This fact also comes into play when considering which gun to choose.) It's one of the "universal" calibers. .30-30 WCF hasn't been a universal round you could find in any hardware store, hole in the wall gun shop, gas station in hunting country or big box store for a number of years.

    Also, there is the matter of maintaining the rifle. To be honest, I find it a lot easier to detail-strip an SKS than a lever action. I'm a mechanical klutz, but I have enough confidence to detail-strip an SKS. I don't have that level of confidence with my Winchester 94.

    Finally, if accuracy is an issue, provided your SKS is a Yugoslav SKS you can set it for single shot operation. Because the Yugo has an integral grenade launcher, it was designed to accept special blank ammunition with a heavier powder charge than the basic 7.62 ComBloc round. Rifle grenades are fired one at a time, so a selector switch was incorporated to make the process safer. Now, we can't buy live rifle grenades; they're illegal. But that selector switch also in effect converts the semi-auto SKS into a straight-pull bolt action rifle. The increase in accuracy when fired in single shot mode is noteworthy.

    Bottom line: the SKS has two modes of operation, a universal cartridge and is easier to maintain. If I have a choice between the SKS and the Marlin, the SKS wins hands down.
  4. TACAV

    TACAV G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

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    So, rack the SKS bolt and fire the next round.


    Unlike the lever gun, the SKS was built for the rough and tough battlefield as a war gun. Not to mention it was built by Russians to be used by an undertrained, under educated conscript army. It was built and design for simplicity and ruggedness.

    Who cares.... especially if its a survival situation. If you're going to be more worried about how your hippy next door neighbor thinks about you, rather than what works best for defending yourself and putting food on the table you might need to re think your priorities lol. Not to mention if it bothers you that much get a traditional wood SKS.

    Making it more expensive to train with, stock up on, and making it harder for smaller statured people in your group to shoot with.

    All the more reason to go with the SKS, and remember, just because it is capable of faster semi auto fire does not mean you have to use it. But it is one powerful tool and option that you have vs not having it with the lever gun. Espeically if you want to double this rifle as defense.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011
  5. grizcty

    grizcty God, Guns, Glory Forum Contributor

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    Easy answer for me.

    I love my levers!
    And your less likely, to get shot for carrying a rifle.
  6. blaster

    blaster G&G Enthusiast

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    I have both rifles and I would prefer the SKS too. roger on the maintaince issue Cyrno! an SKS is very easy to strip and clean. a leveraction is very compex.
  7. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Newbie

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    Between those two, for a Survival Rifle, I'd say SKS.

    I sold my SKS and got AK47 instead.

    I sold all but one of my Marlin 30-30s. I kept the stainless steel one, just because everyone should have ONE 30-30 lever gun. LOL
  8. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Enthusiast

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    Aye, I'd rather have an AK than either :) but I want a GOOD stainless lever gun too. That's something that will never wear out or rust up or fail you. Of course, I'd want one in .44mag. Nearly as much energy as the 30-30, and a lot lighter/shorter. Pistol caliber lever guns just suit me.
  9. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Enthusiast

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    duplicate post removed by BarryHalls
  10. scott_n06

    scott_n06 G&G Newbie

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    This is what I was talking about by black rifle syndrome not what anybody thinks about it just if you were in a SHTF situation you would want to draw the least amount of attention to yourself and I would think a lever gun would draw less attention. But I agree with all your input on the sks the battle proven ruggidness is one reason I lean towards it but also the lever action design has been around alot longer and it won the west. As much as I love a lever gun I just can't get past the ammo cost. And a SKS would be more fun to train/play with in the pre-SHTF times.
  11. larmus

    larmus G&G Newbie

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  12. larmus

    larmus G&G Newbie

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    mainly for reasons stated in above posts.
  13. thrillbilly

    thrillbilly G&G Evangelist

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    I really like the idea/concept of the Remington pump rifle that takes AR mags (chambered in .223) as an ''alternative'' to the bolt action/AK/SKS/AR that are 99% of the survival guns discussed.

