TFB’s Rifle (And Subgun) Weight Omnibus – How Heavy is Your Rifle? (Part 2 of 3)

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(This is Part 2 of the TFB Rifle Weight Omnibus. You can read Part 1 here.)

In October, I traveled out to see my co-writer Alex C. to collect data on the weights of different long guns and some of their components. Over that weekend, I weighed 58 rifles and submachine guns, and numerous magazines, bolts, bolt carriers, and other miscellaneous items. The purpose of this was not only to collate a general list of the weights of different weapons, but to be able to enhance the accuracy of a previous spreadsheet I’d produced showing the loaded “combat” weights of different rifles; that being available at this link.

Note 1. The weights on the scale are in kilograms, period, grams. Therefore, if the scale reads “3.425”, that should be read “three kilograms, four-hundred twenty-five grams”. If the scale reads “3. 25”, that should be read “three kilograms, twenty-five grams”. I realize most of my readers probably are more familiar with pounds than they are kilograms, so the weights have been converted in the text body. The conversion factor I am using, for those who want to check my work – please do, by the way – is 2.205 pounds per kilogram.

Note 2. Where practical, I removed slings before weighing rifles, however, some rifles were weighed with their slings attached. In some of these cases, the slings have their weight bearing on the table, effectively removing them from the rifle, but it still should be noted that the weight of the slings may be throwing off these values, slightly. Where the slings are fully on the scale with the rifle, this should be made obvious by the image. Most cotton and leather slings have a similar weight, so this can be subtracted from the value shown on the scale to give bare rifle weight, if desired. I weighed a USGI cotton web sling, which came out to 0.126 kilograms, or 0.278 pounds. Leather slings will vary a lot, but a USGI leather M1907 sling weighs approximately 0.320 kilograms, or 0.706 pounds.

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Now, without further ado, I present my findings on the unloaded weights of these weapons, and the weights of their magazines, in alphabetical order.

 

31. M1903A3 SPRINGFIELD

Weight, Rifle: 3.944 kg, 8.697 lb

Weight, Magazine: N/A

1010151214

 

32. M1917 ENFIELD

Weight, Rifle: 4.350 kg, 9.592 lb

Weight, Magazine: N/A

1010151213b

 

33. M1941 JOHNSON

Weight, Rifle: 4.648 kg, 10.249 lb

Weight, Magazine: N/A

1010151215a

 

34. MADSEN MODEL 1947

Weight, Rifle: 3.934 kg, 8.674 lb

Weight, Magazine: N/A

1010151302a

 

35. MAS 49-56

Weight, Rifle: 3.942 kg, 9.138 lb

Weight, Magazine: 0.202 kg, 0.445 lb

1009151017 1009151020f

 

36. MASTERPIECE ARMS MPAR-556

Weight, Rifle: 4.038 kg, 8.904 lb

Weight, Magazine: Same as 8, 0.106 kg, 0.234 lb

1009152144a

 

37. MODEL OF 1892 SPRINGFIELD-KRAG-JORGENSEN RIFLE

Weight, Rifle: 4.242 kg, 9.354 lb

Weight, Magazine: N/A

1010151212

 

38. MODEL OF 1895 LEE RIFLE 6MM

Weight, Rifle: 4.018 kg, 8.860 lb

Weight, Magazine: N/A

1010151213

 

39. MP.40

Weight, Rifle: 3.804 kg, 8.388 lb

Weight, Magazine: 0.252 kg, 0.556 lb

1010151339a

 

40. RASHEED CARBINE

Weight, Rifle: 3.934 kg, 8.674 lb

Weight, Magazine: 0.182 kg, 0.401 lb

1010151253a

 

41. REMINGTON MODEL 8

Weight, Rifle: 3.714 kg, 8.189 lb

Weight, Magazine: N/A

1010151409a

 

42. ROBINSON ARMAMENT M96 EXPEDITIONARY RIFLE

Weight, Rifle: 3.994 kg, 8.807 lb

Weight, Magazine: Same as 8, 0.106 kg, 0.234 lb

1009151318a

 

43. RPK-74 (Bulgarian milled receiver)

Weight, Rifle: 4.478 kg, 9.874 lb

Weight, Magazine: 0.218 kg, 0.481 lb

1011151322a

 

