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On my previous thread I got some (probably well-deserved) jibes for having an urgent plan to get a "battle rifle." When I really reflect on that impulse, I admit that as a civilian I will be highly unlikely to ever need a battle rifle.

Nevertheless, a comment (pasted below) by the moderator (3wbdriver) has me wondering:

"Kel-tec does not make "battle rifles", and has never claimed to. And the people who expect them to stand up to the rigors of that standard at half the comparable price - excluding the aforementioned RFB - are setting themselves up for failure. And I am not talking down Kel-tecs by making this statement. But if I am specifically looking for a "battle rifle" in .308 I am going with an M1A, your SCAR, or one of the AR based platforms out there."

Is that the general opinion of the contributors here, that the RFB would not be a candidate for a battle rifle? Is it because of durability issues, reliability issues, or some other limitation? I am asking out of curiosity, not because I have an axe to grind in the matter.
 

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The main reason why the RFB does not "pass muster" as a battle rifle is the fact it was designed by a SMALL firm of individuals STRICTLY for civilian / sporting use it has not undergone the stringent testing procedures that any and all police and military markets would enforce.

These tests & evaluations are a MANDATORY part of the potential adoption of any piece of equipment to any jurisdiction or Militia .

Tests such as these are often "to failure" tests such as dirt, grime, round count, ambient moisture, cold & hot environment testing performance while dirty , unlubed , improperly lubricated,use of corrosive ammo , simulated salt water exposure ( salt water mist prolonged exposure) ect. ect..add nauseam...

There are also certain requirements that have to be met such as logistical parts availability , ease of maintenance, ammo cost,ammo type, time spent teaching armorers accuracy requirements, mean round count requirements and overall weight / bulk req.'s

As you can see to attain the title of a "true" battle rifle there is a LOT of red tape & money / time invested along with equal shares of paid manpower, I am of the opinion that not a single small Co. no matter how innovative or definition changing they may be in their ideas can produce a Govt. sanctioned Front line rifle in this day and age...that's mainly the domain of the "big 6" ( Styer, HK, Colt,Remington , Knight's armament, FN Herstal,Izmash ) perhaps a select few others of equal size .

With that said it DOES NOT detract form the quality of build capable form Kel tec one bit, as the test performed by Kel Tec are stringent and exhaustive as well!

They are focused on the "smaller market" of Civ. sales ( which in all actuality is LARGER and requires less "bidding wars..) and in making a "Sporting Purpose Rifle" have a LOT less red tape to wade through ( though it is still there but more on that later.) This frees them to think "outside of the box" and build such items as the RFB ,KSG and others and their destructive "to failure" batch of testing rifles polls far smaller costing them less money overall.

They still test their firearms for function fit finish and SAMMI ( perhaps C.U.P.) requirements and can attach a lifetime guarantee with them due to the fact the attention to detail is there when working in small batches.
no Friday afternoon gun syndrome is too common out of their factory unlike others.."Cough Sig Sauer Exeter plant ..COUGH" darn headcolds...

Your RFB and many like it , even mine is just as good as the known "battle rifles" but it is NOT "battle tested" and that in and of itself is part of the definition of the terminology "battle rifle"

Would I trust my life to it ?..for homestead defense: YES! (not for urban defense!)

Would I "Go to war with it? : NO! as it sits it is still an "unproven commodity" and I do not know how it would fare with Louisiana's harsh wet,nasty brackish environments.
Only after further evaluation and testing would I risk my neck with it.

You can get a GOOD Heckler & Koch G3 clone ( PTR 91 G.I.) or a good well built FN FAL clone ( Coonan arms receiver build ) for a little less money and they are proven throughout most environments by MANY armies across the globe. ( The Israeli's altering their FAL's to have "sand cuts" on the bolt carrier for increased reliability in particularly arid dusty environments. )

As for the AR-10 well it depends on the "type" of build A Knight's SR-25 ( all the way up to the crazy pricey M110 package) will preform wonderfully in just about all environments ( barring submersion without drainage, but I recommend not doing this to any rifle PERIOD! ) but other"AR-10's" suffer worse than a tight toleranced AR-15 in regards to dust debris and other potential stoppages..if your going "D.I.Y." or with anything other than the "top tier" make sure it's built for the job at hand.
 

