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Entry level 223 transferables

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Hi, just wanting to get some feedback from those of you who have been doing this for a lot longer than me and know what's out there these days and price ranges I can expect, for options for a first transferable, preferably in .223.

I've been searching around for my first transferable, started off seeking a MAC, but then decided a 223 may be the better fit.  Was kind of set on a Ruger AC556, and made a WTB post here on the market board, but I've been doing a lot of research, reading forum posts, watching videos, and now I'm leaning more towards an FNC.  Anyway, here's what the options look like to me, in ascending price point:

Ruger AC556: $11k-$13K. Simply a mini 14, but also available in a neat folding variant.

FN FNC: $14K-$18K. Scarcely adopted military rifle, kind of the bridge between the FAL and the SCAR.

Armalite AR-18: $15K-$20K. Action design was great enough to spawn an impressive legacy, but everything else about the gun seems pretty crude, (in an off-putting way for me).

AR-15: $17K-$30K. Incredible aftermarket and configurability, but common enough to not be too highly interesting.

HK33: $18K-$30K. Classic HK roller lock design.

Leaning towards the FNC, seems like a really fun and controllable shooter, has enough aftermarket to offer a few options (something AR18 doesn't have), and seems like it would be a cool, unique, and interesting experience when shared with others, even setting aside the full auto aspect (something I don't think the AC556 really offers).  HK33 would be a strong option, but I think they're beyond my price range at this point.

After some more input from those of you with experience, I may update/re-do my WTB post.  Appreciate any input!

Edited by howdy

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IMO, it's always hard to beat an M16.  However, between the FNC, AR18 and AC556...I'd definitely go with the FNC

FYI...Lage just got approval for his 5.56 uppers in the M10 and M11 models.  He now has 5.56 uppers in all "Mac" models...M11/9, M10 and M11.

Good Luck.

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I was in the same boat about 2 years ago shopping for my first transferable.  MAC was first choice because most affordable and with Lage options it makes it into a usable fun subgun vs being a bullet hose.   I quickly released that 223/5.56 platform was more of what I really wanted and started shopping FNC and various Colt and non-Colt conversions.  FNC definitely more affordable then M16 platform but many on the different forums pointed out parts much harder to find for FNC vs M16.  So I settled in on M16 platform and patiently waited and ended up finding a mint Colt M16A1 for what I thought was a decent price.  Yes, I could have got an SP1 conversion or non-Colt conversion cheaper but I believe in buy once cry once mantra and could not be happier in my purchase.  Best advice is to decide what you are absolutely willing to spend and then you can narrow down the choices you listed in your initial post.  Sturm is a great resource for advice and also to find that exact gun you are looking for.   Good luck in your search!

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The ac556 is a great gun I love mine. Parts are out there An available. Really a bargain for the price. My first transferable was the ac556 folder I put a fixed wood stock on it. I like it more then my transferable Ak. Fun pretty high rate of fire. Honestly I recommend it over the fnc there just isn’t a lot of parts out there for the fnc. I’d love to have an ar18 but again not a lot of parts out there. From what I’ve seen. Just my opinion. Good luck with the hunt for your first mg! 

Last thing I want to add is you can always buy the ac556 now save your money shoot it for a few years and then use it plus money to trade for the hk33/53 m16 or what ever you want. Think a lot of guys don’t think about this.

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3 hours ago, hkg3k said:

IMO, it's always hard to beat an M16.  However, between the FNC, AR18 and AC556...I'd definitely go with the FNC

FYI...Lage just got approval for his 5.56 uppers in the M10 and M11 models.  He now has 5.56 uppers in all "Mac" models...M11/9, M10 and M11.

Good Luck.

I concur...M16 is the best bang for the buck and it doesn't have to be a Colt but it should be a captive pin registered receiver. Can't go wrong with all the configurations and calibers that can be attained. My Internet 2-cents.

Jim

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M16 looks to be your best option of those listed. In my opinion all collections should start with the root 3. M16 of some sort to include a DIAS, HK Sear or registered pack, then any version Mac or UZI. Between those 3 you have everything covered from standard rifles, tiny subguns to beltfeds depending on host or configuration. The first one matters little. None are bad choices and all have good support. 

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Personally I prefer to shoot my subguns vs M16 (or variant). Cheaper, and easier to control. IMHO.

However if I had to get a 223/556, then it would be a M16. With modifications, you can shoot other calibers. Only annoying thing is that depending what you want to shoot, you may need to disassemble it.  For example if I want to shoot my Razorback, I need to pull out my Geissele SSF (install a lighten spring with a milspec F/A trigger), buffer, buffer extension, etc.  Just a pain. If your talking about a Shrike belt fed (or MCR) then the pain is to replace the bolt release with a nonstandard one due to it contacting the upper, as well as other swap out parts.. 

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Another vote for a subgun versus 5.56. Changing calibers and uppers on M16 is possible (and pretty easy). But...I dislike the 9mm M16. Maybe I'm the odd man out who doesn't like it but I don't.  Shooting 5.56 in full auto is fun but - again my opinion here - unless you're shooting bursts with the 20" hbar you're not accurate at distances outside 100 yards.  Some are much better shots than I am but I'm about minute of cow in full auto at 200 yards with an M16.

