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Most of my friends are obsessed with the concept of a main "battle rifle." Granted, many of them are in law enforcement and are always quick to say, "the main purpose of your side arm is to give you the ability to get back to the car to get the rifle."

I realize, as do they, that the majority of conflicts begin and end with the side arm service weapon. There are instances however that a "battle rifle" is called for; hence, the reason for this post.

In your opinion, what is a "battle rifle?" Is it a semi or full automatic weapon? Why and what cal should it be? Can Kel Tec SU 16's, RFB/RDB's be considered "battle rifles?" And what about IWI Tavor's - the Israeli military don't seem to have a problem with them! Is the AR or AK the last word on main battle rifles?

Finally, please keep in mind that I am asking this question on a Kel Tec forum. It is my opinion that Kel Tec users seem to be more open minded about gun quality and design.

Thanks in advance and your input is appreciated.
 

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As I understand it, a "battle rifle" tends to be of a heavier caliber than a pistol- or intermediate-caliber rifle or carbine. For example, something in .308/7.62 NATO, .30-06, 7.62x54R, etc. They are usually full-length, tend to be heavy, have moderate to high capacities with detachable box magazines, and are intended for use in battle scenarios that usually involve longer shooting distances and/or shooting through dense foliage and barriers. They also typically have select-fire capability for full-auto or 3-round burst.

Some that I can think of off the top of my head would be the good ol' M-14, the BAR, CETME, SCAR, SVT-40, etc. Think big, heavy, and heavy-duty ... something you'd probably hate to lug around all day, but you'd be glad to have when shooting through heavy jungle vegetation or over long, wide-open distances in the desert.

Long guns chambered in intermediate calibers such as, say, 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington or 7.62x39, for example, are usually considered "intermediate" or true "assault rifles" ... but ONLY when they have select-fire capability - NOT the stupid made-up and all-encompassing "assault weapon" term used by the media and anti-gun zealots. Carbine-length or "pistol" versions of battle rifles chambered in "full-power" rifle calibers (7.62 NATO and such), or bullpups in general, aren't generally considered battle rifles. Long guns like the SU-16, RFB/RDB, and Sub2000 are not battle rifles - probably classified as just carbines.

The AK-47 and M-16 (military select-fire version of the AR-15) are NOT considered battle rifles, but rather are assault rifles. They may be the primary-issued rifle of a given military branch, but they still are not classified as battle rifles. Even something like the M249 SAW, which is belt-fed but chambered in 5.56 NATO, is considered a "light machine gun" or "squad automatic weapon" (hence the SAW designation).

EDIT: FWIW, here's a couple of Wikipedia links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_rifle
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_battle_rifles
 

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The big difference is not that the round is merely bigger, but that the round in question is about as big a round as a soldier can carry and fire from an unsupported standing position. The 7.62x54R, the 7.62 NATO, the .30-06, and other similar calibers all converge on the practical limit, where the rifle is not overweight but can deliver effective fire at long ranges (~1000m), so these are often called "full power" calibers. This hinges on the idea that the soldier can use this weapon effectively, making every round count.

As you may know, most of the armies of the world use an "intermediate cartridge" like the 5.56 NATO or the 7.62x39 for their standard cartridge, even though these cartridges aren't typcally useful beyond a few hundred meters. Assault rifles are popular because they're easy to shoot accurately and effectively, and they let the soldier march longer, with more food and more ammo on his back than a soldier armed with a battle rifle and carrying the same weight on his back, all without a severe restriction on range. Most soldiers can't reliably hit a man-sized target past 300 meters no matter what rifle they use.

Carbines like the P90, MP5, or the classic M1A tyipcally have short barrels and use pistol caliber cartridges for the sake of portability. The M4, after which the typical AR-15 is patterned, is considered a carbine due to its compact size and light weight. An "assault rifle" is a select fire, light weight rifle shooting an intermediate caliber. A "battle rifle" is just an assault rifle that uses a full power cartridge.
 
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Feh. I have a much more literal take on it which will satisfy practically no one.

A "Battle Rifle" is a rifle specifically designed and intended to be deployed with military troops that may see (or have seen) combat. My Mossin-Nagant in 7.62x54R is a "Battle Rifle." My buddy's custom built AR10 in .308 is not. That Korean surplus M1 Carbine is a "Battle Rifle." My S&W M&P Sport AR is not. Is it a rifle or carbine? Is it specifically designed for issue to military forces for "battle?" Answer no to either and it's not a "Battle Rifle."

On a personal note, depending on my mood, I find the whole idea of non-Military folks dithering on about the definition of "Battle Rifles" to be either amusing or irritating. The Hughes Amendment effectively makes most modern "Battle Rifles" unavailable to the average U.S. Citizen which means either the people having the discussion are not really talking about "Battle Rifles," are not actually the average citizen (they are somehow more privileged than Joe Sixpack), or they're just dreaming (or possibly wannabe-ing).

