Ask anyone who has been through a major disaster and they’ll probably tell you that their water filter, handcrank radio, flashlight, or generator saw far more usage than their AR-15. Guns are part of preparedness, but they’re not the central core of it. Nonetheless, sometimes you gotta go to the range just to make sure you remember which end of the darn things the bullet comes out of. Today was such a day.
Took one of the PTR’s out for a spin. As you may (or may not) know, the PTR-91 is a copy of the HK-91. How much of a copy? Well, they boxed up an HK facotry and moved it to the US, so I’d say that’s pretty darn close to identical. HK-series firearms have never been cloned to the extent of the AR, AK, and FAL series…probably because they’re a bit funky and do require some special equipment. (Rebarrel an HK sometime to learn just how WTF those Germans can be.) A few guns were imported under Springfield Armory’s label, but by and large the clones are usually best left to the unenlightened. Some people say Century has gotten it right with their HK-93 copies but I remain firm in my belief that anything assembled by Century should be regarded with the same skepticism you would reserve for a man hawking Rolex watches out of the trunk of his car.
However, if you cannot drop the several thousand for a genuine HK, the PTR’s are a rifle that will leave you at no disadvantage. While I would prefer a genuine HK just for the prestige, I do not feel that the PTR is any less of a gun and if one were handed to me during the zombie apocalypse I would take it unhesitatingly to the field.
So, I braved he bitter cold today to head to the range to do some shooting. Since I was shooting the HKlone I decided I may as well look the part and wore my flecktar camo. Dress for success, y’know? Gun shot wonderfully but I do need to do some sight adjusting. If you have any experience with HK guns you know that you must have the sight adjustment tool or you’re going to have a Very Bad Time adjusting the sights. You can improvise with a set of snap ring pliers, but spend the $30 and get the tool. Get two of them, actually. Here’s a handy guide to sighting in your HK-pattern rifle.
Every time I mention the HK rifles someone says that they beat up the brass and that the brass cannot be reloaded afterwards. Hmmm. Listen, I have 25 years of reloading under my belt and I deal with a lot of reloading gear and people who reload. You can reload the brass just fine. As long as you full length size the cases (which is SOP anyway) you can reload it. The marks on the cases from the fluting don’t prevent you from reloading the brass. The case mouths sometimes get dinged but you take a loaded round of .308 and open the case mouth back up again. Not a big deal. Anyone who tells you that you cant reload the brass from the HK-91/93 either doesn’t have much experience reloading, or hasn’t actually tried to reload it.
The folks at PTR are moving their operations from Connecticut to South Carolina so I would imagine that there will be a short-term interruption in the supply of these rifles as they move their tooling, set it bak up, and re-calibrate it all. Personally, I’d hold off on buying a new rifle from them for at least a few months just to make sure that they’ve worked out any bugs in their process that may have resulted from the move.
I’ve read that the early guns had the ‘true’ HK chamber fluting, later guns didn’t, then the ‘true’ HK fluting was offered on the GI Model, and that now it is standard on all the new guns. This issue came up because the shallow/fewer/shorter flutes that PTR were using would get gummed up when shooting tar sealed surplus ammo. When the flutes got gummed up, extraction suffered. By switching back to the ‘true’ HK fluting with deeper and more numerous flutes, the problem disappeared. Having shot quite a bit of surplus ammo, I experienced 6 stoppages out of over 1040 rounds fired over the course of a year. I’d go to the range, shoot 50-150 rounds, go home, clean the gun, put it away until the next range trip. In that manner of shooting I had 6 stoppages. On a couple trips I fired several hundred rounds and had no problems. Most notably, when I tested the AA drum for the HK I fired the gun as fast as I could and experienced no problems. To be fair, I often was shooting a mix of military, commercial, and reloaded ammo. Tar sealant isn’t an issue with reloaded ammo, and it usually isnt with commercial. I recall reading somewhere that this GI Model fluting is now being done on all their guns but Im having a tough time finding confirmation on the internet. Wait..here it is…naturally, over at ,Rawles’ place: Reader Stephen S. wrote to mention that he got the following confirmation on the use of deep chamber flute barrels from the management at PTR: “All of our rifles have run the same chamber as the G.I. [variant] rifles since the G.I. rifles were brought to market. This means that regardless of model, all of our current rifles will shoot the same ammo.”
Other than that short-lived issue with the fluting, the PTR’s have been excellent rifles and screaming bargains compared to the other .308 MBR-type rifles out there. For a while the magazines were only $0.97. Spare parts abounf and are heap, but the supplies are starting to dry up. Get while the getting is good.
I was originally going to just post about my little ol’ range trip but it appears it has devolved into a 1000+ word treatise on the PTR rifles. That’s the weird thing about blogging…you start off with one idea and it takes you someplace you weren’t planning on.
While I’m on the subject, if you take my advice (and, really, it isn’t *lousy* advice..it’s just…questionable) and get the PTR (which i do recommend) you need to hit robertrtg.com for spare parts now before the surplus glut dries up, which is already starting to occur. Buy as many mags as you can, and then start working your way through the spare parts.