You guys are good at these.
My firearms novice friend, well he's not so much of a novice any more, but he's not yet as dedicated as I am (hehe) is looking for a rifle.
I will summarize his case and keep him fairly anonymous. He splits his time between a gun friendly state, where the rifle will live, and a non gun friendly state, where he'd rather not be caught dead with it. Other factors such as his place of employment and their policies are in effect here.
Realize this is a guy who by some miracle from God sees the inherent value of a couple of guns and enjoys them mildly. I can see that, there are things I enjoy somewhat but am not committed to beyond a couple of token investments. This isn't a guy who is applying for a C&R any time soon, and just doesn't get excited or at least interested when you talk about your old Webley.
He thinks I'm a gun nut. But only because he's yet to meet a real gun nut.
I'm telling you that to give you perspective. His irons of choice are an XD9 and a Winchester 1300 Defender. I can't help but admit I had a hand in those choices...
Yeah I know, no .22.
Anyway, now he wants a rifle. I gave him the pat answer to get a .22 caliber rifle, because honestly if I was only going to have one rifle, that'd be it. And in his situation, I can actually agree with his other choices for social work.
Anyway I think I've talked him into getting a 10/22 for its own sake, but he's still interested in that Holy Grail of all purpose rifles. I told him that was all well and good, but the fact of the matter was an all purpose rifle by its very nature is going to be lacking somewhat when it comes to specific applications due to its very nature. He refined his criteria and sent me a PM detailing what he wanted it for and why.
So here we go.
-Basic format is a self loading rifle that uses a detachable box magazine.
-"Normal" chambering. Think .223 or .30-06 or something else relatively common, in a light to middle of the road round. .204 Ruger or .458 Lott chambering need apply for instance.
-$500 hard upper price limit. He might budge on this a little. He's got money if he'll just save it.
-Synthetic furniture preferred
-No milsurps or "mainstream military format" rifles (not sure what that means but I can guess). That right there makes things difficult.
-Modern, new production rifle with widely available parts/accessories.
-Optics may be considered at some point but not yet.
-Intended purpose: Mostly fun, 200 yards and less target shooting, Katrina aftermath type scenario
Now I can tell you what he likes... he likes black evil looking guns that could feasibly be used as props in a Matrix movie. That's his style.
I thought about it and gave a couple of non recommendations that break one or more criteria, like the SKS, or an AK47 clone with synthetic furniture, etc.
The only thing I could really think of that seemed along his criteria was the Remington 7400 in .308 or .30-06 with the synthetic furniture. I've seen them in the $450ish range. It meets all the criteria.
Later I thought perhaps the SU-16 Alpha might be in that price range, but thing is I don't have full confidence in either of these suggestions.
I had also considered telling him to check into a pistol caliber carbine of some sort. There should be something in his price range and since he really just wants something fun that could be used to fend off crazed looters and rioters in a pinch, it might make sense for him.
It's an interesting mental excercise, honestly. I think if he could find one an SKS-D would please him to no end, but he doesn't want an SKS or AK47 type format so it's back to square one.