AK47, Assault Rifle or Battle Rifle?


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Milsurplover
March 19, 2011, 05:13 PM
I've been wondering lately...would the AK47 be considered a Battle Rifle because of the .30 cal round it shoots? Or is it considered an assault rifle because it lacks the power of, say, a 7.62x51 NATO? By definition a Battle Rifle is a select fire rifle that shoots a full power rifle cartridge (I'm pretty sure this is the definition) I tend to think the AK would fall under the Assault rifle category because it lacks the fore of a 7.62x51 NATO (as said before)...but the .30 cal round gives me doubts.

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benEzra
March 19, 2011, 05:43 PM
The select-fire AK-47 is indeed an assault rifle. It's cartridge was designed to exactly split the difference between (IIRC) the 7.62x25mm pistol round and the 7.62x54mm rifle round. It is .30 caliber, yes, but has roughly half the energy of the full sized round.

otomik
March 19, 2011, 06:56 PM
what about a select fire m2 carbine? is that a battle rifle? it's .30 cal and it's not a pistol cartridge. i don't think so.

AK103K
March 19, 2011, 07:05 PM
I always thought the rifle you had in your hands while doing battle, was your battle rifle.

I just figured all the cute names people gave their favorites were just to make themselves feel better or superior to others.

SharpsDressedMan
March 19, 2011, 07:12 PM
The orignal carbine was semi auto, so not an "assault rifle" by definition. The M2 Carbine MIGHT be classified, loosely, as an assault rifle. It is slightly less powerful than the 7.62x39 AK.

Tommygunn
March 19, 2011, 07:13 PM
By definition a Battle Rifle is a select fire rifle that shoots a full power rifle cartridge

Well, I would certainly say the M-1 Garand was a "battlerifle" even though it was only semi auto.

Hurricane
March 19, 2011, 07:26 PM
I thought we didn't like the term "assault rifle"?

wally
March 19, 2011, 07:30 PM
It is slightly less powerful than the 7.62x39 AK.

Its a good deal less than slightly less powerful than 7.62x39

7.62x39 runs ~1550 ft-lbs
.223 ~1300 ft-lbs
.308 ~2600 ft-lbs

The M1 carbine runs in the same class as the .357 Magnum being about 900 ft-lbs out if a 16" barrel.

Z-Michigan
March 19, 2011, 07:47 PM
I thought we didn't like the term "assault rifle"?

It's a perfectly accurate term when applied to select-fire weapons used by militaries.

It's inaccurate when applied to civilian semiautos.

benEzra
March 20, 2011, 12:03 PM
It's a perfectly accurate term when applied to select-fire weapons used by militaries.

It's inaccurate when applied to civilian semiautos.
Exactly. By definition, an assault rifle is select-fire, i.e. capable of being fired in automatic (or burst) mode at the flick of a switch. Applying the term to Title 1 semiauto-only civilian firearms is merely an attempt to confuse civilian guns with Title 2 restricted military weapons.

Sam1911
March 20, 2011, 12:22 PM
And even worse is the nebulous "Assault Weapon" which has no clear definition beyond ... whatever's on the legislative chopping block this week.

Tirod
March 20, 2011, 12:49 PM
I bought a battle rifle in the day, the civilian HK91. Battle rifles aren't necessarily select fire, I'm surprised the Moisin Nagant owners haven't raised an outcry.

In general, as there is no official definition, battle rifles were mostly the full power cartridge semi auto self loading designs, generally including the M1 Garand, G43, SKS, M14, FNFAL, G3, etc. If anything, as a class, they were largely found too lightweight for full auto fire.

Assault rifles follow the grandaddy of the all, the STurmGewehr 44, which set the pattern - full auto magazine fed intermediate caliber, usually less than 18" barrel, and designed to optimize two factors limiting human operators - too much recoil, and an inability to see targets and hit them beyond 300m. If you reduce the recoil, the operator will shoot it more, and more bullet flying will mean more hits - even by random chance. It makes no difference if it's aimed or not, a bullet striking a soldier tends to limit their response, and incapacitation - the inability to fire back - is what counts.

As for the "overloads their medical logistics" argument, that hasn't worked out so much. Much of the fighting since assault weapons have been adopted has been against adversaries with very little logistical depth. Many don't even have medical corpsmen in the field.

Main battle rifles, whether or not bolt action, aren't assault weapons. It's the specific layout of features that counts, not what caliber the bullet happens to be. If anything, it's been a logistics issue that the adopting nation already had bullet machines running and simply couldn't afford to change over to a smaller, more aerodynamic shape, which would give better results - higher speeds and flatter trajectories. That was a strategic tradeoff, as the battlefield condition of not being to engage targets accurately beyond 300m made either choice equally useful. The bullet makers "won," although they actually lost, not being able to tool up and start other designs. That's the amount of weight logistics can bear on war - you accept compromises to get something in the soldiers hands, rather than a lot of nothing.

