308 rifle contest


December 25, 2011, 01:21 PM
Dear Folks. Thank you for helping me out deciding with XCR or 3 AKs...
Now I need your help once again. I am looking at 308 rifle. What I need is: Chrome lined bore, reliability and accuracy. Ergonomics and aesthetics are not an issue. I already have Saiga 308 but would like something more: upper class.
1. VEPR 308. Yet another AK. I am very much familiar with them and feel comfortable with them. Not sure how much accuracy difference will be between VEPR 308 and SAIGA 308 v 21 that I already have. There are NO spare parts for them.
2. FNAR. Costs as much as Vepr 308. Mags cost a bit more then 20 rounders for Vepr 308. Not sure how tough reliable it is, is it FAL/G3 reliable? Has no iron sights through:-(. How much advantage or disadvantage would it give compared to VEPR 308 besides availability of spare parts?
3. Kel tec RFB. Bullpup (love bullpups, have M17S and STG556. However, it has rather weird extraction system. Not sure how reliable it is. Has no iron sights though:-( . Had Very GOOD experience with Kel Tec SU16A. However there is a difference between customer service of COMPANY and reliability of a RIFLE.
4. M14s. Springfield M1A has no chrome lined barrel. Fulton armory is overpriced. Chinese Polytechs are a crap shoot.
5. FAL. Enterprise Arms and DSA fals have no chrome lined barrels.
6. G3: PTR91 and C91 has no chrome lined barrels.

Few things:
The Ammo I shoot is either cheap surplus, or Russian steel cased. In all cases I use FMJ or Steel Core only.

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December 25, 2011, 02:24 PM
FALs will run with steel cased ammo due to it's tuneable gas system. Saigas will run on steel 'til "kingdom come". I serious doubt M1As or G3s will.

Can't advise you on the VEPR, FNAR, RFB.


December 25, 2011, 02:46 PM
Chrome lined, reliable, and accurate, and the higher end M-14s are over your budget...

I'd say look for an older M-14 type built with a GI barrel. Springfields made before the early 2000s had them. Armscorp's had them, Fed Ord ones had them too. They are usually about the same or a little less than a new M1A at gun shows.

Another option would be to buy a new M1A and just buy a new Criterion barrel for it and have it installed.

Still another idea is to buy an M-14 parts kit from the CMP. 7.62mm Firearms has a deal where they assemble your parts kit on one of their receivers and bolts.

You might also consider an Armalite AR-10. They have a better reputation for reliability than some of the lower-end .308 ARs. You can get one for about the same price as a new M1A... $13-1500.

You might also look for a FAL built with a GI chrome lined barrel. There are plenty out there. The Imbel ones DSA sells come with them for one.

December 25, 2011, 09:23 PM
The chromed bore on my Norinco M14S shoots pretty well with NATO surplus 147gr. ammo. I got it used for around $300 from someone who had been scared by internet rumors that the receivers and bolts were "cookie dough soft", and would require a $500 reheat treatment and the replacement of the bolt with a $200 USGI part. Completely untrue, but thanks Clint McKee, Fulton Armory, Smith Enterprises, and Boston T. Party for allowing me to get a nice rifle at a real bargain basement price. I put it in a used USGI synthetic stock, added a used USGI flashhider w. bayonet lug, a used Basset scope mount, and a new Nikon 3x9 BDC scope, along with a few Checkmate 20 round magazines, and I've still got less than $900 invested in it. It's my least expensive M14, the top one in this picture. The other two are builds with CMP M14 parts kits, the middle one with a Fulton Armory barreled receiver with a commercial bolt and Criterion non-chrome barrel on a SA parts kit ( around $1300 all together), the bottom one on a 7.62mm Firearms forged receiver with a Winchester GI bolt, Winchester parts kit, and Krieger 18.5" barrel (around $1500 for everything). Regarding ammo, the cheap Wolf and Tula steel case functions okay, for cheap plinking ammo, but the German MEN or DAG NATO surplus is noticeably more accurate, in all of them.

December 26, 2011, 02:51 PM
FNAR is a Browning BAR with some tactical window dressing. BAR can be purchased for hundreds less. Out of all the posts here I almost never read about a shot out non chrome lined barrel. I was a little upset to learn that the last rifle I purchased had a chrome lined barrel.

December 26, 2011, 03:08 PM
I can advise on the vepr. I built a barreled action into a rifle containing Ace, and Robinson Arms parts. It was a 308. Accuracy was close to equal with the Saiga 16: 308. Very close. I was getting 1.75 MOA with good brass ammo. The only real issue is magazine cost, and availability, and mounting a scope. You have to find a quality scope mount, and this rifle also shot a Leupold scope apart.
I would day the M1a is superior in several ways even without the chrome lined barrel, but I would be happy with either.

December 26, 2011, 03:14 PM
m-14 is great but finicky.check out armalite ar-10 w/chrome lined free floated bbl giselle 2 stage trigger.

December 27, 2011, 12:12 PM
My FAL has an Argentine closed ear chrome lined barrel.



I built it on the best parts available for about $700 in 2002 dollars. The 10 mags I bought were $6/ea and I stocked up on battlepacks of 7.62 NATO for ~$25-30.

It's shot old ratty ammo from all over the world, and I've never needed to adjust the gas regulator from the time I originally assembled it.

I don't know whether chrome lined barrels are that big a deal. I suspect the Vietnam War era M-16A1 I carry on patrol isn't chrome lined. It's gone years without cleaning and the bore is still nice.

December 27, 2011, 12:21 PM
I think he said he wanted a .308 not a 7.62x51............

December 27, 2011, 12:45 PM
However he did mention the FAL in his original post.

