Battle Rifles (SOCOM, HK91, M14)


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PaulKersey3
May 4, 2012, 07:03 AM
I will be investing in a 7.62X51/.308 battle rifle soon. It will either be a socom, An HK91, or an M1A/M14. I'd like to hear some input on these particular three as these are what I've narrowed it down to.

I left out FN as I'm not too partial to their looks. I really like the socom 's look and it's currently at the top of the list. I do find the other two appealing as well, and so I'm stuck at the moment deciding which to get. Leaning socom for the accessories as well, but the HK91 has that Euro art to it like a glock. Also some of the M1As and M14s I've been feeling up have that retro "run through the jungle" look that I like.

Which would you go for?

"Be prepared Jack, it's the boy scout marching song!"

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The-Reaver
May 4, 2012, 07:21 AM
Owned all three.

I would probably go with a nice Para FN-FAL 1st.

Socom 16 second

M1A/M14 third

And HK91 last.

Loosedhorse
May 4, 2012, 07:24 AM
I left out FN as I'm not too partial to their looksI think you're missing out if you're excluding the FAL. But it's your choice.

I own an HK91, and I really like it. However, while they were always expensive, the import ban put their prices beyond reasonable. Their roller-delayed action is extremely hardly and dependable--and very hard on brass. It is a heavy rifle.

If I was starting from scratch, and I couldn't go with an FAL, then sure, a short M1A (SOCOM).

beatledog7
May 4, 2012, 07:31 AM
What are you going to battle? Seriously, what you plan to use it for does make a difference.

boricua9mm
May 4, 2012, 08:08 AM
I would forget about the SOCOM. It's a nice up close and personal rifle, but you get huge sights that are practically worthless beyond 100 yards and the traditional stock format would need to be changed to update it with more modern ergonomics (VLTOR stock, SAGE, E2/LAW483, etc). Of course, if you want to imagine Vietnam with your M1A, then a stock upgrade wouldn't be one of your concerns. Also, be aware that if you want to keep its light recoiling, smooth running characteristics then you will be married to the obnoxious muzzle brake that comes on the rifle.

The M14/M1A is probably my favorite 7.62 NATO rifle for medium range, but it costs a lot of money to update to the more modern translation of a Battle Rifle. The full-size 22" barrel makes it a bit unwieldy for something to carry around all day, not to mention the weight; if you add a proper scope mount and magnified optics you are looking at ~12 lbs. minimum.

For my interpretation of Battle Rifle, a German HK91 would be my choice. If you're patient you should be able to find one in good condition for ~$1800. The ergonomics of the safety lever and magazine catch aren't as good as an AR15, but they are workable. In my experience with them, they tend to recoil a bit more than M1As, but the amount of recoil seems to be a function of the stock buffer type and the bolt gap (timing of the unlocking). German parts are expensive, but then again the first two letters of the rifle's name already told you that. ;)

FAL would also be a great choice, but if you don't like the look and can't get past it, then it's a non-starter.

JustinJ
May 4, 2012, 08:26 AM
If one is going to exclude a rifle because of looks i'm thinking just pick the one you think looks the best.

GI_Jared
May 4, 2012, 09:10 AM
Good luck finding a real HK 91, they have been banned from importation since 1989 because they are a non-sporting rifle. Instead you will want to check out the PTR-91 which is and excellent American made version of that design and they sell them for $993 on Bud's.
http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/images/915110G%20no%20upc.JPG

boricua9mm
May 4, 2012, 09:34 AM
Over 48,000 HK91s were imported into this country. They're really not that hard to come by, but if you want a good deal on one you will need to be patient. Since everyone likes to freak out around Presidential elections, now may not be the best time to score a good deal.

Lots of German 91s regularly come up for sale here (http://www.hkpro.com/forum/hk-long-guns-sale/). Then there's gunbroker, local sellers, etc.

Scurrin
May 4, 2012, 10:15 AM
Just got to handle an FN FNAR not sure if that is one you have concidered, it is pretty nice compared to my century arms G3. That said I've always wanted to pick up a FAL.

