Depending on what you’re trying to put holes into, the venerable 5.56 isn’t always the right choice. Sometimes, you need that hard-hitting .308. While the AR-10 is a fine choice, here are four .30-caliber rifles you should try before pulling the trigger on the variant you’ve been eyeing. After all, there are a labyrinth of variations of the AR-10-style of rifle that make customizing them a real pain for the beginner.
Ever since the SAS (Special Air Service) stormed the Iranian Embassy with the now iconic MP5—the HK series of roller-delayed rifles have been the choice of many top tier professional shooters. The ruggedly reliable G3 was produced by HK from 1958 to 1997. After HK dropped the rifle from production, PTR Industries picked production up in 2002. Thankfully, the PTR-91 is far more affordable than the HK rifles—making them a bargain. As for why you should give serious consideration to this rife, it has MP5 controls, excellent HK drum sights, an amazingly reliable action, and it throws giant .30 caliber pills down range. What isn’t to like? Couple all of that with super cheap surplus magazines (under $3) and you have the recipe for a really awesome rifle.
DS Arms FAL
The FAL has rightly earned the nickname of “the right arm of the free world” because it was adopted by so many NATO countries during the Cold War. The FAL has been largely forgotten by the shooting community in recent years because the parts kits have dried up, and there are no reasonably priced reproductions. Thankfully, DSA builds a bargain-priced FAL you can now seriously consider. Featuring an adjustable gas system, the FAL makes a wonderfully soft-shooting .308 that will work with just about any ammo, in any condition. Not considering one of these would be a disservice to yourself.
Springfield Armory M1A
With the price of a quality AR-10 and a M1A being so very close, there is no reason not to think about the M-14’s offspring. There is just something charming and warm about the beautiful wood and metal construction of the M1A that makes me gravitate to this rifle. Maybe it has something to do with the M1A’s roots in a rifle that I am rather fond of and own several—the M1 Garand. After WWII, the military recognized the need for a magazine-fed rifle and the result is more or less what you see here, minus the fun switch of course. Now the M-14 did only serve five short years as the main line issued rifle, but it did live on in special roles. As a result, there is a whole host of parts out there that allow you to “tacti-cool” your rifle ’till you’re as operator as your heart desires.
FNH SCAR 17S
The SCAR 17S has been reported to be the best battle rifle money can buy. The soft recoiling rifle has replaced the venerable M-14 in many military rolls largely because the M-14 is a bit long in the tooth after serving for 56 years. Not only is the SCAR a pleasure to shoot, but it also has almost as many accessories as the AR platform, allowing you to tailor this rifle to your exact needs. Now you might be asking, is it worth the premium over some of the other rifles? I think so. Boasting features such as a folding stock, built-in rails, adjustable cheek rest, and ambidextrous controls, it is hard not to see the value. Throw in the capability to convert calibers by buying the caliber conversion kit of your choosing, and you have a gun that really is something special.
As a result of the selection of interesting .308 semiautos being a bit on the thin side, I was forced to limit this to four options. If you have AR fatigue, like so many shooters do now, this list might help you along with the process of selecting your next .308 rifle.