Greatest semi-auto battle rifle in history..

flyer

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#51
They specifically tuned the M14 in the cold chamber used for the trials.

FN tuned the FAL somewhere else. It was an unfair home field advantage and the US should have sucked it up and adopted the FAL to have some NATO compatible supply chain and if the US was really smart they would have accepted the 7mm optimum chambering to get the US in to an intermediate cartridge that's lots better than 7.62x39 back in the 50's.

Our military has wanted a cartridge with better terminal ballistics than 5.56 for decades. We have never got it because it's hard to improve and stay within the limits of the M4 envelope.

We could have been way ahead of where we are now back in the 50's.
 

Soulezoo

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#52
What was unfair? The fact that Springfield modified the rifle to work in the cold? Was FN not allowed to do the same? They chose to leave it alone and failed.

The M14 is also lighter, has less parts, and even after FN made modifications the M14 was still more reliable with less malfunctions during the "unfair" trials.

How about we ignore the trials and look at actual service use reliability. The lineage of the M14 must also be accounted for. Nobody complained about the M1 reliability, and I've never heard of anyone complaining about the M14 either.
You have not talked to folks who had to use it in Afghanistan or Iraq then.
 
May 13, 2013
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#53
You have not talked to folks who had to use it in Afghanistan or Iraq then.
Same thing is said about the M60 isn’t it? Loved it in ‘Nam, hated it in modern times.
I think it’s more about how clapped out the weapon is. A current M14 is probably an old rifle now with plenty of wear.

I still think FAL wins regardless. M14 is very North American-centric. FAL truly is the “Right arm” etc etc.
 

flyer

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#54
Loose, sloppy, worn guns seem to jam less when dust and dirt gets in them, a clapped out M14 that jams is really bad.
 
Jan 28, 2011
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#56
M1 Garand because of sheer historical impact, amongst other reasons. I admit to to some sentimentality in that choice. But, if in a moment of dire need I had to choose from my inventory (that includes almost everything listed here) I would go with an AR10.

As for the debate between small/medium/full power/whatever cartridges, I once created a doorway through a cinder block wall with an M14, and did so in short order. I'll take 7.62 in a battle rifle over 5.56 any day.
 
Dec 13, 2011
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#65
Full power cartridge = battle rifle
Intermediate cartridge = assault rifle
Pistol cartridge = SMG

These were the definitions given in years past and therefore excludes the AR-15 & AK per the OP anyway.
AR-10 is a different story.
Exactly how I understood the meanings and hence why I used the term in the OP...

My intent was to compare what would be the best main semi auto battle rifles, chambered in full power battle rifle cartridges - ie everything from 7x57, 7.62x51, etc up to 8x57, .30-06, 7.65x53, 7.5x55, etc.
How can you call a 7.65x53, 7x57, or 7.5x55 full-power rifle rounds while not considering 7.62 NATO as such? .308 loads can rival/exceed the power/ballistics/etc of some of those. How is 7.62 "intermediate" when it was specifically made to = M2 ball in EVERY WAY, just with a shorter and more efficient case?

If we want to argue what constitutes a intermediate round, lets take it to a new thread. But for this thread, its about the best MBR? Yes we all realize the AR/AK/etc derivatives and similar are way better choices, so thanks for enlightening us on this amazing discovery.

As said, whats the best semi auto MBR? Time period: ~WW2 - end of cold war(as IMO SCAR 17/SR25 EMC or similar DI .308 AR/Galil ACE .308/SIG, HK, or similar piston .308 AR/etc would totally smoke the cold war era weapons obviously).

Again when I say Main Battle Rifle, I mean full power rifle rounds only: .303 Brit, 7x57, 6.5x55, etc all the way up to the hottest chambering a main battle rifle was used in.

Lastly, best is obviously subjective, so in yall's individual experiences.. what was the best MBR, all things/attributes considered? If you want to limit eligible choices based on wartime use or other criteria thats up to you.. but I'm asking what was simply the best. Whether it was used in war or not, whether it was only issued in small numbers, ... etc its fair game IMO as we all know theres plenty instances where our troops or other nations' troops had the opportunity to get a better designed weapon but ended not due to politics or whatever else.


ETA: Apologies if I came off as a asshole ITT @sandwarrior and others, just had a long day. And I was under the mistaken impression that most/all had the same impression as me that "battle rifle" means it aint using a intermediate round.
 
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Soulezoo

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#66
^^^ because ego and emotional attachment. Or competitive desire to "be right".