Same thinking goes to why we buy an $1100 combat weapon, not a $3000 one. No real effective difference for the money.

Hizzie
March 20, 2011, 04:26 PM
Assault Rifle. It fires an "intermediate" cartridge. Battle Rifles fire full size cartridges such as 7.62x54R, .303 British or 7.62x63/7.62x51. It has nothing to do with the .30 caliber bullet it fires and everything to do with the size/power level of the cartridge it uses.

SaxonPig
March 20, 2011, 04:45 PM
There are two defining characteristics of the assault rifle: it is capable of fully automatic fire and fires an intermediate cartridge.

No semi-auto rifle is an assault rifle. That term is often misapplied.

The real AK47 and M16 are assault rifles. The semi-auto versions are not. The M2 carbine would be an assault rifle. The G3 would not because of its full-size cartridge.

I confess that I had not heard the term "battle rifle" until recently and I have no idea if there is an accepted definition for the term.

seasmoke
March 21, 2011, 12:36 AM
Case in point...G3-A3
Note the un-controlable muzzle rise..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr14_2Z2m0A&feature=related

HorseSoldier
March 21, 2011, 02:00 AM
what about a select fire m2 carbine? is that a battle rifle? it's .30 cal and it's not a pistol cartridge. i don't think so.

What other people said -- the M2 carbine kind of tests the lower limits of what you call an assault rifle. Energy wise it delivers about the same power as 5.45x39 AK74 ammo (30 carbine is fractionally less, if I remember right), but has the shortcoming of really poor external ballistics compared to rounds like 5.56 and 5.45. It is a better performer than any true SMGs, though and so it sort of lives in a gray area.

otomik
March 21, 2011, 02:03 AM
The real AK47 and M16 are assault rifles. The semi-auto versions are not. The M2 carbine would be an assault rifle. The G3 would not because of its full-size cartridge.i think the m2 carbine is a carbine. it just doesn't have the range or power to be an assault rifle.

happygeek
March 21, 2011, 02:50 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_rifle


The translation assault rifle gradually became the common term for similar firearms sharing the same technical definition as the StG 44. In a strict definition, a firearm must have at least the following characteristics to be considered an assault rifle:

* It must be an individual weapon with provision to fire from the shoulder (i.e. a buttstock);
* It must be capable of selective fire;
* It must have an intermediate-power cartridge: more power than a pistol but less than a standard rifle or battle rifle;
* Its ammunition must be supplied from a detachable magazine.
* And it should at least have a firing range of 300 meters (984 feet)


#1 and #4 distinguish assault rifles from light machine guns like the M249, although light machine guns like the RPK began to blur the line. #2 distinguishes assault rifles from civvy Evil Black Rifles. #3 distinguishes assault rifles from submachine guns on one end and full power rifles on the other.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_rifle

The term battle rifle is not defined or frequently used in military field manuals and government documents. There are some government requisition documents[10] that do make mention of a specific rifle as a battle rifle, but those documents may simply be using the manufacturer's marketing name (similar to how Springfield Armory's M14 clone is trademarked as the M1A). Because of this issue, deciding what exact characteristics of a rifle should make it a battle rifle are a matter of contention.

buttrap
March 21, 2011, 02:51 AM
I would tend to look at the M2 as more of a subgun type than a assault rifle.

skipbo32
March 21, 2011, 03:02 AM
the answer is easy.....

its an assault rifle. it shoots a .308 "short" basically. it is designed to be fired full auto like the M16......meaning it is a dumbed down version of a battle rifle which is an assault rifle.

in vietnam we had battle rifles.....with the M14.....we were getting out gunned so we matched the ak47 with the m16. we went with fire power instead of knock down power.

dont get me wrong.....i think the M14 is the greatest, but in that war we needed a bush rifle or "assault" rifle.

battle rifles are "one shot one kill". ......assault rifles are "pray and spray".

the AK is an assault rifle and so is the SKS......but if you go back to the Mosin Nagant ......well......that was a battle rifle!

HorseSoldier
March 21, 2011, 03:41 AM
If battle rifles really were one shot one kill weapons maybe they'd still be standard issues. But they're not.

SaxonPig
March 21, 2011, 09:45 AM
The M2 is less powerful, but it does use rifle ammo...

zoom6zoom
March 21, 2011, 09:53 AM
One of my favorite definitions of a battle rifle is that it "turns cover into concealment".

aka108
March 21, 2011, 10:23 AM
Newspaper alway refers to them as Assault Rifle or Assault Weapon. What we have is nothing other than a semi automatic rifle.

