Which would you say is a better SHTF rifle as far as ruggedness, relibility, parts interchangability & ect.
I have searched all the other threads about this & posted in the general section.... Now I am posting in each section for all three rifles..... I want to see what actual owners say about thier particular gun & why they chose it.....
Am looking for all comments about all three above stated rifles..... Good & bad.
ETA: been checking other forums.... looks like there is no actual winner to this contest. It appears to be all subjective.
From M14 Rifle History and Development Second Edition by Lee Emerson copyright 2005-2006:
"[USGI] M14 Rifle Factory Inspection
The following describes the requirements each M14 rifle had to pass before it could be shipped to the military. The M14 rifle was tested by first firing a high pressure 67,500 psi proof round. The rifle and spent cartridge case were examined for any signs of broken parts and overpressure. If the test was successful, the proof P marks were immediately applied to the barrel (P), bolt (a punch mark), stock (P inside a circle) and receiver (punch mark).
The proof test was followed by function tests in semi-automatic, burst automatic, and sustained automatic fire. The rate of fire in automatic had to be within a specified range. This range is 650 to 780 rounds per minute according to Military Specification MIL-R-45012E. Each rifle was required to deliver its center of impact within a specified limited area around the point of aim at 100 yards with the rear sight set at eight clicks up from bottom and at zero windage. Every rifle had to group within 5.6 " at 100 yards with five rounds of M80 ball ammunition. Additionally, M14 rifles were tested for tightness of barrel draw, acceptable headspace, firing pin indentation and trigger pull force. The military specification for the amount of trigger pull force is 5.5 to 7.5 pounds for the M14 and 4.5 to 6 pounds for the M14 NM. If the rifle failed, it was tagged to record what the particular problems were. The manufacturer replaced the parts and sent it through the entire inspection process again. Most rifles passed the testing the second time around. The information noted on the tags was recorded and used to analyze the manufacturing process to determine what needed correction.
While a five shot group of 5.6 " at 100 yards may not seem terribly accurate this includes the inaccuracy of the M80 ball ammunition factored in. The Boston Ordnance District was responsible for final acceptance of M14 rifles manufactured by Harrington & Richardson and Winchester. By Fiscal Year 1962, it had conducted a study into the factory accuracy testing rejection rate of M14 rifles. 2 The Boston Ordnance District discovered that the M80 ball ammunition of itself had an average spread of 3.57 " at 100 yards within every ninety rounds fired. Ammunition inconsistency aside, a rack grade M14 type rifle is accurate for a battle rifle when properly assembled.
In addition to test firing, which every rifle went through, M14 rifles were pulled out at given intervals and subjected to endurance firing for 6000 rounds. One M14 rifle and twelve magazines were selected by a U. S. government representative out of each of the first five lots of 500 rifles at the factory. If each of the five selected rifles passed the endurance test, then the endurance test samples were selected at a rate of one for 2500 rifles produced. This endurance test sampling rate was performed for five lots of 2500 rifles. If these next five rifles all passed the 6000 round endurance test then the endurance sampling rate was upped to one test rifle every 5000 rifles produced.
The 6000 round endurance test was conducted as follows. The rifle was fired first in semi-automatic for 100 rounds followed by five round bursts for another 100 rounds. Then five full magazines were each emptied in automatic with one pull of the trigger for each magazine. The magazines were rotated for even use and the rate of fire was measured during one of the twenty round bursts. The barrel was allowed to cool to ambient after each 100 rounds. The rifle was cleaned and lubricated every 1000 rounds. No cleaning of the gas system was allowed. This procedure was repeated until 6000 rounds had been fired.
Only a small fraction of any kind of failure was allowed in the endurance test. The endurance test allowed no more than twelve malfunctions and no more than two unserviceable parts. The allowable malfunctions and associated instances were as follows: 1) bolt failed to lock into battery – three 2) bolt lock failed to hold the bolt open – one 3) cartridge case failed to eject – one 4) a cartridge that was visible failed to feed – four 5) a cartridge not visible failed to feed – three 5) failure to fire in semi-automatic – three 6) light primer strike – three and 7) punctured primer – one. If any one malfunction occurred more than the allowed number of times or if the total number of malfunctions was more than twelve, the rifle did not pass the endurance test.
