5 Great, but Overlooked, Semi Automatic Rifles

Most American shooters are very fond of their AR15s or AK pattern rifles, but in this episode of TFBTV we take a look at some lesser known competitors that a great majority of the shooting public are not generally aware of.

Firearm featured:
Gwinn Bushmaster Rifle
Beretta AR70
Daewoo K1A1
Robinson M96
Valmet M76

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The full transcript of the video is below …

– Hey guys, this is Alex and Patrick with another TFB TV video, today’s topic is five overlooked semi-automatic rifles.

These guns mostly are no longer made and imported into the U.S. or made in the U.S.

– Actually, I don’t think any of them are still made.

– No, none of them actually.

Well, some of them are still made, just not in the U.S.

– Oh, yeah.

– Anyways guys, what we have are five guns that are overlooked by most people, because they’re not common most of the time.

They didn’t sell well, in some cases, in some cases they sold really well, and actually provided some ammunition for the ’89 import ban.

That was kind of, before 1989, there was a slew of all kinds of crazy tactical rifles being imported, and then in ’89, they decided to halt crime, it would be a good idea to stop the importation of foreign, what they would call assault rifles, but are not assault rifles, as they are semi-automatic only.

– Yes, these are modern sporting rifles.

– Yeah, absolutely.

So let’s start off with the first one, which is probably the ugliest gun on the table.

And arguably in the– – Yeah, it’s pretty cool though.

– In my collection, but this is A– – No, it’s not the ugliest one in the collection.

– Uh, maybe not.

But anyways, maybe that’s a good five guns top.

– Five ugly guns.

– But this is a Gwinn Firearms Bushmaster rifle.

It predates the Gwinn Firearms, predates the Bushmaster company, basically it’s a rifle version of a pistol called the Bushmaster ARM pistol, or the arm pistol, I’m not sure it the originals were under the Bushmaster moniker or not.

But it was basically adapted with that same kind of weird long-stroke piston, you can see the piston on the top, it’s actually exposed.

So it’d be like running an AK almost without a gas tube.

But it’s not really something you can see that would impact your hand, unless you wrap around the bolt, then you’d have you know it’s reciprocating– – I don’t think Chris Costa would like it.

– Yeah, you’re going to get hurt anyway.

– But, it’s got a really nice folding stock, I mean, that it’s slab side aluminum, it’s you know, if it weren’t for the barrel being a very heavy profile, it would be a very light gun.

– It would.

– But that’s a very thick barrel, that’s definitely at least Colt HBAR diameter, if not larger.

– Yeah, I’ll agree with you on that.

But it’s very front heavy. – Yeah.

– Which, you know– – It’s a big stainless twenty inch barrel in there.

– Yeah.

– But I’m not really sure why they made, I mean, I know exactly why they made it, to make a profit, like anybody makes anything, but I’m sure they thought it would compliment their arm pistol will, but it didn’t, because nobody’s heard of it.

As a matter of fact, this is serial number, less than 50, so yeah, very low serial number, they obviously didn’t sell very well.

– I think 43. – Yeah.

So, at serial number 43, I don’t think they turned out a whole bunch of these things.

– No, but it is a very cool gun.

And you know, kind of overlooked.

– Yeah, definitely overlooked. – Yeah.

A couple of things I don’t like about it, one is, you know, obviously the unsightliness of it.

But, another thing is, so I don’t sweep you here, the back of the grip, it’s not contoured.

It’s almost– – It’s almost like they had the ARM pistol and then it was an afterthought, someone at the factory was like, I bet we can make this a rifle and sell it.

– Yeah. – And then they did, and now, you know, we’ve got these.

– But, it’s a cool looking gun, I do like the wood on it.

– That’s all you, my friend.

– I didn’t say pretty, I said cool.

– Yeah, ok.

It’s kind of got that retro ’80s style to it.

– I mean, prior to that– – Got the weird Stoner 63 sight on the back kind of.

