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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For a battle rifle meant for the ranges from 100-500 yards which would be better.
Vepr .308
FAL
Or m1a from springfield.
What I want to know is -
Accuracy
Reliability
Weight.
Which barrel length?
General Pros and Cons.
And any other Information that would be helpful. I will not be in a situation to make a purchase for a long time so i am just collecting information at this time.
Also say what rifle you'd pick and WHY you would pick it. Thanks in advance for the responses and sorry for the weird format.
 

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I have an M1a scout and a Vepr 308, both are solid rifles, both heavy to lug around. Obviously the m1a is a tad more accurate... And complicated to maintain, where as the Vepr is maintenance free (joke!) and has the legendary AK action. The M1 costs over twice that of the Vepr, I'm not sure it's twice as good. Either IMO would make a fine shtf battle rifle. Your experience may vary.
 

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Definitive Arms is doing a magwell conversion that allows the VEPR to use SR25 pattern mags such as magpul's 308 pmag. That's the only way I'd use a VEPR.

No personal experience but I've heard mixed reviews as far as accuracy on the M1A and FAL. From sub to 4MOA. Even a Custom VEPR is in line or cheaper than most more "accessorized" FAL prices and the M1A is the most expensive. A Stock DSA FAL can be found from a grand to 1200 and a custom VEPR would run a little over 1500 while an M1A is 1500 minimum. A LBR M14 type gun is even more 2500+. Ergo wise I like the FAL better than the VEPR and M1A, but that is only handling them.
 
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I'd go FAL for sure. I recently got one in a trade.
Its a simple reliable accurate rifle. Magazines are CHEAP and available (unlike the Vepr or M1A from what I read). Parts for the FAL are abundant.Mounting a scope is as simple as replacing the cover on the receiver.


 

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From a gunsmith's perspective, the FAL.

User servicable, re-buildable with simple hand tools and a vise.

VEPR, riveted construction, thin sheet metal in comparison.

M1A, not as ergonomic as the FAL, can be more accurate but not always.
My last one was a match gun, somewhat finicky on bullet choice, and hated half the mags I owned.

From the users perspective, I've had pretty much every battle rifle that's been built in one form or another. All the rest went away, I kept the FAL.

Accurate enough, reliable, good ergonomics, tunable gas system, what's not to like?

Can't buy it for a long time?
Pick up a FAL receiver and then start piecing it together.

http://www.coonaninc.com/index.php/cPath,7
http://entreprise.com/Fal/fnreceivers.htm
http://www.floridagunworks.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=FALA+R
 

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I agree with whirli.

I think it can be hard to directly compare a pistol gripped weapon (FAL) to a traditional rifle stock wweapon, as I find it to be just different enough in terms of ergo/muscle memory/etc.I prprefer to have a pistol grip, as I was trained to shoot primarily with rifles so equippe, but it is mostly ppreference.
I very much like the M14 EBR/DMR type stocks, but the classic wood makes for a rifle as beautiful as it is functional.

I have never been much of a fan of AK pattern weapons, I just don't find them comfortable to shoot but I am odd (for example, the most comfortable AK setup for me is with a high end side-folding triangle stock).



Between the M1A and the FAL, they're both phenomenal rifle platforms that can be modified or converted to fit just about any need, whether it is a compact(ish) CQC weapon (ie anything from room to room through modern urban area combat), a dual-purpose "assault weapon" and DMR-type rifle, or pretty much anything else short of an anti-material rifle. As long as you can handle the 762 (rapid, accurate fire), you are limited only by budget, imagination, and the limitations of the round itself.

That said, I live in a suburban area, so for me, engagement distance would vary from indoor/house to house out to about 200yds or so, for the vast majority of possible encounters. Beyond that, I have other rifles from fellow 308's to 338LM and such that I would consider a more ideal weapon (assuming a max barrel of 16-18" on the M1A/FAL).

Overall, I would recommend the FAL as a more ideal "fighting rifle" (sorry, but I hhave grown to hate the semantic nightmare that is the term "Main Battle Rifle"). I would go with a 16-18" Para-style model, which will give you a fair amount of flexibility with regards to engagement distance vs size/weight.
The M1A would (or rather, does, I suppose) make for a highly effective dual purpose rifle, although I personally feel the weapon is ideally suited for a "DMR" role, and depending on the model, it can serve as such pretty much out of the box provided you don't skimp on the glass (Leupold or the like), with my personal opinion being that a 3-9x or ideally 3-12x optic is perfectly suited for such a role. If you have the money, an EBR stock is a good addition IMHO, so long as you have the mags and more importantly the lead already stocked.

