Assault rifles vs 7.62 Nato rifles

Don Williams said…

1) Note that most armies have moved to an assault rifle using a cartridge with intermediate power (M16, AK-47,etc) instead of the full power battle rifles like the FN FAL and HK 91.

2) Reasons are:
a) Most shots on battlefield against trained troops are at less than 200 yards. Under stress and physical exertion of combat, it’s hard to hit a helmet partially concealed behind a rock at 200 yards while panting for breath –or to hit a target rushing from cover to cover.

b) By weight, You can carry three 5.56 Nato or AK-74 rounds for every 7.62 Nato round. You can carry three AK-47 rounds for every two 7.62 rounds.

c) Military Assault rifles can fire automatic. Automatic fire with the 7.62 battle rifles was never practical –rifle too light to control recoil, barrel heats up too rapidly and can’t be switched out.

3) Rapid swings needed for quick kill shots at short range targets are hard to do with heavy battle rifles. Hard to carry them at ready position for minutes at a time.

4) It is poor tactical planning to rely on firing at human wave attacks from behind a fortified wall while under siege. What do you do come nightfall — or against approaching trenches? You
have given up the initiative and are trapped.

Better to patrol and ambush threats far from your base — and the assault rifles are better weapons for patrols than are the battle rifles.

5) Sniper doctrine calls for one shot -one kill and then moving to a new position. The reason is that several shots allow the enemy to precisely locate your position: they can get a bearing and by counting the seconds of time lag between the crack of the bullet passing by them and the report from your rifle muzzle, the enemy can determine the distance to you. (Because bullet travels several times faster than speed of sound, the supersonic crack of it passing by will occur several seconds before the report from a firer’s rifle is heard.)

Whereas one shot out of the blue rarely betrays your position.

A bolt rifle can be fired almost as rapidly as a battle rifle for the first 4 or 5 shots.

The US Marines and Army found that it was much easier to maintain an accurate zero on a simple bolt action rifle being dragged through the field than it was for the mechanically complex battle rifles.

And without a dependable zero, one shot-one kill doesn’t work.

Hi Don,
Funny, I’m writing a Military Mindset vs Survival Mindset post and just read your reply, which is sort of related to that.
I’ve got to disagree with you here man, at least partially so.
That the military issues an AR type selective fire rifle doesn’t mean that it’s the ideal solution for survivalists as well.

Easy to shoot, accurate, both light ammo and weapon, (at least without all the junk added later) those are reasons for the military to choose it. Heck, how much 5.56 fits into a cargo plane compared to 7.62. Twice as much? Those are very attractive things from a logistic point of view. It may win a war, but is it in your best interest as an individual? A survivalist has other options, and if you train enough then you don’t have to stick with the light .22 carbine with little recoil.
The AK47 is at least more rugged, fires a .30 round comparable to 30-30 and with good soft points you have an acceptable hunting gun.
Now for a one and only long arm and for someone that knows how to use it to its full potential, I’m partial to the FAL, preferably 16” barrel with PARA folding stock and good optics, maybe a trijicon. You have a terrific rifle, it may not be light but its compact enough and you’re shooting 7.62 NATO.

About bolt action speed beign comparable to semi auto, I guarantee you its not. Specially under stress, its not even close.
You also shouldn’t mix sniper weapons with average shooters. As something in between you have designated shooters (who have a 7.62 semi auto. DMR is a scoped M14) and those are the guys actually scorign the most hits.

Even for snipers, the military now replaced the bolt action M24 Sniper Weapon System with a semi auto 7.62 AR, the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System.
What does this tell you? Semi auto capability is important, even for designated marksmen. For a lone rifleman (survivalist or other armed citizen) with no backup and no one watching you back, its not only important, its crucial.

The sniper role is very technical, very specific, and as cool as snipers are portrayed they are VERY vulnerable when caught outside their offensive role. The sniper is like a scalpel, works for delicate surgery but you can destroy him with an axe. If a sniper armed with a bolt rifle gets caught in a building and has to turn to defensive role, he’s pretty much dead. That’s why the spotter is usually armed with a PDW or other semi auto rifle, and of course why there’s a 2nd guy to begin with. The spotter provides the security. Its taken as a given that the sniper can’t defend himself properly at close quarters, not while focusing on a long range target and armed with a blot rifle.