– I’m thinking like first SWAT team ever might use something that looked like this, with, you know, their– – Golly gee.

– Mesh backed hats with the rope going across the junction between the brim and cap.

– Maybe. – Kind of thing.

– Who knows? But anyways, it’s an overlooked gun.

– Yes.

– Other than that, there’s not much negative or positive I can say about it.

It’s a gun, it takes AR-15 magazines and fires 556.

So if you need something that fits that bill, this might do it for you.

– Maybe. – Yeah.

Anyways, onto the next one.

This is a very overlooked firearm.

This is a Beretta AR70.

Now the AR70 was actually the mainstay still is, the AR70/90 is the main rifle of the Italian armed forces, it’s now being supplemented by the ARX160, which is a horrible gun, as we tested.

– Yeah.

– It’s just, I’m sorry guys, I’m sorry about it.

If you got one and you like it, whatever.

But I tested a lot of guns for the blog, and that’s probably the only one I’ve tested where I was just like, wow, I have to write a bad review.

– Yeah.

– Cause this is a great gun.

– We were at the range shooting and I was like, this is just terrible.

But, whenever you pick this up, I came very close to saying this is proof that Beretta can produce a good rifle.

– We actually marked this as proof Beretta can make a great modern rifle.

– Yes.

– It’s got nice AK rock in, rock out magazines, all steel, very similar to galil magazine, it’s got a dust cover, that’s hinged like an M16, good sights, just a very solid feeling rifle.

I’m rattling it and you can’t hear it at all.

– I do like it, it feels nice in the hands.

It’s a very cool looking gun.

– Oh, something that’s weird, is the flash hider, isn’t actually separate, it’s the, kind of a barrel shroud setup.

So if you unscrew that, you’ve just got bare barrel under there.

– That’s a very thin bare barrel.

– Yeah, so I’m not exactly sure why they did that.

Maybe it helps with suppressors– – I may have– – Blind firing adapter– – Either that or possibly rifle grenades.

– Yeah.

– I don’t know if that was something that would have been fielded right around this time– – If you ever served in the Italian military, maybe chime in and let us know what that was used for, I’m really curious.

– Absolutely.

– But it’s got a very nice feel to it.

– It does.

I mean, it shoulders well.

– Truly, it’s a good looking firearm, too.

Handsome firearm. – It is.

– Unlike the last firearm, that’s pretty ugly.

But, what’s funny is these, I’ve always heard a rumor these got in the country kind of under Beretta’s nose, because when I got the box for this, it says, congratulations on your purchase of a new Beretta shotgun, model AR70, gauge 223.

So I’m thinking, hmm, there might be some truth to that.

Cause I’ve heard that they got in by way of some un-traditional, nontraditional methods.

– I don’t know.

– Which would be cool, if true.

I haven’t seen many of these on the market, but they are overlooked, not a lot of American shooters know about them.

Cool looking guns, though.

– Yeah, I wish Beretta had brought this here, though.

– Me too. Well, they did, it’s here.

– I mean, yes. – In your hand.

– I mean– – I wish they hadn’t been banned by import.

– That’s a better way of saying it, yes.

– Banned from import.

Which is exactly the case with the next gun.

Which is probably one of the most proven and tested guns on the table, that’s going to be the Daewoo K1A1.

K1, I’m not sure if it has a roll mark for an A1 or not.

– Um, it does. – Ok, K1A1.

Anyways, the Daewoo’s both the K1 and the K2 are both great, however, they’re both different, a little bit.

The K2’s a gas piston gun, the K1 is a direct impingement. – Yes.

– If you look at the carrier, it looks like a Ar 15 Bolt Carrier chopped in half, and you’ll notice it doesn’t have a buffer tube.

Because it has a top spring arrangement, kind of.

It’s kind of a hooked type deal, like a 6556.

– Yeah.

– But, it’s a truly fantastic gun, the Koreans really did their homework.

