VEPR II .308 vs. DPMS 16" AP4 carbine vs. CETME?


July 27, 2005, 07:02 PM
Found out that there is a 6-8 week wait to get a DPMS .308 AP4 and the best price I have found so far is $963 w/ no options (flip up rear sight, 4 rail handguard, etc). But I can get a VEPR II in .308 for around $550. I wish I could get a M1A in .308 for less than $1000, but I haven't found one. The VEPR would mean sticking with 10 round mags and giving up some long range accuracy to the DPMS, but at almost half the cost, it's very tempting to pick one up as I love my 7.62x39 VEPR and Robarms is supposed to be working on some 20 round .308 mags for it. Another thing about the VEPR is that it will shoot any .308, no problem, while I've heard from DPMS owners that say it can be picky as to which 7.62 surplus it will shoot reliably.

I'm also throwing around getting a $350-$400 CETME and maybe picking up a Savage .308 bolt rifle soon after. Then I would have my MBR and my long range .308 rifle, but I don't really care for the ergonomics of the CETME.

Why is it so hard to throw down $1000 on a rifle? Because I know that I can buy 2-3 other rifles for that same price. I don't need a 1/4" MOA rifle, just a fun medium range shooter that can eat cheap 7.62 surplus. The DPMS is sweet, but is it worth double the price?

DPMS .308 or VEPR .308 or CEMTE .308? Why is it so hard to decide?




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July 27, 2005, 07:07 PM
What about a FAL?

July 27, 2005, 07:07 PM
You want a tack driver? get the DPMS. I've hard VERY good things about them.

You want a plinker and combat accurate gun? Get well built CETME or the Vepr.

Of course, you could get all three...

Mike ;)

July 27, 2005, 07:09 PM
Here's my ranking of the three (1-3, 1 being best)


Attractiveness (subjective)

Reliablity (based on what I've read)

2. CETME/VEPR (tie)

If I could find one that I knew would be reliable (hasn't been ruined by the CAI MonkeyShop) I'd get a CETME. If I was going to just buy one off the shelf and wanted to know it would be affordable, reliable, and Accurate Enough, I'd get the VEPR. If I wanted the DPMS (which it sounds like you do) I'd just tough out the 6-8 week wait.

July 27, 2005, 07:11 PM
I would get an FAL if I could get a 16"-18" barrel w/o spending over $750, but the only ones I see with shorter barrels cost way too much. If I'm going to spend $750 on an FAL, I would rather spend the extra $200 on a DPMS. But I am open to FAL's.

July 27, 2005, 07:14 PM
What about a PTR-91? I've heard those things are good rifles. Or a FAL. Or an AR-10. Or, what about looking at a Saiga .308? Sure, there's only 8-round mags, and no one imports them......but mine feeds anything I feed it, and it always gets looks at the range, and even a few "Sweet, what is that?" :D . If they ever get an importer again, maybe factory 20-round mags will be flowing this way......

July 27, 2005, 07:23 PM
If you look hard you can find a PTR-91 for 600 bills. The heavy barrel is silly, IMO, but you have to approach any CETME as though it were a project gun. It might work, it might not. If not, you can probably fix it with a little knowledge and time. If you have the time and inclination they make great budget rifles. But it would be easier to plunk down the money for the PTR, which will probably be better than the CETME anyway.

July 27, 2005, 08:13 PM
Tough decision.

I will give a little insight into the CETME though.

Even if you get a good one, chances are you are going to put a bunch of money into it.

Right now, including the price I paid for the rifle, different furniture, scope, mount, rings, etc....I have over $1k in my rifle. :what:

Sure the rifle works, and it is accurate. Still having some problems with the scope mounting, but I am working on that.

But if I had known I was going to spend $1k when I bought it, I probably would have gotten a FAL or a VEPR or something else.


July 27, 2005, 08:52 PM
Well I'll tell you what I think, I've been looking into a .308 battle rifle as well and if I end up getting one I think I will be going for the PTR-91 as some others have mentioned. Seems like a quality product and it's cheaper than FALs. CETME is probably alright if you need to save cash but I hear the quality is hit or miss. The PTR-91 is a good price for what you get IMO. The VEPR is nice but I always think of it as an AK and thus not really as a .308. However I suppose it's just as decent a choice.

July 27, 2005, 11:29 PM
Personally, I don't like the idea of a rifle that won't work out of the box. That is why I wouldn't consider a CETME. The time and money you might end up putting into it would make a more expensive and reliable alternative much more attractive to me.
These guys have a "superVEPR" listed that is supposed to be .308.

July 28, 2005, 12:50 AM
I have a CETME, but am not very happy with it. The rifle is reasonably accurate...though impared by the approximately 12-lb trigger pull...and has been completely reliable.