It all depends on what you like and what you look forward to doing with it. I like the FNC and prefer how it shoots over either the AC556 or the M16. They are very nice shooting guns in my opinion. Parts are hard to find and $$. It is also "what you see is what you get" for configurations.  Sure you can have a folder or a fixed stock but I'm not aware of many other variations. 

Investment?  Pony up and get an M16. Just look at the replies on this thread - lots of folks want one.  Versatility?  Get a Mac variant and available upper options. Fun? For me it's a subgun that I can easily lug to the range, shoot controllably, and spend less on ammo. I think that it is fun to run suppressed too. Another criteria is historical value? Look at tube or c&r historical guns. 

Best advice is go shoot a bunch of them. Get what YOU like if it's a shooter or wall hanger. A funny thing that i decided long ago is that i don't like guns that use magloaders. It's a personal quirk. Anything that needs a magloader to fill a mag is sold off in my world. Get an M16 or a Mac if you want it to appreciate in value. Have fun and good luck! 

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Thanks for all of your replies, everyone, really great input to consider.  One big takeaway from me here is, all of the options are very well liked and desirable in their own right, each has a feature set that speaks to someone.  So even if I end up buying one and regretting not going for one of the other guns, it shouldn't be too difficult to cash out to put into that other one.

 

I think for my specific likes at this time and what I look forward to do with it, the FNC is still the strongest candidate for me.  The spare parts dilemma seems surmountable, just may be a substantially longer and costlier endeavor to replace things.  The possibility of future surplussed parts kits is something I hadn't thought of and would be a nice turn of events for FNC owners.  AR18 interestingly seems to have the least traction, curious that it commands the price point it does when it seems to have fewer fans than the Ruger or FNC.

And hey, as Thumpy said, if I end up with an FNC and find myself wanting an AR (the clear crowd favorite) down the line, I'll have had more time to save up for the jump up in price.  The FNC is already higher than I was aiming to spend when I started looking.  Thanks again for all your advice, guys!

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It's always a moving target when dealing with the prices.

AR18 ive also seen less people purchase. One I'm more surprised that the prices haven't skyrocketed is the Reising 50

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Don't get an FNC, its a one trick pony. Ruger mini 14 is OK, but you're limited to .223 or .22lr.

Get a Mac and don't look back! the LAGE conversions are great, I shoot my M11-15 more than the shrike, LMG or other M16 variants I have.

Mac 10 or 11 will shoot 9mm, .45, .380, .22lr or .223 with the correct upper and you can buy 2 of them for the price of a M16. Good Luck, BP

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M16 would be best

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M16 for sure, when you shoot out a barrel just drop another 500.00 dollar upper on it and go. Not true with the others.

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The m16 is the best option if you want to experience the full range of calibers/configs. You can have a subgun or a beltfed in many robust configurations. If you're budget limited, the MACs are the way to go.

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Agree with the M-16, but you got to get "In the Game"

A good friend told me long ago, he wanted an MP-5. They were around $5k, by the time he saved enough, they were $8k, by the time he saved that, they were $12k, and so on. He sadly never got the HK. 

I would get in the game, MAC or otherwise, so maybe your investment will keep up with the inflation until you can save a little more.

Just my 2 cents.

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3 hours ago, Colt Chopper said:

Agree with the M-16, but you got to get "In the Game"

A good friend told me long ago, he wanted an MP-5. They were around $5k, by the time he saved enough, they were $8k, by the time he saved that, they were $12k, and so on. He sadly never got the HK. 

I would get in the game, MAC or otherwise, so maybe your investment will keep up with the inflation until you can save a little more.

Just my 2 cents.

I had that thought as well, need to get on the train or get left behind, prices aren't going to wait around.  Fortunately, I found one yesterday that I'm happy with the price on and committed to it, hopefully everything works out.  Holding my breath 'til it's at my dealer though since the last one I thought was a done deal ended up not working out.

 

4 hours ago, taylorwso said:

The m16 is the best option if you want to experience the full range of calibers/configs. You can have a subgun or a beltfed in many robust configurations. If you're budget limited, the MACs are the way to go.

Agreed, for purely a shooter, M16 would be the way to go, I love the idea of being able to simply swap uppers and go from 22lr to 9mm to 223 to belt fed.  And one day I may make the jump up to an M16.  But for now, an M16 is kind of out of my reach, and I'm very interested in the FNC, so it fits the bill.  One thing the FNC does have over the M16 is that it's unique and interesting, a worthy conversation starter.

It sure would be cool if someone started producing 22lr conversions for the FNC.

Edited by howdy

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Well sounds like you've already decided on the FNC. Enjoy!

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Once you get past the sticker shock on what transferables go for it is all good.  You have to remember there are only a finite amount of transferables available. When I bought my M16 I figured that would be my only machinegun given the cost.  2 years later I am now actively looking for my second machinegun, an H&K MP5.  As others have pointed out a MAC is a really nice subgun with the Lage accessories and it is still on my list of guns to own.

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