Two Letters Re: Some Experience With 7.62mm NATO Battle Rifles

Mr. Rawles,
I was wondering if you or your staff had any experience or opinion on the PTR-91 GI rifle, also known as the PTR-91 “special edition”.  These seem very competitively priced; $899 at both Atlantic Firearms and CDNN Sports (listed on page 28 of their online catalog). 

Apparently the changes made to this rifle allow it to accept the military surplus ammunition, which previously jammed the rifle.  However, the “tolerances” are looser, according to the web site, so it is possible that accuracy suffered.

As this is a great price to enter the .308 / 7.62 NATO market, I was wondering if this is a quality rifle or if I am better off spending a couple hundred more and going with one of the PTR-91 F rifles.

Thank you for all the work you do. – Ed P.

JWR Replies: We have a standard PTR-91of an earlier vintage here at the Rawles Ranch. I have found that it is not finicky with the various types of +/- 150 grain 7.62 mm NATO ball ammo that we’ve put through it. These have included Portuguese, South African, Winchester (white box–a USGI ball duplication load) , and West German. They all run just fine. Ejection is also fairly uniform–15 to 20 feet, which is typical of HKs. (They positively launch brass!)

While I haven’t shot one personally, the new “-GI” suffixed PTR rifles are reputedly even more omnivorous than mine. (Although I would be very reluctant to shoot any ammo that is outside of the 145 to 155 grain range, and I’d also be leery of shooting commercial soft nose 150 grain ammunition, since it is loaded considerably hotter than NATO specification military loads.) From all reports, I think that you will be happy if you buy a PTR-91 GI rifle. Considering that they cost only one-third as much as an original pre-ban HK91, they are quite a bargain!

Parenthetically, it is a bit ironic that I wrote the first draft of my novel “Patriots” back in the winter of 1990-1991. Even though I was strictly a Springfield M1A owner at the time, I portrayed the fictional “Group” as standardizing with the HK91. That was back when HK91s were creeping up in price, but still fairly affordable. But by the late 1990s the original HK-made rifles and even the Greek clones had their prices inflated to the point that they became toys for the rich. But now, after the advent of large scale military surplus imports of both G3 rifle parts sets (for the clone builders)and incredibly inexpensive (less than $1!) magazines, the HK clones have become a low cost alternative to the M1A, most AR-10 variants, and the various FN/FAL clones. For those of us that like to have 15+ spare magazines per rifle, this makes rifles that can use G3 magazines a logical choice. And I should mention that there are now two brands of AR-10s made with lower receivers that accept G3 magazines. Given the relatively high cost of M1A and FAL magazines, I expect this design trend to be picked up by other gun makers.

Lastly, I should mention that the deluge of $1 HK G3 magazines won’t last forever. (CheaperThanDirt currently sells them for just 97 cents each.) So I strongly recommend that you buy a hundred of them now, even if there is just a chance that you will eventually buy a rifle that can use them. And even if you don’t, they will be great to keep on hand for barter!


Mr. Rawles,
I came across an article on wounds patterns of military rifle cartridges, after doing some personal follow-on research to Mr. Williamson’s recent letter to your blog. I’m finding this resource very informative. – Swiftner Braveheart