Heavy Duty SHTF Battle Rifles
Dr. John Woods 10.22.15
Sometimes there is a real need for more firepower. As popular as the AR-15 in .223/5.56 is with survivalists and preppers, a good argument can be made for having a prep rifle delivering more target impact at long ranges. This means the .308/7.62 in a heavier platform than the M4 type ARs that are so prolific these days.
Likewise you cannot have the discussion about using the .308 Winchester class cartridge in a semi-auto “assault” type rifle (Bear with me in using that designation, but I have yet to find a better one. Jeff Cooper please forgive me.) without going to an upsized AR-10 type rifle or another version of a heavy battle rifle.
While the marketplace for AR-15s is way overcrowded with various models, versions, and copious copies, the larger big brothers using the 7.62 have a much smaller market share of offerings. Basically if you want a heavy semi-auto rifle in this category then you are shopping for the Armalite AR-10, the Rock River LAR-308s, DSA SA-58s (FN-FAL), Heckler and Koch Model 91s, Springfield Armory M1As, or clones of these basic engineered designs.
The good news is that this market continues to expand as buyers demand it. Many preppers that I talk to and advise are looking into adding an upgraded battle rifle for extended superior ballistics just in case. And for good reason, too.
If we compare ballistics for the most basic ammunitions for the .223 vs the .308, the extra power of the .308 is easily apparent. The standard 55 grain in .223 puts out a muzzle velocity of 3240 fps and an ME of 1282 foot pounds. At 300 yards the bullet energy is down to 599 ft. lbs.
By contrast, the .308’s 150 grain bullet exits the muzzle at 2810 fps with a muzzle energy of 2629 foot pounds. However, at 300 yards this 150 grains of lead and copper jacket produces 1627 food pounds of smack. This is nearly three times the energy of the .223 at 300 yards. Now do you understand why military snipers use the .308/7.62 round?
These heavy duty battle rifles are indeed heavier and more cumbersome to deploy. The muzzle blast is much louder, especially in shorter barrels, with recoil to match. However, the terminal target end product is worth it.