No unserviceable parts were allowed in the first 3000 rounds. The allowable unserviceable parts and associated instances for the second 3000 rounds of testing were as follows: 1) ejector – one 2) ejector spring – one 3) extractor – one 4) extractor spring – one 5) firing pin – one. If any one part broke more than once or if there were more than two unserviceable parts, the rifle failed the endurance test. Some of the M14 rifles completed the 6000 round endurance with no malfunctions or unserviceable parts.
Ten M14 rifles selected by a U. S. government representative from each inspection lot were also tested for parts interchangeability. If more than one contractor was producing M14 rifles at the same time, each contractor submitted six specimens each month for parts interchangeability with parts made by the other contractor.
After completion of all firing tests, each bolt assembly was examined by magnetic particle inspection for cracks, seams and other injurious defects. If the bolt passed examination, the bolt was marked with the letter M. The bolt assembly was then cleaned, the roller repacked with grease and the rifle reassembled. Every rifle was given a final and thorough visual examination before preservation and packaging. Sample M14 rifles were tested for cleanliness before packing and the packaging tested for vacuum retention."
"Parts Interchangeability with the M1 Garand Rifle
The following parts are interchangeable between the M1 Garand and the M14 type rifle: butt swivel, lower butt plate screw, rear sight aperture, elevation knob and pinion (note that the M14 elevation knob is calibrated in meters, while the M1 Garand elevation knob is calibrated in yards), rear sight base, sight cover, trigger (although the sear requires slight modification of the M14 sear for use in the M1 Garand rifle), hammer, hammer spring, hammer spring plunger, hammer spring housing, safety, hammer pin, trigger pin, extractor, extractor spring, extractor spring plunger, hand guard clip (as long as it has not been deformed during removal from the M14 rifle hand guard or the M1 Garand rifle rear hand guard), and butt plates on certain M14 stocks. Hammers marked with part numbers C46008 and D5546008 are often found in the trigger groups of commercial M14 type rifles. These markings indicate World War II and 1950s production M1 Rifle hammers, respectively. The letter prefix of the part number indicated the actual physical size of the part drawing.
The following operator level items are interchangeable: web sling, cleaning rod section carry case, cleaning rod sections, cleaning rod patch tip, short oiler bottle, plastic spacer for bore brush and patch tip, 7.62 mm chamber brush for 7.62 mm M1 Garands only, .30 Caliber bore brush (although the drawing during the 1960s shortened the brush slightly to prevent it from hitting the inside of the butt plate), and either grease was authorized for use on both rifles."
"Reliability - The following description serves to demonstrate the ruggedness and reliability of the M14 rifle. The M14 rifle was tested for sustained fire at Fort Benning, GA. In particular, one M14 rifle was fired continuously at a rate of sixty rounds per minute for 3080 rounds. The test ended when the chambered rounds started pre-igniting because of the hot barrel. The barrel never failed to stabilize the exiting bullets. The front end of the stock and the hand guard eventually burst into flames but the rifle continued to fire. At Fort Benning, the M14 rifle was found capable of firing 600 rounds in heavy rainfall without any malfunctions."
and for SHTF
"While the number of combat operations in the Republic of Viet Nam are too numerous to list, one frightful night in 1966 will serve as witness to the value of the M14. Led by Gunnery Sergeant Jimmie E. Howard, sixteen Marines and two Navy corpsmen (medics) from First Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division formed up as a reconnaissance patrol on June 13, 1966. They were delivered by helicopter to Hill 488 in the Que Son Valley of Quang Tin Province, Republic of Viet Nam that evening. The Marines and sailors set up an observation post at the top of the hill. During the next two days, the unit called in artillery strikes and aerial bombing runs on Viet Cong units in Que Son Valley. The Marines were equipped with select fire capable M14 rifles, one M79 40 mm grenade launcher and a total load of about 3,000 rounds of 7.62x51 mm NATO ammunition. The two Navy corpsmen carried .45 ACP pistols. Each man also carried a minimum of four fragmentation hand grenades.
