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Old 05-20-2021, 11:01 AM   #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, 11:39 AM   #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, 11:57 AM   #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.

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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 05-20-2021, 12:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
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.
What's your minimum acceptable cartridge? 5.56 NATO? 7.62x39?
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Old 05-20-2021, 12:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

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What's your minimum acceptable cartridge? 5.56 NATO? 7.62x39?
Seeing as these are meant to be hard to trace, I don't want to make them all identical. They'll acquire various types.

That being said, takedown lever-action rifles in .45-70 will be quite effective even with iron sights out to 150-200 yards, so I figure we're looking for ranges above that.

Also, there are still used Remington 8 / Remington 81 Woodsmaster rifles in .35 Remington available priced at around $900 that will shoot well enough at 200 yards with iron sights.

At similar prices, you can get a Remington 81 Woodsmaster in .300 Savage, which should be accurate enough as far as the shooter can use iron sights.

5.56x45mm NATO is definitely acceptable for 300-400 yards, especially if there are good optics and a heavy for caliber bullet with decent BC.

A custom conversion of a Winchester 95 rifle in 7.62x54R would potentially be accurate enough to hit minute-of-tango at 500+ yards, but most people can't shoot that far under combat conditions, especially not without a scope.

I was thinking something around 6.5x55mm, 7mm-08 or .308 Win for the bolt-action rifles.
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Old 05-20-2021, 12:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

There is the AK-74SU? and I think many other AK' types that fit the bill

Also, if you are OK with separating the receivers why folding stocks are a no go?
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Old 05-20-2021, 01:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

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There is the AK-74SU? and I think many other AK' types that fit the bill.
Yeah, if their arms trade contacts were able to acquire some AKS-74U carbines from the former Soviet Union in 1990-1991, they might use some of those.

Those were extremely rare compared to AKMs and Mosin-Nagants, though. And the ammo is hard to get (and thus noteworthy if found at a crime scene) anywhere outside of Russia.

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Also, if you are OK with separating the receivers why folding stocks are a no go?
Folding stocks are fine, but even with folding stocks, few rifles are short enough to fit in a 20" long box.

Also, folding stocks were not commonly available as aftermarket accessories in the 1990s. There were some WWII and Cold War military weapons with them and I'll definitely look into it, but as far as I can tell, you could not easily modify a commercially purchased rifle with a folding stock.
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Old 05-20-2021, 09:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

What about a Styer AUG with its quick remove barrel?
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Old 05-21-2021, 01:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

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What about a Styer AUG with its quick remove barrel?
Well, the military versions are illegal for private buyers pretty much everywhere and unlike former Societ Union military hardware, did not just flood the global arms market in the greatest illegal and grey market transfer of weapons from state authority known in history.

Nor are they, like H&K G3 and FN FAL rifles, something that hundreds of developing countries have had for a generation, so easy to obtain from questionable sources in such countries. They are not even like M16 rifles, of which a significant supply was left in Vietnam and Panama, as well as having been supplied to enough unstable countries that some were inevitably sold on the black market by deserting soldiers and corrupt cops.

No, Austria doesn't sell them without actually solid end-user certificates and it's not like the Australians, Irish or New Zealanders were deserting in droves and selling their rifles.

That leaves commercial versions. Unfortunately, all importants of Steyr AUG rifles into the United States were banned from 1989-1995 and from 1995 on, only sportified versions that would not actually be as much use were imported. Even if someone were to buy one of those and illegally alter it back to a useable state, there were few enough imported to make them much easier to trace than normal commercially sold firearms.
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Old 05-21-2021, 04:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: Takedown Rifles (1990s)

What about the AR 180 ? folding stock, can be taken apart quickly and fires a 5.56 round, it fits in a package thats very small especially if you are okay with a 16 inch barrel
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