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Battle rifle accuracy question

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Beagle-zebub, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
  2. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    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.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
  3. Beak50

    Beak50 Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    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.
  5. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    Ohhhhhh. I am not sure why one is more accurate than the other, just that they are.
  7. newfalguy101

    newfalguy101 Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. jpwilly

    jpwilly Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
  9. ken grant

    ken grant Well-Known Member

    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)
  10. AK103K

    AK103K Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. chieftain

    chieftain Well-Known Member

    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.

  12. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    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.
  13. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. fireside44

    fireside44 Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. mmitch

    mmitch Well-Known Member

    "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?

  19. fireside44

    fireside44 Well-Known Member




    All look brand new.
  20. helotaxi

    helotaxi Well-Known Member

    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.

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