I hope to get a DSA STG58C18 sometime soon, looks like the best of both worlds, thousands cheaper on Gunbroker, but we'll what happens when I get the money in. Please let us know which you chose!

December 27, 2011, 12:51 PM
I think he said he wanted a .308 not a 7.62x51............

Fortunately, you can headspace a FAL to operate with .308 and 7.62 NATO. It's been a decade since I built mine, but I recall that the two cartridges nearly identically overlap. I filed my locking shoulder (the little shiny peanut shaped pin) to accept the mean dimension of .308 and 7.62 NATO. Go & no-go gauges for both indicated it should work. Perhaps my FAL is a smidgen loose on the shortest tolerable .308 and could be a shade tight on the longest 7.62 NATO, but it always seems to feed and fire perfectly. I've shot plenty of .308 and 7.62 NATO out of my FAL.

Let's see, a handful of different American made commercial .308 companies, South African, Portugese, Indian, English, Australian, etc 7.62 milsurp.... it all works.

conversely, when I shoot 7.62 NATO in my Savage bolt .308:


Sometimes the Savage's bolt won't want to close on the milsurp 7.62 NATO, maybe 1 in 5-6 rounds. So I toss those rounds in a pile, and the FAL eats them eagerly. Since the cartridges refused by the Savage would represent the "largest" of the 7.62 NATO range, and my FAL still eats them fine, then I'm not too concerned. So in my limited experience, some commerical .308s don't like 7.62 NATO ammo, but my particular 7.62 NATO rifle happily digests commercial .308. I built it myself and it works exactly how I intended.

The FAL also really likes factory hunting .308 ammo. Compared to the nasty corroded split case-neck Indian ammo it digests, commercial .308 is a real treat.

There are plenty of chrome lined FALs floating around on the used market, and the FAL was one of the rifles the original poster indicated interest in. The fact that chrome lined FALs are available was slightly overlooked.

December 27, 2011, 01:03 PM
IIRC, DSA STG58's are marked as being chambered for .308. In either case, I've shot lots of both through rifles chambered for either and not had problems. Even the bolt actions I've owned have functioned fine with milsurp Portugese, South African, Radway Green, and Lake City ammo.

December 27, 2011, 02:31 PM
The Vepr is a fair amount more solid then the saiga, how that translates out in real world accuracy can vary.

Parts like the firing pin and extractor could be an issue, I'd imagine both could be crafted from AK-74 parts if need be.
The firing pin is about .045 longer then an AK-74 and is spring loaded for safety with commercial ammo.
The extractor is smaller on the .308 as the case diameter is larger. Again if someone took the time they could likely craft a replacement from available parts.
The bolts don't have spares, but I can't think of an event that would break the bolt and not mangle the rest of the gun.

I can attest to the saiga and vepr both being able to run through crap ammo with no problem. We run a lot of ammo when testing mag alterations, always the cheapest crap we can find. Only problem I can say I've had, was I had a hammer spring break two coils which generated two 'duds' a mag. And when the lacquer ammo coating condensates in the gas tube it drips on the barrel and smells terrible.

December 27, 2011, 08:18 PM
Chrome lining is over rated. Clean it every now and again, maybe more if you shoot corrosive ammo and you will be fine. Most people will never fire enough rounds through their rifle to burn up a normal barrel let alone a chrome lined one. So unless you are planning to shoot 10,000 rounds a year I'd not worry about it. So I'd still get a FAL.

December 29, 2011, 02:20 AM
You will not be disappointed with the FNAR. Eats anything. .308 Win and 7.62 x 51 mm NATO, doesn't matter. Gas adjustment screw in case you get into low-recoil youth loads or hot hand loads. I use a ton of DAG & equiv.1970s/1980s German mil surp ammo - utterly no problems (have not checked out Pakistani, etc. third-world mfr yet, but expect no problem).

I (and others) could go on and on about the merits of this rifle. There is a forum (free) for working out the initial (2008) kinks: http://www.fnforum.net/fnar-f99.html. But there basically were no kinks. Excellent FNH-USA service personnel and parts supply, in the USA at least.

I will hit the "replay button" for so many FNAR owners:
I am so tired of reading something like "FNAR is a Browning BAR with some tactical window dressing. BAR can be purchased for hundreds less" or words to the effect that this is a hunting rifle action, blah, blah, blah. Yes, and so what? The BAR semi-auto action is one of the longest proven (40-50 years?), most reliable semi-auto actions the world has ever known. Why not base a commercial/LE designated marksman rifle on it? And, an engineering team has completely reworked this action to the most modern standards, adapted for modern manufacturing methods. At every turn, we think the engineering trade-offs are judicious and well thought out. These rifles are made on the most modern numerically controlled equipment in new factories/lines. The barrels are a work of industrial art. Every single FNAR is a "shooter" - or you send it back. And a pleasure to shoot, too. OK, so we're nearly 4 years in now - IT'S SAFE TO BUY ONE! [And the FNAR is hundreds less than .308 ARs and FALs, adapted to be as good, maybe. If you want to pay a few hundred less, buy basically the same action/light barrel in the form of the Winchester SX-AR: http://media.winchesterguns.com/pdf/om/09-056-sxar.pdf.]

December 29, 2011, 05:01 AM
LRB arms M14; they will build to your spec with chrome lined barrels if you wish.

December 29, 2011, 05:18 AM
Man...I totally thought there was a contest where I could win a .308 rifle...

December 29, 2011, 05:30 AM
In my experience, I have shot steel cased .308 out of my M1A, CETME, FAL, Kel Tec RFB, and various bolt-action rifles with no ill effects. I only keep guns that do not have picky appetites, and all of these passed the test. I am in the process of building a DPMS .308 AR, so I'll let you know how that goes with steelies, too.

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