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Old 08-24-2010, 12:02 PM
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In another thread the question of rifle reliablity came up. And while nothing is 100% reliable except God, it made me wonder about other's opinions on rifle reliablity.

While I have fired tens of thousands of rounds from nearly every standard military shoulder arm of the 20th century, I recognize that our collective experience is far more than my individual experience.

I've seen multiple failures with a variety of bolt actions.

The AK family have an excellent reputation. I have never had a failure with one, but have probably only put 10,000 rounds through them. So my experience is not exhaustive.

My pick for the most reliable rifle is the humble type 45 or 56 SKS in the original configuration. The worst malfunction I have ever seen in them is a slam fire. Which means that the weapon was still perfectly useable for self defense.

I have seen these rifles so abused that they are LITERALLY rusted shut. Without replacing any parts, I had the one I picked up in working order inside of 5 minutes.

So my question is - what stock firearm is the most reliable in your experience? Not the tricked out after market cob job bubba special, but what factory made or military issue arm is flat out going to go bang every time?
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:53 PM
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Of course the AK comes to mind.

My trusty Mossberg 500 has never let me down, only malfunction I can think of would be if you short stroke it. I haven't had that happen yet.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:36 PM
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my factory SKS, Norinco.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:50 PM
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Without a doubt the Garand Action!
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:33 PM
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AK without a doubt.
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:39 PM
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Ak ftw!!!!
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:45 PM
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A good bolt action will always be the most reliable. But reliability is really an issue for each individual gun. I've seen SKSes that needed work to be reliable. I've seen Glocks that had reliability issues. I've seen revolvers locked solid by a thread from a jacket or holster.

I've seen guns that don't have a good reputation that were 100% out of the box and never failed once. I carry a Bersa .45 for my concealed carry gun because it has proven itself 100% reliable to me, even though the brand isn't as respected as many others.

So, even reputation isn't that important compared to learning if that individual gun will be reliable or not.
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:48 PM
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I have never had a problem with my FAL, AR, or AK.

So IMHO, all three are supremely reliable if properly taken care of. Further, if I am going to be in a situation in which cleaning supplies or time is an issue....I'll take the AK.
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:55 PM
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SKS, for sure. I actually had a failure with a Mosin Nagant, of all things. Twice, I've had cases fail to get "picked up" by the extractor. This requires a cleaning rod (handily supplied with rifle) down the barrell to knock the spent case out. Never thought a bolt action rifle could jam!
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:13 PM
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The AK is a given here for reliability. The AR is definitely reliable as well but you will need lube and keep generally clean if using for long periods of time. I would also consider the FAL because of its reliability and ballistics, which trumps the AK and AR, but is a bit heavier rifle. If I could only choose one rifle and caliber, it would be the FAL.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:59 PM
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I've had 2 Mossberg 500's break on me. My FAL was finicky, supposedly there is a gas setting that will run the FAL like an AK. I'd get my gas all tuned in then throw in some light chinese steel core and have to reset the gas. I prefer a sh*t eating rifle. No gas tuning necessary and run ak's primarily.

I do have a new AR and M1A & will see how those run. I'm only running (or my plan to run) brass cased ammo for those rifles.

I did do a test on one of my AR's (sold off a few years ago). I was able to run 3000rds of steel cased wolf, golden tiger, golden bear, etc through a non-chrome lined Rock River with no cleaning. The rifle choked around the 3000rd+ mark on Silver Bear. FTE
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
A good bolt action will always be the most reliable. But reliability is really an issue for each individual gun. I've seen SKSes that needed work to be reliable.
Mike - I am not doubting you, I'm just curious as to what was wrong with the SKSs you mentioned?

Just sharing my experience with you guys - FYI I've had failures with bolt actions - Enfield, and Mauser inspired Steyr and 2 Winchester models come to mind. I've also seen FALs fail so don't think of them as reliable at all (especially the older bolts without the diagnol grooves to fight the sand in the action seize up).
Old 08-25-2010, 09:08 AM
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I think that a pump or bolt action is going to inherently be more reliable than an auto loader.

I'd vote either a quality single shot shotgun, or a Remington 870.

Not only are these weapons bulletproof, but if a round is bad all you have to do is take the round out or recock the weapon.

I especially like pump action shotguns because as long as you stay below dangerous pressures, you can load them with any kind of powder you want and load them with any kind of projectiles you want.

I've shot shells loaded with black powder and .177 airgun bbs out of my 870.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:09 AM
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Default mauser

as far as bolt actions are concerned, I have never had or heard of a rifle with a mauser action having a problem. I have fired many of them, owned a 8mm for a time and still have many friends that swear by them (including 1 who is planning to use his in case SHTF). They can be built around a wide range of calibers and is probably the most reliable bolt action design so far devised.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:19 AM
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Several SKS Norinco have found there way into my hands. They work great in stock format. One I put a synthetic monte carlo stock own, extended the lenght about 2" which made it fit better, but the action was not changed.

They shoot anything given them, with in a 2" group at 100y and hitting with in 6" at 200y

I have shot them out to 500Y with good results. Bubba range 9 out of 10 hits in a five gallon bucket at the 500 yards.

Sporter world I would say Marlin 883 are hard to beat. Mine is near own 35-40 years old and still hits hard with many years of abuse and neglect. Riding around in my truck is not the best envorment for a firearm.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BumblingBear View Post
I think that a pump or bolt action is going to inherently be more reliable than an auto loader.
.

That seems to be the general thinking across the board.
A LOT of people have told me this, but it has not proved out in my experience.

I have not used a lot of pump actions but I sold my Ithaca Model 37 pump gun when the pump ceased to function. I think the diagnosis was "bent forks" from the gunsmith. Plus the usual short stroking error....

On my rack right now is a single shot "New Haven Arms" 12 gauge that "clicked" rather than "banged" the first time I pulled up on a squirrel with it. I was able to quickly recock and kill that squirrel with the same shell. It MIGHT have been ammo related, but I'm still counting that as a failure to go bang. I've had the same thing happen with my side by sides too. Not to say that I haven't had failures with my semi auto shotguns too. I'm just saying that pumps and single shots CAN fail.
Old 08-25-2010, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raven1911 View Post
The AK is a given here for reliability. The AR is definitely reliable as well but you will need lube and keep generally clean if using for long periods of time. I would also consider the FAL because of its reliability and ballistics, which trumps the AK and AR, but is a bit heavier rifle. If I could only choose one rifle and caliber, it would be the FAL.
I cant imagine not maintaining something that your life may depend on.
Old 08-25-2010, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 556X45 View Post
I cant imagine not maintaining something that your life may depend on.

You might have to carry it through a sand storm, or go neck deep in a swamp for hours, slip down a mudslide, navigate through a monsoon, or a three day blizzard. We SHOULD make every effort to maintain our weapons BUT unfriendlies tend to pick the most inopportune times to come out of the fog and night.....
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:48 AM
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AIAW....

Having said that. Anyone with a rifle in their SHTF scenario should have it maintained to reliable status continually.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groovy Mike View Post
You might have to carry it through a sand storm, or go neck deep in a swamp for hours, slip down a mudslide, navigate through a monsoon, or a three day blizzard. We SHOULD make every effort to maintain our weapons BUT unfriendlies tend to pick the most inopportune times to come out of the fog and night.....
Yes, But I find it amazing that people still think that weapons dont need to be maintained. At the gun store where I work we are always being asked which gun should I buy that requires no maintaince You know what I mean
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