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Common "Battle Rifle" Longevity/Dependability?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Pony Express, Nov 10, 2009.

?

Which lasts longest?

  1. AR-15 (Rifle length)

    17 vote(s)
    14.0%
  2. M1A

    46 vote(s)
    38.0%
  3. FN-FAL

    48 vote(s)
    39.7%
  4. Mini-14

    10 vote(s)
    8.3%
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  1. Pony Express

    Pony Express Member

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    Hello everybody,
    A couple of buddies of mine have a debate going on about the longevity and dependability of certain "battle rifles". I am a neutral party in this argument but I am seeking out some advice from you alls. I wont include the AK in the poll because thats not even a part of the debate and we reckon that it will outlast any of the other rifles, but in your opinion, what is the rifle that can fire the most rounds in between mechanical failures (permanent damage, not just jams)?

    Thanks, and play nice.

    Edit: Folks, this is not a list of the best battle/assault rifles ever devised, just the few that my buddies are arguing about
    And yes, I left the AK off because I reckon it would win with a landslide.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2009
  2. Frankl03

    Frankl03 Member

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    I would have left off the mini 14 and added a Cetme/G3/Hk 91 type rifle. I just don't consider the mini14 to be a battle rifle.

    Just my .02
     
  3. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Keep in mind, regardless of longevity, an AR is the easiest to rebuild as needed.
     
  4. knights_armorer

    knights_armorer Member

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    i like the ar, but the m1a and the fal are also very good (especially the m1a)

    (the mini is not a battle rifle and really doesnt belong in that group.)
     
  5. Pony Express

    Pony Express Member

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    Thanks fellas,
    Yeah, I keep trying to tell my buddies that the Mini shouldnt count but they keep insisting that its "good enough". its past the point of me caring enough to try to change their minds on that subject.
     
  6. kanook

    kanook Member

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    Just because our military isn't carrying the mini14 doesn't mean that it hasn't been used as a battle rifle.
     
  7. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    Where, and by whom?

    The mini is very reliable as long as it is kept relatively cool and lubricated. If the lubrication dries out, particularly with the stainless models, you can get galling and seizing very quickly.

    The only failures I ever had with my 188-series Ranch Rifle were related to cheap magazines (and a couple of bad reloads a friend accidentally gave me), and it worked flawlessly with good magazines, BUT I was careful to keep it fairly cool and well lubricated, and even then I had some galling on the bolt after a couple of thousand rounds. John Farnam reports that they don't hold up as well as AK's and whatnot in his carbine classes, but I'm sure they are running them quite hot there.

    I eventually sold my mini and kept my AK as my primary rifle, but that was primarily due to my mini's accuracy issues (mine was a bit of a lemon in that department).
     
  8. kanook

    kanook Member

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    Here's two. You can find more
     
  9. kanook

    kanook Member

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    You have not shot the ac556 have you?
     
  10. Avenger29

    Avenger29 Member

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    I'm going to go with the AR-15 because it's the simplest to do maintenance on. Replacing parts is extremely easy, and with a few specialized hand tools, you don't have to rely on specialized skills for replacement of parts.

    Every firearm is going to break eventually. What happens when it breaks and how to fix it is the interesting part.
     
  11. Broken11b

    Broken11b Member

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    I have my own opinions as to what belongs on a list of Battle Rifles, And my own opinions as to what would last the longest without failures.
    Assuming you werent just lining up and firing thousands of rounds at a time with the intent to destroy the rifle... And these are just my humble opinions
    the mini would go first, just a minor part break, but it would go first
    tied in second and third the AR15, or the M1a, (my money'd be on the M1a first)
    Last survivor, the FAL... still kickin across the globe.
     
  12. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    This is really pretty difficult to answer, because few of us, if any, have ever run ALL of these guns to the point of scrap metal.
     
  13. Smith357

    Smith357 Member

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    I believe the most durable and rugged battle rifles have been left off the list. But since the Mauser and the 03 Springfield is not a choice I would choose the M1a.
     
  14. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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    Saiga .308 or Dragunov, would be my guess. But I dunno. Any of them (except the Mini-14 which as noted is not really in the same class) are designed to go and go and go. And add HK91 types, in addition to these two I mention.
     
  15. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    I chose FAL, if you're really talking about how long it will run before a serious part breaks or the thing just plain wears out. I remember reading somewhere that the FAL receiver should last 80,000 rounds. I assume the bolt will wear out or break before that.

    An M14 made truly to the US mil-spec for when it was introduced would probably be very close behind, and the US military has a lot of M14s still in service from the original production. Hardly any civilian copies of the M14 are equal in quality (which is not to say they aren't still very, very nice rifles).
     
  16. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    The Mini-14 is not a battle rifle. While it has been used by some police and para-military units it really wasn't designed as a front-line infantry weapon.

    As far as Mini-14 reliability in that kind of role, talk to trainers who run defensive rifle classes. The consensus is that the Mini's work fine, up until the point where they break, which usually is in the first day of the class. They just weren't designed to stand up to the abuse of multiple strings of rapid fire fired in a short time period.

    Regarding the rest, the M-14, M-16, and FN FAL have all proven to be sucessful military weapons. The FN FAL supplied the majority of the NATO armies and served well in combat. The M-14 worked well for the U.S. and the M-16 has proven effective and reliable enough for over 40 years of service with the U.S. military.

    I can't say which would actually last the longest, but all are up to the task, which I can't say about the Mini-14.
     
  17. Dambugg

    Dambugg Member

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    Another vote for the Fal. All the rifles mentioned are great but the Fal is suuch a tank and the gas system is so simple that I would choose it over the others.