By the third evening, June 15th, the enemy had figured out where the source of their trouble was located and had determined to do something about it. A battalion sized force of 450 North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong soldiers began the attack of Hill 488 at about 11:00 PM in an all-out attempt to annihilate the eighteen Americans. When hostilities had ended at about 9:30 the next morning, this small unit of Marines and sailors had become the most highly decorated military unit in American history. The unit had expended all hand grenades and 40 mm projectiles and had less than an estimated 200 rounds of M14 rifle ammunition left by 4:00 AM on June 16th. Six of the eighteen were killed in action that night with another later dying of wounds sustained in the battle. Another five Marines were killed the morning of the 16th as part of the reaction force. The following medals were awarded to the members of Gunnery Sergeant Howard’s unit as a result of the bravery shown and wounds received that night: one Medal of Honor, four Navy Crosses, thirteen Silver Stars, and eighteen Purple Hearts."
"The most common failures of the M14 rifles while in service were cracked stocks and rear sight pinions, missing rear sight nuts, and misaligned flash suppressors. Less common failures were broken safeties, broken firing pins, and out of specification gas cylinders. The least common problems were broken extractors and bolt locks. No problems were reported with the operating rod, trigger group (except safety), butt plate, or front sight. There were two versions of the M14 extractor. The early version was identical to the M1 Garand rifle extractor and had a sharp point on the lower front right-hand corner which could snag the cartridge. This caused the extractor to leave the bolt when firing M82 blank cartridges. This problem was corrected with the late version (January, 1965 and onward) extractor which was milled with a beveled lower front corner which allowed the M82 cartridge to clear the extractor. Repeated automatic fire from the hip with the M14E2 stock will cause it to crack at or near the pistol grip joint. "
Different, thanks for posting that man... That took a lot of time bro & I apreciate it....
I'm honestly thinking AR10 for the similar platform as the AR15... I think its a good idea to have the same muscle memory for both guns.... Still planning on looking at a shorty M1a though.
mike1972, no problem. These .308 sticks don't come cheap. You're wise to do the research. Best wishes on your quest.
How many times a day must we have this discussion?
You should pony up some money for a Team membership so you can search the 1,000+ threads on this subject.
Oh I see you have 2 threads with the same posts, great.
I went with the M14 platform - no regrets.
Try all three if you can and get what suits you best.
SO the FAL you say then...... And yes, I posted in different armory forums so that I could ask ACTUAL owners of particular rifles how they felt they stacked up against the others & specifically asked about prior experiences with said rifles.....
You can research threads all day & sometimes still not get the answers you want, or are looking for... If I am going to buy something this expensive, I am going to get as many opinions on it as I can
And by the way.... I agree with the FAL now that I have satisfied thy quest for the knowledge
But thru my searching, I have come to realize that I need to have the AR10 to keep it company
I mean hell, at least I respect your guys' opinions on the matter & am willing to admit I needed steered in the right direction.
Thanks for the posts fellas
I thought I wanted a FAL until I picked one up and found that the ergonomics of it sucked *for me.* I now own an AR10 and love it - try before you buy.
Try it before you buy.
thanks 53vortec & maxwell27... I will definately try em both before commiting to spending the money.... It is definatley between the AR10 & the FAL
FAL vs. AR10
Between those two - AR10
lol.... see I'm learnin'
thanks again fellas
I'd take the M14 anyday of the week if it comes to the choice of grabbing one and a pistol rig while running out the door, but you will have to see if it's that way for you.
There is another choice that I prefer over the AR10 and FAL for function, feel and faithful reliability, and that's a HK91 or in the quality American made offering....a PTR91.
PTR's at Atlantic
Nothing beats a M1A for me.