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+1 to what Wizard said. The RFB seems capable enough, but is hasn't "walked the mile" so to speak. From my own experience, I would say it would not pass for the simple fact that it is not "operator proof" enough. It is way to easy for a misadjustment to the gas system to disable the rifle... It seems robust enough, and it's shrouded internal design is a plus for excluding dirt and debris, but untill it is submitted for testing, you never know...
 

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The truth is that for the price this gun should shoot multiple rounds straight out of the box. Period. End of story. The gas adjustment is straight up retarded. I own a Gen II RFB. It is at best OK. Now I just need to go buy a Rhino in .357...just cuz it looks cool, same dependability issues.

I will continue to depend on my M1A and my Glock if ever under duress.
 

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For me personally, being former military and currently engaged in continued work with the U.S. Government, I have found that the RFB would be a poor rifle mostly due to the fact that it is Bullpup. Military personnel have access to small weaponry such as the M4 which has very respectable range in the hands of a well trained shooter. Size isn't really the issue and neither is max range. The biggest problem with a bullpup is the fact that trying to reload one around full sized body armor is significantly slower than that of an M16/M4. I know other military forces around the world use Bullpup designs (French and British come to mind) and I have seen how they have adapted their training to accommodate quick reloads.

With that in mind, that operation, particularly on an RFB is a real pain in the butt to do quickly. Typically on the side of my vest I will have a medpack and a side-SAPI plate which makes my shooting side stick out 6 to 8 inches farther than without bodyarmor on. This also happens to be right where the magazine for an RFB comes down (this is with 20 rnd. magazine, a 30 rounder would actually be very difficult to use as I dont have a huge torso). In order to reload in full battle gear I have to raise the barrel of the RFB, reach back and drop the magazine with my off-hand and then use that off hand to grab a new magazine and insert it into the RFB (again with the slight angle that is required for these things to be rolled into place).

Compare this to an M4 which can drop the magazine with my shooting hand while my off-hand is already grabbing a new magazine, allowing me to keep my sight picture and weapon oriented to the front. This issue may seem small and my own experience anecdotal, but my experience overseas has seen the importance of fast reloading demonstrated several times over. Having a heavier round or longer max theoretical distance has always taken a back seat to such a simple and important skill as fast, tactical reloading.
 

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Yep, offhand reloads are tough with the RFB... IMO, the only time offhand reloads make sense is on a platform where the shooting hand can also dump the empty mag. I can shift mags pretty fast in the RFB now(while keeping orientation and sight picture), but I have to use my strong hand...
 

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hitpure said:
On my previous thread I got some (probably well-deserved) jibes for having an urgent plan to get a "battle rifle." When I really reflect on that impulse, I admit that as a civilian I will be highly unlikely to ever need a battle rifle.
I felt the same way. Looked at some FAL clones...a CETME. etc....decided to just get an Ak47.

Dreamed of the RFB, but no one had one anywhere reasonable at the time.
 

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I am of the opinion that not a single small Co. no matter how innovative or definition changing they may be in their ideas can produce a Govt. sanctioned Front line rifle in this day and age...that's mainly the domain of the "big 6" ( Styer, HK, Colt,Remington , Knight's armament, FN Herstal,Izmash ) perhaps a select few others of equal size .
I'm of the opinion that if Knight's Armament can jump through all of the military procurement hoops, then Kel-Tec could marshal the resources to do so as well. I think it's more about intent than ability.

KAC and Kel-Tec have different business plans. KAC has spun off KAM to manufacture and market products to the large civilian market, and that's smart, but KAC is focused on making firearms for the military, and the testing and other procurement expenses are represented in the cost of their firearms. Kel-Tec is focused on the civilian market.

I'd love to have an all-weather RFB with 10,000 round mean time between failures... but I wouldn't want to pay for it!
 

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I'm of the opinion that if Knight's Armament can jump through all of the military procurement hoops, then Kel-Tec could marshal the resources to do so as well.
Why would they want to? Government Contracting is notoriously persnickity with small businesses unless they're minority owned. The most egregious sin is typically failure to pay on time, the bane of small businesses. Large businesses with enough volume can typically soak up the government "float" but it's especially stressful to the Balance Sheets of small biz.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

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It'll be interesting to have a government agency run the RFB through the MRBF (Mean Rounds Before Failure) tests in different operating environments, desert, arctic, swamp, maritime, etc.
 

