Top 10 Battle Rifles of All Time

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by Dillinger, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    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
     
  2. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    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:)
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008

  3. bgeddes

    bgeddes New Member

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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.
     
  4. ScottG

    ScottG New Member

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    Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, bang! We have a winner!

    (insert Patton quote here)
     
  5. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    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!
     
  6. ScottG

    ScottG New Member

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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. 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.....:D
     
  7. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2008
  8. bgeddes

    bgeddes New Member

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    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.
     
  9. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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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... :cool:

    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
     
  10. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2008
  11. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    RL - I thought I had caught all of my missteps - thank you for pointing that out. I was writing very late, I couldn't sleep, and I thought, in my own head, that the category was assault rifles, as such I went about my merry way and was pounding away on the keyboard. After awhile I had to recheck the list and realized it was about battle rifles, so I had to go back and rewrite some of my opinions. I missed that one. :eek:

    You are absolutely right Sir! The M1 is indeed a great battle rifle and would serve any soldier well in a more open and longer ranged environment. When you factor in CQB, and a quick flowing battlefield, like in Iraq, I believe we can agree that this would not be the best choice.

    I too believe that the M1 was designed for a completely different battlefield condition, and in that role, it is indeed head and shoulders above it's competition.

    I humbly kneel before your well made points. :D

    JD
     
  12. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    No need to do that buddy! Your knowledge and accuracy far exceed any errors.
     
  13. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Thank you my friend - I always enjoy our point-counterpoint exchanges.

    JD
     
  14. bgeddes

    bgeddes New Member

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    JD we agree on many points. The longevity factor messed up the real 'guts' of the rankings.
     
  15. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    No, not longevity...if longevity was the only criterion, the Enfield would have won top honors since it was still issued up until a little more than a decade ago in some countries.
     
  16. CARNUT1100

    CARNUT1100 New Member

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    The Enfield is a far better rifle than many give it credit for. Selected examples were capable of outstanding accuracy in a sniper role, they are a very smooth and fast bolt action, and in the standard loadings were a very reliable rifle.
    Often criticised for being rear lock, they were nevertheless an accurate and strong rifle, and still the main choice for service rifle competition in Australia today ( along with the Swedish Mauser) .

    As a battle rifle the AK47 has to be on the top. Look how many are in service, and look at the reliability and ease of maintenance combined with a round that is poerful enough to do serious damage.
    It ain't the most accurate, the most powerful, or the most pretty. But it is the most ubiquitous, simple, reliable assault rifle, and that counts for a lot.

    One tactic that worked well in Afghanistan when they were fighting the Russians was tohave a 4 man squad with AK47s but one man armed with a Lee Enfield .303 for longer range stuff and taking out officers if possible. The AKs were great in a skirmish.

    Not keen on the Steyr though.
     
  17. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    How is it that a bunch of guys that have never seen a set of BDU's never carried a firearm while being shot at and have never even been in simulated combat other than on they're Playstation get to pick the top 10 battle rifles?

    But did anyone noticed that the USA has more weapons on that list than any other country?
     
  18. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    God Bless the American Firearms Designers. :D

    JD
     
  19. opaww

    opaww New Member

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    Top 10 Weapons

    This is my choice and I will try and list why I feel they should qualify and not some on the list.

    10. Lee Enfield SMLE/ UK. / .303 Enfield / Base service time 1895-1957 counting deferent variations, and still used in some countries all the way up till the early 2000’s
    Though a good rifle over all it was a little finicky when compared to say the Mosin-Nagant, which was a rough and ready rifle that would still perform long after others of the time would stop because of lack of cleaning.

    9. 1903 Springfield / USA / .30-06 / Base service time June 19th 1903-1936 at which time the M-1 Grand replaced the 1903 Springfield, Though some were still used in the Second World War and for a short time after for sniper work in Korea, and Vietnam they were in very limited use after the M-1 Grand was addopted as Americas main battle rifle.
    One dam good rifle but as with the Enfield could be a somewhat finicky as compared to the rough made Mosin-Nagant.