As far as the M1A, since you are concidering looks what would you be after? I've been looking into JAE stocks: http://www.jallenenterprises.com/index.html But if you are into wood then that probably won't help you.

dprice3844444
May 4, 2012, 10:28 AM
check out the ptr91,comes in various barrel lengths,match etc,.american made rifle on hk tooling.send trigger assembly off to williams trigger specialties for the set trigger set up.not much you can do to screw it up.order it with the orig collapsible hk stock.fixed oem stock cheaper as surplus than the collapsible is.2 pin pop out and change them.
dsa fn para is nice,compact rifle.try to get match grade barrel.order with at least 16-18 barrel with removable flashider,that way suppressor options are available.
m1a,unless your very familiar with finding a manufacturer to set it up properly,can be a financial nightmare.best of both worlds on them is the 18.5 inch bbl setup.try to stick with something that offers chrome lined barrels.use only original military mag.

check out the ar-10 variations,they can be made to order with all the bells and whistles.begin your choice by starting with what mags they use,availability,and price.1 mfg uses fn-fal mags.newest one to take a good look at is the new colt sp901 in 308.adaptible to 223 also.best of both worlds.

Robert
May 4, 2012, 10:57 AM
On your list, M1A. If it were me FAL.

ol' scratch
May 4, 2012, 11:05 AM
I owned a PTR-91 (HK-91 clone) and I hated it. Higher felt recoil, DESTROYED brass. The flutes also become dirty and need to be cleaned more often. I bought an FAL, but I know you don't like the looks. I will say that the FAL is a great rifle if you reload. The grenade shut out even allows the rifle to be a straight pull bolt action. The adjustable gas system lets you tune the rifle for different loads.

Also, the SOCOM is downright miserable to shoot and be around. Muzzle flash and blast are higher, recoil also seems to be higher. I didn't care for the one I shot.

I have considered a standard M1A, but came to the conclusion the FAL fit the bill better due to POSSIBLE gas system problems with the M1A. What I mean by that is that it is more prone to a bent op rod if shooting heavier bullets or slow burning powder...Just like the M1 Garand. If I were going to tune one for match use I would go with...AR10. A national match AR 10 will out shoot a national match M1A and doesn't need the upkeep of bedding in the stock like an M1A.

GCBurner
May 4, 2012, 11:25 AM
I'm not planning on going into battle with my "battle rifle", but I really like my M1A/M14 with the USGI fiberglass stock. It's proven to be very accurate and reliable, and the glass stock stays bedded and holds its zero better than the wood stocks, I think. If I were shooting match competition with a 7.62mm, I'd probably lean toward the AR10 types. The AR and M14 are a lot easier on brass than the fluted chamber of the HK delayed blowback actions, if handloading is a consideration. The FAL rifles are okay, but I prefer the feel and handling of the M14/M1A in its traditional configuration, as a personal preference.

Driftertank
May 4, 2012, 11:48 AM
"...Aaand the PTR fanboy pipes up..."

(Me, that is)

I've had my PTR-91F for 2 years now, and like it a lot. The 91F is the 18" heavy barrel model, mine has the picky Thompson Center barrel and doesn't feed tar-sealed surplus. Deal breaker for some, i got over it when i realised it's perfectly happy with cheap steelcased, which is even cheaper and more readily available where i live. I'll trade cheap surplus for the consistent accuracy and resistance to stringing i get from my barrel.

Fixed the brass munching and felt recoil with an ejection port buffer and PSG-1 recoil buffer, respectively. Added a trigger pack from Bill Springfield.

Fit and finish on mine is at least as good as any HK i've seen. Bought new for $1200. If you want a cheaper one that WILL feed tar-sealed surplus and has a lighter, military-profile barrel, get the PTR-91GI model. It comes parkerized, without the nice black powdercoat of the other models though. But it's basically a spec HK91 without the branding for about $900.