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I'm of the opinion that if Knight's Armament can jump through all of the military procurement hoops, then Kel-Tec could marshal the resources to do so as well. I think it's more about intent than ability.

KAC and Kel-Tec have different business plans. KAC has spun off KAM to manufacture and market products to the large civilian market, and that's smart, but KAC is focused on making firearms for the military, and the testing and other procurement expenses are represented in the cost of their firearms. Kel-Tec is focused on the civilian market.

I'd love to have an all-weather RFB with 10,000 round mean time between failures... but I wouldn't want to pay for it!


You and me BOTH Liberty , though I would almost be tempted to pay for it even if it did have the nutz pricetag.

I've been one of the few to "extoll the virtues" of this particular rifle platform ( perhaps too much according to some people..hehe) but one built darn near "bomb proof" would just be deliriously awesome.

As for my opinion ...well perhaps KAC is "different" most of their sales as of late are LEO a little more than MIL and one really can't for get their small but admittedly devoted following for their "boutique weapon systems ".

Nearly NOTHING I say should be taken as axiomatic or dogmatic truth It's mostly opinion...and like elbows everybody seems to have a couple of em..hehe

I'll never be the one to obscure facts or slant a discussion / argument but I will always be the first to admit I am one of the most biased individuals on the face of this planet.

And DMART I can understand that sentiment 100% for me I would revert back to the PTR 91 /USP 45 . ( Well at least untill I finish the FAL PARA and work on another Glock 19. )
 

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A better made RFB that could be fielded would be nothing short of a "Game Changer", it would be a short, hard hitting weapon that could be used by everyone from DMRs to urban snipers. I would gladly sell my left arm:( for one! (I might give up more if it was tan but that just me:cool:)

That being said, The gas system is the biggest issue. Once its straightened out then the bolt and extractors need some attention. Shave a little weight off this hummer bear and ladies gentlemen I would be proud to introduce you to the future of weapons! Maybe someday we will call it the M1A volume 2 :D
 

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The only downfall I see to the RFB is that they're not easy to work on and fix yourself. With that said, i did some time in a desert and can honstly say the m16 was very unreliable, yet that is called a battle rifle. My RFB has never not worked, I had to get the bolt coating replaced because it was flaking but, it fires perfectly with any ammo on any setting. I would rather take it into battle than my AR10. My AR10 jams from time to time and is much longer than the RFB even though it has a shorter barrel. Get what ever feels comfortable, shoot it a bunch and work out the kinks, if any, once you know your rifle well enough, you will be battle ready.
 

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Wait for IMI Tavor to develop a 7.62 version of the TAR-21. It is already a game changer to that caliber. I should have mine this fall to replace the AR/M4 platform. IF a 7.62 version surfaces, it will be on the top of my list.
 

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If you want to make a militery version of te RFB maybe there would be a way to add some sort of buffer system to absorb any extra energy from the bolt carrier.
If that's what it took to eliminate the need for a gas adjustment then that would probably be a good trade off.
(It may still need two settings :suppressed/unsuppressed.)

It seems to me KelTec was trying to make the RFB absolutely as short as possible.
The buffer pad in there now is very thin. And too much gas leads to the carrier bouncing too hard, and that leads to failures.
But, if there was ever an opportunity to produce a "Mark 2" version I would vote to add a little extra length to the rear (like an inch) if that's what it takes to add some sort of buffer system.
I guess you'd need something almost like a shock absorber - something that dissipates energy.

Personally, I've never had any problem with the fact that there's an adjustable gas system.
Shooting paper at the range, the gas valve just sits at the same setting.
But (just guessing) if you start doing testing under extreme conditions, I'm not sure you could keep running without adjusting the gas.

3dogs
 

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Having a soft spot for the M1A I can say that when the SHTF I reach for the RFB. It simply works. Will it work in the Arctic at -40 Below? Will never happen with me. Will it work in the all the other regimes discussed, maybe. All I know is that in my house and outside in the 0-85 degrees we have in the NorthWest, my RFB has NEVER failed. I feed it good ammo and it simply works. When the ETB cards run out, my RFB will guard me and mine. Setup with an ACOG and Weaponlight, it is as close to an American Katana as I will ever see in my lifetime.