    P.S the Mini 14 was good enough for the A-team. Sorry I had to.
     
  18. MHBushmaster

    MHBushmaster Member

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    AR's, easy to fix, accurate, light and dependable enough for real world situations. There are pics floating around of Hmong Hill People of Vietnam that are still carrying their 1960's vintage M16A1's with hardly any Park' left on them. They are easy to find upgrade parts for and with the push of 2 pins, your personal defense weapon 16" upper can be switched to a precision rifle capable of getting accurate hits out to 600 meters or more.Mags are cheap, plentiful and available at almost ANY online store and even in most gun stores including box stores like Gander Mtn (yuck-overpriced).

    M1A's are nice rifles, especially if modified for the modern battlefield. The main drawback is its initial cost and the cost of quality replacement parts. Lots of newer M1A's have MIM parts which will last a long time, but for serious long term reliability, they are suspect. Also, ammo selection is crucial if keeping the rifle operating properly and not causing damage.
    Mags are available but are generally more expensive than FAL or G3 mags which are of comparable rifles.

    Mini-14 are plinking rifles, not combat rifles. They heat up super fast, the not brand new ones have very skinny barrels that whip around during firing and are subject to wildly varying POI after a few rounds and they are a PITA to put a scope on much less find affordable and reliable mags. The barrel twist on most Mini14's in circulation are not optimal for lots of bullet selection: most are much slower than 1/8 twist which is a minimum for me for serious consideration. Mags are expensive and are immediately suspect unless they are factory OEM or have been proven reliable from actual usage. Shouldn't be on the list.

    FAL: depending upon configuration it can be a potent 16" PARA carbine or a HBAR semi-auto support rifle capable of sustained firepower with its integral bayonette. They are AK reliable and older STG kit guns have Steyr barrels which are really-really nice barrels. Non chrome line bore (more accuracy potential) while still having a chrome lined chamber. Mags are still available if not as cheap as 5+ years ago, but they are cheaper than M1A mags by at least 25% less. FALS are easy to fix and you can find cheap quality parts online that can be kept on hand for peace of mind for long term usage in a teotwawki type event.

    I choose FAL with an AR for PDW.
     
  19. USSR

    USSR Member

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    FN-FAL. M1A, honorable mention.

    Don
     
  20. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Military requirement documents typically set a lifetime limit for a weapon system. A common number for aircraft, trucks, tanks, etc is 20 years.

    However, "consumable" parts are not expected to last for 20 years.

    An Army Tanker told me that his 1500 HP diesel engines were rebuilt every 500 hours. An industrial 1500 HP diesel will go 12,000. The difference was size. The tanker diesel was much smaller and the parts were more highly stressed.

    My recollection is that 1500 HP helicopter turbine engines are scrapped at less than 500 hours of use. The engines weigh on the order of 300 pounds. Those engines are $250,000 a pop. The airframe may have a design life of 20 years, but materials technology has not made engine life any longer.

    I understand that the F14 Tomcat was operationally and logistically expensive, it took 40 hours of service per hour of flight. The Navy retired the system.

    Something like a rifle, the military might have set a 20 year life with an expected round count of 5000 rounds.

    When a rifle comes back for rebuild, anything can be replaced. If a lot of expensive parts have to be replaced each and every rebuild, that weapon system is logistically expensive and a case is made for a replacement.

    The M16 has been developed to a high degree of mechanical reliablity and endurance. A bud of mine rebuilds small arms for the military. Out of each lot a M16 is chosen for a 6000 round endurance test. He is unaware of a M16 failing.

    As a class, you would expect all mature military rifles, ones that went through a proper development program, and then fielded for years, these weapons will be roughly equivalent in reliability and durability.

    You would expect that a 8 pound rifle firing a 308, which produces about 14 foot pounds of momentum, will be battered out of shape sooner than a 8 pound .223 rifle. The .223 produces about 2 pounds of momentum.
     
  21. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    The RUC is a police force. AFAIK, the NYPD also issues mini-14's. They would not typically be subjected to much heat stress. The mini is extremely reliable if it doesn't get too hot.

    The Bermuda Regiment's primary duties are disaster relief, airport security, events security, and possibly drug interdiction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bermuda_Regiment
     
  22. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    (Slamfire1, you do know that the helicopter turbine and the tank turbine are the same engine, right?)

    And yes. Military specifications are always pessimistic. When you have your car inspected to get it registered, the state assumes it will last at least one year. The army assumes the same inspection is good for 72 hours.

    I think it would be very interesting to find a first-generation M-16/AR upper and lower receiver, clean them, refinish them, and build a rifle from scratch and see what happens.
     
  23. damagedworld

    damagedworld Member

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    I assume you left "AK" out because it would dominate the poll?
     
  24. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    AK47 would get my vote. But of the list, M1A.
     
  25. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    The only real wear issues in the receivers themselves are the boltcarrier track in the upper receiver, the trigger and hammer pin holes, and to some extent the takedown pin holes. Of those three the only likely to eventually put the receiver out of action is wear in the upper, and I've never heard of that happening.

    There are many other major parts though; it all depends what you count. Bolts will break by 10,000 rounds, most likely, but cost only $50-80 to replace (depending on quality you want). Carriers are not known to break but I'm sure they will at some point - another $80. The barrel will be shot out anywhere from 5000 to 25,000 rounds depending on how you use the gun and what accuracy level you expect. Hammer and trigger will eventually wear out. Really, any part is replaceable, though the lower is among the priciest - but also doesn't wear to any real extent. The barrel is costlier but I think is an expected wear item on any rifle so I don't know if you should count that.
     
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