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Thread: Dilemma

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    Default Dilemma

    Looking for studied and/or knowledgeable opinions: I want a battle rifle. I don't want a .223 or 5.56mm. I really like the PTR-91, but the FAL feels better in my hands. Alternatively, I could by a CETME and 5000 rounds of ammo for less than just the PTR or FAL...

    I've used the M-4 in enough situations to develop strong (very, very strong) opinions on it's usefulness (or lack thereof) in a tactical environment but I don't have any first-hand experience with the 7.62mm in anything other than the M-60 and M-249.

    I know Ken and Murphy agree to disagree on the M1A vs. the FAL, but I couldn't find anything comparing the three guns I'm trying to decide between. So...let me know what you think, why you think it, and if you've got another option (AR-10?) feel free to throw it out for discussion.

    Thanks,

    Adam

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel Nut View Post
    Looking for studied and/or knowledgeable opinions: I want a battle rifle. I don't want a .223 or 5.56mm. I really like the PTR-91, but the FAL feels better in my hands. Alternatively, I could by a CETME and 5000 rounds of ammo for less than just the PTR or FAL...

    I've used the M-4 in enough situations to develop strong (very, very strong) opinions on it's usefulness (or lack thereof) in a tactical environment but I don't have any first-hand experience with the 7.62mm in anything other than the M-60 and M-249.

    I know Ken and Murphy agree to disagree on the M1A vs. the FAL, but I couldn't find anything comparing the three guns I'm trying to decide between. So...let me know what you think, why you think it, and if you've got another option (AR-10?) feel free to throw it out for discussion.

    Thanks,

    Adam
    Looks like your seeking info to compare more than three guns... and if you take into account parts guns and put-togethers of the various 'type' guns you mentioned - then we have a whole lots more to go through.

    Most of the CETME guns you'll find on the racks are parts and put-togethers from A to Z of varying quality --- all of which start far from any sense of perfection & not even close to an actual H&K 91 model rifle. These are a mixed bag at best.

    Most FALs (imperial or metric) you'll find off the shelves are also parts and put-togethers from A to Z of again varying quality --- for the most part you'll luckily receive what you pay for --- Not even nearing the quality of an actual FN FAL unless you are willing to spend the dough.

    PTR-91 is a reasonably decent MBR clone of the H&K91... some are pretty nice looking - however, I have witnessed mixed reviews.

    Springfield M1A in my opinion --- pretty hard to go wrong here. New guns, new parts, holding to one companies standards. This is not to say it's the best design, will shot the best groups, is the most reliable, etc. - only to say this is a more satisfactory gun built directly from the factory and a MBR as good as is.

    Frankly, I'm not so sure on the AR-10 platform and designs from the different manufactures --- ie. Armalite, DPMS, Bushmaster, etc. I guess I do not have enough AR-10 time to be fair, and simply do not like AR standard gas systems or cleaning methods.

    Based on:

    Reliability here in Alaska

    Robustness in all climates

    Straightforward/easy maintainability anywhere

    Routine good honest 1-2moa accuracy (in addition not too picky w/ ammo types) in several rifles (not just a couple)

