The Military Channel had something on it about the all time top 10 Battle weapons. Their list was based on, Accuracy -, In Service Length -, Combat Effectiveness -, Handling -, and Innovation. Their list I question the choices on some of the weapons.
Rifle / Country of Origin / Caliber
10. M14 / USA / 7.62 x 51mm
9. Sturmgewehr 44 / Germany / 7.92 x 33mm
8. 1903 Springfield / USA / .30-06
7. Steyr Aug / Austria / 5.56 x 45mm
6. Mauser Model 98K / Germany / 7.92 x 75mm
5. FN FAL / Belgium / 7.62 x 51mm
4. M1 Garand / USA / .30-06
3. Lee Enfield SMLE / U.K. / .303 Enfield
2. M16 / USA / 5.556 x 45mm
1. AK-47 / Russia / 7.62 x 39mm
This is my choice and I will try and list why I feel they should qualify and not some on the list.
10. Lee Enfield SMLE/ UK. / .303 Enfield / Base service time 1895-1957 counting deferent variations, and still used in some countries all the way up till the early 2000’s
Though a good rifle over all it was a little finicky when compared to say the Mosin-Nagant, which was a rough and ready rifle that would still perform long after others of the time would stop because of lack of cleaning.
9. 1903 Springfield / USA / .30-06 / Base service time June 19th 1903-1936 at which time the M-1 Grand replaced the 1903 Springfield, Though some were still used in the Second World War and for a short time after for sniper work in Korea, and Vietnam they were in very limited use after the M-1 Grand was addopted as Americas main battle rifle.
One dam good rifle but as with the Enfield could be a somewhat finicky as compared to the rough made Mosin-Nagant.
8. Mauser K98 / Germany / 7.92x75mm
This rifle was one of the most used rifles up to and including the Second World War. It being one of the most powerful battle rifles of its time along with being considered one of the most accurate ones. Nazi Germany had some where around 2.7 million rifles by the end of the war, making it one of the highest production weapons of the war. The Mauser action was and still is one of the most used actions in bolt action rifles in history. A few of the other rifles that used this configuration were but not limited to, American M1903 Springfield, Japanese Arisaka type 38 and type 99 rifles, Anglo-American M1917 Enfield.
The accuracy of the K98 was so good that all K98’s manufactured were Scope ready in that no smithing was needed to install a scope mount. They were ready for a scope mount right from the factory, and only needed attachment and sighting in.
7. SKS / Russian / 7.62x39 Base service time 1945-
Though the SKS has a short history as the main battle rifle because of the introduction of the AK-47’s shortly after. The SKS still remained a secondary battle rifle, it also being one of the most exported rifles in production. Many nations manufactured their own version of the SKS, such as the former Eastern Block nations, China type 56, East Germany Karabiner S, and North Korea type 63. The SKS is one of the most widely sold battle rifles in the civilian market in several countries around the world. The SKS was the first to use the 7.62x39mm cartage.
Hollywood was for the most part responsible for the misconception that most of the world used the AK-47 instead of the SKS rifle. When in fact much of the world had and used the SKS up until the latter part of the 20th century. Even during the Vietnam War the V.C were more apt to be armed with the SKS then the AK-47. The SKS just was not scary enough for Hollywood so most film producers used the AK-47 instead.
6. Heckler and Koch G-3/Cetme / Germany/Spain / 7.62x51 NATO / 1950’s-
I am not sure where to begin with this rifle, though I will give it a try. The Cetme which is the Spanish version and for runner of the German H&K G-3 and can trace it’s history back to the STG 44 and MG 42 although it’s connection is very limited. The Cetme/G-3 has enjoyed popularity with such Military’s, group’s, and countries as the East Germany border guards (Bundesgrenzschutz), Spain, East German army, and roughly 38 other countries in the world. The G3 rifle was and in some cases still being produced under license in France (MAS), Greece ( Hellenic Arms Industry), Iran (defense Industries Organization), Mexico, Myanmar, Norway (Kongsberg Vapenfabrikk), Pakistan (Pakistan Ordnance Factories), Portugal (FBP), Saudi Arabia, Sudan (Military Industries Corporation), Sweden (FFV), Thailand, Turkey (MKEK), United Kingdom (Royal Ordnance).
There are still countries in South America that use The G-3 or one of it’s many variants today.
