Most reliable rifle?


July 13, 2003, 02:51 PM
What is the most reliable military rifle that is the easiest to clean. I have an AR-15, but it is a bitch to clean. It makes me wonder why our military uses it, it has to be cleaned so often. I know lots of people love it and have no problem with the high maintenance, but I like my guns like I like my women...low maintenance. Does the M-14 require such frequent cleaning? Any other suggestins would be welcome, and any flames coming my way for not liking to clean my rifle...those are welcome as well.:p

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July 13, 2003, 02:56 PM
Hands down - AK-47 varient. However, along with the high reliability you get very poor ergonomics and not so hot accuracy.

IMHO - the FN-FAL is the best compromise between the two. Easy to clean, very robust and reliable, yet still accurate, and comfortable and easy to shoot.

July 13, 2003, 03:37 PM
I'm pretty happy with all my SKS's. They are very reliable and pretty darn easy to clean for a semi-auto.

Sir Galahad
July 13, 2003, 03:46 PM
Weapons maintenance, like other things, is all "set and setting". First, you need a comfortable bench to work at. This can be your kitchen table. Then you need to put on the proper music. For cleaning firearms, I suggest Mozart "Symphonies 35-41", Debussy "La Mer" "Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune" "Nocturnes" or something by your Russian composers, your Shostakovich and so forth. For sharpening knives, I suggest Chopin's "Nocturnes" or almost anything by Beethoven. A good cigar also adds a pleasant ambience to the aroma of honing oil and provides taste as well as olfactory delight. I wouldn't smoke the cigar during gun cleaning, though, as some solvents are flammable. Finally, you need something to reward yourself with afterwards. While the maintenance itself, done properly, is a pleasant exercise, you still need a refreshment after your labors. I suggest fine chocolate and a well-made mocha. For those who drink, a fine cognac would be appropriate. Set and setting. You may then recline after your labors and reflect with satisfaction upon having meticulously cared for your fine weaponry and know that they are absolutely in a high state of readiness whenever you need them or wish to enjoy them.

July 13, 2003, 04:45 PM
I'd say Mauser 98, which is a military rifle, but I suspect you mean semi-autos... In that case, my vote goes to the AK family or the FAL family.


July 13, 2003, 05:28 PM
If you want a low maintenance battle rifle, the U.S. 03/03A3, British Enfield .303s or Mausers is your best. Autoloaders, even the AK series, have many moving parts and require various levels of cleaning and lubrication if you want reliability. Bolt guns are a little more forgiving.

Sir Galahad nailed it though. Make the cleaning sessions enjoyable and the issue then becomes a non-issue. I'm fortunate enough to have become single again, so it is no problem for me to have a nice, comfortable area in the house to clean my firearms. Neither myself, nor my pets, have a problem with the house smelling like gun solvent for a few days a week.

July 13, 2003, 05:30 PM
I don't mind cleaning my weapons at all, just the thought of having to clean them in the field every day seems like a big pain in the butt. I'm all for cleaning them after I've used them.

Al Thompson
July 13, 2003, 05:55 PM
When your weapon is a vital part of your life support system, it's not that much of an issue. If it is an issue, your priorities are misplaced and your NCOs are slack. :)

July 13, 2003, 07:25 PM
LOL. Makes me want to run out in the back yard and crank off a round just so that I can enjoy cleaning my rifle. Ahhhh, the smell of good ol' Hoppes! :D


Sir Galahad
July 13, 2003, 07:42 PM
It's all true. This is how I clean/maintain my weapons. Firearms cleaning, knife sharpening...all go better with some good music, a fine cigar, and a delicious mocha afterwards. It becomes a ritual and, in so doing, you make the maintenance just as important and enjoyable as shooting. Further, you develop a greater, how shall one say it, affinity, with your weapons. One day you'll be driving home and hear a piece by Mozart or Beethoven on the radio (if you live in a region so blessed with a good Classical station) and you'll think to yourself, "Ah! This is the piece I like to clean my _______ to!" You'll visualize as you listen exactly where in the piece you stripped the rifle, where you took out this component, where you cleaned the bore, and so forth.

