For years, the most effective battle rifle argument has
raged in both the military and preparedness communities. Based on media
rhetoric and its military use, the 5.56 pattern rifle, such as the civilian
semi-automatic version of the AR-15, is seen by many as the most dangerous
weapon because of its effectiveness….but is this true? I disagree and would
like to offer up my recommendations for the best battle rifle you can get.
Many look at the 5.56/.223 round is the ideal platform with
both lightweight rounds and is effective for engaging multiple threats. However,
it was not the original intent of the platform. The 308 Winchester (or 7.62mm)
was seen as the logical replacement for the 30-06 M1 Garand, and to many, the
AR-10 has the best of both worlds. Readily available ammunition and platform
similarity (of almost 80% parts compatibility), and the AR-10 has the user-friendliness
and familiarity of the AR-15. This platform can be in a slue of other calibers,
such as .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, or even 300 Win Mag. Coupled with
cheap, readily available box magazines that vary from 5 to 25 rounds, full rail
systems being common, and offerings in both gas and piston variants, this
platform is reliable and would serve anyone well in hunting, defensive, or
survival roles, making it one of my top two picks.
The M1A was also developed around the 308Winchester requirement
and is based on one of the shortest-lived infantry service rifles, the M14.
While it now offers additional calibers, such as the popular 6.5 Creedmoor, the
M1A has been steadily produced for decades for the 308 caliber. It is
frequently identified as robust, reasonably accurate, and one of the best iron
sights on the market. The offerings, unlike the AR-10, are sparse, with only four
variations of the rifle type (National Match, Standard, Scout, and SOCOM II)
and only a few types of stocks available. It leaves many tactical shooters
wanting more. The action is eerily like the M1 Garand and is fed from very
robust (and expensive) magazines, which vary from 5 rounds to 20 rounds. The significant
detractors for most are the awkwardness of adding optics and the rifle stock
versus one with a pistol grip, like the AR-10. That said, with a full stock, I
would have no issues using it as a club and knowing it would survive.
Honorable Mention: AK
While the 5.56mm is supreme in many countries, the AK-47 is in
its own category. Firing a 30-caliber bullet, albeit slower than the 308, the
rugged reliability to operate in all conditions earns it mention…that, and it
is on four countries’ national flags. Until the recent ban on Russian
ammunition, the rounds were relatively plentiful, reliable, and effective
against barriers and body armor. That said, the loose tolerances that give it
its reliability also decrease its accuracy and are, in my opinion, a 200 yard
or shorter weapon. Still, if this were the only weapon you had available, you wouldn’t
be under gunned.
Also be sure to check out JM4 Tactical for your holster needs!
Author: Ian Bolser