Three Foreign Battle Rifles You Should Know About

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By Jake Moore via wideopenspaces.com

Want to know some history on three badass foreign battle rifles? You got it. In 2003, United States Special Operations Command sanctioned the approval for a battle rifle that was as versatile and effective as the U.S. Special Forces operators that wielded them. Manufactured in Herstal, Belgium, the FN SCAR or Special Forces Combat Assault Rifle is exactly what the name implies and then some . . .

 

FN_SCAR-H_(Standard)

FN SCAR-H

 

This “GLOCK” of the assault rifle world was tailored to fit the specific requirements proposed by U.S. Special Forces. The SCAR is rugged, accurate, and reliable; capable of one MOA with a maximum effective range of 800 meters. It’s available in 7.62×51 NATO with a 20-round magazine, or 30 rounds of 5.56X45 NATO, as well as assorted barrel lengths ranging from seven inches on out to 20 inches.

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HK 417

 

 

Precision manufactured in the heart of Germany, the HK 417 is a semi-auto .308 (7.62x51NATO) that boasts excellent marks for accuracy and reliability, capable of 1.3 MOA from a 12-inch barrel and sub-MOA groups through a 20-inch barrel. It has a magazine capacity of 20 rounds and can effectively engage targets well beyond 800 meters.

This rifle is being fielded by U.S. Special Forces operators and is in very close competition with the SCAR for the title of best modern universal battle rifle. The ergonomics and features are similar to the classic M4 or M16 making this weapon feel very familiar to the U.S. soldier. It is also highly customizable but, unlike its M4 counterpart, the 417 utilizes a piston system rather than direct gas impingement which allows the 417 to operate cooler and much cleaner. You can find the HK 417 under its civilian alias MR762 for somewhere close to $4,500 dollars.

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IWI ACE 52

 

The ACE 52 is a 7.62×51 battle rifle developed and produced by Israel Weapon Industries in Ramat HaSharon, Israel. The ACE 52’s predecessor, the GALIL, was modeled after the fabled Kalashnikov AK-47 design known for its legendary reliability and has since been upgraded to fit the growing needs of the Israeli military.

The rifle is lightweight with manageable recoil for a .308, and is highly customizable with the addition of a MIL-STD-1913 rail system. It is available in a host of different barrel lengths including the 20-inch sniper variant capable of sub MOA accuracy. The ACE 52 has an effective range of 800 meters and can hold 25 rounds in the magazine surpassing the normal 20-round capacity of the HK 417 and SCAR-H which is much appreciated by the soldier in combat. The rifle comes in black and is priced around $2,800 dollars.

These three weapons systems are at the forefront of modern firearms innovation and are currently being fielded by militaries around the globe.

comments

  1. avatar Aaron Hsu says:

    Wait, hold up. No mention of the Beretta ARX? Fielded by the Italian Army and developed as part of Italy’s Future Soldier program. Features an instant field change barrel, completely ambidextrous features including dual extractors allowing left or right ejection in the field at a moment’s notice, as well as left or right-sided charging handle. Completely tool-free and pin-free disassembly and an ultra-reliable, clean shooting piston driven system. Competitor in the abortive Army Carbine Competition and allows rapid in-field change in configuration from SBR to DMR. It’s also the lightest combat proven carbine in its class at 6.8lbs with 16″ barrel.

    And it’s available in the US now for around $1300. What’s not to love?

    1. avatar Bob in MI says:

      it says battle rifle… not assault rifle. pretty sure the beretta isn’t made in a sufficient caliber.

      1. avatar Pat says:

        Arx 200

        1. The ARX-200 is still very much in development. A bit early to be pushing it as a rifle you need to know about. 🙂

    2. avatar Art out West says:

      Isn’t that a wimpy 5.56 rifle?
      Battle rifles are .308 30-06 7.62x54R 8mm Mauser .303 British etc.

    3. avatar Raoul Duke says:

      The ARX is not a battle rifle but an assault rifle. The examples above fire full-sized rifle rounds and are capable of automatic fire. The ARX fires an intermediate cartridge thus not a true battle rifle in the sense of a rifle firing a .308 round or bigger that is also capable of full-auto fire.

      1. avatar Tile floor says:

        I got to handle (but not fire) the 16 inch barreled civilian version and it felt enormous and clunky. It had the ergonomics of a pot bellied pig.
        But if you like it, don’t let me cramp your style, to each his own

        1. avatar Nick says:

          Lol the Beretta AR is the ugliest assault rifle to ever come out since the F2000. I handeled one as well and utterly hated it. And yes its a AR not a BR. I will def be getting an ACE in 7.62×51 next year!