But, it throws fired brass about 20 feet in front of the muzzle, and the slightly fluted chamber leaves dark longitudinal streaks down the fired cases which is difficult to polish off. (It does not actually flute the cases.) This makes no difference as long as you are firing expensive berdan-primed ammo, but I like to save my boxer-primed cases for reloading. And, I don't care for the long-pull operating handle on the left front of the rifle. :rolleyes:

July 28, 2005, 08:44 AM
Of the three I only have a CETME. So obviously I am biased. I've spent $400+$40 on a dozen mags, + a claw mount stashed for a rainy day. It currently breaks at 9#, and I was getting 1.25MOA 5-shot groups with surplus ammo. I hope to polish the crap out of the trigger pack again, and take up some slack, so I should be able to do better.

But I have had several AK's. They suit me fine as long as you can find one that shoots 2MOA or better.

Personally I prefer the german/HK design, but as you have stated you don't like the ergonomics. I think you are answering your own question. Don't get the CETME.

Fingolfin mentioned the FAL. If I were you I would be looking seriously at building one. Last I checked they can be built for around $500-$600 (Hey is this still true guys?)

So to answer your question, of the choices you gave me I would go with the CETME obviously, and tweak whatever needs tweaking. If I were you however, who doesn't like the ergo I would go middle of the road and get the VEPR with a 16" barrel, and look at upgrading the sights at a later date.

(P.S. I LOVE Saigas.)

Father Knows Best
July 28, 2005, 09:23 AM
You need one of these:

The PTR-91 from JLD Enterprises is the best choice. It's not a CETME; it's a semi-auto G3 built on HK-licensed tooling (brought to the U.S. from Portugal when the Portuguese military stopped issuing the G3). Unlike a CETME, it will work right out of the box. They are better built and better finished than "real" HK-91s. They are as rugged and dependable a battle rifle as you will find. Like an AK (or VEPR), you could drop it in the mud, drive over it with your truck, completely abuse it, and it would still function. They are also surprisingly accurate. The stock iron sights are very good. Street price for a basic PTR-91 is around $700, the last time I checked.

The only real problem I have with my PTR-91 is the trigger, and that's a common complaint with all of the G3 variants. It is rough and heavy -- much worse than my FAL's trigger. A good trigger job will get it down to 4-5 pounds and eliminate most of the creep, however, and should cost less than $75. Mine is going off for one soon.

More info here:

July 28, 2005, 01:24 PM
another vote here for the PTR-91.

You can't go wrong with that gun.

July 28, 2005, 01:49 PM
If a chrome lined bore is a factor I think the Vepr is the only one that has it.

July 28, 2005, 01:53 PM
Does not the chrome lined bore slightly affect accuracy?

And im biased towards the G3 design. Its proven combat worthy for dozens of nations throughout the world. So has the FAL but oh well.

Master Blaster
July 28, 2005, 03:27 PM
MY take,

I like rifles that are accurate meaning they can shoot 1 MOA or less at 100 yards with my handloads or good match ammo.

I have an AK 7.62x39, I have two saigas; .223 and .308, I never shoot these three rifles anymore because on a good day they all are good for a 3 MOA 3 shot group ON a real good day when I am in top form and there is no wind (usually its more like a 6-9" 5 shot group).

My Bolt guns, and my Ar's are all capable of sub MOA accuracy and produce it every time I take them to the range. So they are the guns I take to the range.

I am not going into combat in a third world country with any of them.

To recap if it aint really accurate It sits in the rack and gets dusty.

The AK and SAIGAS cost less money, in fact the three together with slings mounts and magazines cost less than my 5.56 precision AR with its scope and mount. BUT they were a waste of money for me because I dont shoot them.

My vote would be for the DPMS because I know I would take it to the range and shoot it. It also has an excellent secure system for mounting a scope which the other rifles lack big time. I know AKs/ Saigas have that side rail, and I have mounts for them, I also own a russian scope with an integral side rail mount.

July 28, 2005, 04:14 PM
Does not the chrome lined bore slightly affect accuracy?

Yes, it does slightly affect accuracy. I just mentioned chrome lining in case the author was looking for either a .308 battle rifle or a .308 precision semi-auto. A chrome bore helps with the longevity of the barrel and helps protect it from corrosion by certain types of ammo and the elements.

The accuracy of the AK type rifle maybe affected by chrome lining a little, but I think it has a lot to do with the sights of the rifle and the movement of the piston going back and forth in the receiver.

I too am partial to the g3 rifle type as well.