They took the elements that worked best of an Ar 15 and they deleted what I consider as one of the worst parts of the Ar 15, which is the buffer tube, not that the buffer tubes are susceptible to breaking, but because they eliminated the buffer tube, they have an excellent collapsible stock.

And it’s got two positions, or three positions, all the way closed, like Patrick has it.

It’s got position one, and position two if you’ve got long arms like I do.

Obviously, you guys have probably seen the pictures of Korean soldiers on the DMZ and stuff, and there were some pretty monstrously big dudes.

I’m not sure if they station the biggest dudes on the DMZ– – I think they do.

– They probably do.

– I think it’s an intimidation tactic.

– Probably is.

Your average North Korean is a lot shorter than your average South Korean.

– I know the North Koreans actually picked their guards based on stature alone.

– It sounds, I mean it’s a good thing to do I guess when you’re trying to show force.

But it’s a fantastic firearm, and it’s reliable, it’s very reliable– – It is.

– And I’d like to thank the viewers from Korea for giving us these.

And keep on keeping on.

I’d like to have a K2, but I’ve been looking for one, you know I’ve been looking for a nice K2 for– – Yes, you have, I mean, I think I came across one a little while ago and it sold very quickly.

– Yeah.

Unfortunately, they’re hard to find because they’re very sought-after.

They’re very, very revered in the U.S.

Same with these though, these are great guns.

– They are.

– You know when I got this, how happy I was, I was like, man you’re not going to believe what I got.

What? A Daewoo.

– I looked at you like you were stupid.

Because in America, they’re not viewed as good cars.

– Right.

– And I wasn’t aware of Daewoo being a firearms manufacturer, at the time.

– Yeah.

So we took it to the 4th of July shoot that year, and everyone who shot it, loved it.

– I really do love this gun.

I mean, it’s really pretty fantastic.

– It even uses like an almost direct copy of the Ar 15 fire control group, too.

– It does.

– At least in the semi-auto form.

It’s got the same, you can even look, the lower looks like very Ar 15 like, it’s aluminum obviously, but it’s got a, some different machining, although the Magwell is almost identical.

– The controls are a little bit more stretched than the Ar 15 is, it’s easier to reach everything.

– The short story is, if you like the Ar 15, you’ll almost feel right at home on this gun.

– Yes, I mean, something I do want to touch on is it’s very light.

– Oh yeah. – It handles very well.

So, I mean, if you’re looking for something that’s not an Ar 15– – Korea’s Ar 15, right there. – Yes.

– I don’t know if North Korea has an Ar 15.

Probably not.

Anyways, we’ve got the Rob Arms M96 next.

I’ve taken this to the range a couple times, and most, almost everybody goes, whoa man, how’d you get a Stoner 63? And I’ll say, it’s not a Stoner 63 it’s Rob Arms M96.

Now there are very few interchangeable parts with the Stoner 63, I believe the shoulder stock and only one other component actually interchanges.

However, it does kind of use the same operating system, gas piston and all.

They can even be converted to top feed with a Bren Kit at the time.

However, Robinson Arms no longer makes this gun.

It was a commercial failure, people kind of looked at it and thought, that’s an ugly gun, I’d rather have an Ar 15, it’s a ban era gun, the American 1994 or 2004– – There’s a lack of a bayonet lug.

– No bayonet lug, no removable flash hider, no threaded barrel, just an integral kind of crummy muzzle brake.

– And our friends over at Iraq Veteran 8888 just did a video on this gun.

– Yeah, I saw that they did that, that’s cool.

I like that they’re showcasing some of these old, unusual guns. – Yes.

– That’s actually probably one of our favorite Youtube channels.

– It is.

– He does, they do a great job over there.

You know, this is a cool gun, it’s got adjustable gas, it’s got nice controls, it’s, I really wish I had the Bren Kit, just to show how it could be converted to top feed, cause that’s just awesome.

– That would be cool.

– Although, I guess I can show how the barrel comes out, you just pull the, lock the thing, there’s a button, press the button, there’s your barrel.