    Performance I've found easily on par with semi-auto rifles costing 6-10x as much

    AND @ an affordable price all things considered ---

    Very hard to beat the AK SAIGA in 7.62X51mm

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    Please share your experiences on the shortfalls of the M4 platform.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    Looks like your seeking info to compare more than three guns... and if you take into account parts guns and put-togethers of the various 'type' guns you mentioned - then we have a whole lots more to go through.
    Actually, I referenced the Ken/Murphy debate simply because it was the most informational thread I could find on this site that talked about any 308cal MBR. I'm not really interested in an M1A based primarily on their price and ergonomics and somewhat on their weight. I believe they are great guns, but aren't what I'm looking for. I've pretty much narrowed my interest to the FAL, PTR 91 and CETME, but I'll consider suggestions because I know I haven't thought of everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    Most of the CETME guns you'll find on the racks are parts and put-togethers from A to Z of varying quality --- all of which start far from any sense of perfection & not even close to an actual H&K 91 model rifle. These are a mixed bag at best.
    Pretty much what I've been reading as well. I'm less than impressed with Century Arms, and that seems to be where all the current CETME imports are coming from. I don't want to buy a rifle that I have to rebuild before I shoot it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    Most FALs (imperial or metric) you'll find off the shelves are also parts and put-togethers from A to Z of again varying quality --- for the most part you'll luckily receive what you pay for --- Not even nearing the quality of an actual FN FAL unless you are willing to spend the dough.
    The only FALs I've been able to find anwhere are made by DSA. From what I can see, they've got a good track record and are a reputable company. They're running about double what I can get a CETME for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    PTR-91 is a reasonably decent MBR clone of the H&K91... some are pretty nice looking - however, I have witnessed mixed reviews.
    The PTR I looked at was in all aspects a very well designed and assembled weapon. Nowhere at all did it look like a military chop-job. I was very impressed with the fit, finish and function. As this is the only one of the three I've actually fondled, I was going to use my assessment of the PTR to compare with other folk's reviews (if someone says a FAL is twice as nice as any PTR they've seen, then that speaks well for the FAL...)

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    Frankly, I'm not so sure on the AR-10 platform and designs from the different manufactures --- ie. Armalite, DPMS, Bushmaster, etc. I guess I do not have enough AR-10 time to be fair, and simply do not like AR standard gas systems or cleaning methods.
    I've got faith in the basic AR system, and know it works as intended. I'm with you in that I don't like the way it was designed to work I don't want to rule out an AR-10 derivitive because I like the thought of changing upper receivers and having a new rifle. It opens up a lot of options (243, 338 Fed, 7mm-08, 260, 358, etc). On the other hand, what honest use do I have for a tactical rifle chambered in 338 Fed? I'm not going to hunt with it, but I'm a practical person by nature and I like to have options I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    Very hard to beat the AK SAIGA in 7.62X51mm
    I just can't get around the inherent sloppiness of the AK action. I know they work in all environments. I know they tolerate abuse and neglect very well. I know they're easy to produce and assemble and there's a slew of aftermarket parts available. I just don't like 'em, which makes 'em not for me.


    Quote Originally Posted by SavageStag View Post
    Please share your experiences on the shortfalls of the M4 platform.
    The M4's biggest shortfall is the cartridge it shoots. All other issues are avoidable by dilligent, thorough cleaning and maintenance. My experience with the 5.56 shows it as substandard in reliable penetration and immediate incapacitation. When rounds get deflected by residential copper tubing inside hollow plasterboard walls, it makes for a long day. I've seen people hide behind a stack of half-pallets escape injury from the SAW, and require assistance from the M240 to protect the team. Some might say the cartridge is easily replaced and the basic platform is sound. I disagree here as well. The M4 was designed around the 5.56 round. Any changes to enhance effectiveness come with an equal and opposite change to longevity and reliability. The laws of physics don't change. It takes more energy to make more energy, and I've seen bolt lug failures on standard M4s. Upping the cartridge performance to the 6.8SPC or the Alexander Arms rounds can only result in a reduction in the life of the weapon. If you're happy with the performance of the 5.56, the M4 is a great rifle, even if it is a PITA to clean and maintain.

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    The FAL is the gun. The switches and charging handle are correctly located. It doesn't foul as badly as an HK or AR type weapon. Plus it doesn't "suck" like an HK. DSA makes an admirable clone with excellent customer service for backup. Yes, an FAL will cost twice what a CETME will run, but it's far and away a better designed and user friendly weapon. Avoid "parts" guns from unknown sources. I've owned a number of real HK 91's over the years and have always ended up passing them off to someone else without regret. My belgian FAL's will stay with me to be sold off with my estate.
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    I think I am going to wait until next year and see what FN and HK offer in 308. The scar heavy or HK MR762 may be a nice options if you are willing to wait.