Driftertank
May 4, 2012, 12:02 PM
Oh, and all the PTR's are built to spec as far as receivers and internal parts go, so mags, bolts, rollers, etc. can all be swapped out for commercial or milsurp parts from G3, PSG-1, MSG-90, HK91, and some parts from 21E (I have a 21E cocking lever). Also, try to shoot an HK91 or a PTR before buying one. They're both accurate and reliable, but ergonomically odd and don't have a last-round hold-open. Add in the odd recoil impulse (as-delivered) and many people find themselves put off after shooting one.

As a last aside, i agree that you are hamstringing yourself if you aren't at least CONSIDERING the FAL.

And the M1A is a great platform, but i'd personally look into an M1A Scout before a SOCOM.

AK103K
May 4, 2012, 12:39 PM
Ive owned all three and for just one, all around gun, I would take the 91. Its as accurate as a standard to match grade M1A, and just offers more options.

Ive always thought the G3's/91's had the best "combat" iron sights going. They cover things from CQB out to realistic longer range shooting, and do so with a simple twist of the sight barrel.

With an ARMS flat top type claw mount, you can mount a variety of optics, and the mount is readily removed and replaced and is zero repeatable.

HK came up with the first realistic combat sling system, and its still as functional today as it was when it first showed up.

Like the AK's, most of the complaints you hear about them go away with familiarization and use. If you live with one for a little while, you quickly adapt to them. They do lack a bolt hold open on the last round, and the charging handles are in a strange place, but neither are a handicap once youre familiar with them. Even without the "correct" G3 paddle mag release, its still very easy to make quick mag swaps with the civilian models.

As far as the brass issues for reloaders, with a port buffer installed, the brass isnt destroyed and is readily reloadable. The HK's are harder on brass overall though, and I usually got about 6 reloads to a lot of brass, compare to around 10 with the M1A's.

If you want a "target" rife, the M1A is the better choice.

The SOCOM is definitely a sales gimmick on Springfields part. About all you gain from them, is a slightly shorter gun. About everything they did, appears to be a bolt on afterthought with no other innovation. They still weigh about the same as a full size gun, and pretty much everything else is a loss. I didnt find mine unpleasant to shoot, but others around me when I was shooting were not real happy. Short barrel .308's tend to have a lot of muzzle blast, and in some cases, fame. I never noticed to much flame, but if you were on the side of it when it went off, you knew it right away.

Shoobee
May 4, 2012, 12:45 PM
http://www.google.com/imgres?q=ptr-91&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=911&bih=416&tbm=isch&tbnid=A39Xb4FMjV1ZAM:&imgrefurl=http://www.ugimports.com/shop/ptr-91-inc-m-7.html&docid=PU_OQPzWWV9XhM&imgurl=http://www.ugimports.com/shop/images/products/ptr91f.jpg&w=598&h=240&ei=YwikT9PMH8OxiQK1_9yGBA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=516&vpy=79&dur=1817&hovh=142&hovw=355&tx=175&ty=92&sig=117632427854291320645&page=2&tbnh=60&tbnw=149&start=10&ndsp=14&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:10,i:117

The PTR-91 looks really good.

Note that they have done away with the high triangular front sight blade of the German sturmgewehr, the AKs, and the ARs.

That gives you a better sight picture for close shooting, such as on small game, or even CQB.

And you can actually hunt deer with this one, since it is like a .308.

Its a very good all around survival rifle and sturmgewehr.

ElToro
May 5, 2012, 12:56 AM
your talking 16, 18 and 22 inch barrel rifles. pistol grip or no pistol grip.

im in california and cant have pistol grip rifles without a big friggame bullet button so i have M1As. i have all 3 versions (including 2 scouts). i think its the best balance of all 3. with an 18 inch barrel your not really sacrificing much. the HK has a 18 inch barrel.

with the M1 you can still go pistol grip if you spend a lot on a vltor stock. but theres nothing wrong with traditional rifle style.

check out 18 inch the bush/scout rifle before you make your final decision

Quiet
May 5, 2012, 07:21 AM
Out of the three choices, I'd say the M14/M1A.
I agree with ElToro in that you should check out the M-1A Scout before making a final decision.

