Letter Re: Following Counsel–Some Experience With 7.62mm NATO Battle Rifles

First, thank-you for the tip about the alloy G3 (HK91-compatible) magazines that CheaperThanDirt sells for just 97 cents apiece.  I placed an order for one hundred of them and shortly three big boxes arrived.  I’ve checked them out and surprisingly, many of them are still new in the wrappers, and the rest are in really decent shape.  I’ve never bought a rifle backwards (buying magazines first, then buying the rifle to match), but since I like the .308 Winchester round and have a few other rifles in that caliber this seemed like an interesting preparedness exercise.  I started looking around at .308 (7.62 x 51 NATO) battle rifles and I really liked the looks of the SI Defense AR-10s that take the HK mags, and as I drooled over those, I checked out the PTR91s based on your suggestion. (Thanks again, for that). 

The PTR 91 seemed like a good looking rifle to me and after sorting through a whole lot of internet blather (mostly old posts from when the rifle was newly out that are still on the web) I thought I’d take a chance. Particularly as the PTRs are CNC-machined and precision stamped, built from the original HK91 / G3 blueprints, and it just seemed like a slick design.  Once I got  the rifle, I was shocked how utterly stout the weapon is, and I marvel that it’s just built like a tank.  The great thing about it is that it can be field stripped in seconds down to the most critical parts to clean.  Push a few pins, and put them in the holes conveniently located in the stock, pull the stock out and  push out another pin for the trigger assembly which swings down and out and it’s ready to be cleaned and easily reassembled.  At first I was a little concerned at how tight everything is, but gradually, with a bit of cycling and working, things began to loosen up to what I call a perfect fit (how often can you say that about a new weapon).  I guess the PTRs are somewhat pricey – I paid about $1,275 for a PTR91-SC (Squad Carbine) that seemed like a good deal. I’m also thinking about a CETME, but hard to imagine after having the quality of the PTR91 in hand.  Eventually I plan on getting a Choate folding stock for my squad carbine – just an after thought about being able to manage a smaller package in the event of SHTF and to have a little more versatility.

Lately, I have seen that .308 ammo is skyrocketing.  Fortunately, I was able to buy 1,000 rounds of South African off of the local gun forum.  I noticed that CheaperThanDirt had German 200 round battle packs, comparatively less expensive, and ordered several of those.  Finally, I found British Radway Green 7.62 x 51 very reasonable (again, comparatively), and bought the special which is 160 rounds per ammo can and three cans of 480 per box, at Classic Arms in North Carolina.  (They were great to deal with.)  The Radway Green comes linked – 4 rounds per.  I found a good youTube video about de-linking .308 and found that using a rubber mallet, tapping the single heavier link to the right works fine, particularly when having a good piece of heart pine flooring scrap clamped to the bench. Just set the bullet point down on the wood and tap the link down.  The link falls off, the round becomes free and on and so it goes.  It took me a couple of hours to de-link 960 rounds, particularly as I took breaks from the monotony.  I found that all the ammo minus the links  fit in three ammo cans, loosely packed.  I’ve saved the six other smaller cans it all came in for something else.  I recommend the Radway Green ammo, even if it is a bit of a pain to de-link it.  This is one of the best deals around.  You may want to wipe off each round with an old towel, also, because there is a funky smelling lubricant on them.  The Radway Green isn’t perfect, brand new Federal Match looking, but hey, for 1993 NATO specification, who’s complaining?

So, again, thanks James, for the tips about the HK mags, and the PTR91.  Thanks, also, for the good work of SurvivalBlog. – Mr. M.

JWR Replies: In addition to buying a couple of hundred alloy HK G3 magazines from CheaperThanDirt, I also recently bought 30 of their steel G3 magazines for $1.97 each. A few of these had light surface rust which cleaned off easily with Break Free lubricant. But about half of the magazines looked absolutely new aside for some fresh shipment wear. Some of them even had the distinctive crystalline “crinkle” look of fresh parkerizing. That is amazing, considering that most of these magazines were manufactured in the early 1960s. What a great deal!

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