July 28, 2005, 04:16 PM
Outside of a very small percentage of shooters, I'm willing to bet that the majority of us here wouldn't be able to tell any accuracy difference between chrome lined and non.

July 28, 2005, 09:46 PM
I've yet to see a working CETME.

The JLD PTR91 does look nice, but the HK is not everything some people would make it out to be (I have yet to shoot one with a decent trigger).

The VEPRs are well made and decently accurate. Mags are the only thing that is kind of dubious witht the Vepr 308. I'd definitely take a look at a VEPR before buying anything else.

July 28, 2005, 10:45 PM
Thanks for the responses. I finally just bit the bullet and ordered a DPMS AP4 .308 for $975 from a dealer I found that had one in stock. It will be sweet. This will be my first AR (because I don't like the .223 round) and it will be a lot of fun.

If the VEPR had a 16"-18" barrel model with a threaded barrel or even just 20 round mags, I would snatch one up.

I had a Hesse built G3 that was never totally reliable and was terribly inaccurate, so that kind of left a bad taste in my mouth in terms of CETME's and HK's, don't like the ergonomics.

July 29, 2005, 01:17 AM
There are supposed to be 20 round magazines for the Vepr sometime this summer. I'm on the list to buy a pile of them.

July 29, 2005, 02:07 AM
I had a Hesse built G3

I'd rather buy a Century Arms CETME. At least it might work. ;)

CETME's and HK's, don't like the ergonomics.

Perhaps I'm just bigger'n you small fries(:D) but I rather like the ergonomics. The selector switch is easy to operate and I don't have any trouble reaching the charging handle(Though it is a little slower than comparable systems, like the FAL's. I wonder if you could add a bolt hold open and release, like the MP5-10?). Am I just weird?

Master Blaster
July 29, 2005, 09:51 AM
Thanks for the responses. I finally just bit the bullet and ordered a DPMS AP4 .308 for $975 from a dealer I found that had one in stock. It will be sweet.

You have chosen wisely.

Father Knows Best
July 29, 2005, 09:57 AM
Hesse receivers are horrible junk. Don't swear off HK's because of one of them. It would be like swearing off all cars because you once owned a Yugo.

HK ergonomics aren't for everyone. The mag releases is awkward and the triggers are definitely terrible. Both are fixable, however.

I've got three cold war battle rifle clones: an AK (Arsenal SA M-7), an FAL (DSA SA58) and an HK (PTR-91). The AK is the only one that came with a good trigger. The FAL's trigger is a little rough and heavy, but probably tolerable for most purposes. The HK's trigger is typical of HK's -- heavy and VERY rough. It needs a trigger job, and it is getting one soon. With a $50-75 trigger job, an HK-91 (or PTR-91) will have a clean-breaking 4-5 pound trigger. It still won't be a bench rest gun, but it will be pleasing to shoot and very accurate.

The mag release is the other ergonomic issue. Real G3's have paddle mag releases just like AK's. HK had to remove them as part of the conversion to a legally-importable semi-auto version, leaving the push button release that is difficult to manipulate. You can either have a "paddle mag conversion" done ($100-150 with parts), or install a Tac-Latch ($35). I have a Tac-Latch on my PTR-91 and it works great.

July 29, 2005, 10:43 AM
I've yet to see a working CETME.

Then you must be blind. I've two that are 100% reliable. They are not hard to find at ~$400 or a bit less. Do your homework and know what to look for and its not hard to find a good one. OTOH if you order sight unseen at the lowest possible price you are pretty much certain to get one of the bad ones.

Biggest + for CETME and FAL(metric) is cheap and widely available spare mags -- very important for a plinker/blaster IMHO. Most of the "newer" CAI CETMEs with black furniture also take HK91/G3 mags which can be found for <$2 each in aluminum.


Father Knows Best
July 29, 2005, 10:57 AM
HK91/G3 mags which can be found for <$2 each in aluminum

+1. I've got more mags (32 in all, which cost me a grand total of around $50) for my PTR-91 than all my other black rifles combined, because they are plentiful and cheap. Used FAL mags cost $8-15 each, and AK mags are typically $12-25.

July 29, 2005, 06:35 PM
"Blind". Nope. I've just shot three different CETMEs and none of them could make it through a 20rnd mag with out some sort of malfunction (I'll admit that CAI might have more to do with it than the basic design). Apparently this isn't an uncommon experience.

Make sure you've shot an HK/Cetme before buying one, because they are definitely not for everyone. The real HKs I've shot (PTR91 looks to be just as nice) have been functionally flawless, though I've never been able to figure out how the price tag is justified.

I think the HK mags are really cheap because there are crap load of them, and not that many people own rifles that use them (supply and demand I suppose).

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