Top 5 Battle Rifles

    The term “battle rifle” is a colloquialism that is generally used to refer to rifles firing a full caliber cartridge and generally are select fire. After WWII, many nations decided to forego intermediate rounds in favor of heavy hitting, powerful fully automatic long arms that lasted until intermediate cartridges seized the day. In this video, we take a look at 5 that we consider the best.

    Transcript …

    – [Voiceover] Hey, guys.

    It’s Alex C. with TFBTV and for today’s Top 5 we’re going to look at the Top 5 Best Battle Rifles.

    For the purpose of this list, a battle rifle is going to be a military service rifle firing a full-power cartridge, generally select-fire as well.

    We’re limiting this list to select-fire rifles or rifles that came from the factory with select-fire capabilities.

    But we’re gonna first start out with the SIG AMT, actually this is a variant of the STG 57 or SIG 510.

    Very cool rifles.

    We’ve done a review.

    They’ve got that wonderful beer keg charging handle that you’ll find on K-11s, K-31s, and things like that.

    These are just really cool rifles.

    They’ve got some great features.

    They’re roller delayed blowback.

    But one of my favorite things they have is this winter trigger that comes down in case you’re wearing big, heavy winter gloves in Switzerland, as this is a Swiss gun.

    It’s also got an integral bipod that folds out and stores over the barrel, uh, barrel jacket.

    Very well thought out feature.

    A great way to store a bipod.

    Very creative, the Swiss are (chuckles) pretty crafty when it comes to things like this.

    The reason this is one of my favorites is they just shoot great.

    They have a low recoil impulse.

    They’re very, very accurate.

    We actually did a full review on this rifle, and I was so blown away by the accuracy with run-of-the-mill ammo at a hundred yards.

    It grouped about an inch with iron sights the first time I had ever shot this for accuracy on the first day we took it out.

    These are just a pleasure to shoot.

    I like ’em.

    They’re not the most handsome rifles, most people find them pretty ugly, myself included, but I guess when it comes to firearms, aesthetics come second to function, and these just function great.

    I wish they were more prolific in the United States.

    There are some here, notably PE 57s and AMTs, but they are quite rare and they’re not imported anymore.

    So if you see one for a good price, pick it up.

    But the next rifle on the list is gonna be somewhat controversial.

    This is the M14.

    The M14 has a storied past.

    It only served the United States as a main battle rifle for about five years, I believe.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good rifle.

    You know, they’re very interesting, they share a lot of features with the very venerable, well-liked M1 Garand, but they are more modern.

    They’re, of course, select-fire.

    They have a very similar manual of arms to the Garand, including the safety that everybody loves, the op-rod is very easy to operate and charge.

    You’ll notice the rotating bolt is almost a direct carryover from the M1 rifle as well.

    It is an improved version, I would say.

    The op-rod, for example, in lieu of a cam track, actually has a little roller bearing which is nice.

    The selector switch is located on the back.

    By the way, this is an M1A.

    I just put a G.I. stock in and dummy selector to look cool.

    Magazines come out.

    They hold 20 rounds of 7.62×51.

    On full-auto, these things are pretty beastly.

    The pivot point is right at your wrist, so it’s best to go ahead and keep that on semi.

    But the one thing I do like is it’s got this wonderful shoulder thing that goes up that makes the rifle deadlier.

    Of course, I’m kidding, it’s just to rest the rifle if you’re holding the rifle for a long time.

    The sights are great.

    If you like M1 Garand sights, you’ll feel right at home behind an M14 or M1A, one of my favorite sets of sights, actually, in all of the firearm world.

    Aside from that, the M1A, I think, is an aesthetically handsome rifle.

    But, like I said, aesthetics come second to function.

    These are very accurate when bedded properly.

    You’ll see these at matches.

    The old joke being, though, that you need three.

    One to shoot, one with the bedding messed up, and one at the gunsmith getting the bedding repaired.

    So next up, we’ve got the most modern one on the list.

    That’s going to be a SCAR 17.

    This is actually a semi-automatic SCAR 17S.

    Unfortunately, I cannot get my mitts on a fully automatic version, because they were, unfortunately, made after 1986 where the cutoff is for fully automatic firearms.

    But the semi-automatic version is still very, very cool.