Trust me on this gentlemen. All my firearms look new and they have had thousands of rounds through them. All my knives look new and are SHARP. With proper maintenance comes pride. From that pride comes more confidence. When you take out a certain rifle and it's totally clean, standing tall and looking great. You think to yourself, "This rifle will take care of me as I take care of it."

July 13, 2003, 08:35 PM
M1 Carbine

July 13, 2003, 08:37 PM
Good points, all. How does a Garand compare to an AR?

Dave Markowitz
July 13, 2003, 08:52 PM
Hands down, the AK and SKS are the most reliable self-loading rifles out there. The Garand and its derivatives (M-14 and Mini-14) are also outstanding in this regard.

ALL rifles require maintenance, some more than others. One of the designs which requires more maintenance is the AR-15/M-16. When well-maintained it is reliable, but if for whatever reason you cannot clean it, it is more vulnerable to the elements than an AK, SKS, a Garand or one of its derivatives. This is NOT to say that the AR is a POS, just that it requires more maintenance than the other designs I mentioned.

If you need a gun that will stand up to really bad abuse, though, get a Lee-Enfield, or a Mauser.

July 13, 2003, 09:44 PM
Sir Galahad:

May I please clean your guns for you? But without the Shostakovich; more Beethoven would be nice.

July 13, 2003, 10:11 PM
In my experience, an in-spec Garand is very reliable. The problem is that most of them are now 60 years old and many have worn-out parts, particularly the gas system. But, if it's in good shape, it should run very, very well...


July 13, 2003, 10:23 PM
HBK: No comparison between the Garand and the AR15!;) Oh, guess you mean in regards to cleaning.:D Can't honestly give a comparison, having never cleaned an M16/AR15, but guess I'm fixin' to learn soon. My grandson just got an AR match rifle and asked for some coaching so will have to learn.

The Garand, now, that's a fine piece of machinery and is rather easy to clean. If you are going to shoot it withtn a week or so, you only need to clean the bore (keeping rifle upside down to prevent bore cleanter from getting into gas cylinder) as you would a bolt gun. Then open bolt, stand rifle muzzle down and drop two or three drops of Breakfree on op-rod where it enters the gas cylinder. Open and close the bolt, letting spring slam bolt home a few times to distribute BF, clean the chamber with a breakfree patch and you're good to go. If you plan to store the rifle, you can do a more complete dis-assembly (see Sir Galahads instructions above:) ) and cleanup of gas system, but the Garand will run with a minimum of maintenance and is accurate to 600 yds (and beyond if match tuned).


July 13, 2003, 10:25 PM
M1 Garand ...

July 14, 2003, 01:56 AM
I have an SAR-1 that will jam if it is not kept clean and oiled. My SKS hasn't jammed since break in and I have only cleaned it once. I think the SKS is a little more reliable but I am only basing that on my experience with one of each so take it for what its worth (not much).

July 14, 2003, 08:59 AM
Sir Galahad, love your choices in music. I would suggest Tchaikovsky(Nutcracker or Swan Lake) to go along with your cognac. Arise Rednecks! Expand your horizons! Peace ,

July 14, 2003, 09:42 AM
Good points, all. How does a Garand compare to an AR? I don't have an AR, but I dread cleaning my Garand! Often, I just do what hps1 recommends, but I always feel guilty about it and try to give it a full field strip and clean when the next opportunity presents itself.

I'd much rather clean 3 or 4 SKS or FALs than one Garand. The nice thing about these two rifles is that one can quickly remove the bolt and get access to clean inside of the reciever. One has to do considerable dissasembly to clean the bolt and reciever of a Garand. I also never understood why such the otherwise fine M1 would be built so that it's impossible to clean the bore from the breach end.

However, I would imagine that any of them would work fine for quite a while without any cleaning in a moderate, dry climate. I just could never bring myself to find out.

