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Ruger GSR or M1A Scout Squad as a Survival Rifle

This is a discussion on Ruger GSR or M1A Scout Squad as a Survival Rifle within the Broken Arrow forums, part of the Gun Forum category; I have been contemplating the Ruger GSR and debating whether or not I should make it my EOTWAWKI/SHTF/Zombie Apocalypse/Survival/Bug Out/Bug In (pick your favorite over-used ...


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Old August 23rd, 2012, 04:17 PM   #1
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Ruger GSR or M1A Scout Squad as a Survival Rifle

I have been contemplating the Ruger GSR and debating whether or not I should make it my EOTWAWKI/SHTF/Zombie Apocalypse/Survival/Bug Out/Bug In (pick your favorite over-used term) rifle.

Let me start with what I envision the survival scenario as. Some life altering event has occurred. The collapse of the economy seems most likely; but it could be some sort of epidemic, major natural disaster, or EMP-type scenario. I don't believe in zombies. Power is most likely out. The grocery stores have long since been looted. There is no recovery in sight. I can't say where we are when this happens, because right now, I have no clue. Being a military man, who knows where I'll be if/when this happens. The general vicinities of Enid, Oklahoma; Charlotte; Metro-ATL; Columbus, MS; Colorado Springs, CO; and Charleston, SC are the most likely locales. Anchorage and Tacoma are outside shots, but if I can ever convince my wife, we'll be there. But waiting to find out where we'll be when it happens is too late to start prepping. As the proverbial "man of the house," it is my responsibility to feed and protect my family. Protect them from what? Looters, roving bands of brigands, etc. Am I alone? I don't think so. I think that communities will band together for mutual protection and support. Unless, of course, we bugged out. The only reason I see for that, though, is some sort of viral outbreak. And, as you can see from the list of locales, we could be bugging out to the Rockies, the swamps of MS or coastal SC, the plains of OK, or the Smokies. I don't see battles as a great possibility, and, even if they do happen, I'm no infantryman.

Why do I want just one centerfire rifle? Focus proficiency and money in one spot. I'd rather have one rifle that is like an extension of me, than 15 that I'm barely familiar with. Besides, if I'm spending money on ammo and accessories for several different rifles and calibers, then that is that much money I am NOT spending on other areas of survival preparedness. I think we often times get too focused on our firearms and neglect food, water, shelter, etc.

So, what are the requirements for a rifle to fit this bill? It needs to be versatile, obviously. Relatively light in case of bug-out. Rugged. Reliable. Simple. Detachable mags are a huge plus and bonus points are awarded to anything with a capacity greater than 5 rounds. Iron sights are a requirement, at least as back ups. It needs to fire a round capable of taking game in each of those locales listed above...so pretty much everything on the continent. It needs to be as comfortable in the forests of Dixie as it is on the plains of OK and capable of taking game from inside 50 yards to 3-400 yards. It needs to shoulder quickly, point naturally, and have an ability to get on target quickly in case of defense. And it needs to be in a caliber that is readily available in a world without internet ordering. Reloading options are a plus.

Now...Why do I lean towards the GSR? It weighs 7# empty. That's pretty light weight. While I haven't torture-tested one, it seems ruggedly constructed. It's a Mauser-style action, which is reliable. The M77s in particular seem to have a reputation of reliability and accuracy. It doesn't get much simpler than a bolt. Very few parts to break. Cleaning is a breeze. 10 round detachable mag for ease of reloading. .308 can take anything in the US and is a commonly stockpiled military caliber. It's compactness makes it a great brush gun, while the .308 round, despite losing out a bit in that 16.5" barrel, can still reach out to 3-400 yards effectively. If I'm bugged in and have components stockpiled, I can still manufacture my own rounds as needed. With the multiple options on optics mounting the GSR provides, I should have no problem putting on something that allows for quick target acquisition. Also, having fondled one, I find it superbly balanced and it points naturally. In my unique situation of not knowing where I'll be, I need a good general purpose rifle. I think the GSR fits the bill.

Now, the M1A Scout squad also seems like a good fit. It can lay down more rounds quicker, and has a higher capacity. It is also heavier and as a semi, more complex. Other than this, I don't know much about the M1As. Any further info expounding the attributes of the very fine M1A would be helpful.


With the situation outlined, the requirements defined, and my reasoning for the GSR laid out...What say you? GSR or M1A? Keep in mind, I have $1300. I can get the GSR some mags and a lot of ammo for that. I MIGHT be able to find an M1A Scout for $1300.

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Old August 23rd, 2012, 04:23 PM   #2
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The advantage would go to the semiauto for me. Injuries can have a significant impact on self defense. I'm a M1A guy so I might be biased.

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Old August 23rd, 2012, 08:00 PM   #3
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Im biased because I own one but Id go with the scout, its short enough to be super mobile, hits like a beast, follow up is quicker with a few spare parts it will last reliably, is not as simple as a bolt gun but is simple enough to learn I think.

I would not want to need a semi auto and not have one but I also believe the best gun is the gun you have and can afford to use and prep with so I do not think your going to go wrong either way...

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Old August 23rd, 2012, 08:00 PM   #4
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Let me first say welcome TexanDriver. And second, that a bolt-action is not a good choice for a multi-task rifle in my opinion, one of those tasks being a defensive/fighting rifle in todays world. This is a semi-automatic and fully automatic world. A bolt-action will not put you on even ground in a face to face fight. There simple, reliable actions, but not a modern fighting rifle.

