13 August 2017

And The Winner Is...

The five NATO battle rifles were fired by 18 test subjects who self selected to participate.

Shooting experience ranged from novice to extensive.

The rifles were graded on three categories with the participant assigning a number from 1 to 5 for each gun in each category, with their favorite getting a 1, the next best a 2 and so on.

Which rifle was easiest for you to use?
This rates operating the controls, inserting and removing the magazine and chambering a round.

FN-FAL = 2.44

M14 = 2

BM-59 = 3

G3A3 = 3.94

AR-10 = 3.61

Which rifle was easiest for you to shoot?
This rates how easy the sights were for you to see and align, how quickly you can realign the sights between shots and the feel of the trigger.

FN-FAL = 2.33

M14 = 2.06

BM-59 = 3.11

G3A3 = 3.72

AR-10 = 3.78

Which rifle was most pleasant for you to shoot?
This rates, primarily the weight and recoil. Was firing the rifle painful?

FN-FAL = 2.56

M14 = 1.94

BM-59 = 3.17

G3A3 = 3.72

AR-10 = 3.61

Averaging the three categories gives

FN-FAL = 2.44

M14 = 2

BM-59 = 3.09

G3A3 = 3.8

AR-10 = 3.67

In order, the winners are M14, FN-FAL, BM-59, AR-10 and G3A3.

The AR-10 proved very balky and might have a bad extractor spring.  I am sure this colored several shooter's experience.

The BM-59 stopped a couple times, but got better with some added lube.

Every rifle got at least one shooter to give it a 5 in every category.

Every rifle got at least one shooter to give it a 1 in every category.

Special thanks to Willard for providing 4 of the 5 guns and ALL the ammo!  And for being the guy who stood out on the hot range guiding our guinea pigs participants through.

Thanks to Florida Firearms Academy of New Port Richey for letting us occupy two of their lanes for pretty much the whole shooting day.


  1. I believe the BM 59 scored some points with the left handed participants because this example ejected its empties forward, as opposed to the others, all of which ejected to the rear / right, which in a range lane sends that hot empty clattering off the lane divider, searching for an opening in your clothes.

  2. Very interesting results... I have to admit I am a little surprised that my choice (or at least the closest to my M1A) won...

  3. Interesting that the BM59 didn't finish higher, since it's 'almost' a duplicate of the M-14.

    1. When you shoot them side by side it's much clearer.

  4. Did I miss a post where you mentioned the genealogy of these guns? Is the M-14 a mil-surplus, select fire M14, a Fulton Armory "clone" or someone else's gun? Likewise the AR-10; a genuine 1950s AR-10, a Palmetto State clone or ??

    1. Ah! Thanks. Had to be that I missed one.

    2. We were thinking, while doing this test, that putting a SCAR-17 into the mix would be interesting. Alas, neither Willard or I have the funding for that.

      We'd accept loaner guns though!


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