I am going to start out simple, with a rifle that I'd like to own right now, and one for which I have been waiting arrival at my local gun store. Ever since my purchase of a Yugoslavian SKS through SAMCO fell through because they sent me a rifle in condition other than what I ordered (and I returned it for a refund), I decided to look for something else that would be somewhat similar in price range, design and function to an SKS. I came up with what I think is a fine choice although the design certainly differs somewhat but not all that much for my purposes, and the function is just as good from what I have heard. As far as price goes, well they have gone up in price since the recent election of our 44th president.
The rifle I am talking about is the SAIGA in 7.62x39 (click to enlarge the pic). It sure looks to be a handy rifle for defensive purposes, and I am willing to bet it would be a load of fun at the range. Of course that is it would be a load of fun at the range if the price of 7.62x39 ammo ever comes back down to earth (now $399.99 at CheaperThanDirt.com for a case of 1,000 rounds). Despite the price of ammo, and I suppose due to the fact that I have some on hand in the ammo locker, I suppose I still could have a good deal of fun shooting one if they ever again become available. I mean I'd like to do my share of stimulating the economy and buying one of these for starters would be my way of chipping in to the economic stimulus package. For more info on this model go to: http://www.raacfirearms.com/Saiga.htm
I am patiently awaiting the arrival of an ordered batch of these rifles at the gun store just a few blocks from my house. Now, if they don't get in one of these in 7.62x39 before they get in one in .308, well I may just be tempted to go for one in the larger caliber. Sure it will be more expensive, and so too will the ammo over the long haul, but the Saiga in .308 sure is pretty, well at least the .308 Ver. 21 is pretty, take a look. For more info go here: http://www.raacfirearms.com/Saiga_308v21.htm. They also offer a more mundane version in .308 without the thumb-hole stock.
Of course, they also offer yet another version, in both of the above mentioned calibers and .223. This one comes with the option of a more tactical looking stock, although I don't know if it is truly tacticool enough for Mall Ninjas. I do like the look of it though, and if this one became available first, I'd likely go for it. Why am I not all that choosy about the one I'd take if they had it in stock - just that - they its the if factor! The if they had it in stock! Right now I cannot find any of these anywhere. I suppose they sold out very quickly after our latest president was elected.
The decision would not be difficult to make if they just get one of em in, but if they get all of the above models in at once with all of the available calibers, well them it may take me all of 5 minutes, a few coin tosses, a quick discussion with Brendan, and a count of cash on hand for me to make up my mind.
All the best,