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HK91, M1A, or FN FAL?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by alaskanativeson, Mar 2, 2008.

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  1. alaskanativeson

    alaskanativeson Member

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    I could sure use some advice. I want to purchase a 7.62 NATO autoloader but I'm having a hard time making up my mind which one. I have it down to three choices: The H&K 91, the M1A (probably in a Scout configuration,) or an FN FAL. I've owned an HK, it was a great gun which I was sorry to see go but I needed the money at the time. I'm looking for something I'll use for occasional hunting trips and for personal defense (yes, I already have handguns and a shotgun.)

    Are there any real differences besides personal preference? Is one easier than the others to customize? Can one be made more accurate than the others? Is parts availability a problem or benefit with any of them? From all I've read the FN and the M1A are as reliable as my HK was (I never had a failure to feed or extract in well over 1000 rounds) but I'd be interested in hearing any of your opinions about that as well. Thanks.
     
  2. Ash

    Ash Member

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    The cheapest to buy, maintain, customize, will be the FAL. The most accurate will be the M1a (but, in truth, my M1a was never any better than my FAL). The M1a will probably make the best hunting rifle, but the FAL will be the best bang for your buck given the price of magazines, replacement/upgrade parts, etc. Original Military parts will be very cheap, as opposed to M1a original parts, which are very expensive.

    Cost may be of little concern to you. If accuracy is your number one consideration, you will want the M1a. If you are looking for the best overall deal, probably the most rugged, with a huge supply chain, the FAL probably is best. (That is not to say the M1a will be hard to get parts for, it will not be hard, but fairly expensive).

    Ash
     
  3. RLsnow

    RLsnow Member

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    dont forget, the HK91 looks like the G3, (and the AG3) so...buy that!
     
  4. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

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    The M14 type rifle in the 18.0" configuration (Bush, Scout and MK14) is my favorite.
    Custom builds can be ultra reliable and they are capable of sub MOA performance.
    Many new parts, mags and stocks are available for the M14 and more are on the way.
    You can keep the M14 pretty mild or you can go hog wild.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. iamkris

    iamkris Member

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  6. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    I'd say the M1A has the edge in accuracy, but the FAL shines in terms of cheap spares, ergonomics (for me - others may disagree as ergonomics is a personal thing) and reliability.

    There's a FAL affectionately called Ol' Dirty here in Texas which hasn't been cleaned in over 14,000 rounds - and its owner regularly hits an 8" steel gong at 400 yards with iron sights.
     
  7. Southern Raider

    Southern Raider Member

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    I recently let go of my HK in favor of a DPMS LR308. I like HKs, but quite simply, the design is showing its age with few people making modern accesories for it. In other words, aside from a few new low profile mounts, it's essentially the same design today as it was 40 years ago.

    I'd steer you towards the M1A or FAL depending on your preference, but a good running AR in 308 is a hard thing to beat from the point of view of available accessories, ergonomics and ease of optics mounting.
     
  8. SnakeEater

    SnakeEater Member

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    Buy the best and skip the rest.

    My next rifle, to match my Noveske SPR.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. silverlance

    silverlance Member

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    FAL - reliability, flexibility, and ergonomics supreme.
    M1A - incredibly accurate for a semi auto issue weapon at long range.
    HK91 - crappy trigger, uncomfortable cocking, but you get to join the HK club and take advantage of $2 magazine sales to help make up for the silly amount you paid for the damn thing.

    =P
     
  10. Andrewsky

    Andrewsky Member

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    How about a PTR91? Just like HK91s but with heavier barrels and a lot cheaper.

    M14s are more accurate and more reliable than FALs. The US Army tested the FAL and the M14 side-by-side and the M14 experienced fewer failure rates.

    An M1A Standard for $1250 is a good gun.

    Or an Austrian FAL from DSA for $1000.

    Or maybe a CMP Garand for $600 is what you need. You wouldn't have to buy magazines, .30-.06 ammunition is much cheaper than .308 if you buy from the CMP, and you get all military-issue parts plus a lot of history.
     
  11. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    Andrewsky, the test to which you refer was heavily-biased in favor of the M14 and has largely been discredited. There is a reference to it in Blake's book of the FAL.
     
  12. Andrewsky

    Andrewsky Member

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    I'd like to see that without having to buy the book.
     
  13. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    Between the choices give, the FAL is probably your best bet; it's reliable, proven in climates the world over, and you can buy a metric buttload of mags for far less than a M14/M1A.