Redlg155
May 5, 2012, 06:07 PM
Another vote for the scout. I wasn't 100 percent satisfied with the last 2 M1as that I owned and after much research, went with the Scout. I consider it a perfect balance between having the manueverability of a short barrel and the accuracy and velocity of a longer barreled rifle

C'Thulhu
May 5, 2012, 08:27 PM
The PTR/HK 91 would be my vote, but if money was no option.....

Well, let's just say this would change my mind.

Jason_G
May 6, 2012, 10:50 AM
M1A, but not a SOCOM.

The SOCOMs have a proprietary gas system (which might mean less interchangeablilty with USGI or aftermarket parts, but I've never disassembled a SOCOM's gas system to be sure. Check on this.), big sights that will be kind of coarse outside CQB distances, and the cheese grater front end screws up the balance IMHO.

A Standard, Loaded, or Scout would be the way to go IMO.


Jason

fireside44
May 6, 2012, 11:15 AM
I think you are missing out if you don't give a FAL a good look before choosing. FAL is the most popular battle rifle ever, I would say it's for a reason.To me it sounds like the OP is choosing based off looks, which is okay cause it's your money, but still a rather poor method to choosing a weapon.

1KPerDay
May 6, 2012, 11:46 AM
How 'bout a SCAR-17s?

Welding Rod
May 6, 2012, 12:40 PM
I would take a M14 clone first - not necessarly a M1A, but if a M1A I would go with a Loaded to get its trigger and barrel.

Second would be a Socom 16. I would plan on mounting an Aimpoint T-1 on it as the irons are pretty bad for medium to longer ranges, and the weight of other optics, like say a scout scope, really foul up the balance of the gun.

Last would be a HK 91. I had considered them back in the mid 80s when they were readily available but the ergonomics were just horrible I thought. Particularly the length of the stock. I am slightly shorter than average and have a lot of muscle in my shoulder pocket, and the length of pull seemed like it was made for someone about 6' or taller. It just felt wrong to shoulder. I have also heard the stories of brass damage by the 91.

AK103K
May 6, 2012, 01:21 PM
I would plan on mounting an Aimpoint T-1 on it as the irons are pretty bad for medium to longer ranges, and the weight of other optics, like say a scout scope, really foul up the balance of the gun.
The irons on the SOCOM, by their size, are really meant for short range shooting, and they work fine for that. If you want something for longer distance, you can replace them with a standard set for the Bush/Scout length rifles.

Something else to consider with the shorter guns and the irons is the number of ''clicks" for zero. My standard M1A's were around 8-10 clicks for a 100 yard zero. My Bush model was 14 clicks, and my SOCOM was 22.

I had both an Aimpoint ML2 and a Burris Scout scope on my SOCOM at some point. Neither really messed with the balance, and both worked, once I got mounts that would work with Springfields rail (its not mil spec). Of the three choices of sights, I prefer the red dot the most. Personally, Id dump the factory rail for something like an Ultimak. Anything that allows you to get the sight down lower is best. The factory mount sits somewhat high, making a good cheek weld difficult. Its also made of steel, which get hot very fast, and stays hot a long time. The Ultimak being aluminium, sheds heat quickly, and is usually only warm to the touch, even after a lot of shooting. You dont want your hand near the factory rail after a couple of quick mags.

Last would be a HK 91. I had considered them back in the mid 80s when they were readily available but the ergonomics were just horrible I thought. Particularly the length of the stock.
The LOP on a "standard" 91 is the same as most combat rifles, right around 13". They did make different interchangeable butt plates for them that would allow you to change the LOP, and I have seen a number that had them in place. Like the AK (which also has a 13" LOP), many seem to think the combat stocked rifles are ''short", which they are not. If you use the rifles anywhere but a bench, you know why. It sounds like you may have handled one that had the extension in place.