    8. Mauser K98 / Germany / 7.92x75mm
    This rifle was one of the most used rifles up to and including the Second World War. It being one of the most powerful battle rifles of its time along with being considered one of the most accurate ones. Nazi Germany had some where around 2.7 million rifles by the end of the war, making it one of the highest production weapons of the war. The Mauser action was and still is one of the most used actions in blot action rifles in history. A few of the other rifles that used this configuration were but not limited to, American M1903 Springfield, Japanese Arisaka type 38 and type 99 rifles, Anglo-American M1917 Enfield.

    The accuracy of the K98 was so good that all K98’s manufactured were Scope ready in that no smithing was needed to install a scope mount. They were ready for a scope mount right from the factory, and only needed attachment and sighting in.

    7. SKS / Russian / 7.62x39 Base service time 1945-
    Though the SKS has a short history as the main battle rifle because of the introduction of the AK-47’s shortly after. The SKS still remained a secondary battle rifle, it also being one of the most exported rifles in production. Many nations manufactured their own version of the SKS, such as the former Eastern Block nations, China type 56, East Germany Karabiner S, and North Korea type 63. The SKS is one of the most widely sold battle rifles in the civilian market in several countries around the world. The SKS was the first to use the 7.62x39mm cartage.
    Hollywood was for the most part responsible for the misconception that most of the world used the AK-47 instead of the SKS rifle. When in fact much of the world had and used the SKS up until the latter part of the 20th century. Even during the Vietnam War the V.C were more apt to be armed with the SKS then the AK-47. The SKS just was not scary enough for Hollywood so most film producers used the AK-47 instead.

    6. Heckler and Koch G-3/Cetme / Germany/Spain / 7.62x51 NATO / 1950’s-
    I am not sure where to begin with this rifle, though I will give it a try. The Cetme which is the Spanish version and for runner of the German H&K G-3 and can trace it’s history back to the STG 44 and MG 42 although it’s connection is very limited. The Cetme/G-3 has enjoyed popularity with such Military’s, group’s, and countries as the East Germany border guards (Bundesgrenzschutz), Spain, East German army, and roughly 38 other countries in the world. The G3 rifle was and in some cases still being produced under license in France (MAS), Greece ( Hellenic Arms Industry), Iran (defense Industries Organization), Mexico, Myanmar, Norway (Kongsberg Vapenfabrikk), Pakistan (Pakistan Ordnance Factories), Portugal (FBP), Saudi Arabia, Sudan (Military Industries Corporation), Sweden (FFV), Thailand, Turkey (MKEK), United Kingdom (Royal Ordnance).

    There are still countries in South America that use The G-3 or one of it’s many variants today.

    5. AK-47 / Russia / 1949 official adoption as main weapon
    Though many might not agree with this one being #5 I tend to attribute its lack of accuracy to its placement on my list. It being one of the most produced Assault Rifles, enjoying the status of the first real production Assault rifles, it’s vast export and use in the world. Has made its historical placement in the top 5 of the all time best weapons in my opinion. Many countries (to Numerous to list) found it’s cost, availibity, and reliability as the main reason for switching their arsenals to this weapon.

    Some countries enjoy the available of the civilian version of the AK-47 for sales to the civilian population. Being a cost effective in $ for what one gets and the somewhat low cost of 7.62x39 ammo one can see why they are sought after in the civilian market. Though if one would compare the Cetme to the AK-47, you will see that the cost of the weapons is close to the same and one would get a far more accurate rifle out at ranges of 500-600 meters. The advantages of the 7.62x51 NATO round that the Cetme is chambered in far out weighs the 7.62x39. The cost of the 7.62x51 NATO is just a tad bit more then the 7.62x39 but well worth the price again in my opinion.

    One last tidbit here, and that is if one is looking for a weapon that scares the crap out of the anti-American/anti-gunners then get the AK-47. Nothing like a good miss-conceived Assault Weapons to scare the crap out of the so******t in America.

