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OK, this copy replaces the other Question of the Day which was ill-considered, half-baked, not nearly gun enough and stupid. What’s your favorite “assault rifle”? You can choose any gun in any caliber from the past or in active military duty – no NFA stamp required. I’m a SCAR-16 guy, but I do like me some Ma Deuce. You?

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  1. What happened to the original post with this picture about the amphibious exercise at Le Juene? While on active duty I started with the M60, graduated to MA-2, then to MK-19 and finally to a Bushmaster 25MM chain gun. My favorite was the MK-19. Fully automatic 40MM grenade launcher gotta love it. For civvies, my needs are easily met with a MForgery.

    • None of these are rifles. The question was what was favorite military rifle. M60 is not a rifle it’s a squad level machine gun. 40mm grenade launcher is not a rifle.

      • By that logic a Ma Deuce cannot be chosen either. So, am I misunderstanding the question? Why is it mentioned in the article? Since I would choose the MK-19 as well. Maybe the Ma Deuce. The Dae Woo was interesting even though I did not get enough time with it to really develop an opinion.

  2. Without doubt the M-1 Garand because it sets the pattern for tne modern infantryman’s weapon. Its only drawback is the 8 round capacity which was remedied in the M-14. This is less of a constraint then it appears in a one-on-one comparison with more modern weapons. Since fire isn’t by volley only a fraction of the unit will be reloading at any given time. It matters less and less as you go from squad to platoon to company. Sure more modern weapons are better but they are just vairations on a theme.

    • >> Without doubt the M-1 Garand because it sets the pattern for tne modern infantryman’s weapon.

      Garand was not the first to set the pattern, only the first to be adopted as a main service rifle. But there were other quite successful specimen preceding it, like Avtomat Fedorova or Mondragon.

      • You are technically correct but the prize goes to the one that got deployed. That’s why credit for the modern assault rifle goes to the AK over the STG-44.

        • They were all deployed, it’s mainly a question of how many, and where. AF is hard to argue in favor just because there were so few actually made. But if we’re talking about a first semi-auto infantry rifle that was officially adopted in service of some military, produced in any noticeable quantities (let’s say tens of thousands at least), and used in combat, I think it would be AVS (~65k produced, used in 1938 at Khalkhin Gol and in 1940 in Winter War). If you’re looking for something on even larger scale, SVT-38/40 was also first used in Winter War, and there a million and a half made all in all.

          Garand was technically adopted in 1936, same as AVS, but remember that the original design was the crappy gas trap one (same mistake that Germans later made with G41) – it wasn’t until 1938 that they have updated the design to use gas port, which is what made Garand what it is, the granddaddy to AK and pretty much any other long stroke piston rifle today.

          I also disagree that we should prioritize AK over StG 44, by the way. Germans did make a crapload of StGs, and they’ve used them in combat a lot, especially on the Eastern Front.

        • You make some valid points but I have to ask what was the only Army that went to war with an advanced semi-automatic rifle as the standard infantry rifle?

        • Largely because US had a much more successful first take, and had more time to adopt it before the war.

          US started working on semi-auto infantry rifle prototypes in mid-20s – initially very low-key, but already a major program by the end of the decade. And Garand – a very mature design, sans the gas trap that was trivial to replace – was already the forerunner by 1930, with the only major change to follow being the caliber replacement from .276 Pedersen to .30-06 (as a side note, if US didn’t do that, it would likely make for a very different world today as far as firearm design evolution goes… probably no AR, for example). Officially adopted in 1936, the final design wasn’t settled until 1938, but full scale production in quantities sufficient to make it the main issue rifle didn’t begin until 1940 (there was a grand total of 30k Garands made, or remade from earlier models, in 1937-39).

          Soviets started working on the same thing at the same time (first AVS prototype dates to 1926), and the timeline was also similar, lagging behind US by a year or two. In 1930, the program was in full steam mode, with large-scale trials. However, the first result – AVS, adopted in 1936, same year as Garand – was a crapshoot. And unlike Garand’s earlier problems with gas trap, which were easy to fix, AVS was just badly designed through and through. So after less than 70k units produced, Soviets had to get the designers back to the drawing board for a rematch. The result was a much better – though still not quite as robust as Garand – SVT in 1938 (again, same date as the final Garand design).