44. RUGER MINI-14

Weight, Rifle: 3.064 kg, 6.756 lb

Weight, Magazine (30 rd): 0.256 kg, 0.564 lb

Weight, Magazine (20 rd): 0.164 kg, 0.362 lb

1009151251a

 

45. SAFN-49 VENEZUALAN CONTRACT (7mm)

Weight, Rifle: 4.640 kg, 10.231 lb

Weight, Magazine: N/A

1010151440a

 

46. SAIGA 5.45×39 (converted)

Weight, Rifle: 3.414 kg, 7.528 lb

Weight, Magazine: Same as 43, 0.218 kg, 0.481 lb

1010151319a

 

47. SIG-556

Weight, Rifle: 3.976 kg, 8.767 lb

Weight, Magazine: Same as 8, 0.106 kg, 0.234 lb

1009151653b

 

 

 

 

 

48. SIG AMT

Weight, Rifle: 4.474 kg, 9.865 lb

Weight, Magazine: 0.296 kg, 0.653 lb

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49. SKS (Chinese)

Weight, Rifle: 3.424 kg, 7.550 lb

Weight, Magazine: N/A

1010151244a

 

50. SPRINGFIELD ARMORY INC M1A (USGI M14 stock, GI profile barrel)

Weight, Rifle: 4.306 kg, 9.495 lb

Weight, Magazine: 0.232 kg, 0.512 lb

1011151303.jpg21010151231

 

51. STEYR AUG A3

Weight, Rifle + Optic: 4.048 kg, 8.926 lb

Weight, Optic: 0.448 kg, 0.988 lb

Weight, Rifle: 3.600 kg, 7.938 lb

Weight, Magazine: 0.124 kg, 0.273 lb

1009152241a 1009152242 AUG

 

52. MP.43

Weight, Rifle: 4.554 kg, 10.042 lb

Weight, Magazine (blued): 0.398 kg, 0.878 lb

Weight, Magazine (parkerized): 0.392 kg, 0.864 lb

1009151100c21009151105b 1009151106b

 

53. TAVOR SAR-21

Weight, Rifle: 3.600 kg, 7.938 lb

Weight, Magazine: Same as 8, 0.106 kg, 0.234 lb

1009152224b

 

54. TYPE 99 SHORT RIFLE (Early, all features)

Weight, Rifle: 3.908 kg, 8.617 lb

Weight, Magazine: N/A

1010151305a

 

55. VALMET M76

Weight, Rifle: 3.614 kg, 7.969 lb

Weight, Magazine: 0.282 kg, 0.621 lb

1009151208 1009151209a

 

56. VICKERS-PEDERSEN PB

Weight, Rifle: 4.338 kg, 9.565 lb

Weight, Magazine: N/A

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57. VZ. 26

Weight, Rifle: 3.122 kg, 6.884 lb

Weight, Magazine: 0.264 kg, 0.582 lb

1010151414a 1010151414c

 

58. WALTHER MPL

Weight, Rifle: 2.970 kg, 6.549 lb

Weight, Magazine: 0.232 kg, 0.512 lb

1010151333b 1010151333d

Stay tuned for Part 3, where we’ll take a closer analytical look at this data!

 



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • gunsandrockets

    Again, surprises in the measurements. The M-1A is heavier while the SKS and Mas-49/56 are lighter than I expected. (Was the Mas-49/56 weighed with or without the slip-on rubber butt-pad?)

    At first I thought that M-1A measurement had to be wrong. I had weighed my PTR 91 GI model not long ago, and that heavy slug of lead came out at 9 pounds. No way an M14 weighed more than that.

    So I dug out my pet Armscorp M14. It has the GI fiberglass stock and was made with TRW parts. It had been a while since I had handled it, and the lightness and ease of handling my M14 compared to my PTR only reinforced my original suspicions as I carried it to the scale.

    So imagine my astonishment when the scale indicated my M14 weighs 9 pounds 3.75 ounces. I guess good balance and weight distribution can make a heavy weapon feel lighter than reality. How about that.

    • MAS 49-56 was weighed without the slip-on buttpad.

      The M1A was heavier even than the G-series FAL with the bipod attached… And it balanced much more poorly.

      • gunsandrockets

        I presume the Chinese SKS did not have its bayonet removed before weighing? Can’t tell from the picture.

