Put on your thinking cap and asbestos underware for this exercise.
I am a little "Over Extended" firearms wise, and I'm looking to consolidate.
Knowing the combined experiences of the AR15.com Hive Mind can always be counted upon to share with others who ask, here goes the question.
Rate the Rifles in Order of What You Would Keep and WHY.
My thinking on the rifles
G-3 / 91s - I have PTR-KFP Carbine with Paratrooper Stock
Pros - Successful Military Design, Simple to Operate, Solid Sights, Built Like a rock - Little to break, Dependable shooter. Magazines as inexpensive as $2.00 a mag. Modular design makes changing stocks, grips ect easier.
Cons - Heavy, more challenging to scope, no last shot hold open, Trigger needs "Bill Springfield tuning"
M-1A / M-14S (I have two Poly M-14/S)
Pros - Most adjustable sights, 22" bbl for better velocity, Least expensive to purchase, Last Shot Bolt Holdopen, Chrome Bore
Cons - Have to take out of stock to clean (affect zero?), difficult to scope well without expensive mounts $$$, more maintenance intensive (Gas Gun), Magazines far and away most expensive, have heard of problems in some guns require replacing bolts?
FAL / STG58 (I have an STG58 kit on IMBEL receiver)
Pros - Successful Military Design, Simple to operate, Last Shot Bolt Holdopen, Inexpensive Mags.
Cons - Built with Used parts, Bipod on bbl (affect accuracy?), rear sight wobbly side to side (affect accuracy), scope mounting?? Feels L-O-N-G.
Anyway, I'd appreciate your sharing your rankings of the rifles above based on your experiences with the guns and WHY you would rank them in the order that you did - Specific Reasons clearly stated are a good thing!
Out of the 3 if I absolutly could only have one it would be the FAL, M1A & G3 in that order. My reasons for the FAL as #1 would be pistol grip, in para configuration it is comforatable unlike the G3, cheap mags, reciever is forged compared to stamped of the G3, last round bolt hold open, easy to clean/take apart. You list built with used parts as a con but look at how M14 USGi parts are sought after. They all three are a proven military desighn all still in use somewhere in the world. Personally I think the G# is the easiest to scope with the B & T low mount. The FAL in the carbine version feels no longet to me than any of the others. I rank the G# last because of no bolt hold open. If it was not for that I may rate it second. Though you can get a pistol grip stock for the M14 and then I may rate it first.
Too much to think about.
As I mentioned in the HK forum:
1) I'm stuck between the G3A3 or Fal para. I think because of my current parts on hand and
mags; I would have to go G3. Yes it's heavy, and it has no bolt hold-open device; but damn it
is accurate and 100% reliable in all my experiences. It simply fits my needs perfectly.
2)I have to say Fal because of above reasons. And yes, my SAR-4800 does feel very, very, L-O-
3) M1A. I like M1A's and all, but I don't think one should have to pay 1250+ and then more
cheese on GI parts to make it reliable. My sentiment is the same for 1911's.
Have fun !!
The rear sights on the F A L is the weak point in that design. The side wobble can be corrected easily. Remove the entire rear sight assembly from the rifle. (Don't lose the Z spring from the bottom of the base)
Remove the sight post from the base. ( you will have to push the little pin on the front of the base down. Just don't let it fall out and lose it)
Remove the plunger from the sight
Remove the little spring that pushes the plunger out
Put a piece of #7 lead shot into the hole for the spring. ( You do have a shotgun shell around there don't you?)
Replace the spring
Reassemble the parts and put it back on your rifle
The side wobble will be greatly reduced and the sight will return to the same place after every shot.
I am not a fan of the CETME/G3/HK91 rifles so I would delete them from MY inventory
If I had to choose, I would keep the F A L. Spare parts are currently easier to find and buy as well as magazines.
If the F A L is too long, cutting the barrel is easy and doesn't affect the sight radius.
theres a few ways to cure the wobble. another one is to put it in a vise and close it slightly to get a tigher fit
i used a c clamp to do mine and its dead on and no wobble :).
i would rate the FAL 1. its just a really good design and is pritty light (for me it is, my friend can barly hold it up for 2 min). even before i fixed the rear sight it still didnt wobble all that much while shooting. i have yet to have a fail to edject or fail to fire out of my fal.
second would be the G3. i havnt shot to many of these rifles but i have seen alot fail to edject alot (orginal hk, and a crap cai gun)
3rd would be the m1. i cant beleave for the ammount you have to pay and the recever is a investment cast. if the price went down to 900 or so i wouldnt mind picking one up.
number 1 would be the fal. great design, simple to operate, easy to clean, parts/accessories readily available and cheap.
