Letter Re: PTR91 Rifle Reflections

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Mr Rawles-

Thought I would share with your readers my personal experience with the PTR-91 (KF) on the chance it may help those who are considering this weapon as their .308 solution.

1) I went with a PTR-91 because it was one of the more reasonably priced battle rifles available in the powerful .308 caliber I had heard so many good things about.

2) I bought mine through an online broker one year ago for $950 + $25 transfer fee, which was a great price back then (I see they are going for up to $1,800 now online, thanks to the present talk of gun bans).

3) I wanted the .308 because I thought I should have a long-distance weapon (the rest of my battle rifles being chambered in 7.62x39), and had heard that a .308 was used by our military snipers for shots up to 500 yards.

Here is what I found:

Pros:

1) While the cost of .308 ammo can be a killer, the PTR-91 KF loves the comparatively cheap Russian military surplus ammo. I have yet to experience a misfire, FTF, or jam of any kind firing the Bear and Tulammo rounds.

2) Aesthetically, it is hard to find a cooler looking gun, even if ergonomically, there are a couple things I would change.

3) Magazines (when you could still find them a couple weeks ago) were dirt cheap. Some online vendors were selling them for a couple bucks each.

4) Field-stripping and reassembly is amazingly simple. The gun comes apart into only 4 components (more, if you choose to break down the bolt assembly, which is only necessary about every 1000 rounds of Russian ammo).

5) The magazines only hold 20 rounds. Why would that be an advantage? There is currently speculation that the gun ban measures being considered will only envisage prohibiting 30 round mags (though I have read other info that says the ban could go as low as 10 rounds. There are 10 round mags available too!)

6) The ballistics speak for themselves. Being a doubting Thomas, I decided to test the rumors: I can confirm for you that a .308 round (Silver Bear 147 gr FMJ) will indeed penetrate a 10" maple tree trunk, and shatter bottles behind it. And maple is hard wood.

Cons:

1) If you are like me, and want the flexibility of using both iron sights and optics, the PTR-91 seems to have limited options. The original Hensoldt Z24 high-profile scopes are almost impossible to find now, and if you do get one, it will cost you $700-800 to get one in good shape (nearly the cost of the gun itself, at least when I bought it).

2) Lack of other good high-profile optics options (I.e., Sure, they make plenty, but I read that without the STANAG claw mount designed to hold the Hensoldt scope, the violence of the recoil on this weapon will take most of them off zero quickly).

3) Recoil is considerable, compared to other weapons I have fired. No problem for a man, but if your teenage daughter has to reacquire a target after each shot?

4) The most accurate ammo, ironically, may not be what works best in this weapon. The comparatively cheaper Bear and Tulammo work great, but their accuracy (at least in my hands with iron sights) could not yield a group tighter than 4-5" at 100 yards. On the other hand, I have heard (but have no experience) that target/match grade brass ammo may not be as dependable in the PTR-91 (though I have also read that this issue has been corrected for weapons produced in the last 3 years, especially in the GI variant).

5) The most affordable ammo is dirty. Filthy, actually. You will go through 100 patches per 50 rounds fired, and still come away feeling you cut corners. Not the guns fault per se, but I am guessing that if you are looking at a PTR-91, you probably have Russian surplus ammo in mind. Despite the ease of disassembly and low parts count, you will spend a good 60-90 minutes cleaning every time you put a few mags through it.

6) Is it really the long range weapon I thought it was? I guess I don't know yet. If there were more reasonably priced match grade ammo that worked in this gun, and a high profile optics solution, I might be able to answer that question. But without those solutions in place, my instinct is to just get a Halo and say this is a CQB, and leave the 200+ yard shots to the old Savage Model 10 .308.

Conclusion:

1) I definitely recommend the gun.

2) You won't find a much better .308 battle rifle for the price.

3) Just have the ammo, magazines, and optics piece figured out before you buy the gun.

- Moonraker

JWR Replies: The current shortage of AR-10, M14, M16, and FAL magazines--with correspondingly inflated prices--make HK91 clones the clear choice. They can use military surplus magazines which are still widely available for less than $8 each.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Rawles published on December 29, 2012 1:54 AM.

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