By the way FAL weight is 9.5 lbs empty. Para FAL is 8.5 empty. That's fairly competitive and at 9.5 is plus or minus a couple of ounces either way from G3 or M14. All 3 are on par with one another in general reliability. If anything the m14 is just a tad less so. By a whisker. M14 has best trigger, G3 worst. FAL easiest to clean and field strip. Accuracy goes to m14 and it has the best iron sights. G3 and FAL are about the same but not bad. But these are battle rifles and not sniper rifles. No one is going to look down at 3 7.62 holes in their chest and go "oh look, it's only 2 MOA!" The FAL has best scope mount when using the Leatherwood or DSA railed dust cover. I have found the FAL to be accurate when picky with ammo selection. I once (one time) shot three rounds into a soda can (coke, of course!) at 450 yards with iron sights. That was using Radway Green surplus ammo. That was also a long time ago before my eyesight went south. Anyway, that's good shooting I don't care who you are! There are few rifles I would trust my life to. The FAL is one of them.
 
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#67
BAR? Seriously? It was fielded as an LMG or SAW. Heavy as hell, not easy to field strip and clean, and only 20 round magazines. Don't get me wrong, I like the rifle. A family member owns a semi auto version. But an MBR it is not.

Length of service and widespread use should only play a minor roll in consideration for best battle rifle. The M14 is just as reliable, easy to shoot, better iron sights, easy to maintain (barring anything catastrophic), and more accurate than the FAL, G3, etc. It has been fielded in some form or another on the battlefield since its adoption in 1959. It is easily the best option for a main battle rifle as it's defined.
Some folks(me included) have/had the wrong idea and ie look or used to look at the BAR in the incorrect light. Its far from a viable MBR IMO..


LOL!!! Just look at the fckn size difference!


ETA: did the G3 and FAL ever go head to head? And/or tested/compared against each other in combat in Africa during one of the many conflicts there in the 60s-80s? Ie did South African or Rhodesian troops have the choice between FAL + G3? If so, what was their choice?
 

biffj

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Jan 23, 2010
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#69
If you look at historical pictures from the Rhodesian and other african conflicts of the 60's, 70's and 80's you'll see troops on both sides armed with FAL's and G3's.....sometimes in the same squad. They had what they had so the answer is yes, they went head to head. Not sure which prevailed as the jury is still out. I think they all lost.

Frank
 

sandwarrior

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Apr 21, 2007
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#70
Exactly how I understood the meanings and hence why I used the term in the OP...

My intent was to compare what would be the best main semi auto battle rifles, chambered in full power battle rifle cartridges - ie everything from 7x57, 7.62x51, etc up to 8x57, .30-06, 7.65x53, 7.5x55, etc.
How can you call a 7.65x53, 7x57, or 7.5x55 full-power rifle rounds while not considering 7.62 NATO as such? .308 loads can rival/exceed the power/ballistics/etc of some of those. How is 7.62 "intermediate" when it was specifically made to = M2 ball in EVERY WAY, just with a shorter and more efficient case?

If we want to argue what constitutes a intermediate round, lets take it to a new thread. But for this thread, its about the best MBR? Yes we all realize the AR/AK/etc derivatives and similar are way better choices, so thanks for enlightening us on this amazing discovery.

As said, whats the best semi auto MBR? Time period: ~WW2 - end of cold war(as IMO SCAR 17/SR25 EMC or similar DI .308 AR/Galil ACE .308/SIG, HK, or similar piston .308 AR/etc would totally smoke the cold war era weapons obviously).

Again when I say Main Battle Rifle, I mean full power rifle rounds only: .303 Brit, 7x57, 6.5x55, etc all the way up to the hottest chambering a main battle rifle was used in.

Lastly, best is obviously subjective, so in yall's individual experiences.. what was the best MBR, all things/attributes considered? If you want to limit eligible choices based on wartime use or other criteria thats up to you.. but I'm asking what was simply the best. Whether it was used in war or not, whether it was only issued in small numbers, ... etc its fair game IMO as we all know theres plenty instances where our troops or other nations' troops had the opportunity to get a better designed weapon but ended not due to politics or whatever else.


ETA: Apologies if I came off as a asshole ITT @sandwarrior and others, just had a long day. And I was under the mistaken impression that most/all had the same impression as me that "battle rifle" means it aint using a intermediate round.
Someone needs to tell the M16 and AK users then, that although they have borne the brunt of the fighting for years and years, they aren't really battle rifles....
 
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flyer

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#71
Rhodesia wasn't allowed to win because they were a minority government fighting African Communists. They took what they could get which is why they had such a varied selection of arms.

As far as FAL and G3 going head to head, that didn't take a war. Germany wanted to buy a FAL license to build G1s and it was only after FN wouldn't sell a license that Germany flipped to the G3 which they got a license for and became the basis for all the roller locked HK rifles and sub guns.

I have a couple beautiful G1 kits and G1 marked DSA receivers that I need to put together one of these days. They are so classy.
 

flyer

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#72
Someone needs to tell the M16 and AK users then, that although they have borne the brunt of the fighting for years and years, they aren't really battle rifles....
They know. Anyone that thinks they are main battle rifles is just misinformed.
 

