Thinking about a 7.62x51 semi-auto rifle

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Rich Jordan
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Thinking about a 7.62x51 semi-auto rifle

Post by Rich Jordan » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:37 pm

In the ammo salad days I laid in several thousand rounds of .308 and 7.62x51 ammo, with the certainty I'd have a rifle for that load someday. Most of it is the South African surplus, but also British and Australian.

I still don't have one. The original plan was an M1-A or equivalent, since I love my M1 Garands and do pretty well with them, but now there's a plethora of AR style rifles in the caliber, and I've grown fond of my ARs in 5.56 and .300 Blackout. I don't want a bolt gun in this caliber (I've got those in .30-06 and 6.5 Swedish). I considered a FAL but missed my chance on the cheap excellent parts kits, and they've gotten pretty pricey since.

I rented an M1-A at a range a couple of weeks ago and it was as thoroughly enjoyable as my Garands. That range doesn't have a 7.62 AR for rent, so I'm checking for ranges that do.

So I'm looking for thoughts on the current options. I'm ok shopping around for a nice used rifle (especially M1-A/FAL or other non AR). I'm undecided on the M1-A variants (SOCOM, CQB, Scout); the one I shot was a standard Springfield Armory model, and I know the shorter barrels with brakes will be less pleasant to shoot.

Usage: mostly shooting for enjoyment, plinking, target shooting, maybe some training. Options: I'm 55; the ability to add an optic without buying a stupid expensive or very rare hard to get mount would be a plus.

Of course there's always the alternative; I have too darn many calibers already, the .30-06 will do everything the .308 can and more, the .300 blackout will handle low end .30 caliber needs, so I should just sell the ammo and stick with what I have... and that is also under consideration. If I didn't have the .308 stash I would not be considering a rifle.

Thanks!

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evan price
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Re: Thinking about a 7.62x51 semi-auto rifle

Post by evan price » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:15 pm

G3 ar10 cetme or fal.
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Steamforger
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Re: Thinking about a 7.62x51 semi-auto rifle

Post by Steamforger » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:10 pm

DSA Voyagers are priced into the PTR 91 range right now. I have a Saiga .308 I picked up when they were a new thing. It's fun enough, but the installed sights only go to 300, so an optic for some long range fun is necessary and right now they probably fall into the same price range as the other two. I've always wanted an M1A. I just never seemed to find the right one when the checking account could take it.

Incidentally, NATO surplus .308 tends to be Berdan primed unless it's US made. I know Portuguese, British, and S.A. are.
Last edited by Steamforger on Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jered
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Re: Thinking about a 7.62x51 semi-auto rifle

Post by Jered » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:21 pm

evan price wrote:G3 ar10 cetme or fal.
Or the BM=59.



PTR makes a decent G3 reproduction. Stay away from the CAI CETME. Far away. Seriously far away. It you can find a SAR-4800 they're a good choice for the FAL.

G3 pros:
-cheap magazines
-lots of aftermarket accessories
- relatively easy to disassemble

G3 cons:
-No bolt hold open feature
-Not ergonomic unless you are a Teutonic ubermensch
-the recoil is stiff

M1A pros:
-excellent sights
-mild recoil
-stripper clip guide

M1A cons:
-It's fairly complicated
-mags can be relatively expensive
-Springfield M1As use a cast receiver

AR-10. I don't know much about these other than that mags are expensive

FAL pros:
-simple disassembly with few easy to lose parts
-last round bolt hold open
-fairly ergonomic
-Excellent sights on par with M1A
-the right arm of the free world

FAL cons:
-2 different kinds (inch/metric) of magazines
-new production may have QC issues
-vertical stringing because of tilting bolt
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Weetabix
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Re: Thinking about a 7.62x51 semi-auto rifle

Post by Weetabix » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:57 pm

I believe I've read that you can shoot 7.62x51 in a .308, but not .308 in a 7.62x51, if that make a difference. You should check me on that, though.
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Jered
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Re: Thinking about a 7.62x51 semi-auto rifle

Post by Jered » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:13 pm

Weetabix wrote:I believe I've read that you can shoot 7.62x51 in a .308, but not .308 in a 7.62x51, if that make a difference. You should check me on that, though.
I've heard variants of that, too. It has to do with the testing method used for the rounds. The 7.62 used the Copper Units of Pressure to measure pressure. .308 used piezoelectric testing that measured PSI.

Here and here are articles about it.
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Rich Jordan
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Re: Thinking about a 7.62x51 semi-auto rifle

Post by Rich Jordan » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:27 am

Thanks all. I was throwing .308 and 7.62 out interchangeably but the NATO chambering is what I'm looking for. I doubt I have more than 100 rounds of actual .308 Win ammo.

Jered, thanks especially for all the detail points.

And yes, its mostly Berdan primed so I'm very unlikely to be reloading the caliber.

I neglected to mention I have at least 8 and possibly more (in storage) magazines for M14-alikes. They're a mix of Korean issue and USGI; I took a pair of Koreans to the range and used them for all the shooting I did on the rental (about 80 rounds total; had to buy their ammo) with no faults. I also found a bag in storage with some "G3" magazines (at least they match the images for same) that I must have bought back then 'just in case' but don't recall.

I don't think I ever got FAL magazines because I didn't know what type I might end up needing, but the only way to be sure is get more boxes out of storage and look.

I need to set a budget. New M1-A rifles are $1500 and up. Used (around here) is not much cheaper. Some of the others named here are $1k or more based on a quick check. A quality AR will probably start at $1400 (new); a LaRue would be more like $1500 for a kit or $2500 and up for a complete rifle (the latter is right out; the former I might be able to get a deal on).

No Smith Enterprises or Fulton Armory M14s in my range...

I know its not going to be a cheap purchase. Even building an AR from less expensive parts will push $850, and I don't have the tools for a large frame build. But we'll see.

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Jered
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Re: Thinking about a 7.62x51 semi-auto rifle

Post by Jered » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:11 am

Your best bet is probably a PTR-91, then.

Brownells has a 10 pack of G3 magazines for $34.99..

Atlantic Firearms has a PTR-91 for $925.

If magazines are the only thing holding you back from a G3 style rifle, they're $3.50 each.
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First Shirt
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Re: Thinking about a 7.62x51 semi-auto rifle

Post by First Shirt » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:26 am

I think if I was really jonesing for a .308 autoloader, I'd find a mixmaster Garand, and send it off to Tim Shufflin to have him make a Mini-G out of it. It uses the same en-bloc clips as the Garand, and you wind up with a tanker-sized Garand that's 38 inches long, and weighs 7-1/2 lbs.

Of course, that's just me.
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Jered
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Re: Thinking about a 7.62x51 semi-auto rifle

Post by Jered » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:04 am

First Shirt wrote:I think if I was really jonesing for a .308 autoloader, I'd find a mixmaster Garand, and send it off to Tim Shufflin to have him make a Mini-G out of it. It uses the same en-bloc clips as the Garand, and you wind up with a tanker-sized Garand that's 38 inches long, and weighs 7-1/2 lbs.

Of course, that's just me.
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