    • Darkpr0

      You can see this same effect with the Johnson vs the Garand. The numbers above show the Johnson is no lightweight, but since it doesn’t have a giant gas system at the end of the barrel the weight is concentrated much closer to the person holding it, so it feels handier. And this isn’t just a feeling thing: In engineering we call this the moment of inertia. The punch line is that it’s way harder to move mass that’s far away from your body than it is to move mass in close. So pay attention to where you’re hanging accessories on your rifle! 🙂

  • 624A24

    It would be interesting if their centres of gravity were measured too.
    Such as by freely hanging the weapons at different points on them (trigger guard, front sight base, sling loops etc), drawing straight vertical lines down from the points and finding their intersections.

    • Nashvone

      Hang the rifle from two scales. One at the muzzle, one at the butt. Some simple math and a mearsuring tape will tell you exactly where the CG is.

  • DW

    Mini 14 is surprisingly light, while still having a full stock and milled steel receiver!

    Had it come out a little earlier the AR15 would have some stiff competition.

    • Bill

      I still accidentally hurl mine into the air every time I pick it up, expecting it to weigh more. It’s arguably the nimblest-handling long gun I have.

    • The Mini-14 has a cast steel receiver. It is a very light gun, sure, but keep in mind it was designed by the same guy who designed the AR-15 (Jim Sullivan), so it couldn’t really have existed any earlier than it did.

    • nadnerbus

      It is an interesting “what if,” though. The army being what it is, what if both the mini14 and the AR were available at the same time the military was looking to procure a 5.56 slinger? I believe as a military rifle the AR is better in just about every way that counts, but the conservative nature of the military, and the institutional love for the Garand action might have made the mini look very appealing, having almost the same manual of arms, and being an otherwise very familiar platform to the then current army.

      • iksnilol

        I just imagined the entire US millitary being the A-team with Mini-14s.

        *shudder*

      • Thing is, there were similar competitors to the AR-15 at the time (late 1950s), chiefly the Winchester LMR. The conservative elements in the Army at the time wanted nothing to do with any of these small caliber rifles; it was the McNamara-backed radical faction that was pushing for them. To them, the AR-15 was the superior performer, and possibly it was even more appealing due to its unconventional looks, not less.

        • nadnerbus

          Understood. What if it was Big Army choosing a 5.56 rifle instead of having it foisted upon them by the Whiz Kids, though? Would they have chosen the LMR then, as it was a format more familiar to them?

          • They wouldn’t have done so. So far as I know, they still maintained that 7.62 was necessary.

    • Tassiebush

      The Ruger mini14 has an investment cast steel receiver from what I can remember. It’s meant to be an updated version of the lost wax method. Basically it means the receivers are a lot cheaper per unit than if they were milled whilst still being good quality. More expensive set up costs though.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    I’m going to go ahead and need to have that Bulgarian RPK-74.

  • Don Ward

    It’s interesting how heavy the MP 40 is. And of course the Sturmgewehr is an overweight pig.

    • The sturm may be the perfect infantry rifle, forged in the fires of Vulcan that sets the standard by which all others are judged (truly the pinnacle of what a rifle can be), but they are a little chunky. Not as heavy as a yugo AK, but by no means dainty.

      (That pop you heard was nates head exploding).

  • mosinman

    so Alex, what’s your take on the low number Springfield Rifles? i hear rumors that they’re not safe to fire. i found one that from WW1 that was pretty cheap but i was warned they were dangerous

    • My (unsolicited) take on it is that those rifles have been around a long time and have been used through two world wars, so any that were going to catastrophically fail probably have already done so by now.

      It’s worth pointing out, too that only a couple dozen faulty guns were ever found in the first place, so I say go ahead and shoot them (after you have a gunsmith take a look at them, as you would any old gun, of course).

    • I would sell them to collectors and use the money to buy a shooter (and lots of ammo). That said if you want to shoot one, stick to low pressure 30-06 (no hotter than M2 ball).

    • mosinman

      well thank you both for your answers, i’m not sure if it has much collectors value though since it seems to have been put into a sporterized stock, but i’ll keep that in mind

      • iksnilol

        Well, can you get a replacement stock that isn’t sporterized?

        • mosinman

          probably, i’d have to buy the rifle first of course

  • adverse

    It ain’t heavy, it’s my rifle.

  • gunsandrockets

    Just weighed my U.S. M1 rifle, and the measurement was a surprising heavy 10 pounds 3 ounces.

    You just can’t trust the usual book references for accurate weight specifications.