A scoped FAL will be accurate enough for all your needs, will do almost anything a bolt action 7.62 can do in terms of accuracy and with the added bonus of having semi auto speed with a 20 round mag, putting it in an entire different ball game the bolt rifle can even compete in. Granted, a one mile rifle it is not, but you also have to be realistic of the ranges you’ll be using the weapon as well. If you’re doing 800 yard shots you are not a survivalist, you’re not a lone citizen defending himself, and if I have to pick one, I’ll pick the hard hitting semi auto that can make the 300 yard shot, and not go for the 800 yard rifle that is almost of limited use within the more common 50 yard range or less, where 99% of the self defense situations occur.

Don Williams said…

1) Most countries who adopted the FN FAL liked it, aside from the weight. However, Israel dropped it and moved to develop the Galil (and AK-47 type design) because the IDF felt the FAL was prone to jamming in desert conditions (fine sand,etc.)

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FN_FAL#Production_and_use and
scroll down to Israel.

Its true that they dropped the FAL but the reports of problems with sand are just an excuse (Afghans bought Argentine FALs a while back, very happy with them… they have sand of all sorts too) Truth is Israel dropped the FAL because they were getting the M16 for free from USA. If you think the M16 is tougher than the FAL you have to stop using drugs. :-) But of course it sounds better to those that dont know any better if you say you are using something else because its better and not because its cheaper, or as in this case, downright free!

FerFAL


Comments

Assault rifles vs 7.62 Nato rifles — 23 Comments

  1. It is my understanding that the Israelis were using a very early version of the FAL. Other countries that used the latter version with a modified barrel did not have the same problem.

    When I was looking at emergency room fatalities, the 5.56 round did not do much better than pistols, while the full rifle rounds were much more deadly. As a note, shotguns were by far the deadliest (something like 75%).

    The bullpup version of the FAL or (or G-3 of Heckler Koch) might reduce some of the issues with barrel length; but I realize there are trade offs there as well.

    IMO if you are purely in a urban setting, and only thinking of humans or dogs as targets there is a good argument for a carbine (or shotgun) weapon. Particularly for home defense. But if you are going to be in a more open setting, and particularly if you are possibly going to use it to hunt medium to large game, the larger round with the longer range may be a better general purpose alternative.

    Of course if you have extensive training with a particular weapon, that would very much change the equation.

  2. 1) Re Ferfal's comment: "Even for snipers, the military now replaced the bolt action M24 Sniper Weapon System with a semi auto 7.62 AR, the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System.
    What does this tell you? Semi auto capability is important, even for designated marksmen. "

    Not everybody in the Army is happy about a semi-auto sniper rifle:

    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/08/army_sniper_080308w/

    Can the M110 shoot a 300 Winchester?

    3) We will seen how the M110 works out. The Army once used Semi-Auto Garands and M-14s for sniping –but eventually saw the reasons behind the Marine Corps preference for the Heavy barrel Remington M700 bolt action rifle and went with the bolt action.

    4) Re short range defense, my understanding is that snipers carry auxiliary weapons ( submachine guns, pistols like the 1911 or Beretta 92 9 mm,etc.) to defend themselves if surprised at close range (50 to 100 yards.)

    5) In my opinion, having a SHORT-barreled FN FAL removes one of the weapons greatest virtues: the ability to use the lengthy FAL as a crutch after you are shot in the leg by a guy with an AK-47. : )

  3. FerFal,

    Give me some advice on a semi-auto that can do double duty as a scoped hunting rifle and in a defensive role, probably 7.62 mm. Maybe Springfield M-14 or doesn't FN/Browning have something?

  4. The only weapon I like better than the FN-FAL in the original configuration with standard barrel length is the Browning M2 or perhaps the Dillion Aero. They all represent best of breed as measured in decades of service.

