Battle rifle accuracy question


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Beagle-zebub
December 24, 2011, 06:29 AM
Thinking about the three classic battle rifles (the FAL, the G3, and the M14), I was wondering, what design quirks hurt the accuracy of each of these rifles? To use a familiar example, the AKM has a relatively flexible receiver and handguards that contact the barrel, in addition to open sights with a short radius.

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Robert
December 24, 2011, 08:24 AM
The FAL and G3 are only going to be 2 MOA for the most part. I have read of guys spending a ton of money to make them "match" rifles to only give up and go to a M1A or AR stlye rifle. Nothing wrong with the FAL or G3, some are rather accurate, but as a whole they are not know for overwhelming accuracy. 2-3 MOA being standard.

The M1A is going to be a much more accurate rifle than a FAL or G3. But will have, in my opinon, worse ergonomics than an AR10. Tough to tell which one, M1A or AR10 will be more accurate. But if it were me I'd get the AR10. But if you are limited to the M1A, FAL or G3 and wanted the most accurate of the three it would be the M1A hands down.

Beak50
December 24, 2011, 08:29 AM
Although I have not shot a FAL or G3 I would get the M-14, a.k.a M1A1.since they are american and have a history I know of as being quite accurate.

Robert
December 24, 2011, 08:38 AM
While the M14 and M1A look almost identical it is amazing how much of a difference one little switch makes.
M14- $25,000
M1A- $1,200
I know splitting hairs on the name...

The FAL is a great rifle. I wish I had never sold mine. And if you need a true "battle" rifle it will fill the role well. Great ergonomics, rugged, reliable and just plain fun to shoot. But it will never match the accuracy of a M1A. So it really depends on what you need/ want out of the rifle. I have made repeated hits on steel plates at 425y using iron sights on my FAL, but that was on a torso sized plate.

Beagle-zebub
December 24, 2011, 08:57 AM
Well, the way I mean my question is, "what design features of each of these three rifles limit their accuracy?" For example, in an AKM, receiver flex and contact between the handguard and the barrel.

Robert
December 24, 2011, 09:06 AM
Ohhhhhh. I am not sure why one is more accurate than the other, just that they are.

newfalguy101
December 24, 2011, 09:20 AM
Well, the way I mean my question is, "what design features of each of these three rifles limit their accuracy?" For example, in an AKM, receiver flex and contact between the handguard and the barrel.
One of the limiting factors on the FAL ( which I love by the way ) is the tilting bolt, which tends to lock-up ever so slightly every time it slams shut.

Still, my gun is an honest 2MOA gun with whatever I run through it, and dead nuts reliable.

jpwilly
December 24, 2011, 09:39 AM
All of the designs we born in a time where adoption of the 7.62x51mm NATO and where controlled Full Auto fire was the goal. The development of these rifles followed that of reliability with acceptable accuracy for the infantry. A 2MOA 308 that is dead nuts reliable is in Full Auto requires some compromise i.e. weight. 2MOA is still accurate enough out to 400-500yrds to hit a man. If the goal was utmost accuracy I'm sure the engineers could have obtained it for example a variation of the G3 that is sub MOA the PSG-1 developed in the 80's and the National Match M14 / M1A1. Imagine being in the infantry and having to hump around the PSG-1. No thanks even if it did offer that elusive sub MOA I wouldn't want that issued to me unless I was the DMR or Unit Sniper.

ken grant
December 24, 2011, 09:52 AM
M14/M1A v. FAL

M14/M1A---better sights ( not one on upper and one on lower), more adjustable
" --- better trigger
M14/M1A--- better foward sling mount (if you use a tight sling when shooting)

AK103K
December 24, 2011, 09:54 AM
Ive owned all three FN, HK, and Springfield. Ive also shot a few M14's, both rack grade and match accurized.

Of the three (comparable "issue" rifles), the FAL was the least accurate, the HK and Springfields/M14's were pretty much the same.