5. AK-47 / Russia / 1949 official adoption as main weapon
Though many might not agree with this one being #5 I tend to attribute its lack of accuracy to its placement on my list. It being one of the most produced Assault Rifles, enjoying the status of the first real production Assault rifles, it’s vast export and use in the world. Has made its historical placement in the top 5 of the all time best weapons in my opinion. Many countries (to Numerous to list) found it’s cost, availibity, and reliability as the main reason for switching their arsenals to this weapon.
Some countries enjoy the available of the civilian version of the AK-47 for sales to the civilian population. Being a cost effective in $ for what one gets and the somewhat low cost of 7.62x39 ammo one can see why they are sought after in the civilian market. Though if one would compare the Cetme to the AK-47, you will see that the cost of the weapons is close to the same and one would get a far more accurate rifle out at ranges of 500-600 meters. The advantages of the 7.62x51 NATO round that the Cetme is chambered in far out weighs the 7.62x39. The cost of the 7.62x51 NATO is just a tad bit more then the 7.62x39 but well worth the price again in my opinion.
One last tidbit here, and that is if one is looking for a weapon that scares the crap out of the anti-American/anti-gunners then get the AK-47. Nothing like a good miss-conceived Assault Weapons to scare the crap out of the socialist in America.
4. Thompson submachine gun Model 1921 / USA / .45 Auto / 1921
This year saw the production of the infamous Thompson Machine Gun, better known as the Tommy gun, Chopper, Chicago Typewriter, The Trench Broom, and many other names. All in all a good short range Assault, Defensive weapon, was reliable, had a hard-hitting round, a good rate of fire. This weapon still saw limited service in Vietnam and limited service with some Law Enforcement groups up until the 1990’s. There is a good following in the civilian community for this weapon though many only have the semi-auto version they still enjoy shooting it. Its short-range accuracy is very good; the compactness of its design made it a great weapon during the Second World War.
One might even consider the Thompson Model 1921 to be the first real American Assault Weapon. Not withstanding this weapon in .45 Auto packs one hell of a wallop.
3. M-16 / USA / 5.56x45mm NATO / 1964
This became the standard service rifle of the U.S. Army in 1964 with the Marine corpse follow a little after. It has enjoyed the status as the U.S.’s main battle rifle/Assault Rifle ever sense. Though the early version M16 had some design flaws they were quickly corrected and reissued as the M16a1. It is an accurate rifle, has a good rate of fire, lightweight, easy to disassemble for cleaning. The smaller round let people carry more ammo because it weighed less.
The many variations of this weapon allows for many customizations to suite the needs and likes of people. It enjoys a large following in the civilian and Law Enforcement communities. The cost for surplus military ammo makes it a good choice. But the cost for the rifle is a little prohibited for some, so they seek the AK-47 or SKS instead. My opinion is that one would be better off to save a little longer and spend the money on a good AR-15. All in All a good all around rifle, though I prefer the 7.62x51 NATO to the 5.56x45 NATO maybe I am just old and outdated.
2. M-14 / USA / 7.62x51 NATO / (1957) 1959
This Battle Rifle was adopted by the Military in 1957 but was not delivered for use until 1959, It’s design was based off the M-1 Grand, and enjoyed use in the Vietnam war but was soon replaced by the M-16. One reason I had heard when they made the change was that Female solders had a hard time using the M-14 and preferred the M-16 to it. I cannot confirm this other then what I was told in my early days in The U.S. Army. The 7.62x51 NATO round was a much harder hitting round and had good accuracy. It tended to kill a little better then the 5.56x46 NATO. Why the real reason to the change I have no idea. The M-14 was reliable, accurate, even enjoying use as a sniper weapon and is still in limited use in Iraq even today.
For my Dollar I love the M-14, and if it were legal I would marry one and call it my wife forever.
1. M1 Grand / USA / 30-06 / early 1940’s
This weapon saw service in World War 2, its reliability and accuracy were unparalleled as a semi-auto battle rifle for its time. Even today it is used at Camp Perry for open sight, long range shooting. During the Second World War some were outfitted with scopes for sniper work and enjoyed much success. The only draw back was the lack of a detachable magazine of a good capacity. The hard hitting 30-06 round was long proven but more so with this weapon.
This by far is one of the smoothest shooting weapons I have ever had the privilege of firing, setting aside the only other drawback of this weapon, the old Grand thumb, and if you have much experience with the M1 Grand you know what I am talking about.
The STG 44 and the Steyr Aug never seen much of any wide use and never entered production to the level of the weapon I have listed as my choices. The FN FAL saw some use in a few countries and enjoyed some production but was not what it was cracked up to be. It was a fair rifle but I feel was not up to par to enter this list of the top 10.
This is just my opinion.