Culpeper

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#73
OP wants to know the greatest. AK, SKS, CAR-15, Garand to M14. Not necessarily in that order. Want to know the best check out what SOG guys relied on. You might be surprised.
 

sandwarrior

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#74
They know. Anyone that thinks they are main battle rifles is just misinformed.
Sooooooo, a main battle isn't a main battle? I must be misinformed that combat isn't combat.

While the OP wants to narrow the question down to which "big" cartridge is the best choice for combat, it isn't really a viable question. Intermediate cartridges provide more realistic lethality at a lesser weight. Meaning they kill just fine as far out to what very few in combat can shoot. Carrying more weight in a bigger round isn't better. When you have twice as many rounds, that kill perfectly well when they hit an enemy soldier, you have twice the killing potential. You have mobility (less weight) and an increase in accuracy (reduced recoil).

Beyond that, it's training, training, training that is going to make one rifle successful over another. FN-FAL, G3/CETME, M14, M1941 (Johnson), Mas-49 FN-49, all work well if the soldiers know how to use and maintain them. But, the simple fact a group of soldiers can carry more firepower (M16, AK) than their counterparts mentioned above makes them tactically superior. Within ranges they can kill at they have fire superiority. Outside the killing range of intermediate cartridges is where most shooters can't hit. Snipers not included in this discussion. Where very few of the full power cartridge rifle shooters can hit, a non-sniper making a shot is extremely rare.

So, which overkill weapon of the past is a non-pertinent question. Unless you included sniping, and then yes, range matters.
 
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flyer

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#75
You're a little dense.

A "main battle rifle" is a thing and a "assault rifle" is something different.

M16 and AK47 are "assault rifles", not "main battle rifles".

An SKS fits neither category because it's not full auto (a defining feature of "assault rifles") and it uses an intermediate cartridge (which kicks it out of the "main battle rifle" class).
 
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Soulezoo

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#76
OP wants to know the greatest. AK, SKS, CAR-15, Garand to M14. Not necessarily in that order. Want to know the best check out what SOG guys relied on. You might be surprised.
Interesting comment. My brother was Det-Sog (5th SF) in the middle years of Nam. He chose m1 carbine para. M16 too unreliable for him. He said he could have pretty much whatever he wanted and even rocked a foreign SMG for a short time. Can't recall what it was, I want to say it was Belgian but am not sure.
 
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sandwarrior

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#78
You're a little dense.

A "main battle rifle" is a thing and a "assault rifle" is something different.

M16 and AK47 are "assault rifles", not "main battle rifles".

An SKS fits neither category because it's not full auto (a defining feature of "assault rifles") and it uses an intermediate cartridge (which kicks it out of the "main battle rifle" class).
Yeah, I'm dumb 'cuz I carried 'em... Moron

Added: For the record, the "Main Battle Rifle" of the United States is the M16 and variants. There is NO definition in the U.S. inventory for "Assault Rifle". M16 and variants are better for assaulting, yes. But, they certainly do not fall short of anything else when defending.
 
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flyer

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#79
Let me see if I can craft an analogy for you:

A M1911A1 has a rifled barrel and has gone to battle but it's not a "main battle rifle" because it's a pistol, the same as M16s and AK47s have rifled barrels and gone to battle but are not "main battle rifles" because they are "assault rifles".

A legit AR10 is a main battle rifle because it was adopted by a few militaries and fires a full power round (7.62x51), even though it barely ever saw any combat.
 
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W54/XM-388

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#80
Added: For the record, the "Main Battle Rifle" of the United States is the M16 and variants. There is NO definition in the U.S. inventory for "Assault Rifle". M16 and variants are better for assaulting, yes. But, they certainly do not fall short of anything else when defending.
That might actually be a good question to ask since some are really into the "Main Battle Rifle" designation with religious zeal.
Does the US military or other western military organizations currently have an active "Main Battle Rifle" designation that excludes rifles that are chambered in 5.56x45? Then as a follow up did they ever have such a designation (say for example separating the M14 and M16)?
 

flyer

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#81
There is no question, and no zeal, they are just two different things, like cars and trucks, Honda Accord is never going to win Truck of the year.
 

W54/XM-388

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#84
There is no question, and no zeal, they are just two different things, like cars and trucks, Honda Accord is never going to win Truck of the year.
Not really a valid way to compare what you are implying because in your stated case, an AR10 type is a "Battle Rifle" but the M16 is not. However both are essentially identical except one is a little bit bigger and fires a 2mm bigger bullet.