Exactly.As a pure SHTF weapon the FAL is perfectly fine but my M1A just "feels" better.As far as ruggedness and reliability you'd have to go with the M1A,FAL and HK91 platforms-honestly in no particular order.The AR10 would bring up the rear in these categories but not by that far.The AR10 is a much better optics platform than all of the above.The biggest knock against the M1A and AR10 used to be mag prices but now the ban is over mag prices have fallen drastically.I've got the FAL,AR10,M1A and HK91 platforms and I'd choose the M1A over all the others only because it "feels" better to me to shoot.
Mike1972-I applaud you for doing your homework but you're probably just going to have to shoot all of these and see what fits you best.On M1A's the older the better=more GI parts.Unless you get a "real" imported FAL be careful who built it.Don't go with anything built by the monkeys at Century Arms.You haven't mentioned it here or in your previous post but take a look at the HK platforms also in .308 No matter what choice you make you should be fine.
Damn,cut the Guy some slack.At one time you had all these questions also.
Thanks GreyGhost... True there are a butt load of threads on this subject here lol And I DID go thru most of them, reading them all before ever bringing my questions to the board. I knew I would catch some flack before I ever posted my questions lol..... But I wanted to post in seperate forums to get an idea what actual owners have to say about thier own experiences with these particular three guns.... afterall, this is a fairly expensive purchase (for me anyways).
Once again thanks to everyone who has helped.... It is much appreciated
Hell, afterall, it IS about guys (and gals too)sitting around chatting about guns right? lol.
At one time we all had these questions.
H20_MAN.... thank you good sir.... Rest assured that once I have obtained the knowledge level of some other arfcommers, I will be most helpful when I can
I have an M14 clone. A Poly Tech with mostly USGI parts. That's my choice. I've never owned the others and have only fired one example of each.
My opinion of the FAL that I fired was that the rear sight was terrible, the safety was clumbsy, it wasn't comfortable to shoot, it wasn't accurate and it was heavier than it had to be. On the plus side, it's a 7.62 NATO, the charging handle is in a good spot for a right handed shooter and the gas system can be regulated.
My opinion of the the AR 10 was that it was unreliable and the magazines were cobbled. On the plus side, it is a 7.62 NATO, it's accurate, excellent sights, the fire control parts are comfortable and it shoulders well.
FWIW, a buddy of mine has an S.A. Inc. M1A Scout. It's real finiky about ammo.
I suppose any M14, FAL or AR 10 would be a fine choice with a little custom tuning. As for me, I favor the M14.
Mike1972......I am sorry what your post over in General Discussion turned into. Some people cannot just give an opinion, and go on with their lives. I hope you are happy with whatever rifle you purchase.
Thanks Gunluster. No biggie lol... I am a webmaster & am on boards all the time... I am used to seeing the flame ninjas.... Everybody has to be razzed at first I guess lol
I have learned a lot though. It was indeed worth it to get harrassed a bit to find the fellas who were willing to help out a noob.... Been around guns all my life. Just new to the 308 way of doing things.... but I'm realizing that it's a good thing to have
I would recommend that you try all of your choices. Also take a look at Boston's Gun Bible as he tries to objectively compare several main battle rifles. He is certainly very opinionated but it is a very informative read and brings a lot of points to light.
My choice is the M1A - based on the sights, better feel(for me), and since I shoot left-handed the ergonomics are better. Try to look for an older M1A if possible, Springfield's customer support is very good (although my gun has been flawless), a lot of FAL's are assembled from parts kits(by people of varying abilities) so you have to be careful. My friend had an AR10 with functioning problems and armalite was very rude and and would not work on it because he had fired reloads at some point in time. Good luck with your decision.
Okay... here is my 2 cents.
I currently have a SA M1A and love it.
I have spend quite a bit of money "toughening" it up with a SAGE stock (soon to be replaced by either a Troy SOPMOD II or a Vltor SOCOM II) so that bedding is no longer an issue, and having Smith Enterprises do some of their magic on it.
