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Old 05-20-2021, 12:01 PM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default Takedown Rifles (1990s)

I find myself requiring takedown rifles that are hard to trace to individual buyers, in the 1990s. I want rifles that can fit into backpacks, coolers or other small spaces, but still be useful at longer ranges than a submachine gun like the Uzi or Ingram MAC-10.

I guess there would be separate categories for smallest (fits into space 17" long or shorter), small (17" to 20") through medium (fits into something 20" to 23") to biggest (24" to 26"). Any larger and it might just as well be a rifle with a folding stock.

Being able to retain your zero with a decent scope would be a huge benefit.

The party purchasing these has plenty of resources, but given that they'll be acquiring dozens, possibly hundreds, and many of them will be cached somewhere no one might use them for years or decades, it might be nice to avoid each rifle being too expensive and fancy.

My possibilities seem to be mainly three.

1) Classic takedown rifles from TL6, now possibly expensive, scarce and hence possible to trace. Many TL6 lever-action rifles existed in (much rarer) takedown versions and the Remington 8 and Winchester 1907 self-loading rifles also did.

Aside from the rarity, these rifles will not be set up to use modern optics, and, in fact, if you were to drill the receiver for mounting a scope, would be inaccurate due to the way the barrel is installed in the takedown models. You really want iron sights on the barrel to retain zero for a TL6 takedown rifle.

2) Custom bolt-action rifles or expensive European rifles with takedown or quick-change barrel capability. These became somewhat popular in the 2000s, after being almost unknown for decades.

Blaser R93 rifles date back to 1993, but the pre-LRS models were aimed at affluent hunters, not tactical shooters, and the volume of sales was very low. Tracing who bought one would be easier than with many more common rifles. Also, the price tag is hefty.

Sauer 202 rifles are sold in takedown models today, but I am not certain of the date these first appeared. Sauer 200 and Sauer 202 rifles, even aside from dedicated takedown models, make it fairly easy to change barrels, but it might not be easy enough to make a practical takedown rifle and you might not retain your zero.

The U.S. Repeating Arms Company, the FN-owned entity that in the period were owners of the Winchester trademark, may have sold a few Winchester 70 rifles converted into takedown rifles by their Custom Shop in the 1990s, but the Winchester Model 70 Custom Take Down that appeared in catalogs with a model name is not attested until 1998.

H.S. Precision offered their own takedown rifle model around that time, but from 1992 were known to modify Remington 700 actions into custom takedown rifles. Main flaw of these would be the expense and rarity, which greatly increases the odds that investigators might trace these to someone.

3) AR-15 rifles or other rifles that can be separated into uppers and lowers.

These are not nearly as common in the 1990s as they are now and few accessories or parts were available, but a 16" barrel Colt R6520 would fit inside something 24.25" long, could mount optics that retained their zero and would be useful up to 300-500 yards or so with the right handloads.

Does anyone have other suggestions?

Also, I hear that H&K G3 rifles can be separated into uppers and lowers. Could you transport one like that and assemble it as quickly as an AR-15 type rifle? Would it retain its zero?

If you can, how big would the largest part of it be?
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Old 05-20-2021, 12:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

The G3 series could be taken apart by pushing out a few pins, like the M16 family. You'd then have the stock and recoil spring, say 50cm long roughly, the trigger group, and the barrel and receiver group about the same length as an M16's upper group (the G3 had a longer receiver but a shorter barrel).

Also, the G3 had a removable scope mounting that was designed so that it wouldn't change its zero if removed and replaced. I remember reading a review of the weapon and mount where the reviewer tested this and found the point of aim moved no more than 1" at 100 yards (about 1MOA), which is more than good enough for a battle rifle.