          At that point, Soviets (under personal order from Stalin, or so the official story goes) have put in place a plan to adopt SVT as the main infantry rifle for the army. Initially, all AVS production lines were repurposed to SVT, with low-scale production beginning by the end of 1938. After the minor upgrades resulting in SVT-40, the existing assembly lines for Mosins were also repurposed for SVTs, with serial production beginning in July 1940. All in all, USSR produced about 1.5 million of those by the time of its entry into WW2 – which is, in fact, more than US had Garands at the time of its entry. But the Red Army had 5 million troops, so it was still nowhere near sufficient to arm everyone – and unlike US, for which the conflict with Japan was initially more limited in scale (and which only had something like 1.5 million army troops at the beginning of the war), USSR clashed with Germany heads on, with most of those 5 million engaged in combat in the first weeks of hostilities. And with very heavy losses in that time, a lot of rifles were lost as well, and replacements were urgently needed – and SVTs were simply too expensive and slow to produce given the loss rates, and many factories were overrun outright during the initial German advance, so they switched back to the simpler, cheaper and faster to produce Mosins, and stuck to them for the rest of the war, with only minor upgrades like M44. Hence, the grand vision of Red Army going completely to a semi-auto rifle was never realized until the end of the war, and by then they were already moving on with M43 and SKS.

          OTOH, given the production numbers, if Germany waited for another year before attacking the USSR, it would have had the time to mostly complete the transition to SVT as the main infantry rifle before the war (though if the initial loss of people and territory was just as heavy, it’s still questionable whether Soviets could sustain wartime production to replace lost rifles).

    • I second the Garand! My garand shoots like a dream and is a great piece of history. I giving serious thought to picking up a receiver and a parts kit, then having it milled into a BM59, that way I can have a garand with a ten round mag.

      • Unless I am greatly mistaken (and I’m pretty sure the roof will cave in on me here if I am), aside from the change from 30.06 to 7.62 NATO the M14 (civilian M1A) is essentially the same rifle as the Garand and comes standard with 20 round magazines.

        • The M14 was also select fire, and the gas piston rod about 3 inches shorter. Pretty sure this was to keep the rod from bending, as the rod in the Garand was occasionally (and still is if you use the wrong powder in your reloads) prone to doing

  3. Ooooooooo. That’s a toughie. Ma Deuce is a contender for sure. If I’m game for the money, haha.

    Other than that? Hrm…

    Maybe a Tavor? The real thing in full auto would be SUPER fun. Maybe the X95, even.

    • +1 on the TAVOR. Or does this have to be a US Military rifle? If we’re staying domestic, hard to beat the argument for the Desert Tactical Arms Stealth Recon Scout. Albeit they’re miles apart in purpose.

  4. I sold my FN-FAL and I kept my Garand, so I guess that answers the question. But I shoot for fun at paper targets. your needs might be different.

  5. In no particular order: Tavor, Mosin Nagant, AK47, and SKS. Oddly enough, the very guns in my cabinet, albeit all converted to bullpups where applicable.

  6. We’re calling Ma Deuce a “rifle”?

    Otherwise (how boring) I’m for the M-16 (particular version XM-177-E2, 14.5″ barrel folding stock), although I like the M-14 as well.

  7. Honestly, the SKS, it’s reasonably accurate, brute simple and works well. If the Russians had introduced it at the beginning of ww2 I think modern rifle design would be much different.

    • In what sense would it be different? The concept itself was not new – semi-auto infantry rifle was done several times before (including twice by Soviets themselves, in form of AVS and SVT). Intermediate cartridge was an idea that was ripe at the time, evidenced by the fact that both Soviets and Germans were working on it at the same time (and arriving at very similar designs). The specific design of SKS is also not really new, since it’s basically just a scaled down PTRS.

  8. Mk-18… Hands down. Throw some magpul enhancements on it and you have yourself the ultimate short – medium range rifle without needing to lug around a 10+ lb .308 monstrosity.

  9. M14. Powerful cartridge, very reliable, 20rd removable magazine; what’s not to like. If I could afford a M1A it’d be the only rifle I need. Lol

    • Weight, ergonomics, lack of control under full auto fire, lack of modularity… The m14 was great in its day… Fortunately, technology marches on.