Then you could put in your top feed barrel and you flip the magazine well to the top with just one pin and stuff, and that’s all there is to it.

I will put the barrel back in.

Now, last up is a gun that we’re very fond of, you guys have seen us talk about it before, probably.

– Yep. This is one of our top five Ak’s.

– Yeah, this is the Finnish Valmet or Valmet.

I’m not 100% sure how that’s pronounced.

I think it’s Valmet. Whatever.

Anyways, basically the Valmet’s are we call them Valmet’s here in the United States because that’s kind of a misnomer.

It’d be like calling all Ar 15’s Colts.

– Yes.

– Because Valmet is a company in Finland that makes all kinds of different firearms.

It’s more accurate to call these RK Variants the RK’s are the backbone of the Finnish armed forces, they’re basically hot-rodded AK Variants that have been accurized, that have features that I find endearing, such as night sights– – The peep sights.

– The peep sights, a gas tube guide, kind of a piston with like little arms on it that guide it in the tube to eliminate some slop.

– Yeah, it’s kind of a bushing, almost, – Not to mention a kind of a neat wooden laminate stock.

– Oh, it looks very nice. – Yeah. Looks nice.

And the gun just handles well.

It’s very light for being an Ak Variant.

And it’s a very endearing gun, not to mention it’s got the goofiest wire cutter in the world.

Where you twist the wire up into the trident, pull the trigger, and then your round cuts the wire.

Which technically is a wire cutter– – I guess. – But a very loud one.

Louder than a set of dikes, for sure.

– Yes.

– But anyways, this trigger is so light it actually won our trigger pull test.

If you, I did an old article a while back.

– I think it was what 3.2 pounds or something.

– 3.12 pounds or something trigger.

And it’s a very nice two-stage trigger that’s just crisp, I mean crisp as you can imagine.

– In terms of, you know, out of the rifles on the table, this might be my favorite at the range.

– I would probably take the Daewoo.

I more familiar, I like the control layout a little better.

– Yeah.

– And the sighting arrangement.

– You’re not as much of a fan of the Ak pattern rifles as I am, I think this would be my pick.

– Fair enough.

That’s not a shameful pick at all, guys.

But anyways, this is a good list of five rifles that are overlooked, you probably won’t see them in a whole lot of gun stores, but if you do some looking around on Gun Broker, maybe if you’re interested in one, they’re out there, and you’ll find them for sale, occasionally.

The prices seem to be kind of steady, because people don’t know about them.

– Yeah. It’s an accurate statement.

I have seen these hover, these have gone up in price a little bit, the Daewoos have, in recent years.

– Maybe more awareness of– – Possibly, and I think there were a couple other Youtube channels out there working on videos on them.

– Yeah.

I know that the Koreans love those Daewoo rifles over in South Korea.

– And I mean, rightfully too. – Yeah.

– I mean, they’re such a good gun.

– Anyways guys, that covers our list for the top five most, best overlooked rifles, semi-automatic rifles.

Stay tuned for more top fives and some other shooting videos we have coming out.

We love to review these, we’d also like to thank Ventura Munitions, they’re going to be providing some ammo for some of our upcoming videos, which is awesome.

– And Grizzly Targets are going to be providing some Ar500 targets for us to go ahead and shoot at.

– Yeah. Good targets for us to shoot at.

That way we can put the Go Pros on the targets and that kind of thing, but until next time, I’m Alex.

– And I’m Patrick.

– Thanks for watching TFB TV, if you liked what you saw, hit that subscribe and thank you very much for watching.

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Al

    The Gwinn Bushmaster is not overlooked, it is completely forgotten. For a reason; they were poorly designed and shoddily manufactured. I had one in the mid eighties, used it several times in training, and got rid of it quick. The most memorable thing about it was the safety detent and spring shooting out and the selector falling off, merely from flipping it to “fire”.