FIVETWOSEVEN
May 6, 2012, 01:54 PM
Like the AK's, most of the complaints you hear about them go away with familiarization and use. If you live with one for a little while, you quickly adapt to them. They do lack a bolt hold open on the last round, and the charging handles are in a strange place, but neither are a handicap once youre familiar with them. Even without the "correct" G3 paddle mag release, its still very easy to make quick mag swaps with the civilian models.

My only complaint about the AK is that it's slower to reload than an AR 15 but hey! It's just the nature of the beast. ;)

AK103K
May 6, 2012, 02:05 PM
With a little practice, they really arent all that far apart. But from a pure "time" standpoint, I think youre right for most people. I dont think the difference is really worth worrying about in real world use though.

If you want, you can dump an AK mag one handed, with your hand on the grip and using the middle finger of that hand to release it. They will drop free on their own, or you can knock them out with the reload as some do. I have seen some reload AK's faster than many AR users can. But with any of them, its the amount of practice you put in with them that makes the difference. Its that practice that tends to make the "problems" of the unfamiliar go away.

Welding Rod
May 6, 2012, 02:11 PM
It sounds like you may have handled one that had the extension in place.

Quite possible. That was more than 25 years ago, I can't remember. I just remember my hands were way out from my torso. I don't remember the HK93 being any better in that regard. Anyhow due to this, at the time I bought a Colt AR15A2 Carbine instead.

dprice3844444
May 6, 2012, 02:17 PM
you might also want to give the colt sp901 a good look at.it's in 308,but 223 upper adaptable in car configuration.and if your an old fart like me,probably lighter to carry than the other rifles listed.

AK103K
May 6, 2012, 02:22 PM
Anyhow due to this, at the time I bought a Colt AR15A2 Carbine instead.
I suppose a lot of it could be perception too. The A2 M16's/AR's are actually 5/8" longer than the A1's or original M16's, which have the same LOP as the HK's, AK's, and other combat stocked guns. Its why my full stocked AR's have A1 stocks on them. You wouldnt think 5/8" would make that much of a difference, but when youre used to the shorter stocks, the A2 stocks are just long enough to not shoulder properly (or at least awkwardly), especially when done quickly.

valnar
May 6, 2012, 02:47 PM
There are a lot of variations on a theme if you don't want to go with the big boys. I myself would buy a PWS MK216 (http://primaryweapons.com/store/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=25) over any of those, and plan to once I get the funds.

Justin
May 6, 2012, 02:53 PM
It's not on your list, but my personal choice would be to go with an AR-10 pattern rifle from either LaRue or JP.

The AR-pattern rifles will tend to be much more modular and therefore easier to modify than the others, with a much wider array of after-market parts.

Also, they have a potential to be more accurate than the FAL and possibly M1A, depending on how you set them up.

Stevie-Ray
May 6, 2012, 10:24 PM
I would probably go with a nice Para FN-FAL 1st.

Socom 16 second

M1A/M14 third

And HK91 last.This, but an AR-10 between the FAL and the SOCOM.

lionking
May 6, 2012, 11:38 PM
The H&K91 or PTR egronomics are ok to me, my main peeve is the location and style of the charging handle which takes practice, that and the rear sight lack of better adjustments. But it, mine anyway which I happened to take out today , I trust it to fire with just about any ammo without adjustments which I can't say the same about the FAL, my DSA FAL anyway. I trust my DSA as long as I stay with certain ammo.

I prefer the FAL or M1A though.

M1A would my first pick because it shoots and feels good, is reliable with most ammo commercial or surplus, and its easy to use with very good sights.

fireside44
May 6, 2012, 11:56 PM
I trust it to fire with just about any ammo without adjustments which I can't say the same about the FAL, my DSA FAL anyway. I trust my DSA as long as I stay with certain ammo.

Who goes into a critical situation with untested gear or ammo though?

wlewisiii
May 7, 2012, 12:04 AM
FAL. Why settle for anything less?

lionking
May 7, 2012, 12:17 AM
quote fireside: "Who goes into a critical situation with untested gear or ammo though?"