      • You don’t get a lot of control with an M-4 in full auto either if by control you mean ability to hit a target.

        • I can generally keep a 3 round burst on target fairly easily. Full auto is a bit more challenging without proper bracing, but it can be done. With an M14 firing M80 ball, however… Mr. Newton plays no favorites.

        • Given that the purpose of the three round burst is to increase the lethality of the puny 5.56 NATO round this reduces the effect capacity of the AR platform to 1/2 that of the M-14 without the penetration capability of the 7.62 NATO round. If I recall correctly there was a bipod available for the M-14 so it could replace the BAR as well. Full auto was quite effective in that mode. Since we don’t use a lot of full auto fire, because it is so inaccruate, the AR platform really is not more effective than the M-14.

        • Only someone who has never seen the terminal ballistics of a modern 5.56×45 round (like the MK-262) would call it “puny”. The three round burst option was designed so that infantry can provide suppressive fire without emptying magazines in under a second. It takes a lot of training and discipline to limit burst fire from an automatic weapon and when you’ve got an adrenaline dump coursing through your system, it gets harder still.

          The idea is that a Mk18 is a light, ergonomic, and compact weapon which, in a pinch, can pull double duty as a LMG (throw a 100 round drum on it and you’ve got a poor man’s SAW). Is it as effective as a full blown LMG? No, the recoil is hard to control and the barrel will give out quickly under sustained fire. But it gives you the option which an M14 does not.

          There are very good reasons why no major military issues a .308 rifle anymore. They are big, heavy and have very poor ergonomics. In addition, the ammo weighs a lot more which means you can carry a lot less. For most infantry uses, I would take an M4 or a Mk18CQBR over granddad’s boat anchor every day of the week.

        • They put the 3 round burst limiter for a very specific reason. In my day we had the full auto giggle switch. Every, and I mean every, contact no matter how big or small went to an instant “mad minute”.

          I love the terminology from those days. Every contact was an “ambush”. Every round fired out of an rpg was a “rocket attack”.

        • Unless you only use semiauto fire you are actually depleting your ammo supply faster with an M-4/M-16 than an M-14 even with the three round burst. Kind of defeats the purpose of the larger ammo supply doesn’t it? And the three round burst delivers less suppressive fire than an M-14 since the three rounds are going to roughtly the same point.

        • Ok… I’m not sure where you’re getting this…

          1. The M4 is just as effective at suppressive fire on semi as the M14. It’s more effective on full auto as the burst mode lets you stretch out your larger magazines. (Of which you can carry more.) The full auto mode on an M14 will dump your entire magazine in under 3 seconds. Your entire basic load in under 30 (not counting reload time).

          2. I hate to break this to you, but the bursts from any automatic weapon go in more or less the same spot. A 3 round burst from any modern automatic firearm takes between 200 and 300 milliseconds. That’s not really enough time to spread out the fire. Does it mean that machine-guns are less effective at suppression than semi-auto rifles?

          As JWM said, the burst limiter was designed to that you don’t empty out your magazine before you get a chance to think. The only argument where the M14 wins is maximum effective range. For everything else, the M4 / Mk18 wins hands down. Since I don’t plan to take any 400+ yard shots, the effective range issue is irrelevant to me.

  10. My *favorite* is the FAL.

    My personal choice for most important, historically, is a split between the M1 and the AK.

  11. M-14. I love my M1A, it’s powerful and accurate even with iron sights, but it lacks the all-important giggle setting. Burst-firing the M-14 is a life-affirming experience for anyone behind the rifle. In front of the M-14, not so much.

  12. BAR ought to be up there somewhere. I think I would probably go with the Garand myself. Or to get REALLLY historical, the trap-door Springfield.

  13. My all time favorite would have to be the AKM, regardless of country of manufacturer. I’m an AK nut, especially for prebans made in Yugoslavia or Hungary. A close second would be the G3, love my PTR 91. I could only imagine both rifles being twice as awesome in their true un-neutered military form.

  14. Lee-Enfield. In 1914 the Germans marched into battle with a 5 round magazine, the French with 3 rounds, but the all volunteer British army not only carried 10 rounds in their Enfields but the average soldier could place 15 rounds per minute on a 12″ plate at 300 yards. Who needs a thousand bullets for every hit when you can have a dead German every 4 seconds?

