Designing a better MBR
The gradumacated engineer is back... and he's on a roll.
I like MBRs. 308 caliber semi-auto high capacity battle rifles. I think they are in many ways the right choice for a citizen wanting to defend his country and shoot recreationally in peacetime.
I have been a little disenchanted with MBRs as of late, however, possibly due to the shortcomings of the ones I own. I have a FA-91 G3 and a Saiga-308. There are things I like very much about each, but each has its drawbacks. So do the other modern MBRs, which in my opinion are: AR-10, M1a, Galil and FAL and derivatives thereof. Something looks very right about the SIG-542 though.
In any case, there are things I think are excellent about each:
1.) G3 - lengthwise dimensions and accuracy
2.) FAL - superb reliability, aimability, and durability, as well as general feel, though not perfect, relatively low barrel axis
3.) M14 - reliable, durable, maneuverable, ie with a low barrel axis from the grip and a generally low profile, good center of gravity
4.) AR10 - superb accuracy, light weight, straightline stock
5.) Galil - AK reliability, light weight, relatively compact action, simplicity, low barrel axis at least for a P-grip
Each one has its drawbacks though
1.) G3 - heavy weight, bulky action, high center of gravity above grip, high profile, complicated trigger mechanism
2.) FAL - still a little high in the center of gravity, action a little on the long side, not too firm optical mounts, not always the most accurate
3.) M14 - not very straightline, complicated mechanisms, some parts a wee bit delicate relatively
4.) AR10 - extremely high profile, not very low barrel axis over grip, relatively high center of gravity
5.) Galil - Hard to get parts and mags, profile could be lower
With an engineering degree now, I'm looking perhaps to have my cake and eat it too. I'm looking to design a better MBR that features the best of the above with none of the drawbacks, or at least the best compromise.
I'm wondering if the following could help:
a.) Turn the gas system upside down with dual op rods on the side with a long stroke gas system a little bit like the Mini-14. This would bring the center of gravity down and simply make the action wider, more like the width of the handguard, which would contain this system more on the sides than above, like the FAL. Or perhaps even an impingement system. Drawback would be that the barrel having to be a wee bit higher might offset the lowering of the center of gravity, as well as making it harder to get a straightline with the stock. An advantage would be mounting optics to the barrel, not parts that house the gas system.
b.) Grip mounted as high as possible. Like a FAL but higher, closer to the center of gravity. Perhaps using something like an AK trigger but with the trigger moved about half an inch back, as far as possible up, and angled back a little. Or an AK type long stroke system that's dimensionally closer to a FAL. But something not too tall and all in one piece with the bolt carrier.
c.) Compact action, ie AK length, but long enough to do the job. Barrel would be a military contour, not something heavy like the Saiga-308, and 18-20" long, no longer or shorter.
d.) Have a rear site at the rear of the receiver and a slightly or more than slightly forward mounted scope, basically scout-like.
e.) Use a bolt lockup system that is as accurate as possible, perhaps as much like a bolt gun as possible. Using a strong and reliable action to cycle and lock up the bolt as tightly as possible. A free floated barrel would be nice too.
f.) As high a cycling mass as possible without adding extra weight, to spread out the recoil.
g.) The ability to use the most common and inexpensive magazines - G3.
My mental image tends to look like a cross between a Galil and a FAL, with the SIG-542 always in the background. Basically I want something with the reliability of an AK, the accuracy of an AR, the balance of an M14, and a size not all that much bigger than an AK. Main thing is that it not be too tall, not be top heavy, not be barrel heavy, not have unnecessary weight in the receiver, not be too heavy at all, be well balanced, have solid and convenient optical mounts, MOA accuracy at least, and be generally comfortable to handle.
I'm not sitting here thinking "Ooh, I'm going to design the perfect battle rifle that no one could yet!" Just think that the advantages of the ones that have come before are not mutually exclusive and can be combined in something that is the best compromise of each, learning from their developments.
So what do you guys think of this, or how one could otherwise combine the best features of the best battle rifles?
"RPG kaboom tank!"
Comrade Soldier Koverchenko
I like, and without handling it I can't judge at all, but it doesn't appear to solve being top-heavy. Suffers from the common problem of straightline rifles being too tall by having the action and thus grip low while having the sites high.
I think the FAL tried to compromise the best it could and perhaps their solution was best with regards to sites and barrel axis. They fit my idea pretty well, but still have a little too much weight up top. I think the receiver and dust cover design are what hurts the FAL this way, having a rear locking bolt (obviously) and having additional parst above and below it, whereas the AR, G3, and AK receivers are only open from one direction, top or bottom. I'm thinking something stamped like an AK receiver but shaped to be a little more rigid, with a swing down trigger group like a FAL but receding into the receiver.
Maybe something like the JATI-Matic, with an angled bolt path? That would allow you to get the grip up behind the bbl plane.
If it had a tilt bolt, maybe. But I'm thinking rotating bolt on this one. Seriously, though, I have a feeling I'd be satisfied with a SIG-542. If only. Meanwhile, the wheels are turning...
I have totally found the solution to the trigger placement problem. A linear trigger. And I can think of a zillion good reasons not to use one.
The more I read up on it, the more perfect the SIG-542 seems.
And strangely enough, the more my designs look like the SIG-542.