  2. avatar NoID says:

    At those prices, knowledge is all I’ll ever have of them…

    1. avatar Arsh says:

      By avoiding buying them at their insane prices you can afford a trip oversees to see where they’re made and still have enough for an ar afterwards

  3. avatar Art out West says:

    Those all look like great rifles. I’d love to have one of each. They are also unfortunately outside my price range (or more precisely outside the price range tolerated by my wife).

    The foreign “battle rifles” that I may realistically hope to purchase some day soon would be the:

    Zastava PAP M77 .308 which can be had in the ballpark of $500ish

    VEPR in 7.62X54R (the dream VEPR for me) or in .308 (ok too) around $1000ish

    Then there are the foreign “battle rifles” that I actually have:

    M44 Mosin-Nagant $80 at Big-5 a few years back

    Saiga variant 7.62X39 for $300ish a few years back (great gun, but not a true “battle rifle” with it’s wimpy cartridge – still more Russian and manly than your AR-15)

    🙂

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      If an AK is in your mix, I think you might want to also consider an SKS. They are good shooting weapons, they are sturdy and can absorb a lot of abuse. They also have a pretty good aftermarket (love that word for a Russian military rifle) support in the way of accessorizing. 🙂

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        The SKS is a great rifle and I’d love to pick one up, but like the AK and the AR, it isn’t in a real “Battle Rifle” cartridge.

        The SKS also has the benefit of being in my price range. I just wish that I picked one up back in the early 90s when they were $80 brand new. Several of my friends from high school did buy them at the time, and the SKS was the first center-fire rifle I ever shot. It is a great step up from a .22lr.

      2. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Everyone should own an SKS! They’re not $100 anymore, but they’re still relatively cheap for a near-indestructible rifle that will outlast its owner, and probably the two owners after him. Ammo is cheap, they’re easy to shoot, what’s not to love?

        1. avatar Yellow Devil says:

          Unfortunately, they are slowly approaching that price threshold where you are better off saving up a little more money to buy a new AK style rifle instead of a used surplus sks. Unless you truly prefer the ergonomics of the sks over the AK or are not allowed to have an AK since you live in a present day slave state.

  4. avatar Bruce says:

    Rock on!

  5. avatar Rick3 says:

    A “battle rifle” that I own (that’s certainly not of the quality of the ones listed above) that’s fun is…the Egyptian Hakim.

    8mm Mauser cartridge, semi-auto, heavy/clumsy as a boat oar, and with a muzzle brake that is so good that you basically don’t feel any more recoil than a .223, but with a roar (due to that same muzzle brake) that has everyone at the range asking, “what is that?”. Lots of fun doing a rapid fire “mag dump” of 10 rounds while keeping the muzzle on target!

  6. avatar Vitsaus says:

    I’m pretty sure those are all battle rifles that most people in the firearms hobby do know about….

  7. avatar Shire-man says:

    I love me some .308 but at twice the cost of 5.56 my “battle rifles” get more safe time than range time.

    I’ve coveted a SCAR for a while now but the $2,000+ price when added to $40+ mags and $.70/round ammo would make my wallet hurt too much.

    1. avatar Slick says:

      PTR 91 would be good for you. GI version can be had for around 800-900 dollars and you can get surplus mags for around 3-10 dollars each.

      Ammo is still a problem. But reloading is a good skill to have.

      1. avatar Shire-man says:

        The PTR is the “battle rifle” that sits in my safe. I do love shooting it on the rare occasion I take it out. The VEPR sounds like a nice option with surplus ammo still being available.

        I wonder if Century’s new 308 has all the same problems their CETME Sporter did.

    2. avatar Art out West says:

      That is why I want the VEPR 7.62X54R – relatively cheap surplus ammo – which I already have for my Mosin.

      Magazines are still expensive, and the ammo is corrosive so cleaning would be important.

  8. avatar BDub says:

    Me thinks that HK417 resembles a SIG716 a great deal.

  9. avatar Slick says:

    That’s a funny way of spelling FN FAL, HK G3, and the Beretta BM59.

    😀

    1. avatar Kris says:

      FAL… FTW!!!

  10. avatar DCM says:

    now if htat scar wasn’t so dang expensive…

    1. avatar defensor fortismo says:

      As opposed to the h&k for the budget minded operator?

  11. avatar Lurker_of_lurkiness says:

    What makes these better than an m1 or m14?

    Or heck for a 2a sitch a savage bolty?

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      These are profoundly TACTI-COOL rifles! Bolt actions are not TACTI-COOL unless they are a .338 Lapua or something similar.