    • While I can’t disagree with the qualities of the Lee-Enfield the marksmanship capability of the British soldier have been exaggerated. See Max Hastings book “1914: Europe Goes to War.” Tommy was pretty good but not that good. US Infantry were probably better and what is more amazing is that the doughboys maintained a reasonable standard of marksmanship in a hastily trained mass army.

      • Bear in mind the British resorted to a draft 2 years into the war and I’m sure the marksmanship suffered, not to mention only the most cool under fire could do that in battle. The British suffered about 2.5 million casualties out of a total population of about 45 million, so there was likely a watering down of talent. But the 15 shots in one minute at 300 yards was the standard drill prior to the war. I even read about one sergeant who scored 38 hits.

        The downside was that the BEF was grossly outnumbered at the start of the war, had very few machine guns and relied heavily on field artillery that while devastating on foot soldiers was defenseless against the German howitzers that fired from behind hills. There were numerous reports of the German army being astounded at the lack of machine guns when they’d overrun the British positions since they took so many casualties. Even considering the Garand, there has probably never been a war where the disparity of the infantry rifleman was so great.

        • the british army was a professional long service all volunteer force with a very high level of training and discipline at the start of ww1. That numbered 100,000. The brits were an island nation that devoted most of their military energies to their navy.
          The brits in 1914 simply couldn’t keep those high training standards up with the horrific drain on manpower that lousy leadership and trench warfare caused.

      • Thats what you get when marksmanship is a part of being a citizen, and not a subject in abject terror of an inanimate tool.

    • The French Lebel rifle actually had a magazine capacity of 8 rounds, plus one on the feed ramp and another in the chamber for a total of 10 possible rounds.

      As you said in your reply to tdiinva, the talent pool of the British got watered down through the massive attrition rate they suffered during the war but I also believe the AEF had a better marksmanship standard is because then, as now, the American boy grows up with a rifle in his hand. While that’s not as true today as it was then, I still challenge you to find an infantryman who didn’t grow up shooting and shooting often. They exist but are very rare.

      • The Lebel had actually been replaced in service by the Berthier, with its 3 round clip. Like most countries involved in major wars France could not make Bertheirs fast enough to equip new troops and replace rifles lost in action. So they continued using Lebels so long as the supply lasted.

        Berthiers were modified to take a 5 round clip during the war.

        • The French thought they’d be fighting with bayonets so they marched into battle with the longest rifle. You could fault the French for their lack of foresight, but then all the powers sent pikesmen riding into battle in 1914.

          The French did have the best artillery at the start of the war though. They were the only ones who had come up with a hydraulic recoil damper. They even leaked faulty plans to the Germans before the war to make them think they didn’t have it.

  15. The AK and rifle derivatives thereof that mimic it in all calibers of 7.62×39, 5.56×45, and 5.45×39.

    No other self-loading rifle beats it in reliability requiring the least amount of maintenance. It is something that I would never second-guess to work when I need it to compared to others. The Galil ACE coming out is definitely going to be icing on the cake, the cherry on top, something I have been waiting for for years if it would ever come.

    The modularity of the AK has caught up to the AR. It too has the ability to mount any accessory you want on it. It also has the AR beat in terms of butt-stock choices. Not only does it have a plethora of it’s own but it can mount a buffer tube as well letting it use any AR butt-stock of your choice as well as the ability to use a folding stock that the AR lacks. The only thing the AR has over it is the ability to swap out barrels faster and easier but at that point I would just buy another gun and who can say no to that?

    This is coming from someone who owns all the legacy systems and enjoys them but the one I would go to war with without any doubt of letting me down is the AK and its derivatives thereof.

  16. If I’m going to a street fight in a warzone? AK47 all the way.

    If I need precision? M16A4. I’m a lover of the 20″ variety.

  17. For me it’d be a toss up between a high quality AR or a Tavor. Both need trigger and caliber upgrades. The 6.8 SPC or 300 BLK is a lot better than the 5.56. The .50 Beowulf would be a decent vehicle checkpoint or CQB round. It might even be a real monster subsonic with 500-600 grain rounds at 1,000 FPS.

    Truthfully I’ve still got deer hunting on my mind so that answer may be subject to change.