Since I'm in the PRK I was lucky enough to register my M1A as an AW. This also means I'm unable to get an FAL or AR-10 at this time.
HOWEVER, my M1A is still in need of more work IMHO since I bought it as a semi-auto target, and if need be battle rifle (not a historic piece).
If it had the chance to buy another rifle INSTEAD of my M1A I'd pick up an AR-10 in a heartbeat!
And here is why...
The AR-10 can be problematic, but it is THE most flexible .308 platform out there and the easiest to achieve and maintain accuracy with.
I can switch out the upper receiver of an AR-10 to either a 16, 18, or 22 inch barrel to suit the particular task. With my M1A I'm stuck with whichever length and type barrel I have a gunsmith install.
On an AR-10 replacing most the only parts likely to cause trouble (the bolt & carrier group, trigger assembly, etc.) is childs play. Mounting optics is super easy with a HUGE selection available. The same is true of the stock.
The M1A can be tough and accurate as all hell (mine is) but it is FAR harder to achieve and maintain those features over time and use.
Is the AR-10 perfect... HECK NO. But it has far more pluses than minuses going for it.
I love my M1A, I really do. But if I could somehow trade or replace it with an AR-10...
I can't comment on an AR-10, as I've never owned or even shot one. However, I have owned four different flavors of FAL's and am now on my third M1A.
The FAL's I have owned were an early import Century Inch pattern thumbhole L1A1 (Crap, but it eventually turned out OK), a DSA SA58, a DSA stainless LE carbine, and a DSA Carbine.
As you can see, I really wanted to like the FAL. I spent thousands on these rifles, and, while they were fun, and the quality was great, the accuracy and reliability in ALL OF THEM wasn't up to what I knew the 7.62x51 cartridge was capable of delivering.
The M-14 type rifles I have owned were: a Polytec M-14S, a used Springfield M1A with a TRW bolt, NM barrel, front sight and flash hider, and now, a brand new, as yet unfired M1A standard I just picked up this weekend.
I have gone full circle, and am now back to an M1A.
My own experience has shown that the FAL isn't as accurate (even scoped). They are much more finicky with ammo, and stopages are more difficult to clear than the M1A/M14.
Pluses on the FAL's side, are cheaper magazines, left side charging handle (I think that is the extent of the FAL's ergonomic advantage, I think the M14 mag release, sights, and safety are all supperior), and I'm not entirely sure the left-side charging handle is as valuable as it has always been trumped to be. Take the AR15 as an example. Do you use it's charging handle with your left hand? Or, like I, do you remove your right hand from the pistol grip to charge it "two-fingered"?
I eventually downsized my FAL ownership to the shorter carbines in two different configurations, thinking that would make them more wieldy and useful. It did, but they were still tempremental and not as accurate as I'd like.
The M1A on the other hand has always ate any ammo I have fed it (Except the Polytech which was doggish with certain loads). Accuracy with all three of the M1A's I have owned has always been excellent. And no other rifle I have ever held in my hands feels better with a fixed bayonet. The biggest downsides I can cite for the M1A are magazine prices, and a dwindling supply of USGI parts causing high prices for that too. With the advent of the SOCOM 16, now even the beauty of the M14 has been bastardized by the ubertactical crowd. Not my cup of tea, but it shows the versatility of the platform.
I also owned an HK91, and, while it also is a good rifle, it also is a "used to own, I'd rather have an M1A" candidate.
I'll probably own another FAL...I still have oodles of mags and an unused parts kit, but for every forseable application I can imagine, I'd grab my M1A over the FAL anyday.
Now, heresy being what it is, in a true, 30 seconds to combat, grab it and go SHTF situation, I must honestly say I would grab my CAR-15 before the M1A due largely to ergonomics, controllability, and mag capacity (how many I can carry, not how many bullets, though that factors too).
One last thing to consider, is how many AR-10's are seeing action over in "The Sandbox"? How many FAL's have been degreased and dusted off for service over there? G-3's?
The M-14 is once again soldiering on, and proving itself indespensible to those who have it.