A more apt comparison would be if you wanted to say that in the "Main Pickup Truck" category, the F150 shouldn't be in the running because it's not powerful enough, you need to be F350 or F550 or above to be "Main Pickup Truck" category.
 

sandwarrior

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#85
There is no question, and no zeal, they are just two different things, like cars and trucks, Honda Accord is never going to win Truck of the year.
So I have to ask the question, with all your zeal, when were you in? What did you pack? Did you remember, if you were in, during basic training when they explained to you about the M16 (in my case the M16A1) being adopted as "The Main Battle Rifle". Granted, there were still M14's around and I carried one a little bit. But, since I was only one carrying a '14, of many carrying M16's I would think it's a specialty rifle at that point, NOT the main battle rifle.

You seem all fired up on this but dude...your wish doesn't exist anymore. The M14 went out as the main battle rifle in 1967. Support units were issued '14's but front-line combat units were issued the M16A1 from that point forward. It became the main battle rifle. How else do you tell somebody? It's not a carbine, it's not an assault rifle, as the military never acknowledged that nomenclature.

And for all your historic knowledge, smarter people than you chose the M16 as "The Main Battle Rifle" for a reason. I've expounded on those reasons but with all your wisdom, you still seem to know more than they do.
 
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flyer

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#87
I was never in. I don't like orders.

Not really a valid way to compare what you are implying because in your stated case, an AR10 type is a "Battle Rifle" but the M16 is not. However both are essentially identical except one is a little bit bigger and fires a 2mm bigger bullet.
That's actually exactly why the AR10 is an MBR and the M16 is not.

The AR10 was in the M14 trials where they were trying to get a common main battle rifle and ammunition adopted across all of the NATO countries.

The AR15/M16 was designed as a M1 Carbine replacement for Air Force MPs. It did not have the design criteria of a "main battle rifle".

Words have meaning.
 

W54/XM-388

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#88
You should have quoted the full post.
I was specifically stating that your Cars vs. Trucks analogy was incorrect because (as you have clarified once again above), in your opinion it's all about the bullet fired being a bit bigger. So cars vs. trucks is not even close, it would be much more correct to compare somewhat bigger trucks vs somewhat smaller trucks.
 

flyer

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#89
Well, you can get run over by a car and by a truck, pretty much the same but the car and truck have different design criteria and you wouldn't say you get run over by a truck if an Accord hit you.

There is a well established definition and if you go back to the original post, he's clearly asking about full power rifles, no intermediates so assault rifles are not the topic here.
 

Soulezoo

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#91
This reminds me so much of the "naval" folks who get so wrapped up in the semantics of "battleship" vs "fast battleship" vs "pocket battleship" vs "battlecruiser"....
You don't hear of tankers confusing main battle tanks with self propelled artillery or even medium tanks... it's only a few millimeters in difference afterall.
 

W54/XM-388

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#93
55 grain vs 147 grain, is that a big enough difference to distinguish between them?
The weight of the projectile doesn't change your previously stated criteria, neither does the caliber of the bullet fired.
As per your previous clear statements of which rifles are not to be considered in the running.
 

flyer

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#95
The weight of the projectile doesn't change your previously stated criteria, neither does the caliber of the bullet fired.
As per your previous clear statements of which rifles are not to be considered in the running.
I was actually replying to Soulezoo because his comment of it's only a couple millimeters doesn't really match with a bullet that's nearly 3x the weight.

I wonder why you think I'm changing criteria, I know the difference between a full power rifle round and an intermediate, a main battle rifle and an assault rifle and a car and a truck.

You guys must have broken a bunch of toys hammering square pegs in to round holes.
 

Soulezoo

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#97
With regard to some of the earlier... Rhodesia got their rifles famously from South Africa who cut out the seal on the receiver and painted them "baby poop" camo to try to disguise the origin as the UN had an embargo on the arms to Rhodesia. FAL was the choice of SA. When reading about and having spoken to a couple of fellows that were there, they felt a lot of comfort having the FAL and it's full power cartridge over an AK or M16 (which were proliferate but not necessarily favored) when patrolling the Bush where one may very well come face to face with a lion, angry buffalo or other large and unhappy creature. As said to me: "Yes, you can shoot a lion with the AK, but best to have removed the front sight post beforehand. That way it doesn't hurt as bad when the lion, now angered, shoves the AK up your ass..."
It's interesting to note the Falklands conflict where FALs were the primary weapons of both sides. Often, and this is fact, the Tommies would, when opportunity presented, discard their semi-auto L1A1 in favor of the Argentine select fire FAL.
 

flyer

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#99
I know South Africa had FALs but I think Rhodesia might have gotten theirs differently. They very well might have come through South Africa but I think South Africa might have obtained them elsewhere so they could deny supporting them.

The baby poop I have always heard was finger painting done in the field by the Rhodesian troops and farmers. As far as I know, it wasn't anything other than effective jungle camo.

I think the only way to describe a "correct" Rhodie FAL is un-matching, beat up and bayby poop camo.

The Rhodie lower I bought years ago looks like it could have come from a G1 but it's beat to hell, still works though.