The biggest drawback of a G3 as a take-down weapon is probably that it's made from a lot of heavy gauge steel stampings and is thus quite heavy (HT says 11.4/1.7 pounds, and you'd added another 1.5 lbs or so for scope and mount).
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Old 05-20-2021, 12:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
The G3 series could be taken apart by pushing out a few pins, like the M16 family. You'd then have the stock and recoil spring, say 50cm long roughly, the trigger group, and the barrel and receiver group about the same length as an M16's upper group (the G3 had a longer receiver but a shorter barrel).
An M16 upper is 28.25" in length, so that's pretty long. G3KA4 would reduce that by about 5", but be much harder to obtain. Old G3 rifles are actually fairly common as surplus arms worldwide and if you're obtaining firearms on a grey market, might be for sale at economical prices (not as low as former Soviet arms in the early 1990s, but still good deals).

Of course, maybe you could simply shorten the barrels yourself. On a delayed roller blowback action, though, changing the weight of any component risks messing up reliability. I don't know if all other parts of a G3KA4 are interchangable with longer G3 rifles,

Also, from what I could find online, the G3 breaks into more than just two parts. The recoil spring comes loose and putting it back together generally sounds like a much more involved procedure than putting the two parts of an AR-15 back together. Could you do it without tools, in less than twenty seconds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
Also, the G3 had a removable scope mounting that was designed so that it wouldn't change its zero if removed and replaced. I remember reading a review of the weapon and mount where the reviewer tested this and found the point of aim moved no more than 1" at 100 yards (about 1MOA), which is more than good enough for a battle rifle.
There are 2 MOA rifles among the TL6 lever-action rifles. The purpose of a more modern rifle with optics would be precision fire at longer ranges than a 7.62x54R with iron sights made possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
The biggest drawback of a G3 as a take-down weapon is probably that it's made from a lot of heavy gauge steel stampings and is thus quite heavy (HT says 11.4/1.7 pounds, and you'd added another 1.5 lbs or so for scope and mount).
For use-cases where rifles are being concealed in bait boxes or coolers on boats, compact length is more important than weight.
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Old 05-22-2021, 05:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
A
Also, from what I could find online, the G3 breaks into more than just two parts. The recoil spring comes loose and putting it back together generally sounds like a much more involved procedure than putting the two parts of an AR-15 back together. Could you do it without tools, in less than twenty seconds?
No, you couldn't. However, normally it's attached to the stock, which comes off if you push out two pins, just like the rear pin on an M16. So if you just wanted to take it down for carriage, you'd pop those pins, remove the stock+recoil spring, and then pop the forward pin and remove the trigger group. Oh, if you had the collapsible stock that would help with the stock's length (but the long part is the barrel+receiver).

Quote:
There are 2 MOA rifles among the TL6 lever-action rifles. The purpose of a more modern rifle with optics would be precision fire at longer ranges than a 7.62x54R with iron sights made possible.
It's much harder shooting 2MOA groups at 300+ metres using iron sights than with a scope. And the removable mount doesn't make it less accurate, it risks a small change in point of aim if it's removed and replaced. I'm unaware of a similar removable mount that could be easily removed and reattached in that time period that was better.

Quote:
For use-cases where rifles are being concealed in bait boxes or coolers on boats, compact length is more important than weight.
In that case, of the conventional battle rifles a G3 is about as good as you'll get. M14s have that long wooden stock (and aren't weapons you can take down and reassemble swiftly), and the FN FAL is very long. M16s will end up slightly shorter if broken down, but not much. Your best bet for outright firepower would be an AKMS-47 or AKS-74 (or an AKS-74U if you can get one). Of course, that means you're accepting, ah, 'less than stellar' accuracy.
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Old 05-22-2021, 07:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
No, you couldn't. However, normally it's attached to the stock, which comes off if you push out two pins, just like the rear pin on an M16. So if you just wanted to take it down for carriage, you'd pop those pins, remove the stock+recoil spring, and then pop the forward pin and remove the trigger group. Oh, if you had the collapsible stock that would help with the stock's length (but the long part is the barrel+receiver).
How long would it take to go from stowed in separated form to ready for shooting?