    I think they look just radical.

    Very good looking firearms, handsome firearms.

    The best thing about these, I think, is the manual of arms.

    If you’ve shot an AR-15 and you at home on an AR, then you will really like this.

    The position of the safety, the way the magazine releases, the bolt catch, all of that is fantastic.

    I also like that the stock folds and stows great.

    You can shoot it with the stock folded, which comes in handy if you’re a vehicle crewman or something like that.

    It’s also got an adjustable cheek riser if you’re running an optic, which is very nice.

    I also do like that the front sight on the gas block folds forward and stores very nice and naturally.

    Of course, they come from the factory with a very nice and effective muzzle brake.

    Now one thing I don’t like is the reciprocating charging handle.

    It’s got quite a slapper on there and I put an aftermarket one to run an Acog.

    Now these do weigh an impressive 8 pounds, 6.2 ounces, or, in metric, 3.806 kilograms.

    So all in all, all these features combine with just excellent shootability, make the SCAR 17 a very great candidate for one of the top five battle rifles and that’s why it made the list.

    So next up is definitely a crowd favorite, and that’s gonna be the FN Fucil Automatique Leger, or FAL rifle.

    The FAL is a rifle that is loved by many.

    They called it the right arm of the Free World for a good reason.

    Pretty much every NATO member, sans a few, including us stubborn people in the United States, adopted the FAL in one form or another.

    They’re great looking, they’re very reliable, 7.62×51, the manual of arms is excellent, and they’re very easy to maintain, which is my favorite part of the rifle.

    Like I said, the manual of arms is great.

    Magazines flip out by extending your pointer finger and then they rock out and rock in naturally.

    The charging handle is on the left side of the gun, which is great and optimal.

    And, of course, they do have a bolt catch and a bolt release which is nice.

    Aside from that, on full-auto they’re a little difficult to control.

    It’s noteworthy that the British military adopted these as the SLR rifle, self-loading rifle, but they eliminated the full-auto capability.

    They left the safety sear in there, which is interesting, but they did away with the setting for full-auto.

    Maybe a good choice? Having shot these on full-auto, I can tell you that it’s really not a whole lot of help.

    Semi-automatic’s where these shine.

    But I did mention ease of maintenance.

    You can see the rifle fully fieldstripped for cleaning here.

    There’s just a few parts.

    Take the parts down, wipe ’em down, clean the bore, throw ’em back in and you’re ready to go.

    It’s easy to see why this rifle was so well loved by the men who carried it.

    And I’m actually very happy that I have one.

    I would recommend that if you find a good deal on one, go ahead and grab one up.

    But lastly, we’ve got the Heckler & Koch G3.

    This is actually a PTR91, by the way, but it’s pretty close, I guess (chuckles).

    But these are just pretty cool rifles.

    I really like them.

    There’s a great debate, I guess, on what’s better, the G3 or the FAL.

    Maybe put in the comments which one you prefer.

    But these are roller delayed blowback.

    The manual of arms is a little different compared some other rifles on the list.

    It does have the selector, here, this is an SEF trigger group, which stands for Safe, Economical, and Fun.

    I’m actually kidding, but (chuckles) On the F-setting, these are actually very, very easy to control on full-auto.

    That roller delayed blowback action makes it very rythmic and easy to control, for me personally, and I very much enjoy shooting them.

    Normally they have a paddle, like an MP5 released magazine, however, being that this is a civilian PTR91, you do have press the magazine release button.

    Not that big a deal, but like I said at the heart of the system is the wonderful HK roller delayed blowback system that was invented in WWII with the STG45 and then perfected at CETME.

    But this is another very easy gun to maintain.

    You can see, here, it fully fieldstripped for cleaning.

    And ease of maintenance is one of the reasons why this rifle was very close to my heart.

    It’s easy to clean, easy to maintain.

    As long as you check your bolt gap and leave it in spec, it’ll serve you for a very long time.

    Anyways, guys, that about sums up my list for the Top 5 Best Battle Rifles.

    We’d like to thank you for watching.

    We’d like to thank Ventura Munitions.

    And if there’s a rifle that you think should’ve made the list, go ahead a list it in the comments.

    See ya next time.

    (grass crunching) (gun shooting then metal clanging)


    Alex C.

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