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What Is A "battle Rifle" Or "battlefield Rifle"?


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#1 Gavin-Phillips

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 0804 AM

This morning I managed to pick up a copy of Osprey's The G3 Battle Rifle which due to its numerous variants as well as its longevity in service, was something I'd been looking around for anyway.  That plus the seemingly rare grenadier variant with the HK69, it seemed a good book in the Osprey series to get when the chance arose.

 

Anyway, my main query this time is what actually constitutes as a "battle" or "battlefield" rifle?  Does this term still apply with certain weapons used in today's armed forces or have assault rifles or designated marksman rifles made these weapons obsolete and no longer used by the most modern-equipped armies?

 

I also managed to pick up the Osprey titles for SA80 Assault Rifles (hoping for some coverage of the L86 LSW in particular) and French Armour in Vietnam 1945-54 as well.  Not a bad morning looking around a market I must say.   :D  

 

Thanks


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#2 Dawes

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 0845 AM

I've understood "battle rifles" to mean those chambered for a full-size cartridge (predominately 7.62x51mm) such as the M14, G3, or FAL. This as opposed to "assault rifles" such as the M16 or AK47.


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#3 shep854

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 0916 AM

I've understood "battle rifles" to mean those chambered for a full-size cartridge (predominately 7.62x51mm) such as the M14, G3, or FAL. This as opposed to "assault rifles" such as the M16 or AK47.

Also note that these rifles are magazine fed, and capable of fully-automatic fire, though semi-auto was far more practical.  My impression has been that 'battle rifle' was coined to distinguish from 'assault rifles'.


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#4 bojan

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 1242 PM

.....


Edited by bojan, 20 July 2019 - 1247 PM.

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#5 Dawes

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 1245 PM

Haven't heard that term applied to rifles such as the SCAR-H or Turkey's newish MPT-76, although they would fit the definition.


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#6 bojan

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 1247 PM

 

I've understood "battle rifles" to mean those chambered for a full-size cartridge (predominately 7.62x51mm) such as the M14, G3, or FAL. This as opposed to "assault rifles" such as the M16 or AK47.

Also note that these rifles are magazine fed, and capable of fully-automatic fire, though semi-auto was far more practical.  My impression has been that 'battle rifle' was coined to distinguish from 'assault rifles'.

 

 

Only reasonable distinction is:

- semi-automatic rifles (regardless of the cartridge they fire)

- automatic rifles (regardless of the cartridge they fire)

 

Otherwise, you have oddballs such as British L1A1 (FAL) that was a semi only, and G3 (full auto capable) in the same group. What would be military used semi-auto AR-15 be (IIRC someone actually uses this) since it does not fulfill criteria for either "battle" or "assault" rifle?

 

"Battle rifle" was largely post-fact marketing term for a clusterfuck that was use of 7.62x51mm in the rifles post WW2. It appeared in 70/80s gun mags. Since AK and M16 are not "battle" rifle, only sporting toys? And you can not assault enemy position with FAL or G3? :)

Even worse than that, there were intermediate cartridge FAL and G3, are those "battle rifle" or "assault rifle"? :)

 

"Assault rifle" is another term that is way overused, only Spain, WW2 Germany, Austria and Swiss ever used that term officially. But it is nice marketing gimmick for both pro and anti-gun crowd, so it stays in the wide use.


Edited by bojan, 20 July 2019 - 1253 PM.

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#7 Gavin-Phillips

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 1328 PM

Thanks everyone.  I have yet to read through Osprey's book covering the G3 but I'm quite looking forward to learning some of the history, developments and variants of the weapon.  I had to try and explain to someone recently that such weapons involve alot of history and engineering...I think it fell on deaf ears though but worth a try.  And apart from the AK, the G3 certainly has quite a bit of history attached to it...

 

Thanks again.


