I have long decided that I some day want to get a good, all purpose, SHTF/pest control/survival/hunting rifle chambered in .308 to be the centerpiece of my collection.
.30-06 is okay too but .308 has a shorter action. .30-06 wouldn't break my heart any though. They're both hard hitting calibers with reasonably priced cartridges commonly available, and they'll kill anything on this continent in one shot.
I've been looking at my options for months, literally. This is going to be a big purchase, one I won't be making for at least a year. But that's how far ahead I plan these things. I operate on a shoestring.
But I've recently begin considering something I probably should have considered from the beginning. I'm considering getting my hands on an M1 Garand and possibly getting the barrel replaced so it'll eat .308. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. The rifle that fought World War II is probably by far a better choice for me with its simpler and more intuitive manual of arms even if I don't want to admit it.
Don't get me wrong I have considered seriously getting an AR too, but the more I looked at it the more I didn't like the prospect of stocking up on .223. Nothing wrong with .223, but I figure if I focus on .308(or .30-06), 7.62x39, and .22 LR that's all the rifle calibers I will ever need or want. I haven't ruled anything out though as this architecture has other significant advantages.
The more I learn about the M1 Garand the more I like about it. It seems to me to be a more logical architecture to build a rifle on and I am understanding less and less why the military keeps getting further and further away from it. It just makes a lot of sense to me.
I am debating however what's better: is it better to get a service grade M1 from a gun dealer or the CMP and pay $800 to get it restored to glory, or is it better to spring for a modern Springfield Armory M1? Or is there another alternative?
To be honest, although I would appreciate the historical significance of a real M1 Garand, I'm most interested bottom line in cost and functionality. I realize a good rifle of this type is not cheap at all and I'd rather get the most rifle for my dollar if I decided to go this route.
And heck even if I never do go this route, it's a fun topic for discussion. It has occured to me that for the sum I am considering spending, I could easily have a good traditional rifle (not a cheap one, a good one) and a SAR-1.