Top 10 Battle Rifles of All Time
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Old 06-27-2008, 01:02 AM   #1
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Default Top 10 Battle Rifles of All Time

I DVR'd a program on the Military channel that was titled as indicated. Their criteria was, as follows:

Accuracy -
In Service Length -
Combat Effectiveness -
Handling -
Innovation -

Now, it's not going to be much surprise who the "experts" chose for the top two rifles, but when you factor in all the categories above, I am wondering how you guys feel about the list, because frankly I got a couple of issues with it.... LOL

Rifle / Country of Origin / Caliber

10. M14 / USA / 7.62 x 51mm

9. Sturmgewehr 44 / Germany / 7.92 x 33mm

8. 1903 Springfield / USA / .30-06

7. Steyr Aug / Austria / 5.56 x 45mm

6. Mauser Model 98K / Germany / 7.92 x 75mm

5. FN FAL / Belgium / 7.62 x 51mm

4. M1 Garand / USA / .30-06

3. Lee Enfield SMLE / U.K. / .303 Enfield

2. M16 / USA / 5.556 x 45mm

1. AK-47 / Russia / 7.62 x 39mm

Thoughts?

JD

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Old 06-27-2008, 02:50 AM   #2
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Thoughts?

JD

Yeah, move #4 to 1st place, #1 to third place and #2 to second place....oh, and #10 and #8 should occupy 4th and 5th places respectively...as for the rest of the list...who cares
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:00 PM   #3
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One of the big factors that skewed this (in most opinions) is service length. The M14 had a short service life by comparison (although the show did acknowledge their recommissioning for special units), as did some of the other weapons. The AK's 60+ years of service helped it alot, as did it's ability to be maintained by a moron.

The program did not rate them on pure performance, as most of us would tend to do.

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Old 06-27-2008, 10:11 PM   #4
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Yeah, move #4 to 1st place,
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, bang! We have a winner!

(insert Patton quote here)
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:43 PM   #5
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Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, bang! We have a winner!

(insert Patton quote here)
I don't even own one...yet. That's a no-brainer IMO, like the person who put the AK in 1st place - he had no brains either!
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Old 06-28-2008, 12:27 AM   #6
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That's a no-brainer IMO, like the person who put the AK in 1st place - he had no brains either!
Well, like I've said elsewhere, I've never shot one, much less held one. I don't care for the design. I much prefer the look of the Stg. See, if the Germans didn't lose, the AK wouldn't even exist. The Stg would have. I don't see an accident of history making it the number one battle rifle. I pick the Garand because it was the first semi put into general use as a main battle rifle. That's why it should be number one. The Thompson is older than the Stg and AK, so it should be on the list ahead of those if you want to be pedantic. Ease of use for the ignorant does not a great battle implement make, in my own opinion. The AK's longevity speaks not to its durability I think, than to the lack of sophistication of its users.

No offense to anyone who likes and uses it. Your choice, your weapons, my opinion doesn't matter to someone considering it. Use what you like, it's an individual right thing.....
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Old 06-28-2008, 01:12 AM   #7
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Well, like I've said elsewhere, I've never shot one, much less held one. I don't care for the design. ....

It's ok for CQB applications, but comparing an M1 Garrand with an AK is like comparing a Daisy Red Rider with a Winchester 94. If the Germans were equipped with AK's instead of M-98's they would probably have lost the war much quicker. At much of the ranges fought in WWII an "Assault" weapon would have been useless.
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Old 06-28-2008, 05:38 AM   #8
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Ease of use for the ignorant does not a great battle implement make, in my own opinion. The AK's longevity speaks not to its durability I think, than to the lack of sophistication of its users.
I agree. I own and shoot an AK. Far from sophisticated, not accuarate, but certainly simple. It's my view that this poll was off course based on the longevity issue. I own a couple of the listed pieces, I've shot a few. It seems the producers were pretty detached from that facts that define a good weapon.
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Old 06-28-2008, 08:13 AM   #9
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Okay, now that a few of you have weighed in, it's time for me to come clean with the problems I had with the list.

First off, I felt that the M-14, at number 10, was a bit of an oversight. The M-14 is a fine weapon, it's been in and out of service since it's inseption, but the military in the US never scrapped it. They held on to it for a reason. The damn thing works and it will continue to work, and by that I mean put bad guys in the ground, regardless of the environment, time and again. On those features I felt it should have been higher.