To summarize my ramblings, I guess I'd say:
- FAL if you are wanting to have a rifle that can easily be used indoors/at close range and still be a heavy hitter across a corn field.
- M1A if you prefer a more traditional rifle, are not going to be in a position where maneuverability matters so much as accuracy, and you want a rifle for almost entirely long-range (200yds or more) eengagement.

Either platform can be made to function pretty much however you want, again taking into consideration the limitations of the round (If I am shooting at you with my AI AWSM, I am at a distinct advantage in terms of being able to outrange you, but the opposite is true if I switch from a 338 Lapua to one of my SB AR's shooting subsonic 300BLK).


Lastly, and I have been telling this to anyone who asks me for advice (and to all my customers): I don't care if you have read every single word ever written about a weapon, have every dimension memorized from diagrams, and can spout off how every round will perform in every available barrel length... All of that is not worth one 1/1,000,000th as muchas actually firing the weapon(s) in qquestion. Published ballistic data is only going to kill someone via papercuts, Internet advice is typically worth the paper it's printed on (get it? Hehe), but every round you put downrange increases your chances of being able to successfully do so when downrange starts shooting back.
 

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I can't speak for the Vepr, but I own a couple FALs and an M1A (older "Bush" model).

Both the M1A and FAL will serve you well. For a more traditional hunting rifle, the M1A has filled the role well. Both will work well in a combat role, but the FAL just seems to be a better design. It handles better actual maneuvers and the design is more field-user friendly. I would give the edge to the M1A with regards to accuracy, but the FAL is more than combat accurate. I find the FAL easier to mount with optics (DSA rail top).

I've built two FALs, so I feel more comfortable with field maintenance and servicing. The other advantage is the adjustable gas regulator which I've actually used when using various ammunition or allowing to get too dirty.

If my primary concern was hunting and secondary self-defense in rural situation, I would choose my M1A. If my primary need was self-defense with hunting as secondary in an urban/suburban area, I would easily choose the FAL.

ROCK6
 

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I researched every MBR available in 2000 and the FN FAL came out on top of every other Rifle. Parts and Magazines are widely available and dirt cheap, I've owned one ever since and can say this platform out preforms every other rifle I've ever owned. I had mine built by Ohio Rapid Fire when they were still in business with a 18in barrel and I installed the factory bipod as well as a upgraded dust cover/rail and mounted a mid range scope on it I have no problem hitting a pie pan size target with it at 300 plus yards. and this rifle will eat any ammo you put in it. is it heavy darn right but it will punch holes thru stuff at ranges the AR platforms won't, and the barrel is short enough to be used in house entry if needed.
 

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... say what rifle you'd pick and WHY you would pick it.
The 18.0" and 16.25" M14 from SEI, LRB or the M1A from Springfield can be very accurate & extremely dependable.
There are several different modern chassis stocks for the M14/M1A, and you can run them with a folding butt stock if you like.
I have been using the SAGE chassis for 10 years, it's great. A lighter chassis is the Blackfeather "RS" from Canada.
New USGI/CMI magazines are readily available, and X-Products makes the 50 round X-14 drum mag for the M14/M1A.

In 1999 I shopped around and tried a few different .308 semi-auto rifles before I chose the M14 over the rest. No regrets.


One more option for the M14/M1A is a bullpup conversion kit, two are available. I have a CQB-16 in a JTacticle Rogue chassis.
The overall length with a 16.25" barrel is just under 28.0", and it has a left side charging handle. Not for everyone, but it is available.
 

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My first choice would be something not on the list so I'll skip it.

Next would be the FAL. But I would be very careful to buy new from a reputable manufacturer, not a parts kit built in a dark basement by drunken monkeys (Surely there are those on here who know who that refers to).

Then would be the M1A. Since you can't always get what you want this is what I have. (long Story)
 

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Don't knock the crack monkeys, even they put some together right.