The problem with most of these comparisons is, you usually end up with "target rifles" (read that as M1A) being compared to rack grade rifles of another type. The comparisons at least need to be realistic to be accurate.

chieftain
December 24, 2011, 10:43 AM
I cannot speak for the G3, as I only saw them deployed by Third world troops, Guerrilla's and Terrorists. Not properly trained and disciplined troops. Their weapons maintenance were atrocious. :banghead: It seemed that their magazines limited their reliability most of the time from my observations, in the field.

I carried an M14 with selector, in Vietnam 67-68-69 while attached to the 3rd Marine Division. 14 months until finally cornered and ordered to draw an M16.

In the early/mid 70's I was attached to 42 Commando Royal Marines at Malta, and had the option of a FAL or Sterling. Enjoyed playing with both, and chose the Sterling to deploy with.

I felt the rack grade FAL was as accurate as the rack grade M14. The difference was/is that the M14 is more reliable in all types of terrain. The ergos of the FAL are excellent and much better than the M14.

Just my two Drachma.

Merry Christmas to all, and may peace come to all men.

Fred

Sam1911
December 24, 2011, 10:59 AM
All three will be somewhat held back by the "stuff" attached to the barrel. Gas tubes, pistons, handguard retainers, etc. all affect harmonics and can lead to just average accuracy. They can all be tuned to one degree or another and be made to shoot well, but the level of finickiness goes up.

As others said, the FAL's tilting bolt is blamed for making lockup just a bit inconsistent. Some guys going for accuracy with those will not load the mags fully, or only shoot single-load, because the pressure of the rounds in the mag supposedly can affect the bolt.

The G3 has the roller-locking system which can need adjustment. Also, they have the worst triggers, in stock form.

The M14/M1A system may be inherently the most accurate, perhaps, but it also benefits from having had several generations of gunsmiths working to figure out how to make them as accurate as possible, so the system as a whole may have benefited from the commonly available accuracy boosting techniques. I have read that accurizing one is also something of a temporary condition. While I'm not sure of the details, I recall being told that they need fairly regular tuning to stay in top form.

All three should indeed be easily outperformed by the AR-10 direct impingement design, due to no barrel-mounted moving parts. And the AR-10 can much more easily be set up to compete well with precision bolt-action rifles for accuracy (easily free-floated barrel, very flexible optics mounting, easy drop-in precision triggers, etc.) -- far outclassing what either of the three battle rifle choices can accomplish.

Onmilo
December 24, 2011, 01:23 PM
The Belgians made a full power rifle that just about every country in the free world ended up buying.

The Germans made a more powerful version of the Russian AK47

The Americans stuck with a target rifle that could double as a battle rifle.

I don't think I can sum it up any simpler.

Sam1911
December 24, 2011, 01:34 PM
The Germans made a more powerful version of the Russian AK47

The Germans made a more powerful version of the Russian AK47 slightly upgraded version of a German-designed Spanish battle rifle which doesn't have much in common with the AK47.

Onmilo
December 24, 2011, 02:10 PM
Sam, you're not seeing the forest through all the trees.

The design has nothing in common except.
The reliability, ease of use by unskilled conscript soldiers, ease of maintenance, ease of rebuilding, durable long term reusable, truck strong steel magazine assemblies, ease of optic mounting,(at least on the later versions of the AK, always there on the G3),Ability to convert or be converted, to a folding/collapsing stock varient for airborne/mechanized troops.
Yes indeed.
What the G3 did provide OVER the AK/AKM was range.
You could out range a hoard of angry Russian conscripts charging over your borders with one, or keep a bunch of janjawee AK47 armed camel herders at bay and the rifle would work with very little care.

This is why G3 and AK/AKM rifles continue to remain popular in many parts of the third world while M14s and FALs, not so much.

fireside44
December 24, 2011, 02:16 PM
This is why G3 and AK/AKM rifles continue to remain popular in many parts of the third world while M14s and FALs, not so much.

