28 June 14
“Fate makes no appointments, nor does it wait on any man! You have to be alert and ready the instant it arrives. Even then, there are no guarantees!”
More comments on modern military rifles, from friends in the industry:
“Several decades ago, ‘light’ sporting rifles, intended for rough-country and mountain hunting, became all the rage. Gun-rags were filled with articles and ads, excitedly describing virtues of these guns. The discriminating hunter just had to have one!
One company’s offering of four-pound guns even included one chambered for 300 WM. Nothing I’d want to shoot!
This remarkable lightness was achieved by extensively removing ‘noncritical’ metal: deeply fluting already skinny barrels, selecting (bolt) actions with the smallest dimensions and sometimes even removing metal from these, ‘swiss-cheese’ perforations of the magazine box, and plunking this minimal metalwork into skinny, fiberglass stocks.
Did they run?
Sure, in the short term. But, they’re pretty much gone now, because, no matter how thoughtfully constructed, they were nowhere near as rugged and durable as whatever one would consider a ‘standard’ hunting rifle.
In addition, anyone can fire ‘a few rounds’ through nearly any rifle, but, with extensive use, punishing recoil quickly sheds its glamour!
Jeff Cooper’s ‘Scout Rifle,’ in 308, represents the upper limit for most shooter’s ability to tolerate repetitive shots. Its design concept is that it will be shot once, maybe twice, then moved. Recoil may not be actually painful for some, but it is definitely there, especially with heavy bullets.
So, when you want the convenience of feathery ordnance, you’ve got to be willing to absorb the punishment. And, you must also confront the fact that the rifle’s useful life may be limited to just a few thousand rounds. ‘High-impact’ plastic is still plastic!
To paraphrase Cooper, lightweight weapons are ‘carried a lot, but seldom shot.’ Maybe an acceptable philosophy for rifles intended for recreational purposes. On the other hand, a rifle intended for serious fighting may also be carried a lot and seldom shot. But, when it is shot, it will be shot a lot and will get hot and dirty in the process. And, when there is one such episode, chances are there will be more, soon, before you’ve had an opportunity to clean it!
Thus, toughness and durability are why military rifles tend to be ‘chubby,’ at least by sporting standards. To quote custom gunmaker, Roger Green, ‘It’s easier to take ten pounds off the shooter than ten ounces off the rifle.’”
“John, I have a problem with this whole weight issue! Like you, I have hiked/run many kilometers in ‘operational areas,’ during the Bush War in Africa, while carrying personal weapons and ammunition. I seldom complained about inherent weight and bulk, particularly during active contact. I was glad I had my R1, and the enemy didn’t!
The R1 (SA’s version of the FAL, in 7.62×51) is my all-time favorite battle rifle. When the terr hides behind a tree, just go through the tree!
Those were the days, my friend, and ‘we were there!’”
“Military rifles and carbines have a hard enough time holding themselves together when ‘working’ parts are all metal, at least when they are subjected to the number of rounds and heat that might be deemed adequate for the user to become familiar and proficient with the piece.
All break sooner or later, but ‘later’ is preferred!
I share your skepticism of plastics, and calling them ‘polymers’ does not magically improve their suitability.
Or, maybe I’m just old-fashioned in thinking that a rifle manufactured today should still be functional and eminently ready for service in 50 or 100 years, like most firearms made 50 or 100 years ago!”
It’s the same, old story:
“If you can’t take the heat, don’t get married!”
When in the middle of a fight, few things are more frightening that the thought of having a broken rifle in your hands! Military organizations have a system in place for fixing/replacing broken rifles. As individuals, we don’t and likely won’t!
So, when a rifle is all that stands between me and certain death, I want one that is not going to break, or otherwise stop running, at an inconvenient time, despite excessive heat, dirt, and continuous lack of maintenance!
Happily, there are many acceptable choices. However, as the election season draws near, inventories will begin to shrink once more. Now is the time to insure your are adequately armed and trained!
The Test is coming!
“I see no marriage fail sooner… than such as are conducted for beauty’s sake”
Michel De Montaigne