    Of course the M-14/M1A is a fine weapon, but it only exists because the US military morphed the Garand and didn't want to change platforms until the arrival of the M-16.

    Even with iron sights the FN-FAL is quite effective at 600 meters. The 16" barrel simply costs too much in velocity. Need a PDW? Buy a PDW. The MP5K is my favorite.

    I think there will have to be a quantum leap in technology before we see the 7.62X51 mm cartridge replaced with a smaller, lighter, more powerful round for use in an all around semi-auto battle rifle – similar to the quantum leap with smokeless powder versus black powder. But I might be a little biased.

  5. JMHO, but FAL's, AR's, AK's, etc… can be the basis for a fun hobby. But they're not a tool for 'realistic' survival situations, i.e. currency devaluation, high-unemployment, SHTF scenarios. I'm willing to be that FerFal doesn't drive around with a rifle in his car. But a 9mm? Yeah, he's probably got one handy.

    If you want to prepare for Mad Max scenarios by tramping around in the woods with your assault rifle dressed in camo, that's a hobby. It's not going to help you pay the utility bill or get enough income to move your family to a safer neighborhood (or safer country.)

    I'm sorry if that comes off as too harsh, but I've always appreciated the realistic and practical advice offered by this blog. There are plenty of other sites that indulge in Rambo/ Mad Max fantasies.

  6. Hi Anon, I agree that most of the time a handgun is what you have with you thus what you use, but you can keep a long arm at home or in the trunk of the car if legal in your location. You're not as likely to have it at hand when needed, but if you can it is a considerable force multiplier. I had a long arm with me once when I needed to be armed, not only is it more effective, more powerful, hell its pretty intimidating too.

    FerFAL

  7. I built a FAL which I had chopped to 16.25" and recrowned, had to drill open the gas system a good bit to get it to cycle reliably, but with a trijicon tr24 1×4 and some handloads it is a great piece from 3 to 500 yards. Headspaced it a little tighter than I would normally but not a problem over the past three years. In the event that the s truly htf a large round with greater chance of putting down an opponent and lower chance of only wounding would be very important

  8. I've spent a lot of time with both the 5.56 and the 7.62×51. I'll take the latter, particularly now that everyone's using ARs with 16 inch barrels. It's a ridiculous rd in a barrel that length, but it doesn't matter much when you have other weapons, including air and artillery weapons, at hand. It should be noted that the IDF has found the .22 long rifle (I believe they're using the Ruger 10/22?) to be a very affective sniper rd in the urban environments of the territories.

    At the end of the day it's personal preference, but I do remember quite well what happened to Vietnam Vets who decided to involve themselves in South Africa's civil war using the M-16. It was a war where organic infantry weapons were the only firepower available. They switched to the 7.62×51 very quickly. I'm also aware of the massive additions of 7.62X51mm weapons being added to infantry squads in Afghanistan. That alone should tell you something important.

    Knowing more than a little about Vietnam and Afghanistan it's not commonly understood that both the NVA and Mujaheddin squads had a qualitative advantage against the US and Russians squads respectively. The difference appears to be heavier and longer range bullets.

    Soldiers tend to see the world a lot differently then civilians. They are usually surrounded by their own and have a lot of firepower on call. Being involved in a SHTF scenario will mean that no one's coming to your rescue and if they do they'll be doing it with only what they can carry.

    Having run this test personally about a dozen times I recommend that anyone really interested in something more than a PSW (personal suicide weapon) try this. Find some heavy woods and set up an orange target about fifty ft away. Make sure you can still see it, but not too well. Shoot a magazine from each weapon, a twenty of 7.62 and a thirty rounder of 5.56, both from the hip. See how many hits you'll have with each caliber? That's usually enough to convince anyone of the utility of the 5.56. Although, it rarely seems to change their minds.

