Those who hate the AR-15, AK-47 and other military-style firearms commonly sold in the civilian market cite “weapons of war” as a main reason to ban them. They claim the firearms are designed strictly to kill soldiers in war zones and do not belong in civilian hands. Putting them in civilian hands, somehow, causes mass-casualty events.
It is true some firearms currently in civilian hands have roots in military and police designs. Yet, they pale in comparison to the actual firearms. The AR-15 is a perfect example.
The civilian model, as most people realize, does not have fully automatic and burst-fire capability. Instead, it simply fires one round every time the trigger is squeezed while a round is chambered. Squeeze the trigger and hold it, and the rifle will cease firing after expending one round.
The AR-15 also fires a less potent round than its M-16 big brother. The civilian AR-15, even those claiming to accept the military 5.56×45 mm round, is not designed to handle the round. The military round is a higher pressure round, and the M-16 has a longer leade than the AR-15.
The leade is the distance between the point at which the bullet contacts the rifling and the mouth of the cartridge. Civilian rifles have a much shorter leade than military-spec rifles.
That difference in leade results in major differences in how the round handles downrange, and the amount of pressure created by the round. The shortened leade in civilian models makes it more difficult to accurately measure the pressures created when firing the 5.56 NATO round, versus chambering the civilian .223. It also makes the rifle less accurate, when shooting a 5.56 NATO out of a .223-chambered action.
What does it all mean? Pretty much, it isn’t safe to shoot a military round, like the 5.56 NATO, out of a civilian firearm, like the AR-15. It certainly isn’t advised.
Yet, anti-gun liberals claim the AR-15 is a “weapon of war” that fires a round designed to strictly kill soldiers. They even claim the round is especially deadly, because it supposedly “tumbles” downrange. The round to which they refer, though, is the 5.56 NATO, and not the much more commonly used .223 Remington loaded in most AR-15s.
If you want a 100 percent tried-and-true military weapon of war that has claimed literally countless soldiers’ lives, look no further than bolt-action firearms. The Mauser K98 and its varying designs is a great example. So is the Soviet counterpart, the Mosin-Nagant battle rifle.
Each is chambered in a caliber that would rip massive holes in most people and render body armor useless. Compare those rounds to the much-maligned .223/5.56, and give people the option of facing one or the other. Virtually all would try their luck with the smaller round.
The Mauser chambers the legendary 8 mm Mauser round, which has filled military cemeteries across Europe and beyond with dead soldiers who met the business end of that round. The Mosin-Nagant chamb3ers the 7.62x54R military cartridge, which is the worlds oldest active military cartridge and the main reason the iconic banana-style magazine was created for the AK-47. The Ak-47 simply uses a shortened version of essentially the same caliber round.
Both battle rifles also commonly take very big game, including of the African variety. Although better used against the kind of big game encountered in Europe and North America, the 8 mm Mauser and the .30-caliber Mosin-Nagant have put food on family dining tables since before the 20th century began.
They also have true long-range shooting capability, and easily could outgun an AR-15 or AK-47 at ranges of 300 yards or more — even with iron sights. Convert either into a sporterized hunter with match-grade ammunition, and you have a firearm many military marksman would be happy to use, and virtually all hunters.
It also is possible to buy and shoot actual military surplus ammunition for either of the venerable bolt-action rifles. Much of it is available with metallic-compound bullets sold via military surplus that could render body armor useless at all but maximum ranges.
Yet, when it comes to “weapons of war” that scare the bejesus out of anti-gun nuts in Congress, it is the civilian AR-15 and its diminutive .223 civilian cartridge that gets the negative publicity. Just more proof of politicians enacting laws about things they know nothing about.