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


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

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M27_Infantry_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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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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...

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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...

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.

 

Maybe. But in that case every rifleman is an automatic rifleman today, so the distinction between automatic rifleman and rifleman is pointless.

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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.

This. Select fire and full power rifle round is a battle rifle, select and intermediary is an assault rifle*.

 

*Not to be confused with another use of the term assault rilfe.

Edited by Markus Becker
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,,,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? :)

 

 

A de-fanged assault rifle in 5.56x45 or derived chambering :)

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,,,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.

 

 

I said military purposed - not that the military ever used the designation. Out of interest, which militaries (that still exist) use the term "assault rifle"? Ours doesn't and I can't think of one that does offhand.

 

Battle rifle is just recent civilian shooting world vernacular. I think it's also quite recent and it would be interesting to discover its etymology. I can find very few sources online that claim select fire as a criterion, but a detachable magazine certainly is. The former omission is hardly surprising since, firstly, full auto is generally utterly useless in these platforms and, perhaps more importantly, civilians in the US generally don't get to own select fire versions.

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,,,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? :)

 

 

Don't forget, though, that "mouse gun" is also applied to pocket pistols in the .25ACP thru .380ACP range.

 

However, the pejorative "poodle shooter" is uniquely applied to the M16 and derivatives (TMK).

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