Tirod
March 21, 2011, 10:34 AM
No, the AK does not shoot a .308 short, it's actually not even the same .30 bullet. It's dimensionally different enough to need a completely different barrel. The 7.62X39 came out years before the .308, there's no direct correlation between them.

We weren't getting outgunned in Vietnam at all. Lots of VC carried SKS and bolt action rifles. We introduced the M16 to implement the assault rifle advantage of full auto firepower. The casualty rates quickly demonstrated that. As for needing a "bush" rifle, not so much in an open rice paddy or up in the highlands. The terrrain of Vietnam included everything, it's not one large homogeneous tropical rainforest.

The SKS isn't an assault rifle, it's semi auto and fixed magazine. Two strikes against it being included in the category.

1) Intermediate cartridge, 2) full auto. That combination is the essence of an assault rifle in military terms.

sawdeanz
March 21, 2011, 11:16 AM
This is interesting because I was just thinking about this the other day. I've known the definition of an assault rifle but then I was thinking about weapons such as the SCAR or .308 versions of the AR-15 platform. The SCAR for example comes in two chamberings even though it is the same gun. Kind of weird how the same gun can be classified as an assault rifle and also not.

txhoghunter
March 21, 2011, 11:29 AM
.308 versions of the AR-15 platform

If we get into this, then my input is that for military applications this is typically a Sniper Rifle. (M110)

However, as it's civilian AR-15 brother, owned by a civilian it is just a semi auto rifle, designated AR-10


and to answer the OP; the AK is an assault rifle. As stated by others, less power to reduce recoil and controllable** automatic fire

**in the right hands of course

CraigC
March 21, 2011, 11:57 AM
The AK is the quintessential assault rifle. Not the first but definitely the most iconic and prolific. Not a battle rifle.

Semi-auto civillian versions of assault rifles are NOT assault rifles. We should never accept the terminology of the anti's and correct every post referring to an AR-15 or semi-auto AK as an assault rifle.

otomik
March 24, 2011, 05:24 AM
The M2 is less powerful, but it does use rifle ammo...it doesn't even have a spitzer bullet and it's useful range is more like 200 yards rather than the 300 or 500 yards most assault rifles have.

think
7.92x33mm
7.62x39mm
there's these full caliber slow loopy trajectory early assault rifles

and the later small caliber fast flat shooting assault rifles
5.56x45mm
5.45x39mm

the Original Poster has confused the early generation of full caliber intermediate cartridges with a battle rifle cartridge. but that's not so difficult if you consider 7.62mm CETME or 7.62mm HOWA or 7.62x45mm Czech.

LKB3rd
March 24, 2011, 10:33 AM
I believe that the AK47 was the original, or close to it, "assault rifle". Not the assault rifle defined by US politicians, but a true assault rifle, and the full auto ones only.
They/Mikhail Kalashnikov went for reliability, rate of fire, at the expense of range and accuracy. Basically designed it to be its most effective at <300 yards.

Sam1911
March 24, 2011, 10:59 AM
I believe that the AK47 was the original, or close to it, "assault rifle".

Close to it. The original "assault rifle" (Sturmgewehr or "Storm rifle") was the German StG 44, which fired the 7.92x33mm Kurtz cartridge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StG_44

CraigC
March 24, 2011, 11:03 AM
The German Sturmgewehr is the original.

Nautilus
March 24, 2011, 11:11 AM
It is a rifle... if you assault with it it's an assault rifle, if you battle with it it's a battle rifle. If you just punch paper with it... it's a range rifle. I'll never understand why people get so wrapped up in vague classifications that mean different things to different people.

A Remington 700, is it a sniper rifle? a hunting rifle? a range rifle? That depends... it's how it's actually used that defines it. Until then it's just a rifle.

My $0.02

henschman
March 24, 2011, 11:19 AM
I don't think that full auto capability necessarily makes the AK a more effective weapon, at least in the hands of most of its users worldwide. I think most of them would be more effective with it if they did not have the full auto option. I've seen the videos of how some of those Africans and Middle Easterners shoot those things, and it is most definitely "spray and pray." They say that more people have been killed by AKs than any other single type of weapon, but I actually think the kill count would be higher if they were all semi auto. Those who know when and where to use full auto, like for suppressive fire, ambushes, and possibly close quarters room/trench clearing, might be more effective with it, but not the average bozo. I actually wish more of those people who go on shooting sprees did it with full autos. I think they would be less effective and would run out of ammo faster.

Now the '74 may be a different story... that thing has near zero recoil, and you can damn near put them all in one hole on full auto.

isc
March 24, 2011, 11:49 AM
Assault rifles shoot an intermediate cartridge and have a full auto capability. The semi auto AKs most of us own don't fit that definition, but the original design they were derived from do.

