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As someone who had to use one in his day job, the ammosexual fetish for the AR-15 and its clones really baffles me. The goddamn thing is only fair at its' actual job - being a battle rifle - and for almost every other non-combat rifle use (which are 1) hunting, and 2) target shooting) is a monstrous pain-in-the-ass.

It's full of ridiculously small, fussy parts, for one thing. If you don't have access to ammunition with truly high-grade propellant it tends to foul quickly, and when the gas tube fouls the bolt carrier tends to short-recoil and the action malfunctions, either due to a failure to extract (the spent cartridge case), failure to eject (same), or failure to feed (the next round).

So to ensure proper operation the damn rifle has to be kitchen clean, and that means a ton of time disassembling the bastard, cleaning it, lubricating it, and reassembling it. Like every modern military firearm it knocks down fairly easily, but as mentioned, the parts are irritatingly small and prone to get lost unless you're very meticulous about finding a nice flat spot to lay them out.

And the small round - which is a good thing for a soldier, since it allows you to carry more rounds for the same weight-load - is not particularly good for killing things larger than people. A single .30 caliber round will knock down most large animals if well-placed. A 5.56mm round usually won't. What it will do is tumble and rip up a lot of the meat, or, worse, break up and leave lots of nasty lead bits in the venison.

I've had a lot of fun target-shooting with a Mark III* Short-magazine Lee-Enfield bolt action rifle. It's also a perfectly good hunting rifle.

This bizarre fascination with military-style assault rifles completely baffles me. Like you say; it's a tool. Who the hell wants a fussy, hard-to-maintain tool that isn't much good for what you want to use it for?


Maybe there should be legally-recognized and licensed places where you could go, plunk down a few bucks, slip on your ear protectors, choose from the stock of exotic weapons on hand, blast away in a safe, supervised environment, and return the weapon when your hour -- or whatever -- is up. Maybe they could blow some steam off there.

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