Probably not many. But what if your next availability of ammo to resupply is untested ammo. I can shoot just about any types of ammo commercial or surplus in the H&K or M1A without changing anything and they will function fine.

My DSA FAL though, and I can't account for other FAL'S or other DSA rifles, will shoot flawlessly with certain ammo but jam the bolt with others, specifically South African surplus but it may with others also that I haven't tried. I know some say "adjust the gas port" but that seems a finicky design in that case.

I love my FAL but just sayin'. But besides anyway, the chances any of us civilians will ever go into "battle" is low.....hopefully. :cool:

animator
May 7, 2012, 12:38 AM
Good luck finding a real HK 91, they have been banned from importation since 1989 because they are a non-sporting rifle. Instead you will want to check out the PTR-91 which is and excellent American made version of that design and they sell them for $993 on Bud's.




Had my choice of 3 the last time I was at my local Cabella's. They were HK, and they were made in Germany. PTR does make some nice rifles, though.


Ran into another HK at a local gun show recently, so they're not impossible to find. However they a bit on the expensive side...

Cosmoline
May 7, 2012, 01:41 AM
18" is absolutely as short as I would go with .308/7.62. In fact after shooting the Scout a bit I'm thinking about sticking on a full length barrel and turning it back into a regular M1A. I really don't understand what the point of the "socom" was supposed to be.

4v50 Gary
May 7, 2012, 01:46 AM
AR-10. Better balance than the HK and you can fix it yourself.

PaulKersey3
May 7, 2012, 05:50 AM
Okay, lots of good input here. First off, my omitting FN was based on the looks of their "new" stuff. My opinion of the FAL is that they can be fine rifles indeed. I'm not getting one because I've got a fellow shooter that has one, and also because I've decided to go American for my battle rifle. I just passed up a Phillipine made M14 for that exact reason. After much debate and reading comments on here, I'm going to go with the Scout. That is actually the one I got my hands on while shopping and mistakenly thought was the SOCOM. I agree that 16" is a mite short for .308 and 18" seems about right.
The scout seems the right choice also because it's a good balance of the old and proven, and the new and improved. The HK is really nice and I also like the stock as I am quite tall. I'm thinking I'll fill the HK niche further down the road with something cool like a USP or an SP89. The Scout M1A will be a great addition, just need to figure out the accessories and finish now. If anyone has pics of that or a similar M1A model I'd love to see. Also would like to hear thoughts on optics. Thanks again for the input guys!

vaupet
May 7, 2012, 07:11 AM
Not american but FN: if you like the wood/classic rifle look, you can also consider the SAFN (also known as FN49) in 30-06. With the right ammo, they are the most accurate autoloader of that era. They are build for quality thus very expensive to make.

HavelockLEO
May 7, 2012, 07:33 AM
I've owned all but the SOCOM and didnt keep the HK. I honestly dont know which one I'd take over the other, in a pinch I'd decide, but without stress itd be a hard decision

fireside44
May 7, 2012, 07:13 PM
My DSA FAL though, and I can't account for other FAL'S or other DSA rifles, will shoot flawlessly with certain ammo but jam the bolt with others, specifically South African surplus but it may with others also that I haven't tried. I know some say "adjust the gas port" but that seems a finicky design in that case.


The wide variety of gas adjustment was so that someone interested in being able to successfully use the widest range of ammo could do so with the most optimum performance possible, it has nothing to do with "finicky". You simply haven't learned the ins and outs of your weapon.

Stevie-Ray
May 8, 2012, 06:59 PM
The wide variety of gas adjustment was so that someone interested in being able to successfully use the widest range of ammo could do so with the most optimum performance possible, it has nothing to do with "finicky". You simply haven't learned the ins and outs of your weapon. LOL. I once talked to a guy that wasn't thrilled with his FAL, due to it's recoil. "Recoil?" I was quite surprised since mine recoils like a .22, and said, "Let me guess, it also ejects your brass into next week." He said, "Yeah, no kidding!":D

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