    • Edward Franklin

      As an owner of a Bushmaster Bushmaster Assault Rifle ( it’s actually stamped on the receiver) I can attest to some rather slipshod construction quality. Mine has had its pivot and takedown pin mounts rewelded after they cracked but despite that the gun is painfully simplistic and easy to keep running. But it is probably better off forgotten.

      • jcitizen

        It was a lot of fun to shoot the Bushmaster bullpup pistol though. The two top bolts on the receiver promptly broke, so we went down to the auto parts store and replaced them with some chromey looking things, which we hated, but they never broke again.

        Ended up trading it in for a Valmet bullpup.

  • MrEllis

    Who transcribes that? Thanks for the vid, enjoyed it.

  • Pete Sheppard

    Good vid; thanks!
    My unrequited desire is for a folding-stock Daewoo. Back in the late ’80s, I read a Chuck Taylor review of the side-folding stock model, of which he thought very highly–more than the AR, IIRC. Right after came the bans, so I was SOL. I did see a ban-compliant rifle later, with a thumbhole stock and the fixed ‘suppressor’. Appearance-wise, the piston setup gave it something of an AK appearance to my eye.

    • Wolfgar

      I still have Chuck Taylor’s SWAT magazine rifle reviews adition. It is fun to look back and reminisce of the good- ol days when citizens were free and trusted with all kinds of semi and full auto firearms. Now I’m getting depressed thinking about how times have changed. SAD!

      • Dan

        If only we knew then what we know now.

  • That guy.

    Great video! I believe you meant ARX180 not ARX160 (22lr). I hope the Italians aren’t using the 22lr in their Armed Forces.

  • Mag2

    Cool videos guys.

  • Lance

    Good video makes yearn for the good old days before 1989!

    Though id switch two the Bushmaster rifle would be replaced by the Bushmaster Bullpup (preban) it was as close to the British L-85 as a American can get. And replace the Robinson M-96 for the brefly imported CHinese Type-81 which only was imported for a month before HW Bush banned importation of them.

    Your opinion Alex!

  • John Doe

    Alex C sad thing that happen all those great assault rifles was they all got ban right out country under first assault rifle ban from early 1990 when was passed none those rifles recover from that. So pretty much kill them off on US gun market until first assault rifle ban went away. There fact ak47 and Ar15 took way market for those semi auto rifle that why market look like does today. There fact most rifle on your list on used gun market cost 3 times the price used compare buy brand new top end new Ak47 or Ar15. Good luck find affordable spare parts most those firearms no longer made some magazines used for those rifle hard find pricey. Yes they where great rifles in there time but know the pricey obscure collector items for people can afford buy them. Yes if I did have hold up bank buy any these rifles I own one or two but are any better than top end Ar15 or Ak47 I think not for price.

  • Hanski

    Valmet stands for Valtion metalli which translates to governments metal. Thats the name of the government owned company back in the days. Great video!

  • J-

    What do all of these guns have in common? Banned by name from import by the Clinton 1993 AWB. The small supply of these guns that made it into the country before the AWB dried up fast by collectors. A few, like the Daewoo got horrible thumb hole stocks that couldn’t be removed, and so nobody wanted them.

    • Wolfgar

      Actually George Bush senior banned foreign semi assault rifles because they were not considered sporting rifles. Clinton banned domestic so called assault weapons with evil looking gun parts.

      • J-

        I know the Bush ban nabbed things like the SPAS 12, but I thought these guns were still legal under that. H&K was bringing in H&K 91’s until the AWB. Springfield Armory was also bringing in Greek H&K 91 clones (SAR-8) until the AWB as well. I know these guns are mentioned by name in the AWB.

        • Wolfgar

          No, Bush banned all foreign made semi auto assault rifles including the ones you mentioned after the Sacramento shooting if my memory serves me correctly. Clinton then banned domestic assault weapons with the undesirable folding stocks, flash hiders etc and normal capacity magazines. I was in the process of purchasing an MP-5 sub gun when the 1986 full auto ban occured. Then George Bush banned the foreign semi autos when I was about to purchase a Chinese AK-47 Legend . Then I had to purchase second hand expensive normal capacity Glock mags when Clinton did his dog and pony show. It seems like every time I saved up to get what I wanted the Marxist’s would trip me up.