Just my oppinion, and worth exactly what you paid for it, but I had to weigh in.
Sukebe, I am in Ohio too....
Good posting sniper 3142... That is the kind of stuff I was looking for... thanks for the efforrt.
ZAMO, that was great posting man... Thanks for going so indepth... That is exactly the kind of input I was looking for. Although I have decided to go with the AR platform for now (DPMS more than likely) & hopefully get the FAL later.
I would be planning on making either gun a carbine for work inside 300 yds or less. As long as it could hit a man size target out to 300, that is all I feel I would need. Anyone able to shoot well at 300 yds would be either Military, a hunter, or LEO, or someone who does a far bit of shootin' which I wouldnt be engaged with any way. I figure 300 yds is good enough for most any SHTF scenario.
I say that distance is good due to the few punks that were taking pot shots at civilians & rescue workers from a distance during Katrina. Although it is unlikely anyone would be shooting at you from that distance, I suppose it can happen like it did in Katrina. But I also fingure the guys doing that in Katrina were typical gangbanger dipshits. So I figure as long as my rifle could make man size hits then I could off them before they get a lucky shot.
So a carbine 308 would be my best option for a SHFT rifle due to where I live, and the demographic of where I travel thru out the course of a regular day. I figure a short 308 would be perfect. I can turn cover into concealment, have combat accuracy out to 300 yds, and if configured right would make a good CQC gun too.
Oh, yeah, a 22lr would be a good thing to have if you were going to have to hide & live in the woods for any amount of time too. Hunt small game, with not much sound signature.
A bow, or crossbow would be good to for silent hunting. But too cumbersome for buggin out I think. Hell, Im not even sure I could use a bow well enough to kill any game anyway
AR10 -- FAL -- M1A
Of the three you list the M1A/M14 type rifle is the clear winner.
Since you wish to choose between the two runner-ups flip a coin.
I had the same dilemma back in Nov of '05. The AR-10 and FAL were dismissed quickly (for my own preferences) and that left the G3-H&K91 (PTR91) and the M1A. I was ready to put the $$$ down on the 91 and then I handled the two. I liked the fit, finish, and aesthetics of the M1A quite a bit better than the G3 platform. And I asked myself exactly what I wanted the rifle for, and I decided I wanted a long-range platform. So the M1A was the clear winner. Now... when I eventually decide it's time to get a carbine .308 for CQB type stuff, the G3 is hands-down my choice. The PTR-91 seems to be well-liked by nearly all of its owners as far as has been my experience in the H&K forum.
my dos centavos for SHTF scenario...
Any of these .308s will serve you well in a SHTF scenario. Since (hopefully) the chance of a SHTF is rare, I recommend you get whichever you would enjoy owning the most. Also, you should shoot all the rifles your are considering buying. You will experience a difference that will make your decision much easier. In my case, shooting experience the AR, FAL, and HK is quite superior to the M1A. Your mileage may vary,
Having said that, here are my choices assessment of these firearms for SHTF scenario are...
1. AR10 for it's AR15 ergonomics (which are great for most people, including me) which make it faster and easier to hit with, relatively light weight compared to other .308s., accuracy, and picatinny flatop. Requires reasonable quality NATO spec ammo.
2. FAL for proven design, not as good ergonomics, but with an adjustable gas system that can be tuned to virtually anything, including the crappiest mil surplus or anything else you might pick up anywhere. Can add a picatinny rail for less than $100.
3. HK91/PTR 91 - a fine rifle, lacks the features and advantage of the AR10 or FAL, and costs more.
4. M1A, heavier and not as easy to handle as the AR10, less accurate than an AR10 (not talking about match rifles), Requires reasonable quality NATO spec ammo. Non adjustable gas port like the FAL.
AR10? Pffft, I'll pass. This gun has had 50 years to get its act together and it still hasnt really gone anywhere. I'd rather have the SR-25
FAL. Never been in impressed with the design and Ergos of this weapon. Durable? Yes. Reliable? Yes. Is it as intuitive or natural as the M14/M1A? No. Is it a rifleman's weapon. No way
M1A/M14. It has endured, proven itself and is still viable in the military of the United States. It's a secondary weapon, but it is still a fearsome frontline weapon.
