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Battle Rifle? Do You Really Need One?

Discussion in 'GSSF' started by Restless28, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. To me, SHTF=dig in and defend the homestead from attackers. So, with that in mind, where's the need to reach out 500 yards? How do I know someone's identity or intentions from 500 yards away? Will the baddies be wearing uniforms?

    Why do I, a lone or outnumbered defender, want to give my position away to someone at that distance? If, for some reason, I do need that 500 yard range, why won't a .308 or 30-06 deer rifle do the job? If reach or penetration is that danged important, why not a good Rem 700 in .338 Win Mag? Seems that would give as much 'reach' as any would want.

    It seems the real work of defense will be done at ranges under 100 yards. For that, an assault rifle or even a Mini-14 should be adequate. Better to buy more ammo or a spare AK/AR/Mini-14/Rem. 870 or practice shooting more than sink $ into an MBR...IMHO.

    Other than the 'cool' factor, the justification for owning an MBR has always mystified me.
  2. rca256


    Mar 25, 2007
    There is a very good report on the effectiveness of US Army infantry weapons and lethality in the 'Stan. It is written by a US Army Major attending the Army Command and General Staff College after returning from deployment.

    Personally, we knew that these issues existed after Somalia.

    Sorry if this has already been posted elsewhere.

    Here is the abstract:
    Operations in Afghanistan frequently require United States ground forces to engage and destroy the enemy at ranges beyond 300 meters. While the infantryman is ideally suited for combat in Afghanistan, his current weapons, doctrine, and marksmanship training do not provide a precise, lethal fire capability to 500 meters and are therefore inappropriate. Comments from returning soldiers reveal that about fifty percent of engagements occur past 300 meters. Current equipment, training, and doctrine are optimized for engagements under 300 meters and on level terrain. This monograph reviews the small arms capability of the infantry squad from World War I to present. It then discusses current shortfalls with cartridge lethality, weapons and optics configurations, the squad designated marksman concept and finally the rifle qualification course. Potential solutions in each of these areas are discussed.

    Full report at
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011

  3. countsk


    Sep 29, 2009
    A good quality rifle chambered in either 7.62X39 or 5.56 NATO will be enough to handle most situations. However, if you can afford it, I would go ahead and add something in a heavier caliber to the collection. I've relied on various AR-15s and SKSs over the years. I finally made the plunge and got a M1A Scout last year. It now fills a niche that was previously unfilled. Just one more tool in the box.
  4. chauncey


    Aug 25, 2008
    i train and use the "big 3" MBR's, and for 3-gun competition. i served in the peacetime USMC as an infantryman for 4 years, and qualified expert rifleman, so i'm very familiar with the M16 platform. i also own several AR's.

    i will agree that it is easier to obtain an accurate shot with a 5.56 AR or M16 with a 20" barrel, at any range up to 500 yards. this is due to better ergonomics, light cartridge and recoil, and good sights used on the design. M4/16" barrel is a different animal imo, that is limited to 300 yards.

    that said, i far prefer the downrange accuracy, energy and barrier performance that the 7.62x51 provides. i also prefer the roller-locked design of the G3 and the piston designs of the FAL and M14, to the DI system in the AR.

    for an individual soldier, LEO or civilian operating without the benefit of support fire, i believe the 7.62x51 offers clear advantages over the 5.56x45. propely trained and equipped, the individual can shoot further and with greater lethality especially over 300 yards, and has the added benefit of barrier penetration when needed. that added need for barrier penetration may be as simple as the need to take down big game. i know there are stories about killing a bear with a .22LR but i don't want to be the one to try it, even with a 5.56x45.

    if you are willing to train for 500 yard shots, are willing to hump the additional weight of 7.62x51 (or reduce the amount of ammunition you carry), and are willing to do the additional training these platforms require, then i say they are a better choice.

    if you can't afford the difference between the 5.56 and 7.62x51 rifles and ammunition necessary to achieve this level of training, then you are better off getting proficient with your AR. just please understand proper maintenance and lubrication to keep the AR platform running, and buy some Pmags to significantly increase the odds of reliable operation.

    if you aren't willing to give your AR the maintenance and lubrication it deserves, then i'd recommend you trade accuracy for reliability and get an AK or SKS, or a bolt-action milsurp. these rifles will continue to function with less maintenance and/or more abuse, in large part due to looser tolerances and more forgiving operating systems.

    as another option, keep and train with your (properly maintained) AR or AK, and buy a decent Milsurp or commercial hunting rifle in 30-06 or .308, and practice enough with it so you can use it if necessary. you can buy a quality milsurp or lightly used hunting rifle for $200-$300. it's a cheap investment should the need arise.