      These rifles are probably actually very good rifles and I would love to have some, but they are TACTI-COOL.

      1. avatar Rich K. says:

        “Tacti-cool” goes right along with “mall ninja” in my book. I’d rather have a plain-Jane AR, for example, with a decent military-grade optic (and not necessarily the overpriced ACOG, either – an Israeli surplus S.U.I.T. with the dead tritium vial replaced does me just fine), than an M4 wannabe with quad rails and every electronic gadget available hanging off it. Each to their own, I suppose. For me, I’d just as soon have a Valmet, Galil, FAL, or Beretta BM59 (or even an M1 Garand) than one of these “tacti-cool” rifles.

    2. avatar HJ says:

      Well, a bigger mag capacity than the M1, I’d assume, to start. And, if they can actually hold a zero, that makes them better than the M-14, so….

      1. avatar Lurker_of_lurkiness says:

        Ah I’ve never been into centerfire rifles so I was wondering.

        I always had hear m1-s were accurate but come to think of it not much about m14

        (dumb other q are garands lefty freindly?)

        1. avatar ostiariusalpha says:

          While the Garand actions were a leap forward compared to other early 20th auto-loading combat rifles, the design was already showing it’s age by the ’50s. The exposed op rod and action do poorly against environmental debris, whereas enclosed actions like the AR will chug merrily along. For all the complaints about M16s & M4s failing from desert grit, they lasted about 20x longer than the M14s. The fact that an accurized M14 will wear out it’s bedding sooner than later is also not confidence building. The FAL (an enclosed action) is the crowned king of mid-century battle rifles, and these new rifles have the potential to inherit that mantle. But if you just want a damn beautiful rifle, get the Garand.

        2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          The #1 thing you have to do to preserve the bedding on a M14/M1A is… (drum roll please) not pull it out of the stock. Which kinda ruins the whole “let’s get all the sand and grit out of the weapon” ethic that a military user would have.

          Pulling down on the trigger guard to pull the rifle out of the stock slowly chews away at the bedding, then cramming the metal back into the stock wears it down some more, and soon it will start to lose that “just bed” feel of the metal into the wood. I don’t take mine out of the wood. I also don’t roll around in the sand with it. It lives a pretty plush and cushy life as a rifle goes.

          I really like my M1A. Really like it. But in several aspects, I have to agree with you. The scope mounting options are… poor. Really poor, in fact. I can make the trigger in a M14/M1A be a thing of beauty, I can make them more accurate, I can bed them in acra-glas or some other goop. I can’t do a doggone thing about the scope mounting issue. I like shooting mine with match irons. The issue irons are certainly OK. Off the rack, they’re a two-minute gun.

          If I had to bug out and take a .30cal rifle with me? It’s going to be the 03A3 springfield, all day, every day. Not any semi-auto.

        3. avatar Raven says:

          Definitely agree w/ OstiariusAlpha & another above w/ the FAL assessment. I would add one thing though, Israeli FAL HBAR. <- Mo' bettah. 😀

          I've got another parts kit lying about I really need to build to functional status. DSA makes some niiiiice, if pricey variations too btw. I am ofc, chomping at the bit for an Ace series, specifically the 52 that piques my interest. No sense denying that quantifiable fact. A more accurate Kalashnikov design in 7.62 NATO, reliable enough for inclement desert use, and short enough for 'rounding corners with ease… And w/o the FAL's minor problems. What's not to like?

          Last question, rhetorical. Proper answer is: Yes, please!

          Aside from the price, the fact that the '52 is if ever imported, going to be an NFA item (minimum if IMI produces a semi-only version) or Title II item for certain. Additionally, (dot)gov just sucks hardcore where the importation of foreign, or even repatriated domestically manufactured battle rifles are concerned. See M1 – M-14 repatriation refusal(s) for example.

        4. avatar Raven says:

          Damnable reply buttons are missing. Correction: Ace 52, not NFA list if it makes it over here. For some reason I was thinking the 52 had a < 16" barrel length. Been a while since I perused IWI's site & drooled over it.

    3. The M14 / M1A’s accuracy out of the box is really nothing to write home about. There is a reason that the M14s in the sandbox were all sent off for accurizing before being put back in duty. The controls are also not really all that hot for modern use, and the scope mounting situation is pretty meh. Yeah, the irons are great, but is anyone using thosee irons in a DMR role? Probably not. They also weigh a ton once you dump them in an EBR stock.