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#8 Chris Werb

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 1424 PM

Battle rifle doesn't, as I understand it, exclude semi auto rifles. So the L1A1 and vast majority of M14s were battle rifles. Conversely, unless you're the BBC, the definition "assault rifle" does include selective fire as mandatory. Battle rifle = military purposed semiautomatic or selective fire rifle in a full sized (non intermediate) chambering.
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#9 Dawes

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 1430 PM

To the press, a Brown Bess is a battle rifle.


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#10 bojan

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 1446 PM

,,,Battle rifle = military purposed semiautomatic or selective fire rifle in a full sized (non intermediate) chambering.

No military used that term or definition and neither did any manufacturer.

"Battle rifle" is a "Gavin" of the rifle world.


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#11 GregShaw

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 1532 PM

 

,,,Battle rifle = military purposed semiautomatic or selective fire rifle in a full sized (non intermediate) chambering.

No military used that term or definition and neither did any manufacturer.

"Battle rifle" is a "Gavin" of the rifle world.

 

What's a "Mouse Gun" then? :)


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#12 Walter_Sobchak

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 1637 PM

So if a battle rifle fires a full size round and has full auto as an option, does that make the WWI era BAR without a bipod a battle rifle?


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#13 lastdingo

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 1650 PM

The BAR was too heavy for use as standard rifle of regular infantry, so it's usually considered a light machinegun in Europe, only the Anglophone world (or maybe only Americans) call it an 'automatic rifle', which is a ridiculously unspecific term.

 

I think the use of the term "battle rifle" somewhat became popular among writers in the 90's and yes, it's about 7.62x51 rifles that are otherwise called "assault rifle" despite being somewhat unsatisfactory in full auto.

 

The stories of uncontrollability are exaggerating. I was able to put burst on a 30 m target on the 'combat' shooting range (pop-up targets depicting hostile infantry) with IIRC 3-4 hits per burst.

The real issue wasn't/isn't uncontrollability; it's that a 20 rds mag is empty real quick if you use bursts (and you cannot reasonably carry hundreds of rounds, since they are heavy). Men in combat stress would achieve little with bursts outdoors.

The biggest strength of 7.62x51 is probably that you can almost reliably shoot through walls indoors - a feature that gets neglected in modern laser-assisted training armies.


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#14 Adam_S

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 2019 PM

I've also heard the term used to describe the SMLE of all things, I think to differentiate it from sports or marksman rifles.


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#15 shep854

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 2034 PM

Bottom line, something for gun nerds to argue over, like so many other (just about all?) firearm-related terms.


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#16 Sardaukar

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 0513 AM

Would USMC M27 IAR be considered as "battle rifle"?

 

https://en.wikipedia...Automatic_Rifle


Edited by Sardaukar, 21 July 2019 - 0514 AM.

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#17 lastdingo

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 0516 AM

I've also heard the term used to describe the SMLE of all things, I think to differentiate it from sports or marksman rifles.

 

In German we would call that "Ordonnanzgewehr" - a rifle issued by the government to military personnel (we also have words for hunting, sports, sniper and collector's rifles as well as rifles issued by the government in general). I never found a proper translation for this.

 

 

@Sardaukar; wrong (too small) calibre.


Edited by lastdingo, 21 July 2019 - 0517 AM.

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#18 BJE

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 0520 AM

Would USMC M27 IAR be considered as "battle rifle"?

 

https://en.wikipedia...Automatic_Rifle

I have only seen the term used to describe assault rifles in 7.62x51, so I would say no.

The USMC terms "automatic rifle" and "automatic rifleman" is a bit anacronistic. I assume that it dates from the time when the ordinary rifleman had a repeting rifle.


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#19 bojan

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 0532 AM

 

In German we would call that "Ordonnanzgewehr" - a rifle issued by the government to military personnel...

"Service rifle" would be most appropriate.


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#20 bojan

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 0535 AM

...

The USMC terms "automatic rifle" and "automatic rifleman" is a bit anacronistic. I assume that it dates from the time when the ordinary rifleman had a repeting rifle.

 

But it at least accurately describes capabilities.


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