Assuming an ordinary skill check against IQ-based Guns or Armoury+4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
It's much harder shooting 2MOA groups at 300+ metres using iron sights than with a scope. And the removable mount doesn't make it less accurate, it risks a small change in point of aim if it's removed and replaced. I'm unaware of a similar removable mount that could be easily removed and reattached in that time period that was better.
Yes, it is much harder to use the rifles with only iron sights effectively at long ranges, which is the main reason I think some more modern takedown rifles with optics should be available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
In that case, of the conventional battle rifles a G3 is about as good as you'll get. M14s have that long wooden stock (and aren't weapons you can take down and reassemble swiftly), and the FN FAL is very long. M16s will end up slightly shorter if broken down, but not much. Your best bet for outright firepower would be an AKMS-47 or AKS-74 (or an AKS-74U if you can get one). Of course, that means you're accepting, ah, 'less than stellar' accuracy.
The use case for an AKS-74U or any AK modified as a similar 'Krinkov', as the Afghans called it, would be different than that for a takedown precision rifle. Granted, the 5.45x39mm round is actually accurate, but from very short barrels, the loss of velocity hurts at longer ranges. Still, with AKS-74U carbines, you do get a weapon useful at up to 150-200 meters that can fit into a 20" box even without disassembly.

Note that a 16" barrel Colt R6520 (or basically any commercial AR-15 rifle available pre-ban) can shoot sub-MOA with commercial match ammunition like the Federal Match (1989-1992)/Premium Match (1992-1993)/Gold Medal Match (1993) [all the same loading that simply changed names for marketing purposes, firing a 69 grain Sierra MatchKing bullet at 2,950 fps from a 24" barrel]. With a good Leupold Compact scope mounted, maybe the 3-9x33mm, that's very accurate at 300 meters.

For out to 600 yards, you can even load handloads with 80 grain Sierra MatchKing bullets (introduced in 1992). They are too long for the magazine, but perfectly suitable for loading singly, which is what competitors in Service Rifle matches did at the time. Granted, the loss of 150 fps of velocity for the 16" barrel instead of a 20" one really starts to limit performance at longer ranges and will hurt the chances of using it effectively out to 800+ yards, but at some point, if you want ranges that long, you'd switch to a heavier caliber anyway.

I'll definitely need some .308 Win rifles available.
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Old 05-22-2021, 09:52 AM   #6
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Default Custom Bolt-Action in the 1990s

Assuming someone wants to build their own takedown bolt-action rifle at some point from 1987-1995, due to the lack of easily available commercial models, I need to establish some things.

First, they'd probably want to chamber it in .308 Win, for the easy availability of a wide variety of commercial ammunition and bullets suitable for tactical applications out to 800 yards (even back in the 1990s).

Second, they'd probably buy the action, including the receiver (in the US, the only part of the whole that is legally a 'firearm' and where the serial number is found), commercially. Good, reliable actions you can use to make accurate rifles are hard to make and it doesn't make sense for someone to spend a long time doing so if they can get the same thing from a factory.

That being said, we don't want rare, custom orders, either, so we either need an action of which many thousands are sold per year to all sorts of people or an older surplus military action. Commercially, Savage 110 actions make a lot of sense, because unlike Remington and Winchester in the period, Savage sold their actions separately, not just as parts of finished rifles, specifically for those who wanted to assemble their own rifles.

Third step is get an aftermarket barrel you can machine to be quickly detached and attached. It helps if the person making this has very high Armoury, as if this is not done well, the rifle will shift the point of impact every time you assemble it again. Even with high Armoury, it's unlikely that you'll retain the exact same PoI every time, but you might get it within 1 MOA.

The barrel can't be bedded to the stock, obviously, so it would be helpful to free float it. Some kind of forearm or foregrip may need to extend past the receiver, but it's probably easier to remove and attach the barrel if this is attached to the receiver and not the barrel.

This leds us to my fifth point. I'll need a stock, but not a typical hunting stock or the McMillan stocks used on tactical precision rifles of the period, of a one-piece design where the forearm was part of the stock.

What kind of rifle stocks were available in the time period 1987-1995 that were attached to the action, but didn't extend further?