  18. I have the best rapport with the M2, it’s like a magic meld, but it is a little heavy. If I have to carry it, I like lighter but still versatile, so the M4A1 with M203 I suppose.

    • During my service (’90’s) we had the M16A2 20″ barrel with the M203 that had the old forward handguard with the venting holes (like Pacino used at the end of Scarface). I think that version is still the most badass looking one.

      • My experience was with an M16A1 with the 203, but I specified the M4A1 just cause it was newer. No personal experience with it though. So I was sort of extrapolating (guessing):-\

  19. My current personal favourite is the M16 with the HK416 upper. Caliber preference, 6.8 SPC.

    Then I would say the Galil.

    Least favourite current service arm: drum roll please….

    G36. A plastic … err…. polymer gun is not a bad idea, but at least use steel where it counts. A plastic trunnion was not a good idea, and especially in a rifle capable of full-automatic fire. I would happily use an AK instead.

    In the classics: No4 Lee-Enfield, No1 Lee-Enfield aka SMLE, Mauser, Mosin-Nagant.

    In the carbines: M44 (Mosin-Nagant), Mauser, No5 Lee-Enfield.

  20. I’m an AK guy, and if I could only pick one, it would be the 7.62×39 AK47.

    Oh, and the M-2 isn’t a rifle.

  21. It’s not technically a rifle but… M240g all damn day. I never had a malfunction like the brass chewing Saw. Automatic 7.62×51 in a portable package? You can’t beat it. All you pansies who complain about weight can stay in the rear. Train with it enough and yes, it’s a lovely urban weapon. Everybody respects that lovely beast. It’s also quite accurate in a pinch if you know what you are doing. I would die happy with one in my hands. I’m almost tearing up here, I just love her so much.

  22. It was a long while back in Vietnam…
    They had deployed little SAW versions of the M14 with pistol grips and bipods to brace the recoil of the 7.62. I’d love me one of those!
    Although, and I can never say why, but the M231 Firing Port Weapon has always had an allure to me…

    • I’d have to agree with this. It’s not a particularly great rifle, and the Garand is certainly more iconic and historically significant, but the carbine is my favorite. Just something about the scrappy li’l fella that’s so appealing.

      Plus, what other rifle can you find that might have been made by IBM, Rock-Ola, or National Postal Meter?

  23. The M1. I’ve had a love affair with it since elementary school. A beautiful weapon all around.

    Best to shoot? M240b. Carried one for five years, hated humping it but man that was a vicious weapon

  24. AN-94 …that was/is in service, right? Something about that 1800 RPM burst and reciprocating barrel….

    • It’s a two-round burst. And that reciprocating barrel is a bitch to field strip.

      AEK is a much simpler design (with reciprocating counterweight through a gear), and is more controllable in sustained full auto.

      • Yep, I understand it’s a finicky gun, and it’ll only sustain that ROF for two rounds. Just always been an interesting curiosity to me. I’m not saying that’d be my choice if I could only own one rifle 😉 I like the concept of the AEK as well, it just doesn’t have the weird allure of an externally reciprocating barrel.

        Maybe I should have said GM6 Lynx, but I’m not sure whether any military force actually fields those.

  25. That’s easy, the Lee Enfield rifle. In service from 1888 to 1957 and still being used by some smaller military forces. Ten round mag, 174 grain bullet at a nominal 2500 fps and excellent reliability. Fastest bolt rifle ever made and pretty to boot.
    I really like the M1 Garand but, the enblock system was complicated and you couldn’t top up your clip without ejecting it.
    Designed by James Parris Lee for the US Navy which rejected it and the Brits were only too happy to adopt Lee’s excellent design.

  26. Depends on what is going on.
    I always thought the Stoner 63 series of weapons were intriguing.
    Rifles of which I am actually familiar with…

  27. #1 – SIG MCX with folding “SAS” stock, 8″ barrel and a FAT suppressor
    #2 – HK 416A5 in 10.5″ with quality suppressor
    #3 – SCAR 17 CQC (13″) w/ quality suppressor

  28. 1918 BAR.
    After that a 1986 Krag-Jorgenson. Supremely accurate
    and the bolt is by far one of the smoothest ever created.

  29. Hey if the ma deuce counts then I think a mp5 qualifies as well. Not an “assault rifle”, but man I would love to own a mp5. Maybe even the 10mm version.