number 2 would be the m1. price really isnt a con if you already own it. if you are liquidating to gather some funds i would sell this, otherwise keep it. its most likely a really accurate one, well i guess on the condition.
number 3 would be the g3/hk91. i dont really see the no hold open as a problem. i dont need to reload in 2seconds and continue firing at the range. 3seconds works just fine. it is a simple gun to operate as well and is a solid configuration. ive got 3 cetmes and 2 shoot amazingly well, the other FTE at least twice per mag. however my hk91 is flawless, so i guess it just depends on the build.
all 3 guns are in their own great rifles. its hard to compare such different weapons. depending on why you are consolidating i guess would be the deciding factor.
just imagine you are looking to purchase your first rifle, which of those 3 do you think it would be with all that you know now?
1. FAL. Of the three, hands down winner. Too many strong points to list.
2. M1A. Mags are expensive and mounting stuff all over it is tough, but this is a psuedo-.308 battle rifle we are talking about, not a bench shooter.
3. G3/HK91. Might be more reliable than the M1A, but is not as accurate and the ergonomics blow. Except for the rear sight, everything on the FAL is better, IMO.
Have you seen Kaisergunworks FAL lowers particularly with the BM A2 rear sight? Niiiiiiiiiice.
The problem isn't in the rating the firearms.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Have I really been trained to operate any of these?
2. Do I know how to disassemble and clean any of them?
3. Do I have at least one at home, one in each car, and one near work?
4. What do I intend to do with the money?
The things that we know so far are:
1. you don't spend money on name brands;
2. you haven't addressed optics (hey we all get old and our eye sight will fail some day)
Don't you think that the following is also important:
3. physical limitations
4. family considerations.
I know a lot about the HK (owned several 91s for a long time), and about the M-14 / M-1A (owned several Springfield M-1As) but relatively new to FAL's. So far from what I have read and practiced with my STG it all seems nearly "soldier proof"
B.T.W. - Yes I can field strip, clean and reassemble all the above. (along with ARs, AKs, 1911, Beretta 92, Ithaca 37, rem 870, Moss 590, Benellis ect...
Sorry but I don't get to keep one by my side 24-7-365 (nature of my work)
Put the money toward ammo (Lots of it!) and groceries (long term storage food)
Regarding things know...
1. you don't spend money on name brands;
I think the JDL PRT is as good or better thanany of the HK's I have owned (at $900 new Vs. $2,200 used that is about $1,100 less expensive to boot - why that is enough to buy two rifles, pay taxes and fees and still have money left over for about 200 magazines !).
The Austrian STG58s have the reputation as the top of the line for FAL and Imbel receivers also have a very good reputation from everything I've read up with. Something wrong with that combo??
The Poly Tech M-14's have the Forged components, especially the Forged Receivers that "Different" on the M-14 Forum rates are the closest to USGI. The other parts are all good quality, with the possible exception of the bolts which may / or may not be soft (mine are maintaining headspace great, but I may pick up a new Norinco bolt from a Canadian friend - just for peace of mind as a new hardened bolt for the gun costs under a $90) As I picked up both guns for right at $1,000 which is less than what I'd pay these days for the Springfield with the new cast parts
Optics, - Well I mentioned that the difficulties of the mounts in the comments earlier. Probably go with a set of quick mount / dismount rings to swap between scope and red dot. or just keep it real simple with a 1.5 X 5 power scope with illuminated ret. for all around use. - May mount it on a quick off and on ring set to go to irons or glass as needed or possible.
What I really want to get out of this is a good Defense Rifle that goes BANG every time, (mud, sand, snow, hot, cold, whatever...) that is reasonabley accurate (sub MOA is great, but in the real world rarely / never happens with rack grade rifles and surplus ammo) I figure if the rifle holds to 2.5" groups then it shoots well for a defense gun to hit out to 400. Can hunt with same. (this factor rules out my AK or ARs)
Thanks for trying to contribute, but I have some experience with the guns, trying to learn more from those other shooters out there. (experience is the best teacher!)
Lots-o-options when it comes to "aftermarket" sights on the FAL. Here's a few examples offered from DSA for starters....
IMHO, the FAL is THE "battle rifle". I've done both the M-14/M1A and G-3/HK91 thing in the past and found my way back to FALs. Rugged, reliable and when comparing apples to apples, just as accurate as any other battle rifle on the market (got a buddy who regurlarly outshoots the M1A crowd at "M-14 Fred's" home range....and does it with a bone-stock FAL with a surplus Steyr-made tube!).
I wouldn't feel underarmed with either a G-3 or M-14/M1A.....but wouldn't trade my FALs for either.