  9. I've only had the opportunity to do another test three times (three shooters all three times), all with a SOCOM 16 and M-4 (both have 16 inch barrels) but it's also interesting. Shoot a pie plate from the kneeling at 200 yards. These are the kind of real world tests that at least will give most people an idea of what's affective and best for them. I'm betting a lot less people will choose the 5.56 after these tests, but hey, who knows? I can say with some certainty that not many will choose the heavier weight of a 7.62 over the much lighter weight M-4 in 5.56, which seems to be the real value of the M-4 to soldiers, particularly if they've not had to rely on it as their only means of defense.

  10. A .308 (mine at least) has a surprisingly big muzzle jump, I almost want to put my hand above it to hold it down. And it's quite heavy compared to every other gun I've ever lugged… is there a way to determine if it is too heavy for a person?
    If someone asks me if they should get one too, do I say, "Sure, so long as you can bench press X amount of weight, you'll do ok, any less, get an AK." Or something similar? Because I'm not letting them lug and shoot my gun to find out… as someone once said, being nice is over rated.

    $5o per minute? Nope, it's mine. As mine as mine can get and I intend to keep it that way. Kind of what some desperate upside down U.S. homeowers might be saying about right now too, millions of them.

  11. "I'm sorry if that comes off as too harsh, but I've always appreciated the realistic and practical advice offered by this blog."

    If I were a betting man, I'd bet that person didn't read your book. I could be wrong of course, but that story you tell about your experience… I could see that happen all too easily anywhere in the U.S., especially in my city – it may just only be a matter of time,… for many people in the U.S., a leg (unemployment benefits) was kicked out from a three peg stool, what are they going to do now? Who knows? But many of those people are not stupid or weak, or the give up easy kind, and they might (as a group, along with the stupid and the weak, a.k.a. a mob with a mob mentality) take their frustration out on the productive members of society – the haves.

    Their lack of religious morality will not stop them.

    Or do they riot? I read on HBB some not-so-calm Connecticut realtors were threatening riots if the housing purchase rebates weren't extended, and they weren't kidding. Is everyone betting they'd all pussyfoot around and be nice rioters?
    With all the CCTV these days, riots might be spread out more? Sporadic, and spontaneous. 4GW? Suddenly 300 people show up next door… to the house of the guy that is in charge of giving out pink slips? …And they don't leave.

    Maybe they'll all get to live in the empty large homes in the rich neighborhoods via government redistribution scheme? It's not like they don't do something similar now with the middle class. Then one day because of budget cuts, welfare is reduced and those on the dole don't have enough to buy both food and alcohol and such, and cable TV… they're entitled to it they say,… the rich and the middle class have it, and like two year olds they'll try and take it? Without cable TV they'll have all day to plan… idle hands and all that.

    Or perhaps the VAT and other huge tax increases due to start in 2011 will do it for them? Suddenly the formerly rich or middle class person/family is temporarily living in lower income housing surrounded nightly by crowds of poor and demanding, unemployed, rock throwing, sharp stick carrying American idiots (Green Day). For years, all day half of them played combat and criminal video games, they think they're, "top dog master gang" now as they watch the former rich and middle class person unload groceries into their house.

    Then 20 million evacuees from the Gulf show up.

    Cities like Maywood, CA. have disbanded their local police force and now rely upon themselves and the Sherriff for protection and documentation. Is this a trend? Some say it's a good thing, a necessary thing, and an unavoidable thing.

    A car load or two of gang-bangers or laid off steroid enhanced police shows up in your neighborhood, and if they pre-planned it and can take their time,… well, .308 might be practical, and your neighbors might appreciate it.

    Not to mention the effects from emptying the prisons due to budget cuts, lots of people there are accustomed to three squares a day and a cot. Don't worry, to protect the… uh,… public, the worst of the released criminals and gang-bangers (gang-bangers who often work in groups) will be fitted with GPS tracking ankle bracelets.

    I would hope to be utterly incorrect, how-freaking-ever; history, math and the current trends suggest otherwise. And none of the above scenarios is Mad Max-like, more like a Gulag slow grind of crowded dog eat dog in increasing tempo.

  12. The example you give in your book about your experience, I could see that happen all too easily anywhere in the U.S., it may just only be a matter of time. For many people in the U.S., a leg (unemployment benefits) was kicked out from a three peg stool, what are they going to do now? Many of those people are not stupid or weak, or the give up easy kind, & they might (as a group, along with the stupid & the weak, a.k.a. a mob with a mob mentality) take their frustration out on the productive members of society – the haves.