    Having said that, I'd also recommend you look into the Saiga 308. Converted back into AK form, they make for a pretty nifty carbine. No household is complete without one. :)
     
  14. trbon8r

    trbon8r Member

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    Here we go again, the old Springfield Armory "rigged all the tests" conspiracy. This is one of the most often parroted statements on any gun board without anyone offering the smoking gun or even a shred of evidence other than hearsay to back up the allegations.

    If the people at Springfield Armory were as good a cheats as FAL fans claim them of being, one would think the M14 would still be our service rifle, and the doors at Springfield Armory would still be open instead of having been closed in the 1960s.
     
  15. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    I love the M1a, but my primitive caveman brain tells me that the FAL would seem to be inherently more reliable in adverse conditions simply because the bolt/carrier is mostly protected from the crud, while the open bolt of the M1A is fully exposed to the crud.

    And I've seen the videos of the M1a that the tubby gun-review guy crawled through the mud with, and it failed after the first shot or 2. YMMV... but like I said it makes sense to me.
     
  16. tpelle

    tpelle Member

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    I don't have an M14/M1A, but I do have one M1 Garand with another on the way from CMP, and a CETME that's one of the good ones (pretty close to a HK91). I also have an assembled-by-me FAL that's an STG58 on an Imbel gear-logo receiver plus a bunch of top-notch 922 compliance parts. Both of my rifles are equally reliable, and are just about the same accuracy-wise - with my eyes I shoot 3" groups at 100 yards.

    My take is this:

    The HK-system rifle is pretty rude and crude, with a really bad trigger. Also the ergonomics are really bad. Firing it, you hear this big "schwaannnggggg" noise next to your right ear as the bolt carrier cycles on the buffer. No bolt hold back. The rifle also doesn't seem to balance very well, like it's top heavy. Mags are cheap, though - it's only good point - but all in all I would prefer either the M14/M1A or the FAL over the HK-system weapon.

    Now, to evaluate the other two choices (and remember, my M14/M1A comments are based on the Garand, which, except for the en-bloc clips versus a removable box magazine, is pretty much the same rifle):

    M14 mags are sooo expensive, compared to the FAL metric mags. Advantage FAL.

    M14 gas system is a little fussy with that long funny-shaped operating rod compared to the FAL's straight piston. Advantage FAL.

    M14 has a stronger gas system in terms of extraction and cycling, since it's a long-stroke system as opposed to the FAL's short-stroke system. Advantage M14.

    M14's gas system is non-adjustable, unlike the FAL's, but with the strong long-stroke operation maybe this isn't such an advantage. I'll call this one a draw.

    M14 has a stock that permits use of the sling as a shooting aid, compared to the FAL's barrel-hung front sling swivel. Advantage M14.

    M14 is MUCH harder to field-strip than the FAL. Advantage FAL.

    M14's sights are several orders of magnitude better than the FAL's. Advantage M14.

    M14's sights won't come back and smack you in the eye under recoil like those of the FAL. Advantage M14.

    M14 probably has a better trigger right out of the box, but my FAL has DSA H-T-S parts and has a pretty darned good trigger pull as well. I'll call this one a draw, too.

    So, here's the score:
    M14 - 4
    FAL - 3
    Draw - 2

    Pretty close, and a lot of the criteria that I use for evaluation are pretty subjective. Bottom line is, I don't think you'd be under-gunned with either one.

    Somebody suggested a Garand from CMP. Actually, that's a pretty good suggestion. The one I have is 100% reliable, and shoots into a 3" group at 100 yards with my 55 year old eyes behind the sights.

    The en-bloc clips are not as big a disadvantage as everyone thinks they are. Remember, with a box-magazine rifle, when you shoot it dry, you have to reach up and find the mag release, remove the old mag, get the new mag, align it correctly, insert it and lock it home, then release the bolt.

    With the Garand, when it goes dry, it ejects the empty clip out the top and locks the bolt back for you. All you have to do is grab the new loaded clip, orient it with the bullets forward and one of the skinny sides down (remember, there's no top or bottom), and shove it in until it locks. Sometimes you have to nudge the bolt, sometimes it goes home on it's own. It can really be reloaded pretty fast.

    I once read of a comparison test between a Garand and an M14 where they timed two guys firing and reloading as fast as they could for something like 3 minutes (don't remember, exactly). By the end of the time period, the Garand had actually fired more rounds because it was quicker to reload, even though it had to be reloaded more often.