    Ken converted me to the M1A brand of Koolaid. Right now my M1A is my favorite 308 battle rifle. The recoil seems to be quite a bit less than the HK G3. Nice groups at 100 yards even with open sights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel Nut View Post
    I've got faith in the basic AR system, and know it works as intended. I'm with you in that I don't like the way it was designed to work I don't want to rule out an AR-10 derivative because I like the thought of changing upper receivers and having a new rifle. It opens up a lot of options (243, 338 Fed, 7mm-08, 260, 358, etc). On the other hand, what honest use do I have for a tactical rifle chambered in 338 Fed? I'm not going to hunt with it, but I'm a practical person by nature and I like to have options I guess.
    Personally, I love my DPMS LR308 AP4 and I enjoy shooting it. I don't get the best groups, but that's my fault more than the gun. I'm looking at getting a .338 Fed or .358 Win upper for it down the road.

    If you are looking at an actual AR10 pattern instead of the DPMS/Knights Armament/POF pattern rifle, consider checking out Accuracy Systems. They offer some oddball AR pattern upper receivers, including a .450 Marlin AR10 compatible upper.

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    Old Hammer Works for me... I have had others (couple FALs and a couple HK91s) but have sold them over the years and keep this old gal...

    PS;; this was made into a shorty for me back before Springfield Armory started doing it...
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    I have some experience with AR-10s, FALs and M-14s. For a go to the rack and grab-head to the woods-last for years w/no maintainance-shoot 'em all I'd take the FAL.

    Buy yourself a few spare parts that you'll never need and don't worry about subscribing to the factory newsletter so you can stay current on recalls. It will digest the crummiest ammo while using $4 magazines.

    Mine seem to be fairly accurate, which is something the M1A rack grade struggles with. If you want a scope replace the top cover with a picatinny rail in 5 minutes. If you reload it'll shoot 4831 without bending an op rod or fouling the bolt. If your reloads or Himalayan ammo make it short stroke crank open the gas system.

    I like FALs.
    It doesn't matter what you miss them with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunbugs View Post
    The FAL is the gun. The switches and charging handle are correctly located. It doesn't foul as badly as an HK or AR type weapon. Plus it doesn't "suck" like an HK. DSA makes an admirable clone with excellent customer service for backup. Yes, an FAL will cost twice what a CETME will run, but it's far and away a better designed and user friendly weapon. Avoid "parts" guns from unknown sources. I've owned a number of real HK 91's over the years and have always ended up passing them off to someone else without regret. My belgian FAL's will stay with me to be sold off with my estate.
    Thanks Gunbugs, I know what you mean about the "H&K Suck" I'm not a big fan, even though I respect some of their accomplishments.

    I'd really appreciate an explanation of the differences between the FAL, PTR-91 and CETME. I know the CETME, PTR-91 and HK-91 were all derivatives of the same design session, but the FAL shares a strong physical resemblance and I can't help but believe it's somehow related. I'm pretty much convinced I don't want a CETME (at least not as my first MBR), but a decision between the PTR-91 and the FAL is much more difficult to make, especially as I can get a NIB PTR-91 for $1077 and I can't even fondle the FAL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Old Hammer Works for me... I have had others (couple FALs and a couple HK91s) but have sold them over the years and keep this old gal...

    PS;; this was made into a shorty for me back before Springfield Armory started doing it...
    Nice looking rifle. Unfortunately, the M1A just doesn't fit me very well. The ergonomics I want in a sporter rifle are not what I want in a tactical/combat rifle and the M1A feels like a heavy sporter in my hands.

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    Thanks for the reply, if I could get "bulk" 6.8 for around the same price as 223, I would definitely get a 6.8

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    A couple things I considered for a battle rifle..

    When and if it truly becomes a battle rifle, what ammo will be most readily available? (not talking at the store) My guess would be 5.56.
    Also with the number of M4/M16 type rifles being used at the time, most being mil spec, parts and pieces will be more available too, interchangeability with magazines will also be there.
    If you handload, look at the 70gr to 80gr bullets in 5.56, it makes it a whole different animal.
    M4 is much lighter, which leaves you more other stuff, food/water/supplies, and the ability to move farther/faster.
    Experience with wpn, you already have used it for years, shooting, maintaining is second nature already. No surprises, no learning curve.
    Ammo is lighter, you can carry more 5.56, that could make a difference.

