Rik......yes, the AR-15 is the semi-auto version of the M-16 that the U.S. Military uses. Probably more expensive than what you need, and not the best choice for paper punching and rock plinking. If you want to stick with .223 (a pretty good choice for what you want), a nice bolt-action heavy barrel rifle will do the job nicely. You don't need anything really expensive or fancy. A very nice, accurate, moderately priced rifle for the job is the Savage Varmint series: http://www.savagearms.com/centerfire/varmint/10fp.htm Whereabouts in Maine are you from? I'm originally from Maine (Brewer, Bucksport, Leeds).....now on the flat, boring prairies of Minn-eeee-sota.