Not sure what you mean. I believe several countries still regularly field the FAL and if I'm not mistaken Imbel still manufactures them in Brazil. Heck, there were even some pictures of guys in Libya with FALs floating around recently if I recall correct.

Onmilo
December 24, 2011, 02:17 PM
I will also say the AR10 modern version have a lot going for them but they aren't part of the OPs original question.
Then again, the Modular FN SCAR 17 may yet again kick the AR battle rifle concept onto the back burner.
Time will tell.

mmitch
December 24, 2011, 02:19 PM
"M-14 - $25,000.00"

I do not believe it is possible to purchase an M-14, as they are, inherently, machine guns proprietary to government-only ownership. Or, has this changed?

Mike

fireside44
December 24, 2011, 02:21 PM
http://files.myopera.com/baiulgen/blog/libya22.jpg

http://files.myopera.com/baiulgen/blog/libya%201.jpg

http://files.myopera.com/baiulgen/blog/libya33.jpg

All look brand new.

helotaxi
December 24, 2011, 02:31 PM
"M-14 - $25,000.00"

I do not believe it is possible to purchase an M-14, as they are, inherently, machine guns proprietary to government-only ownership. Or, has this changed?It was NEVER the case. Machine guns fall under the NFA of 1934 requiring only a tax stamp and extra paperwork for civilian ownership. The NFA was modified in 1986 to prohibit civilian transfer of machine guns manufactured after July of that year. This modification created a cap on the supply and ran the price up. If it were repealed, chances are good that the price would be sub-$6k plus the tax stamp.

Onmilo
December 24, 2011, 02:33 PM
They are brand new.
Fresh out of Libyan and Yemeni reserve stocks.
Old Qadoofy went on a gun buying spree and also had a LOT of stuff given to him by the Russians.
Libya was one of the last major contract buyers of FN made FAL rifles before they stopped producing them as was Yemen.

chieftain
December 24, 2011, 02:48 PM
This is why G3 and AK/AKM rifles continue to remain popular in many parts of the third world while M14s and FALs, not so much.

The M14 was not offered to other nations, until the M16 replaced it. By then, most of those other countries not already committed to either the FAL, or G3 went AK-47.

The funny part of all this is the FAL is not a reliable desert weapon. The British had to modify their FAL's during the Yemen problem nominally 62-67. They had to cut "Sand" slots in the FAL bolt. It didn't cure the problem, but the rifle was, as is said about the US M-4A1 today, "good enough" after modification. Note that the British did not issue the full auto FAL, semi auto only to my knowledge. Possibly some old British trooper can update us.

As I stated earlier, when I was attached to the 42 Commando, their FAL's had not been modified, or at least the one's I fired. I thought that was curious as they were stationed in Malta, and I could easily see a deployment to North Africa or the middle east. Curious. I presume the Brits only modified the rifles in or sent to Yemen at that time.

Merry Christmas, and may peace find all men.

Fred

Sam1911
December 24, 2011, 04:01 PM
Sam, you're not seeing the forest through all the trees.

Onmilo, I don't mean to be contrary, but I just don't see how the G3/CETME design is close enough to be related in any way to the AK, that the FAL or M14 was not.

You listed a bunch of general design characteristics, or principles, that may be applied to any of those guns to some degree or another (except for the folding/collapsable stock possibility which the FAL and M-14 needed further development to achieve).

The design has nothing in common except.
The reliability, ease of use by unskilled conscript soldiers, ease of maintenance, ease of rebuilding, durable long term reusableThis would unquestionably apply to either the FAL, G3, or M14. Neither takes a whole lot of training for a soldier to make work. All are easy to maintain. They all are certainly reliable. Not sure which is the hardest to rebuild, but all can be.

...truck strong steel magazine assembliesYou do know that most G3 mags are aluminum?

, ease of optic mounting,(at least on the later versions of the AK, always there on the G3),The AK platform is the hardest of all to put optics on, and the late addition of the side-rail to the AK platform is a compromise at best. There were optics on versions of the M14 before there were any on an AK.