    4. Thompson submachine gun Model 1921 / USA / .45 Auto / 1921
    This year saw the production of the infamous Thompson Machine Gun, better known as the Tommy gun, Chopper, Chicago Typewriter, The Trench Broom, and many other names. All in all a good short range Assault, Defensive weapon, was reliable, had a hard-hitting round, a good rate of fire. This weapon still saw limited service in Vietnam and limited service with some Law Enforcement groups up until the 1990’s. There is a good following in the civilian community for this weapon though many only have the semi-auto version they still enjoy shooting it. Its short-range accuracy is very good; the compactness of its design made it a great weapon during the Second World War.
    One might even consider the Thompson Model 1921 to be the first real American Assault Weapon. Not withstanding this weapon in .45 Auto packs one hell of a wallop.

    3. M-16 / USA / 5.56x45mm NATO / 1964
    This became the standard service rifle of the U.S. Army in 1964 with the Marine corpse follow a little after. It has enjoyed the status as the U.S.’s main battle rifle/Assault Rifle ever sense. Though the early version M16 had some design flaws they were quickly corrected and reissued as the M16a1. It is an accurate rifle, has a good rate of fire, lightweight, easy to disassemble for cleaning. The smaller round let people carry more ammo because it weighed less.

    The many variations of this weapon allows for many customizations to suite the needs and likes of people. It enjoys a large following in the civilian and Law Enforcement communities. The cost for surplus military ammo makes it a good choice. But the cost for the rifle is a little prohibited for some, so they seek the AK-47 or SKS instead. My opinion is that one would be better off to save a little longer and spend the money on a good AR-15. All in All a good all around rifle, though I prefer the 7.62x51 NATO to the 5.56x45 NATO maybe I am just old and outdated.

    2. M-14 / USA / 7.62x51 NATO / (1957) 1959
    This Battle Rifle was adopted by the Military in 1957 but was not delivered for use until 1959, It’s design was based off the M-1 Grand, and enjoyed use in the Vietnam war but was soon replaced by the M-16. One reason I had heard when they made the change was that Female solders had a hard time using the M-14 and preferred the M-16 to it. I cannot confirm this other then what I was told in my early days in The U.S. Army. The 7.62x51 NATO round was a much harder hitting round and had good accuracy. It tended to kill a little better then the 5.56x46 NATO. Why the real reason to the change I have no idea. The M-14 was reliable, accurate, even enjoying use as a sniper weapon and is still in limited use in Iraq even today.

    For my Dollar I love the M-14, and if it were legal I would marry one and call it my wife forever.

    1. M1 Grand / USA / 30-06 / early 1940’s
    This weapon saw service in World War 2, its reliability and accuracy were unparalleled as a semi-auto battle rifle for its time. Even today it is used at Camp Perry for open sight, long range shooting. During the Second World War some were outfitted with scopes for sniper work and enjoyed much success. The only draw back was the lack of a detachable magazine of a good capacity. The hard hitting 30-06 round was long proven but more so with this weapon.

    This by far is one of the smoothest shooting weapons I have ever had the privilege of firing, setting aside the only other drawback of this weapon, the old Grand thumb, and if you have much experience with the M1 Grand you know what I am talking about.

    The STG 44 and the Steyr Aug never seen much of any wide use and never entered production to the level of the weapon I have listed as my choices. The FN FAL saw some use in a few countries and enjoyed some production but was not what it was cracked up to be. It was a fair rifle but I feel was not up to par to enter this list of the top 10.

    This is just my opinion.
    opaww
     
  20. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Well done opaww - That is a well put together list and some great reasons behind them. Obviously you have given this some thought. :D

    While I can't agree with you on your number one, I can at least respect your research and reasons behind your choices.

    I like the addition of the Thompson. Add that to a 1911 on your hip and you only have one round to have to carry, which would definitely be of benefit. Range is a bit of problem, but for an urban environment that would be pretty good choice otherwise.

    JD