Art Eatman
July 14, 2003, 09:51 AM
Since there are quite a few repetitive motions in cleaning a rifle, I tend toward Ravel's "Bolero", truly the epitome of repetition in music. :D

Now, if you're doing touch-up cleaning in preparation for an SHTF "Come to Jesus" session, I suggest gospel music--or possibly Hank Williams' "Luke the Drifter" album. Maybeso Marty Robbins' "Gunfighter Ballads" could be of emotional assistance.

One should avoid music by composers such as Berg or Sternberg, as their dissonance could easily disturb one's concentration.

Afterwards, a snifter of Grand Marnier leads to contemplative reflections upon the next opportunities to go shooting...

:), Art

Futo Inu
July 14, 2003, 11:21 AM
Get one of the new Armalite AR180s. They take AR15 mags, have 2-way bolt control, and a gas piston with full-length rod. AFAIK, should be as accurate as an AR15. About $675 new retail, IINM. Hard to go wrong with that or a nicely built member of the AK family.

July 14, 2003, 11:28 AM
Heck, I just thought I knew how to clean a rifle. Guess I'm gonna be forced to move my rifle cleaning operation out of the loading room now that I have been edumacated as to the finer points of firearm maintenance! After all, Mozart followed by one's favorite drink calls for candles and I am told that is not recommended in the loading room. Any recommendations on how to keep the Hoppes off the wife's linen tablecloth and napkins? ;)


Edited to read:
DMK: Don't feel guilty about cleaning your M1 in that manner. We were issued NM M1's for the 3-4 month match season in the early 60's and that was SOP. We never dissassembled the rifles unless something broke. They were well lubed at beginning of the season and cleaned as described for the duration. These rifles were fired at least 50- 100 rounds per day for the 3-4 months and were none the worse for it. I can't remember a single alibi with my rifle. Have maintained my personal M1's in this manner ever since. I do break down and clean thoroughly before storing the rifle for longer periods, of course.

You mention the difficulty of bolt removal on the Garand. All you have to do is drop the stock, remove op rod spring and then the op rod to get bolt out if that is necessary. Not necessary to remove upper hand guard and plumbing on front end. This allows you to get to anything that might need cleaning/lubricating. I don't like to remove stock any more than absolutely necessary as my M1's are all bedded and it is hard on the bedding to cam action out of stock.

July 14, 2003, 02:34 PM
FAL is by far the easiest semi auto to strip and clean ever. Lots of nice big pieces. Easy to get into.

AK is second. Almost as easy to strip as the FAL. Super easy to clean.

AR is a serious pain the butt. Stupid star chamber. Stupid little cotter pin. Freaking carbon everywhere.

The M96 is easier to clean than the AR as it doesn't get as much carbon in it, and you can pop the barrel off to clean the chamber, however it still uses a pin to hold the bolt in the bolt carrier. I would still rather clean an M96 than an AR.

G3 or Cetme ain't bad, but they ain't exactly fun. Still better than an AR. They get filthy inside, but they work.

The Garand ain't too bad. Pulling it out of the stock isn't so weird once you get used to it.

I hate cleaning. Cleaning is time that could be spent shooting or dry firing. I like rifles that clean up nice and quick, or even better require less cleaning to keep them working. Cleaning at a nice lighted table with soft music and a beverage is great and all, but the real test is cleaning the rifle while sitting on a rock on the side of a mountain just after the sand storm. :p

None of my weapons look new. All of them look like I use them a lot. When I started out I cleaned religiously. The more I shot, the older that got. Now many of my rifles will go several trips before being given a good cleaning. BLASPHEMY some of you will say. Hey its okay though, I don't own any AR15s anymore! :D :D :D

July 14, 2003, 03:57 PM
I don't own any AR15s anymore!

Now that's Blasphemy! :)

July 14, 2003, 04:10 PM
Remington Rolling Block or Martini-Henry .577...