    Now donít get me wrong, I drug a M14 through the woods for many years and an M4 for many more. Yes the 7.62 does have much more penetration, heavier bullet, but for a battle rifle that I may need in my neiborhood or in the next town/state, I went with the M4 for the above reasons.

    Find a buddy with an M14 or similar wpn, borrow it for the weekend and put on your snowshoes, ruck, basic load of ammo and just walk around with that heavy beast, that may be the turning point in your decision making process?

    Just my 2 cents.

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    Question My 2 cents

    I agree about the FAL for the application you're wanting.

    Keep in mind when you say "battle rifle" that can include several rifles.

    The real question to ask is what do you want this rifle do do for you? A rifle or handgun is simply a tool.

    Each have multiple uses or sometimes only a primary use. Most battle rifles and the ammo they use are designed to distribute in masses and the ammo is based on transportation and logistical supply.

    Other questions for a battle rifle may include do you want to spray bullets or hit targets?
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    Quote Originally Posted by HCL View Post
    When and if it truly becomes a battle rifle, what ammo will be most readily available? (not talking at the store) My guess would be 5.56. Also with the number of M4/M16 type rifles being used at the time, most being mil spec, parts and pieces will be more available too, interchangeability with magazines will also be there.
    If it truly becomes a rifle used in battle, the odds are very good I'll be actively engaged in operations with other forces and required to use the arms and ammunition they provide. If I'm happily retired in my cabin outside Manley Hot Springs I won't be looking to go "Red Dawn" on an invading Russian (NATO?) brigade; the rifle would only be used to protect me and mine. You make a good point about the availability of replacement parts however, one spare parts kit should be more than sufficient to see the rifle through its years. If I was considering extended combat, I might be more inclined to lend weight to this point, but I'm not. I'll also add that it's been my experience if I need a rifle in a combat situation, there will usually be one somehwere on the ground for me to pick up.
    Quote Originally Posted by HCL View Post
    If you handload, look at the 70gr to 80gr bullets in 5.56, it makes it a whole different animal.
    I agree with you 100%. The problem I have with this is I can buy off the shelf 308 ammo that is still far better than even the best 5.56 reload. I don't like being forced to handload just to achieve minimum required performance.

    On the other hand, a pound of powder will go a lot further in 5.56 reloads than 308. That might merit a little more consideration...thanks for bringing it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by HCL View Post
    M4 is much lighter, which leaves you more other stuff, food/water/supplies, and the ability to move farther/faster.
    Not looking to carry the rifle with me in a survival situation. If it comes down to actually repelling an invading army, I'll meet my maker when they burn my house down around me.

    Quote Originally Posted by HCL View Post
    Experience with wpn, you already have used it for years, shooting, maintaining is second nature already. No surprises, no learning curve.
    Agree, but I learned the M-4 and I'm certain I could learn the PTR/FAL. Learning curves only come into effect when there is limited training time. If all goes well, I'll have the rest of my life to learn

    Quote Originally Posted by HCL View Post
    Find a buddy with an M14 or similar wpn, borrow it for the weekend and put on your snowshoes, ruck, basic load of ammo and just walk around with that heavy beast, that may be the turning point in your decision making process?
    I carried the M-60 with a 600rnd basic load for a lot of years. No, I didn't enjoy it (much) but the extra two pounds of a PTR or FAL isn't going to affect me much. The extra 4lbs of ammo isn't going to make much difference either. I don't see this rifle being used in earnest much further than 500yds from my house, and I could carry a mortar 500yds to defend my family.

    Quote Originally Posted by HCL View Post
    Yes the 7.62 does have much more penetration, heavier bullet, but for a battle rifle that I may need in my neiborhood or in the next town/state, I went with the M4 for the above reasons.
    Thanks for taking the time to give me your logic. I think we're looking at a slightly different application, but the tools required are very similar.