    I would also stay away from the "scout" version of any of the rifles, as all the shorter barrel gives you is a shorter sight radius for less accuracy, more muzzle blast, a loss in muzzle velocity, and possibly reliability issues - maybe having to enlarge the gas port, etc.

    But the HK91 would be my last choice.
     
  17. sacp81170a

    sacp81170a Member

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    I just bought a used AR10A4 carbine last week and took it and my M1A Loaded to the range on Saturday. Surprise, surprise, the AR10 is more accurate than the M1A. I was getting .75" to 1.1" groups with the M1A and .6" to .85" groups with the AR10. The M1A was topped with an SWF Super Sniper 10x42 scope on Burris 30mm Tactical rings that have been lapped and the AR10 was topped with a crappy old Bushnell 3x9 variable with the factory 1" rings from Armalite. Granted, I was only shooting Remington 168gr BTHP match ammo and the M1A might like other ammo better, but I spent $1500 just for the rifle, not counting the Troy stock and the scope.

    I'm a believer now. If you want accuracy and are willing to spend the amount of money it takes to buy an M1A, buy an AR10 instead. You won't be disappointed.

    (I would say I'm not happy with the M1A, but it's like having two kids. One of them is good at math and the other is good looking. Doesn't mean I still don't love 'em both.) ;)
     
  18. ALS

    ALS Member

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    The down side of the HK is has this 10lb bolt that slams into you every time you pull the trigger. The other pain in the butt problem is if you reload you will hate the gun. It chews up your brass and spits it out with full length
    grooves burned into the case. Don't get me wrong I like my HK and it is pretty accurate as a battle rifle. I just use the cheapest 147 gn ammo I can get in it.
    My M1A's well I just love them. :D
    Don't own a FAL so no input on it.
     
  19. kcmarine

    kcmarine Member

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    Well... idk. Do you want an experience out of firing the rifle? If so, the M1A. It's a product of a bygone era... the other two are similar to today's weapons.
     
  20. iamkris

    iamkris Member

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    Huh? [rickyricardo]I do'n thin' so, Lucy[/rickyricardo] They were designed at the same time.

    And don't rely on the fact that the M1A's action is similar to the Garand. The FN FAL is a derivative of other earlier tilting block designs, as is the HK's roller locking mechanism.
     
  21. Ash

    Ash Member

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    "M14 has a stronger gas system in terms of extraction and cycling, since it's a long-stroke system as opposed to the FAL's short-stroke system. Advantage M14."

    Nope, both FAL and M1a have short-stroke gas systems. The FAL is much more durable because it does not have an operating rod (yeah, the ATF says it does, but it does not). The FAL's gas system is straight-foward, all forces are in line with the gas-port. The M1a is not. The gas port is on the bottom, the operating rod on the side. The short-stroke piston is under the action, which forces the rod back to operate the bolt on the side.

    Both actions impart gas against the piston, which either pushes the operating rod on the M1a back (which caries the bolt) or pushes directly against the carrier, which slides the bolt back.

    I don't see how the m1a has a sturdier gas system at all.

    Ash
     
  22. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    I'm shocked but unless I missed it no one has given the obvious answer:
    Get all 3!!!!!

    It really is tough to compare the 3.

    The M1A is probably more accurate
    The FAL is probably more reliable
    The HK will probably break fewer parts, it's practically indestructible.
     
  23. kcmarine

    kcmarine Member

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    I'm talking about in the style of the weapon. The M1A has a wooden stock, sling points that allow you to use a sling as a shooting aide, and it just... has that feel.

    The HK and FAL are both plastic- stocked rifles with pistol grips. They're great rifles... especially the FAL... but it's not the same feel. It really comes down to preference.
     
  24. Matt304

    Matt304 Member

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    It's funny how the guy asked about 3 specific rifles he's narrowed it down to, and we get the usual bunch trying to begin AR conversation. You AR folks never give it a break!

    The M1A is my choice, because of the numerous configurations available, such as sniper stocks etc, each giving the gun very different styles. Yes, there are other rifles with many configurations, but at least this will be one that everyone and their brother doesn't own already. :p

    The M1A is also my choice because if I had it, I would do the 458 Win Mag conversion. :) :what:
     
  25. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    I don't care either way, but I'll see what I can find in my copy of the book later on; if something was rigged I'd sure like to hear the information, but I'm sorry you find the possibility so upsetting.
     
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