          • Wolfgar

            The thumb hole stock versions were allowed under Bush but Clinton did go further and banned those. I should have clarified this better.

          • jcitizen

            Yeah, but depending on what state you were in, if you replaced enough parts with American made ones it made it legal. Also magazines for some high cap weapons could be bought in kit form for “repair parts” Heh! Heh!

        • Leigh Rich

          Also made a Street Sweeper a DD classification.

    • Leigh Rich

      It can be removed. I’d replaced my DR200 stock with an ACE folding stock Daewoo’s Hillary Hole stock was the best one on the market however back then.

      • J-

        It can be removed, but if you swapped it out during the AWB you made an illegal assault rifle.

        • Leigh Rich

          Ah yes but the Federal ban sunsetted in 2004. 11 years ago. At least in my state about anything goes

          • J-

            I should have clarified my statement. The thumb hole stock could be removed physically but could not be removed legally during the AWB. This was one of the features that precipitated the commercial failure of the Daewoo. Most thumb hole stock design guns did not fare well. The thumb hole version of the HK91 the Springfield Armory SL8 died off in 1997. The H&K SL8 never attracted much interest. It was easier to make a domestically manufactured rifle AWB legal without a thumb hole stock. Companies like Century Arms got nearly finished overseas guns and finished the manufacturing here in the US to be legally compliant. The CETME and Brazilian FALs are examples, usually with welded in muzzle breaks and chopped off bayonet lugs.

            Now that the AWB has expired, you can put a regular pistol grip and stock on it, but it is too little too late as new ones are not being imported, if they are even being manufactured.

          • Leigh Rich

            Not to go into great detail but you have to change more than just the stock to be compliant. Also The Daewoo is still in use by the S. Korean Military. The butt hole stock was not the reason it did not come back. The US Government imposed import restrictions on the Daewoos. As we did China and Russia.

  • Spiker

    I have a Valmet M76 & love it. The only fault with it is the brittle bakalite butt plate. Very prone to breaking, which mine has. Set it down muzzle up on a hard surface such as concrete roughly & the butt plate will break.

  • Squirreltakular

    Awesome freakin video, guys. I’d never even heard of the Gwinn.

  • Dan

    For the love of all things holy Patrick quit swinging the guns around, just sit still and hold it! You’re worse than Michael Bane.

    • jcitizen

      Heh! I know what you mean; but I really could barely see the features on these old horses, so I was glad he did – it helped show them off.

      • Dan

        Ok, Patrick slowly move them in front of the camera to give us all a good look at their features!

  • Leigh Rich

    AR 15s are so much lower priced than them. I have a Valmet and a Daewoo

  • jcitizen

    I was surprised by the accuracy of my Valmet M62 rifle when I first received it, as I didn’t consider the 7.62x39mm as much of a long range round. But I immediately was able to hit fairly small targets from more than a quarter of a mile! I said to myself, “the Russians have these?”. I was just a kid and didn’t know the difference between Finnish quality and the typical Russian machined receiver.

    I killed many a wild dog, and sometimes luckily from 1/2 mile. It took more that one shot, usually, but that is what 30rd mags are for right!? If you don’t push the envelope you won’t know. I never did put optical sights on it, and that would have been very useful to say the least.

  • Pete Sheppard

    Thanks. I hope it gets a good home…$1800 is a bit more than ‘only’ for me right now…:( *sigh*

  • alb0290

    Kinda ripping off the Iraqveteran’s youtube top 5 vids. These two guys videos more or less is what they have access to rather than what is the best fit for each case. I.E – The k2 is a better rifle than the k1 but since they don’t have a k2 they chose the k1