The rest are slightly more complicated...:D

July 14, 2003, 04:23 PM
David mentioned the M1 Carbine. It is easy to clean, but I'm not so sure it fits the definition of reliable----they are always having extractor or ejector problems. My vote would have to go to the AR15A2---carbon all over them----but do they ever pump out one he!! of a lot of lead!;)

July 14, 2003, 04:36 PM
My SAR-1 is so starved for care and attention that I once watched it move 8 inches in a 5 minute time span (it didn't know I was watching) so it could be closer to a can of 3in1 oil! :eek: I took pity on it and rubbed some oil on the stock but other than that I don't believe in "spoiling" a truly great rifle with any unnecessary cleaning and such.:D

July 14, 2003, 07:26 PM
Sir Galahad: LOL!

July 14, 2003, 08:21 PM
Edited to read:
DMK: Don't feel guilty about cleaning your M1 in that manner. We were issued NM M1's for the 3-4 month match season in the early 60's and that was SOP. We never dissassembled the rifles unless something broke. Thanks for the reassurance, it does help make me feel a little better. I'd hate to be harming my Garand, it's such a good rifle. :) I agree with you about wearing the stock out and loosening the bedding.

You mention the difficulty of bolt removal on the Garand. All you have to do is drop the stock, remove op rod spring and then the op rod to get bolt out if that is necessary. Oh yea, it's not like it's extremely difficult, but for a FAL it's: Push release and break rifle in half. Bolt slides out. For the SKS it's: Push release, pull pin, remove top cover. Bolt slides out. Much easier! ;)

July 14, 2003, 11:08 PM
In case someone didn't mention it...get some decent cleaning equipment and a rig to hold the rifles.
I have a crappy contraption made by Hoppes or MTM. Got it for Christmas years ago and surmised it was junk at firt sight.
The thing is wonderful and will hold any and every kind of rifle or shotgun I ever placed on it.

Debussy , Oh yes.
Cigars, afterward, double oh yes.
But Copland for the days you really take too many guns to the range at one time and shoot each one of them. Especially the ones made in America.


July 17, 2003, 11:40 PM
Can't beat the FAL. I can break open the gun, slide off the top cover, and pull the bolt/carrier out in under 3 seconds. The upper receiver is so bare and open at that point that the chamber is RIGHT there starring at you! Clean from the breech with no problems. I shoot 200 rounds of Port a weekend out of my DSA SA58 Medium Contour Tactical. You get some carbon in the gas piston area but nothing that would stop the gun by any means. The piston plug can get a little stiff to remove from buildup but nothing that couldn't be done by hand. No problems with the gas regulator and I clean that every 1000 rounds or so. Lower receiver stays super clean and is also very easy to strip (no tools). Firing pin (spring loaded for no slam-fires I might add) also comes out with no tools. The extractor is very beefy but unless you are Superman you need the FN tool to remove it easily. A lot of crud builds up under the claw but nothing that has caused problems (the Port is clean looking but fires pretty dirty I think). My only complaint with DSA (other than price) is the non chrome lined Badger match barrels. Great accuracy but I literally spend all week soaking the bore to remove the copper fouling. Don't think it would affect reliability but I can't stand seeing copper streaks in my barrel! :)
After the FAL comes the AK....

July 18, 2003, 01:32 AM
Most RELIABLE rifle?

Lee Enfield (no gas system to malfunction)
Works better in mud, sand and snow than a Mauser

Malone LaVeigh
July 18, 2003, 02:00 AM
Andrews Sisters or Glen Miller for the Garand and the 1911s.

Wagner for the Walther, esp the Ring Cycle.

Del McCoury or Doc Watson for the shotguns and revolvers.

Mussorsky or Prokofiev for the Mossin.

Verdi for the rest.

Actually, Verdi for anything.

July 18, 2003, 08:17 PM
I'm kinda partial to the Remington Rolling Block, but I suppose a Trapdoor Springfield would do in a pinch. Blackpowder-equivalent smokeless cast bullet loads would keep the cleaning interval down to a minimum, too. ;)

Funny thing is, when I clean my Rolling Block Creedmoor, I have Copland's Appalachian Spring playing through the pentode 6550C vacuum tubes, myself! :D

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