As to bolt buffers, how about a small cylindrical pod containing a spring where the butt-stock is with a "z" like connector going to the back of the bolt? The whole system can be sealed, the spring can be cleaned/replaced by unscrewing the pod cap from the butt-plate. I am dubious of a pneumatic system due to temperature differences vs buffer efficiency, but testing should show the way to go. The buffering would allow a broader range of ammo to be used per gas setting (say Standard-High-Subsonic-Suppressed-Zero so that the rifle could be used for anything. The gas system set for standard would lock back on anything from 110 grain TAP to 175 Grain Lake City. The high for guns as they got dirty, the Subsonic for Sub ammo without suppressor and Suppressor for (Obviously). Zero would be for single shot, etc.

The space behind the bolt which is devoted to a "stock" is the perfect housing for such. Two pods stacked would change almost nothing about the look of the rifle, yet could incorporate a buffer spring and a lower pod battery compartment/Cleaning Kit.
 

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There isn't any real room behind the bolt... If you remove the rubber butpad, up under the channel, there is a steel plate welded into the channel, about 1/8" thick that the top buttpad screw screws into. In front of that plate is where the maybe 1/4" thick rubber buffer pad sets. It has a hole in it to allow the threaded boss that accepts the top buttpad screw. The buffer plate that ties the two spring guide rods together pushes against that bufferpad when assembled. The bolt/carrier has if I recall just under 1/2" of travel past the point where the bolt face would pick up the rim of the next round in the mag before the carrier contacts the buffer plate/pad.

You could put the buffer mechanism below the bolt and behind the mag where pictured, but I think the real enemy here is time. The issue I think is that you can only decelerate the carrier so fast before it starts to interfere with the ejection process. With a fixed carrier speed, the only way to keep the peak deceleration down is to slow the process/spread it out over more time and that takes more carrier travel. I don't think you can do it effectively without increasing the carrier travel and the overall length of the rifle.
 

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You could put the buffer mechanism below the bolt and behind the mag where pictured, but I think the real enemy here is time. The issue I think is that you can only decelerate the carrier so fast before it starts to interfere with the ejection process. With a fixed carrier speed, the only way to keep the peak deceleration down is to slow the process/spread it out over more time and that takes more carrier travel. I don't think you can do it effectively without increasing the carrier travel and the overall length of the rifle.
I see your point.

The only way to do this properly is if the receiver was redesigned to be longer, thus increasing travel time. This would only be done if the benefits would vastly outweigh the costs of a redesign and if the weapon would become more reliable without sacrificing legality, both of which would be true.

The barrel is currently 18 inches, there is no reason why it could not be 17 1/2 inches and still remain above the legal limit of 16 inches with a longer receiver and remain within the overall length. The receiver could be lengthened without harming the "length of Pull" because the RFB has a upper rail that you can set the sights at whatever distance you need (and from the pictures people are setting them far forward of minimum distance. Also, you can see the length of pull (defined by buttplate to trigger) on an RFB is short for even the tiniest of women as they need to tuck in just as much as the guys when shooting the RFB. I am not even sure that we are talking about a full half inch, but lets say for arguments sake it is a half inch. Optimum probably would be whatever the M1A's travel is (assuming similar action rod and bolt weight).

Also, it also would vastly reduce the complexity of the gas system because with a longer throw, the gas system is more "forgiving" in terms of lockback and cartridge rise in the magazine and bullet weight, reducing the repair returns to the factory and "fixes" for the gas system so in the long run it would greatly reduce costs. Right now, the gas system is a delicate balance between just enough to lock back and too much that batters the weapon. ANY increase in throw would be a valuable addition that could be used to effect an increase in reliability, reduce battering of the weapon, reduce cost and complexity of the gas system, increase the use of 30 round mags with their slow to rise cartridges or ALL OF THE ABOVE.

A work around could perhaps be done by increasing the weight of the bolt (a typical John Browning answer) but this would increase costs, as tungsten or Mallory slugs might have to be used. This is the way full auto guns (such as the UZI) decrease their cyclic rate, though it is a "fix", I don't see it as a long term solution.

Please understand, I am a major fan of the weapon. I would like to see it adopted by our armed forces, but to get to that level of reliability, the bolt throw would have to be looked at. It is not the adjustable gas system that is the problem, that is merely mandated by the short throw.
 

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I know a lot of dumb people in the military who can barely operate an M16 or M4. Putting an RFB in their hands and telling them to calibrate the gas system is the main reason why the RFB isn't a "battle rifle".
 
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