      FWIW, I am skeptical of the ACE’s ability to excel in a DMR role due to optics mounting and a not-so-terribly-accurate action. I am willing to be surprised, of course.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        I’ve found that Springfield Armory (the commercial gun maker, not the real Springfield Armory) rifles, rack grade, hold 1.5 to 2″ groups at 100″ with M80 ball ammo, and better with Federal match 168gr loads and really nicely with Lake City match ammo from the late 60’s, which admittedly is like shooting unicorns today. At least, that’s my experience from the early 90’s vintage of “commercial Springfield Armory” M1A’s. I’ve not shot much with any rifles made more recently by SA.

        The Garand (the parent design of the M14) was good for about 2MOA, and usually did better. Most “battle rifles” did 2MOA. People today forget that battle rifles of 100 to 60 years ago were made by manual machines and gaged for acceptance. There were none of the tools we have today for mass precision measurement of finished parts – no CMM’s, no laser scanning, no CNC machines with Renishaw probes, never mind CNC machines that would compensate for tool wear, machine heating, etc. If you wanted to measure something down to 0.001″, you either had a set of gages made to over/under the acceptance, or you hauled out the manual measurement tools and slowly started taking down numbers. If you wanted to machine sizes down to 0.001 so you hit them by design, rather than chance, you had to have a ready supply of sharp tooling, a tool guy ready to re-grind and size tools all day long, and then you had to tolerate a bunch of older men with really short tempers and no tolerance for stupidity in your shop. Most industrial management didn’t tolerate such men well, if at all.

        In that manufacturing environment, 2MOA is pretty good.

        Today, you kids who are making a mess of my lawn sniff and pout when you buy a brand-new rifle and it “just” holds a minute of angle. 50 years ago, that’s what shooters called a “keeper” of a rifle, one you didn’t sell when your buddies started to covet it and got to waving money, pickup trucks, hunting dogs and other such items under your nose to get you to part with it.

  12. avatar AllAmerican says:

    For the second time today, I get to say, PTR91. Then take a vacation with the money you save.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      What about the FN FNAR .308? How does that rifle compare to these?

  13. avatar schnee says:

    I’ve had them all (if you count a Galil Hadar in place of the last one). The SCAR 17 is the one I still have and love. Sub-MOA with brass Herters ammo (don’t know why), as light as a regular M4 if you don’t put spoilers and wings and rims on it, and, c’mon, all the bad dudes with beards in Afghanistan can’t be wrong. The HK is super spendy and I could never get over the feeling I had a DPMS AR-10 with a $3000 “HK” engraving on the side and some very nice accessories. The Galil is heavy and I could never get over the notion that it had been engineered by impoverished drunk Russians and then fixed by some very resourceful smart guys who were nonetheless living under emergency circumstances (neighbors want to kill them, like but NOW). Flame away.

    1. avatar schnee says:

      Oh, and the PTR is cool as is its name brand twin HK91. But they are heavy and I have never gotten over the feeling I am shooting 1960s technology. Watch one shot in slow motion. They flex like AKs.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      “…if you don’t put spoilers and wings and rims on it,…”

      I blew tea out of my nose.

      “…and, c’mon, all the bad dudes with beards in Afghanistan can’t be wrong”

      And then I snorted it right back in.

      I’m going to steal those. 😉

      1. avatar schnee says:

        People pay for those tea flushes in India I think.

  14. avatar seans says:

    So lets see the M17/MK20, rifles that have a pretty negative reputation in the SOF community. Large quality control problems early on and not able to outperform a AR-10. MARSOC has slowly been sending their MK17s to NSW, and the Army SF is close to getting their upgraded M110s. Their is a reason the SMUs do not use the SCAR family. The HK417, which is getting replaced soon in one of SMUs by most likely a tradional DI AR-10.

    1. avatar schnee says:

      You might have better sources than I do, but a number of buddies who are there or recently back all swear by the SCAR. Whatever happened early on with them is long gone now. Maybe super fancy units aren’t using them, but those guys are usually doing entry work or sometimes very long distances. Not as much need for a SCAR there.

      1. avatar seans says:

        Going to guess I got better sources than you do. I was issued 5 MK17s and 3 MK20s while in. Even got to do the evaluation for the new mod for the MK17s. The SCAR family didn’t really have much competition in the white side of SOF for a battle rifle when it was adopted. It replaced the MK14, and that set the bar about as low as possible. The simple truth is the SCAR family is completely outclassed by a quality AR. It does nothing better and a lot of things worse. The other thing is, most SOF guys really don’t know much about guns, the use of them yeah. But very few guys these days are gun guys.

