Which machine gun?

I’m putting away some money for a machine gun in the next year or two, but am having trouble deciding which one I should end up getting. I’m looking at either subguns or automatic rifles, as most rifle-caliber MGs (M1919, M2, etc.) are expensive to buy and expensive to feed. No miniguns for me.
Here’s my current list:

  • Uzi. 9mm is relatively inexpensive. Can fire both semi- and full-auto. Simple operating mechanism (less to go wrong). Parts and magazines are widely available and inexpensive. Only downside: controls are not ambidextrous/lefty-friendly, but not a big problem (I’ve fired Uzis, and it works pretty well even though I’m a lefty.) Cost: between $6,000 and $8,000.
  • Ruger AC-556. Factory chambering in .223, but one can also fire .22LR easily with a simple conversion kit. Parts are widely available. Ruger still provides free warranty service. Can fire semi-auto, full-auto, or three round burst. Uses Garand-style operating mechanism for strength and reliability. Available in both stainless or blued steel. It also doesn’t look terribly scary, and so wouldn’t stand out much unless I switch it to one of the “fun” positions. Cost: between $6,000 and $8,000. Lefty-friendly.
  • M16. Chambered in .223, but one can equip any number of uppers, conversion kits, etc. to change calibers to just about anything. Truly the “lego set” of guns. I’d probably get a DIAS, as I’d be afraid of damaging a registered receiver. Lightning links are also an option, but their fragility troubles me. Cost: around $12,000. Lefty-friendly.
  • MP5. Everyone wants one, so prices are crazy — about $15,000. Registered sears can be easily moved to other HK guns, giving one some flexibility. Long-term durability is somewhat iffy (they’re not as durable as, say, Uzis). Parts and mags are widely available, but not the cheapest thing around. Pretty lefty-friendly.

The warranty service on the AC-556 is a perk, but the relatively thin barrel does heat up fast, so lots of full-mag dumps probably won’t be a good thing. It’s non-scary appearance may be handy in some situations.
M16s are expensive, but have wide industry support. The potential for a future “assault weapons ban” not including machine guns could still affect me, as it would freeze the supply of magazines and possibly other stuff (uppers, barrels, etc.). Troubling.
The MP5 is a fine subgun, but everyone seems to want one, so prices are stupidly high. The Uzi has a much more “crude” appearance (but is perfectly functional), and is about half the price.
I’m not looking for a “safe queen”, so “new in box” guns are probably not a good idea. I intend to shoot such a gun on a regular basis and keep it in good repair, rather than keep it as an investment or collector’s item.
Any thoughts or input?

ATF issues new FAQ for silencers

PDF file is here.
The part that bugs me is this:

If a silencer part bearing the serial number, other than the outer tube, must be replaced, the new part must be marked with the same serial number as the replacement part.
The term “repair” does not include replacement of the outer tube of the silencer. The outer tube is the largest single part of the silencer, the main structural component of the silencer, and is the part to which all other component parts are attached. The replacement of the outer tube is so significant an event that it amounts to the “making” of a new silencer. As such, the new silencer must be marked, registered and transferred in accordance with the NFA and GCA.

Argh. That’s annoying.
One would think it’d be OK to send the silencer back to the manufacturer, have them replace any damaged parts with identical replacements, re-stamp and serialed parts with replacement parts bearing the identical serial number, and then destroy the damaged components. Yes, one would be “making” a new silencer, but the net effect would be zero: you’re also destroying a silencer bearing the same serial.
Alas, this is not the case. If one needs to replace the outer tube, it counts as a new silencer, and one must go through the transfer process all over again.
Very annoying indeed.

A Day At The Range

Yesterday, the range was without shooters, and quiet. It also happened to be a gorgeous, sunny day.
Being empty is not a naturally tenable position for a range on a day like that, so this shortcoming was corrected by myself and about 14 other people from the University of Arizona.
Quite a few of the attendees were previous shooters, but there were several people who had never fired any gun whatsoever: our Brazilian-born physics lab TA Regina, my astrophysicist friend Louis and his roommate Brody, fellow physics students Alex and Colin, and several friends of a few of the other attendees (I’m terrible with names). A photographer from the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the university newspaper (which has a greater circulation than many small-town papers), also attended.
One of the attendees, John, is a faculty member at the university and a stamp collector. That is, he possesses several NFA-regulated firearms (each of which requires a tax stamp, hence the name) including a full-auto M4, a full-auto MP5 and several other such items. I have but one stamp, and it’s for the suppressor for my Ruger 10/22.
While some pictures were taken, most of us were focused on shooting and having fun rather than taking pictures. I’ve included some of the pictures below. All the pictures from the event can be seen here.

New shooters were started out on the suppressed 10/22, which helped them get comfortable with the mechanics of shooting without having to worry about recoil or noise.

As they became more comfortable with each type of gun, they “graduated” to something new. Many enjoyed the AR (with collapsible stock M4-type rifles being very popular with people of smaller stature).
To those who question the necessity of collapsible/adjustable stocks on rifles, I urge you to look at this photograph. Doesn’t look very comfortable, does it? Regina’s not a very tall person at all (right around 5′ tall) and the fixed-stock, 20″ barrel AR is just too big for her to hold comfortably. An M4gery with a collapsible stock and a 16″ barrel fit her much more comfortably, and she enjoyed it much more.

The shotgun and the AK were also quite popular.

As was the M1 Garand. Alex is a big guy (he’s a former wrestler) and makes the M1 look small.

While many shooters enjoyed the larger-caliber pistols (in this photo, Regina shoots the XD-45), the Ruger MkIII .22 pistol was the clear winner in the popularity contest — a satisfying amount of “bang” and minimal recoil make it one of the most fun guns on the line. I had several people inquire about how they would go about purchasing such a pistol, as they had so much fun with it. I really should get it threaded for a suppressor, as I’d imagine it’d be extremely quiet indeed.

The best is saved for last — a full-auto MP5 (and later, M4) on a private “action shooting” range made for a exciting conclusion to the day. New shooters these days are lucky, getting to shoot machine guns on their first time out to the range. Maybe if more new shooters experience this, we’ll be able to get the 1986 ban repealed?
The only downside to the day was that the Daily Wildcat photographer got too close to the scope on a .308 rifle, got beaned right between the eyebrows, and needed six stitches. Even so, he says he had a great day.
In short: A beautiful day, an excellent range, and people having fun made for a most excellent outing. Top it off with two .50 cal ammo cans filled with brass (most of it .223) and an excursion to the local, non-chain pizza shop, and it ranks pretty highly on the list of “ideal days”.
Firearms Used
– Several Ruger 10/22s (.22LR)
– Ruger MkIII (.22LR)
– M1 Garand (.30-06)
– Several AR-15s (.22LR and .223)
– M4 (.223)
– HK MP5 (9mm)
– Marlin 336 (.30-30)
– Springfield XD-45 (.45 ACP)
– Several Glocks (9mm and .40 S&W)
– Several bolt-action rifles (.30-06, .308)
– Mossberg 500 (12ga)
– Taurus revolver (.38/.357)
– Jimenez J-22 (.22LR)
– AK variant (7.62x39mm)