It would help if it was adjustable, so that Length of Pull (LOP) might be set anywhere from 13" to 16". Or perhaps a folding or collapsible stock, as long as it one that will let you handle the recoil of a .308 Win and shoot accurately at long range. I don't need 0.5 MOA rifle (for one thing, the shift in point of impact when the barrel is attached will probably imit practical accuracy for one shot when deployed from takedown carry to no better than 1.5-2 MOA), but with the right ammo, it should be possible to use it out to 600-800 yards.

Anyone know of any stocks that might work?

Could you use a G3A4 pistol grip and collapsible stock with a bolt-action action, like a Savage 110?

Probably, but I doubt that collapsible stock is any use for precision shooting at long range.
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Old 05-23-2021, 12:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
How long would it take to go from stowed in separated form to ready for shooting?

Assuming an ordinary skill check against IQ-based Guns or Armoury+4.
Assuming it was stored all together and ready to go, a about the same as an AR/M16, perhaps a little longer (especially if the scope if detached). I'd say 10 seconds, easy, for someone with a bit of practice and the parts all to hand. If they're jumbled in the bottom of a toolbox or the like, and the user hasn't handled that model of rifle for a while, it'll be longer (I'd go with 30 seconds, with generous reductions for a good skill roll).

Quote:
I'll definitely need some .308 Win rifles available.
OR any full-bore round, really. For long range precision shooting rate of fire isn't as important, and any good bolt action sporter should do, though you'd need about a 4-foot long hidey hole for that. That also opens up a wide range of different bullets and loadings for different ranges and target if the characters (or players) care about such things.
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Old 05-28-2021, 05:12 PM   #8
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Default G3A4 Rifles as Takedown Battle Rifles

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
The G3 series could be taken apart by pushing out a few pins, like the M16 family. You'd then have the stock and recoil spring, say 50cm long roughly, the trigger group, and the barrel and receiver group about the same length as an M16's upper group (the G3 had a longer receiver but a shorter barrel).

Also, the G3 had a removable scope mounting that was designed so that it wouldn't change its zero if removed and replaced. I remember reading a review of the weapon and mount where the reviewer tested this and found the point of aim moved no more than 1" at 100 yards (about 1MOA), which is more than good enough for a battle rifle.

The biggest drawback of a G3 as a take-down weapon is probably that it's made from a lot of heavy gauge steel stampings and is thus quite heavy (HT says 11.4/1.7 pounds, and you'd added another 1.5 lbs or so for scope and mount).
Assuming that some G3 rifles are acquired from African and Latin American countries where US or Soviet weapons are replacing them and control of reserve armouries is loose, and then refurbished to G3A4 standards, what scope would one buy for them in 1987?

I assume you could drop in a different scope than the Hensoldt Fero Z24 4×24*in the mount?
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Old 05-28-2021, 05:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: G3A4 Rifles as Takedown Battle Rifles

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Assuming that some G3 rifles are acquired from African and Latin American countries where US or Soviet weapons are replacing them and control of reserve armouries is loose, and then refurbished to G3A4 standards, what scope would one buy for them in 1987?

I assume you could drop in a different scope than the Hensoldt Fero Z24 4×24*in the mount?
My recollection is that the mount took standard 1" scopes. If not, the version sold to the US market (before the 'assault rifle' import ban) certainly did.
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Old 05-28-2021, 06:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: G3A4 Rifles as Takedown Battle Rifles

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My recollection is that the mount took standard 1" scopes. If not, the version sold to the US market (before the 'assault rifle' import ban) certainly did.
Ah, the H&K G3 rifles had integral 30mm rings, meaning you'd need a scope very similar in size and shape to the Hensoldt Z24. The US market HK91 and SR9 rifles were offered with the option of 30mm rings to be attached to a STANAG claw mount.

In either case, no longer than 12.5" and an objective lens under 50mm, so as not to interfere with operation of the rifle. 30mm scopes are common in the US these days, less so in 1987, but there were some on the market. Plus, maybe a German glass would be suitable, just one from the 80s instead of the 70s.
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