    Their lack of religious morality will not stop them.

    Or do they riot? I read on HBB some not-so-calm Connecticut realtors were threatening riots if the housing purchase rebates weren't extended, and they weren't kidding. Is everyone betting they'd all pussyfoot around & be nice rioters?
    With all the CCTV these days, riots might be spread out more? Sporadic & spontaneous. 4GW? Suddenly 300 people show up next door, to the house of the guy that is in charge of giving out pink slips? And they don't leave.

    Maybe they'll all get to live in the empty large homes in the rich neighborhoods via government redistribution scheme? It's not like they don't do something similar now with the middle class. Then one day because of budget cuts, welfare is reduced & those on the dole don't have enough to buy both food & alcohol & such, and cable TV… they're entitled to it they say,… the rich & the middle class have it, like two year olds they'll try & take it? Without cable TV they'll have all day to plan… idle hands & all that.

    Or perhaps the VAT & other huge tax increases due to start in 2011 will do it for them? Suddenly the formerly rich or middle class person/family is temporarily living in lower income housing surrounded nightly by crowds of poor & demanding, unemployed, rock throwing, sharp stick carrying American idiots (Green Day). For years, all day half of them played combat & criminal video games, they think they're, "top dog master gang" now as they watch the former rich & middle class person unload groceries into their house.

    Then 20 million evacuees from the Gulf show up.

    Cities like Maywood, CA. have disbanded their local police force & now rely upon themselves & the Sherriff for protection & documentation. Is this a trend? Some say it's a good thing, a necessary thing, & an unavoidable thing.

    A car load or two of gang-bangers or laid off steroid enhanced police shows up in your neighborhood & if they pre-planned it & can take their time,… well, 308 might be practical & your neighbors might appreciate it.

    Not to mention the effects from emptying the prisons due to budget cuts, lots of people there are accustomed to three squares a day & a cot. Don't worry, to protect the uh… public, the worst of the released criminals & gang-bangers (gang-bangers who often work in groups) will be fitted with GPS tracking ankle bracelets.

    I would hope to be utterly incorrect, how-freaking-ever; history, math and the current trends suggest otherwise. And none of the above scenarios is Mad Max-like, more like a Gulag slow grind of crowded dog eat dog in increasing tempo.

  13. To be honest I think this is a Ford vs Chevy, McDonalds vs Burger King kind of discussion.

    For soldiers facing gunfights past 300 meters either a .308 or a .223 with a 20" barrel and a heavier bullet really helps. That being said in all but the worst mad max scenario you're not going to have that happen as an individual. No way you could justify that unless they happened to be shooting at you with a rifle.

    I almost hate to say it but as an individual for realistic self defense scenarios any decent magazine fed rifle like an AK, AR, Fal, HK-91, M1A, Mini 14, etc will probably work. A rifle is pretty much a rifle.

  14. I have a feeling that soldiers in Afghanistan, if facing serious hand-held weapons opposition, call in an air strike rather than try to snipe each other at 600 yards.

    Where I live is very dense forest with a lot of hills. Outside of interstate roads, the massive clearings for electricity poles close to power stations, or a pine plantation clear cut, I've probably never seen more than 300 yards in a straight line unless I was travelling to another region.

    How many opportunities does a survivalist have for long range rifle exchanges? If it is close range, wouldn't it be better to use a different weapon? If it is at long range, wouldn't it be better to leave the area (unless you've got a mob sieging your house, I guess)?

  15. IMO, the FAL is a great battle rifle (I've not shot it but did own an M1A for quite some time). Compared to a 5.56mm arm it wins hands down except for its 10 lbs (unloaded) weight (plus optics, mag, ammo 13 lbs or more).

    The 5.56×45 is most effective in the 77 grain OTM load, which is hard to get and (like other quality ammo) $1/shot.

    For those wishing to have a 0-300 yd effective range in a light-weight package, get a 6.8×43 upper for your AR.