Ability to convert or be converted, to a folding/collapsing stock varient for airborne/mechanized troops. Yes indeed.
Ok. Got that one. That was really an idea adopted from the AK? All right.

What the G3 did provide OVER the AK/AKM was range.That's a feature of the cartridge. All three choices use the same one, and are effective to about the same range.

This is why G3 and AK/AKM rifles continue to remain popular in many parts of the third world while M14s and FALs, not so much.As others pointed out, the FAL is still pretty popular, and was adopted by many more countries than the G3.

The primary reason the M14 isn't/wasn't is that we only used it as a primary arm ourselves for a very few years, and really never exported very many of them to other forces, the way the CETME, FAL, M16, and AK series have been.

Onmilo
December 24, 2011, 04:30 PM
Some numbers to ponder,
92 countries have issued the FAL rifle in one form or another, very few continue to issue them today having replaced them with AK or M16 variations.

67 countries have issued the G3 rifle.
These rifles continue to be issued and utilized in most of the African and Asiatic nations that acquired them.

While European issuing nations issued aluminum magazines with G3 rifles as a general rule, and a measure of cost cutting, third world nations continued to be issued with steel magazines due to increased reliability and longevity of use the steel magazines provide.

The FAL is quite easy to maintain, the M14 is quite a bit more difficult to master.
Both the M14 and the FAL are harder to rebuild and require more extensive facilities.

As you mentioned, the option of easily attaching secure and repeatable optics is easiest performed on the G3.
Not so easy with the M14, the FAL, or the AK/AKM which required seperate mounting plates, specialized top covers, etc. to gain optics capability.
One simple tightens the product built scope to the G3 rifle with its proprietary and permanently attached mounting system.

While all three of the battle rifles use the 7.62X51, the reasoning remained the same, to outrange opposing forces armed with the lighter 7.62X39

The PRIMARY reason no other country besides the U.S. was issued the M14 in any great numbers is simply that nobody wanted them.
The weapon was issued for too short a time and never really caught on as well as the FAL or G3 with interested parties.
The M14s that were issued to outside countries were inevitably given away as foreign military aid.
H&R and Winchester could produce the weapons for marketable and profitable foreign sales but there were no interested buyers.

Float Pilot
December 24, 2011, 06:31 PM
The M-14 (M1A) inherited the excellent sights from the M-1 Garand. The sight aperture size, front blade size and sight radius and the solid mounting method all make those sights superior for accurate shooting.

The G-3, which is an improved CEMTE (1957), was designed by the German engineer Ludwig Vorgrimler, who based his design on the experimental German StG 45.

The Belgian FN-49 was actually designed before the Germans invaded Belgium, but the design was hidden and some work was carried on in England during the war. Following WWII the rifle was manufactured in numbers and delivered in early 1949.

The FN-FAL which is a spin-off from the FN-49 and a couple other German designs was developed from 1947 up into the early 1950s. have sights which were developed with a different shooting style in mind.

The FN-49, G3, FN-FAL, STG58 and so on, were designed with sights which suited the European and export market mind set at the time when it came to accuracy standards. (Note this would not have been good enough for the Swedish style of military shooting.

The true Fairchild Aircraft / Armalite AR-10 series which took final form in the mid 1950s as it was built to compete with the replacement trails then taking place for the US Army who needed something to replace the M-1 Garand. So Stoner and his crew needed to have sights which would appeal to the US style of military shooting.

Robert101
December 24, 2011, 06:49 PM
I love these Battle Rifle threads regarding accuracy and reliability. I know the OP did not ask about the AR-10 or LR308 Black rifle but I still believe it is the answer to both accuracy and reliability. I see many responses that ponder the M14 or FAL or AK (for that matter). It seems the vast majority of the countries I see depicted with battle rifles are fighting wars and conflicts from Toyota pick-up trucks. As my kids would say....."I'm just saying". Considering the LR308 is a vote for interchangability, accuracy, and yea proved dependability for a battle rifle. They have been used just not in the numbers of the Garand et all.

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