    LOL I just haven't shot or even held one, but I do like the IDEA...AR capacity/reload speed, manual operation to clear jams faster, a pump can be fired almost (if not) as quickly as a S/A...

    I have shot the regular Remington pump rifles, were reasonably accurate (at LEAST as accurate as AK or SKS if not more so) and I know rem pumps that were bought in the 50s and 60s that are still killing deer.

    But they do have the same drawback of the ''EBR'' stigma, they look like a assault rifle...would be better if they offered a wood stock option, although I assume any aftermarket wood stocks would fit it.

    They would be viable in any hunting (within the limitations of the .223 chambering) or self-defense scenario, although I would imagine they wouldn't hold up to sustained firing of 100 or 200 rounds as well as a combat designed firearm.

    The two major drawbacks to it in my opinion is that they are .223 only, and the price is high for what it is I think.

    Sorry for the off-topic rambling, the topic of alternative weapon systems just reminded me of the RemPump...to answer the OP, I would choose a SKS or AK over a lever for SHTF, but I wouldn't mind having a lever gun around for a hunting or backup weapon.
  14. don5544

    don5544 G&G Regular

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    SKS and accuracy are not always the same thing. The way an SKS loads a round it will deform a soft point. Don't believe me. Let it rip a round off the top of the mag and then eject the round. Even hollow point ammo tends to overpenetrate and not expend the energy on a deer.

    A 30-30 lever action is designed for a flat point bullet. The bullet will expand and leave all the enery on the target.

    Despite what you think a SKS is designed to be cheap to make and designed for a short service life.

    A Winchester or Marlin 30-30 will outlast an SKS.

    The only place where an SKS is better is fire power. You can put more lead down range laster and load faster.

    So if you look at SHTF as a battle go with an SKS. If you want to live in the woods long term go with a 30-30.
  15. Capt'n Mil Coll

    Capt'n Mil Coll G&G Enthusiast

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    I just dont like the 7.62x39 round.

    Here you decide.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZxByZKBePI]YouTube - 30-30 and sks vs pumpkin_0001.wmv[/ame]

    There is actually a much better video on youtube showing how the 30-30 actually blows the pumpkins up and the 7.62 just blows through it. But I cant find if of course.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  16. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Enthusiast

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    I would wager that's comparing 30-30 flat nose to 7.26x39 FMJ or silver tip.

    The rounds are almost identical in energy and muzzle velocity. The only thing that REALLY differs is the tip. In commercial ammo there are 7.62x39 HPs that blow holes in vegetables and deer alike the size of soft balls and still maintain accuracy to 300 yards or more. There are now 30-30 rubber ballistic tipped rounds that perform very similarly, but the difference is the semi auto action and the price. 7.62x39 is much much cheaper to shoot.
  17. stinkybriches

    stinkybriches G&G Newbie

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    don ive shot alot of deer with hollowpoint bullets, enough to know that they do infact expand.
  18. Big Cholla

    Big Cholla G&G Newbie

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    I have a lot of gunsmithing experience on both the Win. 94/30-30 and the SKS 7.62x39. IMHO, the SKS is far the easier to maintain and keep running. With a small stash of the proper spare parts, the SKS is going to be serviceable for much longer than the Win. 94. As long as the SKS is still in the wood stocks, the Black Rifle argument doesn't hold. The longer range accuracy of the SKS doesn't thrill me, so my go-to SHTF rifle is an AR15 in 7.62x39. The magazines available from 'C-Products' make the AR 15/7.62x39 into a real rifle. That ammo is going to be much more available than 30-30 after SHTF. ................ Big Cholla
  19. Lightweight

    Lightweight G&G Enthusiast

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    I think the .30-30 makes for an excellent defensive firearm, but the SKS does provide that extra firepower that could help in a sour situation. I am more familiar with the lever action, and I think it makes for a more portable weapon. The SKS is bulkier and heavier, but I think you are more likely to afford practice with the cheap fodder. I'd say it's a toss up.
  20. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Enthusiast

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