The Sturmgewehr 44 should have been higher as well. The weapon was introduced late in WWII. And Hitler didn't do his troops any favors by first ignoring it's applications and then second, having to "approve" the troops who would be fielding it. It's not the best weapon on the list, but when you factor in the criteria, I personally think this weapon should have been top 6 or 7. The Germans did their homework and found a common range that firefights were taking place in, around 200 meters at the time, and developed a weapon around a cartridge that would provide serious trouble for their opponents out to 300 meters. the 7.92x39mm round was no joke at the time of this implimentation and it has been argued that if Germany had mass produced this weapon earlier, especially before their entanglements with the Soviet Union, their battle lines would have stretched much further across Europe.

I was fine with the Springfield at 8, but I wasn't fine with the ranking below it, so I guess I would move the Springfield. The only thing holding this back, on their criteria I believe, was the handling. There was no question about the ammo, the .30-06 will flat sit your @ss down and read you your Last Rights. Accuracy was not an issue. Massive head wound anyone? It spent over 50 years in active service, but I believe the shear size of the weapon, almost 4 feet in length in an "Assault Rifle category, and the dreaded five round, or eight round, stripper clip. Obviously this is a bolt gun, so you can't compare it heads up with an autoloading assault weapon. As a support weapon, this definitely deserves to be much higher. As a weapon in your hands in Iraq, kicking in doors and clearing rooms, probably not so much...

Steyr at 7?! No. While it's a innovative design, this is not a good weapon. I will give it points for having the interchangable barrel system, but all in all, this doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the top ten with these other fine weapons.

Number 6 was the Mauser 98K. I can agree and disagree with this. Granted, this weapon has been in service around the world since it's inception. That said, it has the same features, and drawbacks, of the Springfield. You can't separate these weapons, they basically hold the exact same position.

Number 5 was the Fn FAL. No, I am sorry this is not a top 5 rifle. While I will agree it had the innovation, and I will agree that it has good accuracy, this weapon is about as maxed out as you can get. There is no platform to build on here. They did everything they could to it just to get it to fire the 7.62 x 51 cartridge. The thing is almost completely uncontrollable on full auto fire. I like the weapon, but this is not a top 5 weapon when you consider the rest of the list.

Number 4 was the M1 Garand, and while this is not going to make RL happy, I am okay with this being at number 4. This is not a modern day assault weapon. It's a hell of a weapon to field, that is for sure, but the first models were not as polished as today's works of art. The initial product put before the Army was in 1920, when it had already been designed the year prior. However, it took until 1936 to be officially in military service. Many things led to the problems, the military waffled on the caliber, the originally loved the .276 version, but then switched to the .30 cal version later on. One production run had problems with the bolt on automatic fire, etc. In any event, it eventually became the work that it is today and it should definitely be at number 4, possibly three...

Lee Enfield at number 3? Boy, that is a big stretch for me. I see their reasons for putting it that high, but are you actually going to tell me that, given this list of impressive firearms, the Lee Enfield is going to be the third rifle you pick off the bench if you are choosing personal firearms? I think the real selling point, for the "researchers" on this one was the length of in service time, over 100 years, but we are talking about England here. They don't have a ton of firearms manufacturing over there folks. I just don't see a bolt gun being a top three battle rifle....

The last two I am actually comfortable with. While I personally feel that the AK is not the best battle rifle ever designed, given the criteria of this test, it does deserve the top spot. The AR, when properly equipped and maintained, is a much better piece, HOWEVER, the AK has more third world knock offs than any other weapon on the planet and has something like 50 or 60 million productions out there. It hard to argue with it's reliability, even though it's accuracy is autrocious and one of the key selling points is that it has "loose fitting parts" to eliminate sand or other small particles from fouling it's operation.

One weapon that I felt was missing was the BAR. The Browning Automatic Rifle wasn't in service long, but it sure was a neat piece of engineering and design. I would have liked to see it on the list somewhere.

JD

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Old 06-28-2008, 02:10 PM   #10
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Number 4 was the M1 Garand, and while this is not going to make RL happy, I am okay with this being at number 4. This is not a modern day assault weapon.
JD

JD I agree with most of your assessment and particularly with the above statement, and this is where the confusion lies. The original question pertained to a "Battle" rifle. My Enfield is a battle rifle, and a damned good one. It had the most rapid rate of fire of all bolt action weapons, and had 1200 meter sights. The M1 is perhaps the best Battle rifle in the world. As far as Assault rifles go (CQB), the M-16, AK-47, and possibly FN-FAL, although technically a rifle and not a carbine, would occupy top positions. But to equate the conditions for which the Garrand was designed to those of where an AK would be fielded, in Vietnam or Irag, would not be a fair comparison. The Battlefields of WWII and Korea were far different and offered ranges not commonly seen Vietnam and Iraq where CQB weapons prevail and excell. This is one reason why the M1 and M2 Carbines were not very successful, except in clearing houses - range and stopping power were insufficient. Actually the M1 carbine was designed to replace the .45 colt for perimeter defense, not as a battlefield weapon.
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