I would MUCH rather people discuss how to configure a gun which meets their specific needs, then define what those needs are. And, honestly, for most of us, a "Battle Rifle" really isn't really high on our list outside of "because I want to." (which is good enough for me)

Now that I've been a Debbie Downer on the thread, I'll return it back to you. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

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"Battle Rifle" is a term not yet picked up by the main stream media and gun banners, but will eventually be, to describe something evil that needs to be banned.

Other than that, the term doesn't have any super specific definition. A Springfield is a battle rifle, so is a Mauser, so is a Mosin, so is an M1A. As has already been said, most people would interpret it to mean a larger, heavier, but still portable rifle with a more powerful cartridge that is better for long range shots. A .50BMG would not qualify IMHO, because it is not easily portable. Looking at it another way, a battle rifle chambers a cartridge you might feel comfortable shooting an elk with, an assault rifle chambers something more appropriate for prairie dogs and slightly larger vermin.
 

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"Battle Rifle" is a term not yet picked up by the main stream media and gun banners, but will eventually be, to describe something evil that needs to be banned.
"Assault Weapon" is much scarier sounding and easier to sell the fear.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 
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THIS is a Battle Rifle...

Circa November 1944

 

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"Assault Weapon" is much scarier sounding and easier to sell the fear.
If I were forced to choose (I know, a bad choice either way!), I'd choose to be shot with an assault rifle over a battle rifle. [edit - a SINGLE SHOT from either rifle, not full auto fire from a true assault rifle! ]
 

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In the groups I run in, battle rifle is a full power rifle caliber (typically similar to big game calibers) in a Semi-Auto configuration with detachable magazines capable of longer range power. The term has been in common use since after WWII. These do not have to be select fire, but some are. Most in this space are no longer in use by warfighters.

Assault rifle is a medium caliber carbine with detachable magazines that is also select fire. These are the types of firearms that are more heavily restricted and that are commonly used in "Battle" by warfighters, along with SAWs.
 

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I would also like to add that most people would say a battle rifle also has to be pretty durable. I.E. being able to withstand using it in hand to hand combat.

I typically wouldn't want to use an AR-15 in any configuration as a bludgeon (or defensively to block someone else's weapon) because pieces would fall off and the damn thing would probably break in half. (Which I have experienced firsthand)
 

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I have only heard the term used for milsurp WWII era & similar older up to and including the garand. The full sized cartridge definition is new to me. I wonder if a 50 cal barrett is a battle rifle? I know my 1909 is one, though only a very tough man would fire it more than 10 times in a row with full power ammo.

We are probably due for a round of cartridge development if we go to war again. We have better metals, can run much higher pressures. I still think a 44 mag or 300 blackout size case can deliver like a 308 in a high pressure chamber, giving the extra rounds of a small gun with the payload of an antique. It would also need modern recoil management tricks, but that is very doable.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I read with interest what I've been hearing thus far... especially iklawson's comment, ""Assault Weapon" is much scarier sounding and easier to sell the fear."

Now I'd like to toss this in for some thought and commentary...

Earlier this year I purchased an AR - yes, a big black gun that produces fear and terror in the hearts of many unfamiliar with such a weapon - LOL! (BTW, I've never fired a .223 round through it as I installed a .22 LR conversion kit the day that I received it.)

In part, the reason I purchased the big black gun was to shut some of my friends up that seem to believe that an AR is a main battle gun and that anyone into guns MUST own one!

Comments anyone?
 

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I've had light switches in my house ever since I was born. Then they became "DIGITAL light switches" because someone observed that they can be used for On/Off (duh!) Next, they painted them black, and they became "TACTICAL light switches". The Tactical ones sell for twice as much. (They're usually on the shelf right next to the Tactical Pencils and Tactical Hair Brushes, in the camo aisle.)

Skip forward a few decades and we have rifles, battle rifles (because someone observed that they could be used in battle - duh!), and assault rifles (because someone painted them black).
Déjà vu
 

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IMHO, the problem becomes one of lazy language use. Slang has changed words from someone happy, or a cigarette but, to someone who finds the same sex attractive. The etymology of words does matter and those who understand that will have different meanings than those who rely on their own experience and biases to make up meanings.
 

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IMHO, the problem becomes one of lazy language use. Slang has changed words from someone happy, or a cigarette but, to someone who finds the same sex attractive. The etymology of words does matter and those who understand that will have different meanings than those who rely on their own experience and biases to make up meanings.
It can make research into historic documents, particularly old magazines and newspapers, challenging sometimes.

Slang, acceptable spellings, and even social norms for the underlying meaning of words or phrases can frequently increase the challenge. As an example, I recently posted on another forum about how a pair of pants I wore from years ago had "shrunk at the waist." Everyone knows this is a humorous way of me saying that I've gained weight around my midsection. But in 150 years will a casual reader trying to follow along actually know the subtext or will there be a more literal assumption made?

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 
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