For what you're looking for the Scout M1A is an excellent choice and may be exactly what you need if you can handle and shoot it well. Yes, it's heavier, but tons of people use it and with skill. While a Scout is a more complex action, there still quite easy to maintain and very reliable. The irons sights are better than many of the best rifles out there. They can be very accurate and are tough rifles.

The choices for which parts one's setup with make it more so like a synthetic stock compared to a wood, quality magazines and parts, and a little tuning for certain models like the Scout which is basically a rack grade M14 setup with a shorter barrel. You'll find quite a few of us here that have chosen them for exactly what you're talking.


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Old August 23rd, 2012, 08:20 PM   #5
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I would (and have) picked the M1A. For a relatively lightweight rifle, get a reliable Scout size in a USGI fiberglass stock. If you like, a red dot sight doesn't add much.
I have several M14s, and my SHTF rifle is a Socom, but it is a natural choice for me having several for ammo/magazine/parts/accessories interchangability.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 08:20 PM   #6
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Not to nitpick (Okay, I am)... If you are talking about the Springfield Scout - it has an 18" barrel, not the 16.5" of the SOCOM Series. :) I would only go with a bolt-action if weight was the determing factor for me, which it isn't.

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Old August 23rd, 2012, 08:23 PM   #7
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Another factor I forget to mention regarding SHTF defense rifles, if you are ever faced with serious multiple attackers at close range, maybe a gang of them, a bolt gun will not suffice. You need a semi-auto.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 08:35 PM   #8
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This is the M14 forum, so naturally I would choose the Scout. Bolt rifles have their place, but in your case, a semi would definately be my choice. Besides, not many bolt rifles that you can slap a 20 round mag into.

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Old August 23rd, 2012, 08:52 PM   #9
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M1A Scout. As other have said, semi auto only way to go for a defensive setup. 7.62 NATO will kill most North American game or livestock for food. Scout gives manuverablity in close in urban enviornments, but still reach out and touch someone at a distance before they are ever a serious threat. Not to mention the ablity of the 7.62 NATO to go through cars and walls with ease.

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Old August 23rd, 2012, 08:55 PM   #10
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I would definately choose the Semi-Auto M1-A.

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Old August 23rd, 2012, 09:14 PM   #11
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I guess that would depend upon the actual tactical situation. If we're dealing with fast Zombies then I guess I'd want a fully automatic weapon or something that did area damage. If it's slow Zombies then Hershel's infinite ammo perk is hard to beat.


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Old August 24th, 2012, 03:40 AM   #12
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As stated, a semiauto is what will fill the requirement. 308WIN, 7.62NATO, or 30/06 will take any North America game. 308WIN & 7.62NATO are not the same round but a 7.62 barrel can be made to shoot 308, just alittle chamber reaming. But now you would be dealing with rounds the rifle wasn't intended to shoot.

The M1A bush/scout would be an excellent choice. Make sure to purchase Checkmate mags & site sponsor 44MAG sales them at a reasonable price. Personally, for SHTF, I prefer iron sights.

An option not mentioned is a M1 Garand tanker in 7.62 or 30/06. Uses an 8rd enblock but alittle practice & surprising now fast they can be loaded.

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Old August 24th, 2012, 06:22 AM   #13
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I am new around here as well and have debated your situation myself to great extent. I used to have a pretty big collection of firearms, AR, AK, Remington 770, Shotguns, Glocks, Kimber 1911, etc.

I have condensed my "practical defense arsenal", however, into the following: Remington 870 18" pump with extended mag, Beretta 90-two in .40, Beretta CX4 Storm in .40 (for mag interchangeability), and am currently collecting parts and knowledge for building an M-14. While one weapon to do it all would be great, the reason for several firearms is that each tactical situation calls upon a different weapon.

As I live in the suburbs, I am painfully aware that shooting off .308 rounds WILL cause a lot of collateral damage. Furthermore, I will not need to hit targets at 200 yds (as I only have a 50-75 yd. field of fire from any window/door). I have an eotech mounted on the CX4 and while dialed in for 50 yds, I have taken it out to 100 yds with great effect. The shotgun is perfect for any close threats (inside the yard/house), and the pistol with mag and ammo interchangeability with my carbine only made sense as the perfect back up weapon.

The M-14 will be my battle/bug out/survival rifle--semi auto .308 cannot be beat in those roles. Plus, the M-14 design has been around for a long while (allowing for readily available parts unlike a Keltec RFB etc) and is battle proven and reliable. For those targets that may need more stopping power and if I have to leave my house, I don't think you can beat an M-14/M1A. Furthermore, if I had to take only ONE, the M-14 will fill all the aforementioned roles adequately--not as perfectly as the others, but she will get the job done.

Just my thoughts!

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Old August 24th, 2012, 06:32 AM   #14
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Thanks for the inputs. Questions....
I thought the relationship between .308 Win and 7.62 NATO was the same as .223 and 5.56; just that the .308 was loaded to a higher pressure. But someone mention reaming the chamber? Not sure I follow.

How finicky are the M1As with ammo? Am I going to bend an oprod if I shoot something I bought off of the shelf?

If I go M1A, it's going to be a SLOW process. Like I said, I have $1300 to spend right now. Anyone know of a good place to get a deal?

If I want to reload, how badly does the M1A mangle brass? How many uses can I get out of a case?

What kind of accuracy do they get out of the box (M1A Scout Squad)? 1MOA? 2MOA?

That's all I can think of for now.

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Old August 24th, 2012, 06:41 AM   #15
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this is my recent project and is ready to go as is...a light weight socom.




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