My preference is the FAL,if ergonimics are bad put on a different grip.For reliability you cant beat it.Also the rear sight comes out of adjustment much less of the time that an M1A
The pro's and con's are as follows:
2) Better sights
3) Mil Spec mags
4) Not a two piece design like the FAL/AR10 so a tension sling can be used
5) MUCH BETTER trigger (infinitly better than FAL!)
6) Has many configurations, most of which can be duplicated by the FAL series, easily by AR10 series
7) has crappy scope mounting platform - IMO
8) Mags are expensive
9) Currently utilized by our military sharp shooter DMR's
10) Designed by Americans and owning American history
11) EXCELLENT trigger!
12) somewhat more difficult to build (no problem with US parts!)
1) More reliable design most likely to take EXTREME field abuse without failing
2) Better optics mounting platform (than M1a)
3) Better ergonomics through pistol grip (although new M1a stock platforms have changed this, but at a $600 price tag)
4) Cheap mags (in feel and $)
5) El cheapo sights, which probably lead to less accuracy than a normal M1a
6) Adjustable gas system (the only choice that does)
7) Can be configured like an AR10 with minimal effort
8) Extremely easy to build from a kit (need to buy US parts)
9) Shit-tastic trigger
10) More appealing to the eye (if this counts)
11) Many configurations available
12) Not as accurate, even in "match" or "varmint" versions.
13) Much better platform for mounting a scope than the M1a
1) Most accurate of the 3
2) Most optics friendly of the 3
3) Dirtiest of the three, requires more maintenance
4) Least reliable of the 3
4) Good Trigger
5) Plentiful upgrades
6) Expensive mags
7) Reliability of mags has always been a problem for my Ar10's.
8) Lightest of the 3
9) Not as bulletproof as the others.
10) Great open sights
My choice would be the FAL, hands down. The options available make it as configurable as the M1a and AR10, but the reliability and bulletproof design mean I would easily put my life in that rifle's capable hands. Not a 500 yard rifle, but how many riflemen are 500 yard shooters with a standard mil spec platform? The rifle performs its job without any problems and for me, it shoots the easiest off hand.
Some modifications to your list...
Some examples of the AR-10's flexibility(since someone else posted pics):
You can configure ONE AR-10 into any or all of these configurations by yourself with few tools.
(Yes, I know this is a DPMS but the same thing can be done to an AR-10)
The M1A and FAL rifles have had the advantage of being offical issued weapons of the U.S. or other countries. This means many bugs & problems have been identified and fixed over time. The AR-10 didn't have this HUGE advantage and has survived via the civilian market alone (with the exception of the SR-25 in use by some small elite outfits).
Now that the .308 is back in the spotlight due to it's superior performance many rifles are being "re-evaluated". In fact, the Army just selected a "AR-10 type" rifle as winner of the SASS (Semi Automatic Sniping System) program.
And the actual AR-10 has improved alot in the reliability with all of this renewed interest.
50 years? get it's act together? hasn't gone anywhere? Hmmm, the AR10 was/is the design of the standard USA service weapon (it is the platform of the AR15/M16)...which has the longest tenure of any primary service weapeon in the history of our country, and is still in service.
And the SR-25 was the result of Eugene Stoner (designer of the original AR10) and Reed Knight getting together to REintroduce an improved version of the original AR10.
But hey, you can pffft all you want.
If the M14 is sonatural and intuitive, why is it that all the modern designs chose shit can so many of the 'features' of M14? Could it be that the M14, an improved version of 1930's designed Garand in 7.62 with a box magazine?
It's as good a rifle as it's ever been, just as the Trapdoor Springfield or the Krag is. but today there now there are better rifles available. BTW, the FAL that you so gingerly dissed, endured and proved itself far beyond what the M14 ever did and certainly will.