Thinking About a “Handy Rifle”

Earlier this week, I finally got my hands on a stripped .308 upper for a project that’s been sitting in my safe for almost two years. I’ve been wanting to build a .308 AR for a long time, but doing so is expensive and requires meticulous attention to detail regarding parts selection. I’m still a long ways off from finishing this rifle, but it’s nice to finally get the one piece that has been eluding me for over a year. From here out, barrels, bolt carriers, and hand guards are relatively easy to get a hold of.

That said, I initially wanted to do a .308 AR in order to have a lighter semi auto than my M1A (which weighs around 17 pounds with optic and no ammo). I’m estimating that the 308 AR will come in around 10-12 lbs with smart parts selection- that’s still no lightweight.

Gungnir already weighs about 12.6 lbs, and may gain weight after it gets a longer barrel in .260 caliber at some point in the future.

I’ve always liked the idea of a “handy rifle.” Something that is lightweight, rugged, and easy to shoot sounds like a handy rifle to carry around for long periods outdoors, or stuff in a sack in the back of my Jeep. In a lot of ways, Jeff Cooper’s idea of a scout rifle really resonates with me. However, I don’t like forward mounted optics. The Ruger GSR caught my eye for a while, but now I have my eye on the Mossberg MVP 7.62. The MVP will accept either M1A magazines or 308 PMAGs, and I have both already.

While a 16″ barrel seems stubby for a 308, but I’m currently already running a 22″ semi, 20″ bolt, and will have a 18″ semi in the near future- might as well experiment, right? When I move back to a NFA-friendly state, a lightweight, 16″ bolt gun equipped with my TR24G, a 10-20 round PMAG, and a suppressor sounds like a nice little package. Provided proper marksmanship fundamentals, such a rifle would be very useful for just about anything from target shooting to hunting at relatively close ranges.

That is, of course, far in the future. I have all but abandoned the idea of any new rifles while I live in CA, and would rather focus on improving my shooting ability (which means more money on ammo, not toys). But it’s something to think about for the future.

Of course, phase two of my personal goals may start including pistol marksmanship- which is a whole new rabbit hole.


2 thoughts on “Thinking About a “Handy Rifle””

  1. “Of course, phase two of my personal goals may start including pistol marksmanship- which is a whole new rabbit hole.”
    When that time comes, I’ve got a handgun marksmanship book for ya….;-)

    1. I did see that book, and I’m quite intrigued. I think, as I get closer to the end of the year, I’m going to have to decide which pistol to focus on. My 1911 is the most classic, the FNS is the most modern, and my Beretta is the most applicable to the real world for me (given my career)

      Of those, the Beretta is the only one I’ve successfully gotten hits at 50 and 100 yards. But, admittedly, it was for fun and I haven’t attempted it with the other two.


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