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.