        1. avatar schnee says:

          Well I’m smart enough to know that I am not very smart. All sincerity, not trying to be d**k: If you are the real deal you seem to be, I’d love a bit more insight on some things you hinted at. First, you said the SCAR does nothing better but lots worse. Seems to me like cleaning (piston), weight (pretty damned light), accuracy (throw a scope on and it’s nearly SR25 good), and side folding (mostly a party trick, but good in vehicles and air dropping) are better than an AR platform. What does it do worse other than break the latch on the stock? Don’t want an argument–I’d love the thoughts of a guy who knows. Second, is it normal to get issued that many rifles? Was it just different tours, or did they break? What gives?

  15. avatar Vitor says:

    The Ace 52 looks damn good, like all you need in a gun minus the superfluous. Im looking at you 417 with the stupid heavy quad rail.

    1. The ACE has a quad rail in that picture, too… it’s just svelte and covered with rail covers.

  16. avatar Chris from TX says:

    Nice rifles all but my favorite is the FN FAL. Piston driven, adjustable gas system and accurate as all get out.

    1. avatar Enuz says:

      You are a man of fine, and expensive tastes. Carbine or full length?

    2. avatar Mini14 says:

      Great rifle. I wish I could get my hands on one.

  17. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    I think all high speed low drag operators should be equipped with the HK G36.

  18. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

    I wonder what makes any of these better than what’s available on an ar10 now?

  19. avatar ShaunL. says:

    I’ll keep my PSL and wait until prices on these aren’t insane.

  20. avatar Nedd Ludd says:

    I would add that Armalite now has a budget AR-10 variant for only $999.00.

    They call it the:
    Defensive Sporting Rifle™ 10
    “Ejection port cover, forward assist, and brass deflector are standard on all DSR Series rifles.”
    Also, like the current AR-10A it takes Magpul magazines.
    It has only a single stage trigger and seems to lack the phosphate coated barrel.
    Other than that, it doesn’t seem to spec out all that differently than the regular AR-10
    and it lists for $500.00 less.

    http://www.armalite.com/ItemForm.aspx?item=DEF10&ReturnUrl=Categories.aspx?Category=c4bf2a5c-d77d-4f58-8022-95f6afe8e6cf

    How is this not the best deal currently out there for a quality modern .308 ‘battle rifle’?

    http://www.tactical-life.com/firearms/gun-review-armalite-dsr-10/#armalite-dsr-10-swmp-jan-2015-lead

  21. avatar Daniel says:

    I heard IWI is going to make a tavor variant in 7.62×51, that should top thie list IMHO

  22. avatar David Homer says:

    “The Galil is heavy and I could never get over the notion that it had been engineered by impoverished drunk Russians”… Strange, I always thought the Galil was an Israeli export, and with exception of most CAI abominations, a fine machine. I would trust a Galil with my life.

    1. avatar schnee says:

      Totally agree that Galils are Awesome with a capital A. Reliable and tough. They are AKs (hence the drunk Russian reference) done to tighter tolerances with some nice touches like longer sight radius and thumb safety. Thanks to the Chosen People for this fine build quality (check out a Valmet for the ultimate in AK build quality). The Galil .308 is the same but even moreso. In the end of the day, however, the Galil is an AK and the .308 version is a big hunk of steel. A Galil/AK can be stiffened up and made to be pretty darned accurate, but the Stoner designs are usually more accurate off the shelf and don’t give up much of anything in terms of reliability despite what AK fanboiz say.

      Final thing I’d add: I love Galils, but it’s instructive that the Israelis have gone full M4 and Tavor for active military units.

  23. avatar LordGopu says:

    I’d just like to say that my M1A has a Bassett scope mount and that’s a great way to mount optics. You can even get one high enough to still see the iron sights under it. I think its the best mount option.

  24. avatar Noire says:

    Yeah, but do they come with a bottle opener? The Galil did.

  25. avatar Kap says:

    Pretty soon our Army, Marines, Navy , Coast Guard, would have said Air Farce but they started this wimpy Gun thing in Vietnam, bet drug induced charlie kept coming and coming! so now they give a land war and everyone has bigger calibers than us, so the enemy sits at 400 yards and pick us off with every round , and we with our put putters got to adjust sights and use meter hold over! Oh wait we have a 00 yard bullet for the putt putt, problem is you can only load 1 at a time stop hod up let me load, then you have the city folk who think the recoil on a .223 is heavy, go figure!
    no wonder the Somalis kicked our butts, the other guys lost because of big cannons, 20-30 MM Gatling guns, and MA Deuce, let the Booltickers in congress keep screwing up these Democrats will have us BYO rifle and cartridges

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