    On a Cavalry Arms nylon lower you have a complete gun at 5 lb, 13 oz. Add a scope and loaded mag and it still is well below 8 lb.

    With expanding or fragmenting bullets (e.g. Sierra Pro Hunter or Hornady VMAX, respectively) you have performance almost equal to 7.62 NATO with similar bullets, and better than M80 ball.

    I've been very happy with AR15Performance.com for what it's worth.

  16. It seems that everyone loves a good caliber debate ;)

    People clearly have their personal favorites. I haven't found a lightweight rifle as handy as a semi-auto AR with a 16" barrel. 16" is the shortest you can get in the US without a tax stamp, yet it's still long enough to give 3000 fps velocity. Accurate, handy and easy to shoot with very low recoil – what's not to like?

    It's hard to imagine a situation (short of a civil war) where you will need to shoot in self defense at more than about 100 yards. Heck, shoot anyone beyond about 10 yards and you can expect a hard day in court.

    The real question is this: What is the purpose of the rifle? No rifle does everything perfectly. Pick your rifle to suit your application, simple as that.

  17. There are different tools for different environments and the skill level of the user. First start with the reliability of the tools in all situations you anticipate. Consider if the user can adequately repair the rifle when it fails. It will fail. Is it easy to maintain? Which rifle is the most reliable with the least amount of maintainence? How do I lubricate the rifle in subzero temperatures, or in heavy rain? Should I run it dry? Are you really a gunsmith? Will there be a full set of replacement parts?

    There is far more to consider, theoretical and practical, than most can imagine, and I ain't no ex-pert. Reliabilty is the first issue to consider. It must go bang everytime time, all the time. If the distances are great, a good old bolt action military rifle is a better choice than a modern scoped hunting rifle. If one has extensive time and understanding of an AR, that's your rifle. However fine or reputable a given platform has proven to be in the past, does it into fit your situation? Whatever is chosen, have at least two, one as a back up. Can you afford two $1400 dollar rifles. If a novice without the extensive time to learn how to properly care and maintain, be your own gunsmith, and do not know of the weakeness of a particular type of rifle, then get the rifle that childeren use because they can and do. Get the rifle that needs no mention.

    a

  18. The fine folks at AR15.com continue to host among the most useful of discussions regarding this thread (page down to rifle data).

    http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm#9mm

    Above all, we see that from .224" to .308" diameters, full metal jacket bullets are not nearly as disabling as are bullets with demonstrated, reliable expansion/fragmentation. Bullets that fragment too early may create horrific wounds without immediate incapacity while bullets that are too hard (FMJ) often create very narrow wound channels.

    The 7.62×51 comes into its own with fragmenting bullets in the 150-165 grain weights, and the 6.8×43 is nearly as good with expanding/fragmenting bullets. The 7.62×39 also clearly benefits from expanding bullets.

    For the civilian relying on a semi-auto (and not a squad with full-autos and air support), making each shot count appears wise. Choosing among the better bullets still matters in the rifle zone. Cheap bullets may suffice for practice, but quality defensive ammo is usually at least $1/bang in any caliber.

    One choice is the 6.8×43 AR15. Light, short, scopes beautifully (try the LaRue SPR mount), accurate, and endlessly customizable (e.g. left handed safeties & mag releases, myriad stocks, match triggers, etc.). Spare parts are also plentiful. Just remember what the experts say: Run an AR "wet."

  19. remember before you compare hunting 223 ammo to 308 ball that 308 hunting ammo is readily available

    although my experience with soft-points in semi autos has been less than satisfactory other alternatives have proven very effective

  20. Excellent discussion

    IMHO in a post SHTF situation, from a Euro point of vue.

    AK-47 has proven to be he cheapest assault rifle to manufacture. I am talking of low quality models.

    Cheaper to manufacture ==> more prevalent ==> easier to find ammo on a black market

    I would also say that the weight difference is quite significant, so his clip-size.

    As others said, I don't really see the point of 200 meters accuracy in any kind of civilian DEFENSE scenario

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