Battle rifles shoot a full power cartridge capable of hitting area targets at 800M. The AK doesn't even come close.

The semi auto AK isn't either an assault rifle or a battle rifle, but it's closer to the former than the latter.

The term "assault rifle" and "Main Battle Rifle" have definitions that refer to specific firearms types with definite characteristics in much the same way that clip and magazine or bullet and cartridge refer to specific, very different, things.

There will always be those that don't care about conventions and decide that they'll call whatever they want whatever they want though, and they often refuse to be educated.

I've seen people refer to their pistol caliber carbine and even their shotgun as their "MBR". Typically, those people are new or casual shooters or fudds. Most experienced collectors/shooters/owners know the difference and it is a giveaway that you're talking to someone with less experience in those specific types of firearms

henschman
March 24, 2011, 01:15 PM
As for what category to put the semi auto AK in, I have no idea... I guess you could call it a "semi auto assault rifle," though the terminology gurus will jump on you and say that's a contradiction in terms, since an assault rifle is by definition full auto capable. I guess to be more correct you would call it a "semi automatic version of an assault rifle design."

The term "battle rifle" doesn't have as much of a hard, fast definition as "assault rifle." It was used to describe military-pattern bolt action rifles back to WWI times, and has also been applied to self loading or select fire rifles like the FAL and M-14. I agree that it generally requires a full-power cartridge. As for what sets it apart from any other type of full-powered rifle, like a hunting rifle, I suppose it would be that a battle rifle is designed to be loaded quickly, whether it is from stripper clips on a bolt action, en-bloc clips in an M-1, or detachable magazines in a more modern battle rifle. So basically a battle rifle is a rifle in a full power cartridge designed for use in combat. Not a category I would put the AK in because of it's intermediate power cartridge.

benEzra
March 24, 2011, 02:22 PM
As for what category to put the semi auto AK in, I have no idea... I guess you could call it a "semi auto assault rifle," though the terminology gurus will jump on you and say that's a contradiction in terms, since an assault rifle is by definition full auto capable. I guess to be more correct you would call it a "semi automatic version of an assault rifle design."
I'd call it a semiautomatic carbine; it is in precisely the same class as a Ruger Mini Thirty, which is functionally identical.

hiawatha
March 24, 2011, 05:29 PM
These classifications are so full of exceptions that they're useless. The M2 carbine is neither an assault rifle nor a battle rifle. In fact, it's a stretch to call it a rifle. It was intended to substitute for a pistol. I'd call it a semi-auto pistol with a long barrel and a shoulder stock. Kind of like a more modern Mauser Broomhandle. An M-16 isn't a true assault rifle, either, because it fires an extremely high-velocity round -- a true rifle round. An "assault rifle" fires what amounts almost -- well, I was going to say an intentional squib, but it's not quite like that. I think Nautilus got it right.

benEzra
March 24, 2011, 07:48 PM
An M-16 isn't a true assault rifle, either, because it fires an extremely high-velocity round -- a true rifle round. An "assault rifle" fires what amounts almost -- well, I was going to say an intentional squib, but it's not quite like that. I think Nautilus got it right.
The definition generally refers to a cartridge of "intermediate power", which 5.56x45mm/.223 definitely is. In terms of energy, it lies between 7.62x39mm and 5.45x39mm, right in that band of energies halfway between pistols and full-power rifles.

As to velocity, 5.56x45mm velocities in military length barrels are not "extremely high velocity" by any means. I see 2733 ft/sec with 77gr OTM's out of 14.5" barrels on the low end, to 3250 ft/sec for the old 55gr M193 out of a 20" barrel on the high end. Fast, but not that fast.

FWIW, you could drive 7.62x39mm at 2800 to 3000 ft/sec if you used a sufficiently light bullet, but that doesn't mean 7.62x39mm isn't an intermediate caliber.

HorseSoldier
March 24, 2011, 09:35 PM
+1. Saying the M16 isn't an assault rifle is enforcing a rather narrower definition of that term than anyone else uses. The small caliber, high velocity line of thinking for assault rifles was just the second evolutionary step for those weapons after the initial fielding of the weapons that used the same bore as their full powered rifle relatives.

(And it should be noted that 7.92x33 and 7.62x39 were, in neither case, the preferred caliber on the R&D side of the house. The Germans were initially pursuing a 7mm intermediate round and the Soviets were very interested in something based on existing .25 caliber rounds. The use of the full bore rounds was an artifact of the logistics crowd trying to streamline production during WW2, when the StG-44 was hitting the front and the M43 round was in development and limited combat use in the SKS.)

happygeek
March 24, 2011, 10:14 PM
Don't forget the RPD, according to Wikipedia it was the first weapon to use the 7.62x39 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPD).

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