    the semi-auto MBR's are certainly more expensive to own and shoot. entry-level for a reliable and well-built MBR is probably $900-$1000 for a PTR91. M1A's go up from there. i think the FAL is a great platform, and the Saiga is very cost effective, but i don't believe these rifles offer the ability to consistently make hits at 500 yards, so you are giving up a lot of the advantages the 7.62x51 cartridge offers if you use these rifles. imo, a high-end milsurp like a Finn Mosin would be a better and more cost-effective choice that a 308 Saiga or the average FAL.

    if you can't afford to get into the game, then stick to what you can afford, and get good with it!
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  5. Stupid


    Oct 26, 2005
    You don't "need" one but you should have one. :)
  6. furioso2112


    Dec 12, 2007
    'want' IS the justification; i.e., I wanted a .308 made out of peanut butter, so I made one. Why did I make one? because I wanted it. That is how I justified making a peanut butter .308.
  7. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    Not this again.
  8. GlockFish

    GlockFish Floyd

    Feb 22, 2002

    Yes you do need a battle rifle.
  9. rca256


    Mar 25, 2007
    No, I need doby to go shoot his magic 223 AR-15 at 1000 yd matches. His uber customized, uber hand loaded magic rifle that he would not know if it fell out of the sky and hit him on his noggin. Ah, there is a thought. :)
  10. GlockFish

    GlockFish Floyd

    Feb 22, 2002

    Drinking tonight?

  11. rca256


    Mar 25, 2007
    Nope, just tired of someone (else)
  12. silverado_mick


    Nov 30, 2006
    So...this Gen wants the Army infantry to be trained and equipped like...Marines??? :whistling:

    If a bunch of jerkoff 18 year olds can be taught to make hits at 500yards with iron sight equipped (not to mention beat on) M16A2's consistently in under two weeks time, I'd say that's a pretty powerful argument for the capability of the current US issue BATTLE RIFLE. The M16A4 is NOT a Vietnam era is a truly capable main battle rifle regardless of chambering.

    The Army's mistake was issuing an M4 to everydamnbody instead of on a case by case or unit by unit basis. I'd say that an Army grunt could benefit from an A4 just like a Marine grunt does, provided he receives proper marksmanship instruction.

    In the end, if SHTF blah blah blah...a lot of people who spent a lot of time stocking up for the occasion are going to come to the startling realization that it's the tactics of the user and not the tools of the trade that make the biggest difference. Simply owning a scoped .308 and shooting tight groups at a grand does not make you combat effective.
  13. TSAX


    Jun 5, 2010
    Forget the battle rifle get this instead :supergrin:

  14. raven11


    Jan 27, 2009
    would 1000 yds convince you

    as to practical accuracy, I bought my 91/30 without checking the bore and such, but I can keep up with my buddies Remington 700 all day long
  15. UtahIrishman

    UtahIrishman BLR Silver Member

    Nov 11, 2001
    I have a FAL and a BLR in .308 ... sort of teamed them up for some of the reasons mentioned here and other reasons as well.

    When I first started putting together a set of weapons to cover most eventualities I decided to standardize on NATO because I figured 7.62x51 for rifle and 9MM for pistol would always be available (yea I know...I also had a Pinto once too)

    If I have to make a run for it though, I'm not toting the FAL, it's simply too heavy, I'll take the BLR. But the FAL would be at any fall back position I might have in mind if thinks really do go to hell.

    I think the biggest deciding factor on picking a platform though is what you are comfortable with and works for you. There's a lot of choices that I think will work fine if they are practiced with.
  16. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    It's not a matter of need but a matter of want.
  17. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr DirtyThirty fan CLM

    Nov 24, 2005
    Springfield M1 Garand works for me.........:supergrin:
  18. j-glock22


    Sep 20, 2001
    Central Ohio
    So if it really gets that bad, you gonna walk around toting one? For us average joes looking to save our families or whathaveyou.... don't know if it is going to be benificial
  19. Fox

    Fox Varmit Control

    Nov 7, 2001
    Squad Designated Marksmen still use the M-14 rifle.
  20. beemerphile

    beemerphile CLM

    Dec 6, 2001
    Danielsville, GA
    I have an SR-25 and a REPR that would argue with the assertion that 5.56 guns are more accurate. As far as "need", I don't "need" either one. I could make a better case of need for their 5.56 brothers the SR-15 and the M6A3. My 7.62's are fitted with longer range optics than my 5.56 guns and I don't conceive of any role for them that would have me humping them any distance. I have more of a "bug-in" than a "bug-out" SHTF plan. However, from inside or around La Casa de Beemerphile I'd probably opt for the bigger bang if I ever had to deter an advancing wall of Redcoats (or Homeboys).

    So, yeah. I'd say there is an argument and a role for the "MBR" but I wouldn't try to argue a "need".