  30. Depending on where you are in the world as far as ammo/mags:

    An X95 with 223 13″ / 9mm 10″ kits, suppressed with either a Saker K or a Octane, respectively. Glock 17 sidearm


    A full auto AKS-74U with Stechkin sidearm.

  31. I have always been fascinated with an old Thompson. pistol caliber carbine but I think it could be a lot of fun.

  32. If we are sticking with rifles, then hands down it’s the US M1898 Springfield beter known as the Krag Jorgensen. I Absolutely love the one I own even with the issue of it failing to eject the spent cartridge (It’s a problem of my rifle not a general issue that the Krag’s have). I had always been a huge fan of the M1 Garand, and still am, but when I got my M1898 I just fell in love with it, The bolt is just so incredibly smooth, highly accurate, and that interesting side fed magazine.

  33. I discovered the Mauser Karabiner 98k while playing Call of Duty 2 with a friend back in middle school. This was when I knew jack sh!t about guns but my interest started growing; watching youtube videos and reading reference books in my spare time. Grandpa bought a Mitchell’s Mauser K98k as a birthday gift by mistake. I thought “why not?” and tried some home gunsmithing on something with zero collector value; refinished the stock, cold blued the bolt, did some light trigger work, then purchased enough bolt parts to replace the ugly blued one. Bought a second rifle two years ago, a proper Russian mismatch but a tack driver in comparison to others I’ve fired.

    Sadly what was once $200 “Russian captured junk” five years ago is now selling for around $500 if you can even find them locally. Many online dealers’ stocks totally dried up just before Newtown. Might buy a Yugoslavian capture ’cause they’re cheap and have unique history. A numbers matching safe queen will have to wait ’til the summer birthday. With the $10,000+ price tag I’ll keep dreaming about buying an original sniper rifle.

    Ever since I found out about some distant German WWII vets in the family and because my direct ancestors immigrated from Austria, World War firearms from both countries are my collecting priority. It’s time-consuming and damn expensive, but the thrill of searching makes it fun. I still kick myself for not buying crates of Romanian 8mm surplus when it was cheap. Honorable mention and runner up goes to South African and Rhodesian R1/FAL rifles.

    • Wait! those Russian captured mixed matched Mausers are really going for $500 now? I bought one four or five years ago from a used gun rack in an outdoor sporting store never thinking it would even slightly go up in value much less double.

      • Yes sir they really doubled. People used to refinish those flaky red shellack coated stocks all the time. Now I and other collectors strongly advise them for the love of god not to. The big name online dealers, J&G, AIM, Samco, etc. started running out of of Russian Captures about two, two and a half years ago. Because a high tide floats all boats, prices for all variations of the K98k spiked. Small batches pop up on Widener’s or Allan’s Armory in junk condition once in a blue moon, but the days of ceiling high pallets of bargain RC rifles are done.J&G currently has Yugoslavian captured rifles with the receiver rings scrubbed of all markings for $200, those have filled the Russian void. Might pick one up because of the unique history, might not.

        If you’re looking for good prices on old guns, go to pawn shops, preferably one that sells guns but isn’t known for them. You might find a steal of a price, but it takes a long, determined search and multiple trips. Matching examples are still out there, they just take more work.

        The one thing you won’t find very cheap anymore is 8mm ammo. Too many of us, myself included, woke up one morning about a year ago and nearly had a stroke when we finally saw the rise in prices we thought wouldn’t show up ’til tomorrow, next month, next year, etc. I’ll be going on a road trip this winter and pick up some of the green-looking Romanian surplus where I can find it, it’s going fast.

        • Good to know. The only things I have done to mine was put a front sight hood back on, a cleaning rod, and a reproduction sling, which none of should hurt the value. I hadn’t been paying much attention to ammo prices either for 8mm, even though I am down to less then 100 rounds now, though fortunately I do reload now so I just need to get some dies. It’s been a couple of years since I took it out, so I probably should get it back to the range again.

  34. I personally really enjoy the G3 series although some of them are considered machine guns as opposed to rifles. It’s probably just because it was my first favorite gun in a first person shooter, before I even got interested in the actual ins and outs of firearms. Also I really like its versatility in tackling both close and long range targets.

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