I know of several R1A1's that will run with the big dogs.
I also have pulled out some hair trying to get a couple to run.

And as an aside, over in the falfiles marketplace, there are a number of respectable builds available.
 

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I would have loved to have gotten a FAL, but they were expensive.
I was looking at getting the C308, but I opted for the VEPR 308 with a 23 inch barrel. It is gorgeous. Walnut stock and a heavy duty Russian receiver. At 50 yards it's very accurate with iron sites. My skinny 14 year old loves it. The build and finish are solid.

at a fraction over $800- I thought it was a good deal. I haven't changed my mind yet.

AA
 

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M1A Scout for me.

Couldn't justify the price of ammo with the FAL I had.
Accuracy just wasn't there for me. Trigger was awful.

I could see adding a Vepr or Saiga 308 when the prices were low.
 

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I'll say you can't go wrong with any, really.

I'd say I'm a very experienced gun owner/shooter.

The M1A, FAL, and AK based VEPR are effective ties for a battle rifle.

The ergos are different, so it might come down to that.

They all suck equally for scope mounting.

They are all heavy, and all will set you back $1200 or so +\-

Suck it up, buy a platform that suits, and learn it.

All are powerful battle rifles. You're not buying a tack driver; it's a battle rifle that puts rounds fast on target. If you want a tack driver, go over to the hunting rifle section.
 

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It's been almost three years, so I would hope the OP saved up the money and made his choice...

They all suck equally for scope mounting.
DSA makes a very solid top-cover mount for scopes. I've had excellent performance with them and highly recommend them; it really makes mounting a scope much easier and is worth the investment.

All are powerful battle rifles. You're not buying a tack driver; it's a battle rifle that puts rounds fast on target. If you want a tack driver, go over to the hunting rifle section.
Ironically, I'm about as accurate with my MIA and FAL as I am with my bolt guns out to about 400-500 yards (with similar powered optics); that's probably more to do with my limited skill than the capability of the rifles. Still, with a good scope/mount and a decent trigger with quality ammo, any of the semi-autos are capable of better accuracy than the shooters can wring out of them.

I'll stick with what I said earlier. The FAL is the better "battle rifle" only because of my familiarity with ergonomics, but the railed top cover makes adding optics easy, solid and robust; triggers (from DSA) are easy to upgrade for much better performance and the design is the simplest in terms of field maintenance.

Despite my top choice for the FAL as a battle rifle, my M1A Scout is still my top choice for hunting (if I'm taking a semi-auto) and is an excellent design for rural use. My M1A has a much better stock trigger than any FAL I've owned and even though mine is scoped, the irons are the best of any battle rifle I've owned as well.

ROCK6
 

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Maybe because Basic Training in 1968, I chose the M1A. I tried a friend's FN, owned both an HK91 and a Cetme and finally, at age 52 bought the M1A. GI magazines are readily available, the ergonomics work for me and the accuracy is there. ****can the stock from SA and get a GI fiberglass and never worry about climate. Sight it in for 300 yards and marvel at how well the sights work at distance. By using the front sight as a rangefinder and the elevation drum you can hit at distances as far as you can see. There are few mainstream rifles that allow such with that precision. Others would include the Garand, later Springfields and later Enfields. Note that these all have peeps sights. Then realize that NATO Ball ammuntion is pretty much consistent as opposed to other ammunitions.
Until recently, I rarely used optics so mounting them wasn't an issue. And why anyone would need optics, other than severely degraded eyesight of course, when you never shoot past, say, 300 yards, is beyond my ken anyway. Due to age induced problems as of late, any .308ish rifle is pushing the limits for me. 20 rounds in a session is about it.

Still my choice, M1A all the way.
 

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FAL is the best looking, proven platform, but unsound from the engineering point of view: every modern rifle (even 60 year old) uses a rotary bolt; why do you think that is? Because it provides a primary extraction, dislodging a stubborn case. Except FAL.
All three rifles in a line-up are obsolete, from virtually any angle.
Why not the AR-308? INHERENTLY accurate, optics ready etc. etc. !8" lite barrel? Easy as pie. 24" heavy barrel? Easy as pie. Magazines of every description and higher capacity then the weapons on the list. Bipods? Any type imaginable. And on and on.
 
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