    Quote Originally Posted by whateveri8 View Post
    Keep in mind when you say "battle rifle" that can include several rifles.
    When I say "battle rifle", I'm simply referencing any long-arm used by a ground army as a primary combat weapon. The biggest reason I specified a battle rifle and not a .308 Remington 742 with extended magazine (example) is because I'm looking for something designed to be abused and still have an extended service life. Something simple to disassemble and clean, yet not necessarily requiring frequent maintenance. I figure if a first-rate army has fielded a weapon within its ground forces, they must have done some sort of homework, and that's research I don't have to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by whateveri8 View Post
    The real question to ask is what do you want this rifle do do for you? A rifle or handgun is simply a tool.
    My primary focus here is to defend my family, house, animals, and property in the event I should be attacked. That attack could be as simple as a violent drunk trying to break through my living room window all the way to a focused team of people determined to kill my family and steal whatever I may have to benefit their cause. I see this rifle as the means to keep attackers as far away as possible. Preferrably out of range of whatever armament they may have. The further away I can engage, the better. If they get close, it's time to switch to a shotgun.

    Quote Originally Posted by whateveri8 View Post
    Other questions for a battle rifle may include do you want to spray bullets or hit targets?
    In almost any situation outside a battlefield the only effective fire is accurate, aimed fire. All my weapons have sights for a reason

    Thank you both for taking the time to add to my knowledge.

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    In response to your questions, yes the PTR-91 is a clone of the HK-91, just made here in the US. Probably the best of the HK copies. I've sold a number of them over the years and they've proven themselves to be well made. Unlike the century arms and other CETME junk. The HK/CETME "system" is known as roller locked delayed blowback, and these rifles are within a hairsbreadth of being unlocked and blowback 308's every time you fire one. Plus they don't handle as well as an FAL. The FAL is a gas operated, tilting bolt, fully locked system. Much safer and user friendly. No relation between an FAL and an HK other than they were both developed about the same time.

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    Thanks to all those who sent PMs telling their experiences good and bad, it saved me from buying a Century Arms CETME. After a lot more reading over the last week I finally made a decision and bought my PTR-91 today.

    I think the final deciding factor between the 91 and the FAL was that I simply couldn't get my hands on an FAL to inspect. I won't buy an unfamiliar gun without seeing a working representation anymore, and even though DSA has a good reputation there's nothing like actually holding the gun you're going to take home. I think there might be an FAL in my future though...

    Now all that's left is to convince the wife to let me take it out from under the Christmas tree so I can play with it

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    Someone just posted an FAL for sale here. Please let me know how you like your PTR. Where did you get it? Snowwolfe chime in?

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    My wife told me about the FAL for sale as I was in the middle of cleaning the packing lube off my PTR. She also told me I wasn't allowed to have two guns for Christmas, so I didn't bother to call and look at it. If I'd waited another couple of days before I bought the PTR I would have at least looked at the FAL to compare, but as it sits right now I'm very, very happy with the PTR. It's one of the nicest military-pattern rifles I've ever had. No nasty casting marks like you get on the AR-15 series (it's stamped steel, so no receiver casting), no sharp edges, burrs, rough swirls or lines in the finish. The trigger is even pretty good. A little long, but consistent and fairly light at 4.5lbs.

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    Unfortunately 95% of Soldiers in the Army and who have been deployed do not sit around in there hootches discussing the knock down power of the 5.56... They have other things on thier minds LOL... The M-4 has proved very effective out here in Afghanistan they have performed very well... As a matter of fact, I had well over 2,500 hundred rounds of ammo, some other soldier 3 more went to the range and put the ol M-4 thru the paces one (323) put over 800rds thru his and never put a drop of lube/mil-tec on his weapon just when we initially started shooting, I put over 1,000 rds thru mine and the other troops close to 600... The only failure we had was when a magazine split at the seam... The M-4 platform is a very good battle rifle platform yes some people cry about the knock down power of the 5.56 and opt for the 7.62... But one can carry a bigger basic load of 5.56 ammo and with proper training can put rounds down range very effectively as well...
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