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Old April 9, 2013, 03:27 PM   #1
Kimio
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Questions regarding classification of "Battle Rifles" turned DMR

This may sound like an odd question, but I was wondering of the term battle rifle can still be applied to firearms that are used in a Designated Marksmens role.

To add context to the question, I was wondering if the term would be applied to rifles such as the USMC' M39 EMR or the US Army's Mk14 EBR both of which are updated and accurized versions of the famous/infamous M14 rifle caliber service rifle that was issued to US troops in Vietnam, and more recently, to SOCOM and infantry units serving in the middle east.

As I understand it, a battle rifle is a firearm that is typically chambered to fire a rifle caliber round, such as the 7.62x51 NATO or the 7.62x54R cartridge and similar. The HK G3, FN FAL, and the M14 all of which were standard issue infantry rifles for a number of nations in the past. As such, the way I interpret what a battle rifle is, is a firearm that fires a rifle caliber round but is used primarily for front line conflict, while a DMR is used mainly in a supportive role, providing precise shots where the standard issue AR or a traditional bolt action rifle is inefficient.

Most DMR' however are simply accurized assault/battle rifles,G3 to G3-SG1, M14 toMk14/M39 EBR/EMR M16 to Mk 12 SPR, L85 to L86 LSW (Relieved of it's role as a SAW to take up the mantle of a DMR) respectively, among many others. What's interesting is that DMR' are not restricted to rifle caliber platforms, the Mk12 SPR which is used by SOCOM is a good example.

I'm assuming that the terms are not applicable, but I'd rather get some clarification than simply assume it as such (we all know about what happens when you simply assume), since a DMR specifies the particular role the chosen firearm is designed to fulfill (You woudn't call a Mk12 an assault rifle for example, which are usually select fire if I'm not mistaken)

So am I correct in my interpretations or have I erred in some places if not all? I've had some claim that it still applies while others have claimed it does not, I'd appreciate the help so that I can finally clear the waters so to speak on this subject.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and bearing with my long winded post.
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Old April 10, 2013, 03:58 PM   #2
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I have not been able to located hard data that I once had but I believe your assumption are correct. I do remember that the DM was a squad member responsible for engaging targets between 300 and 600 yards/meters. Standard squad members engaged close targets, DM engaged those a little further out. Shots beyond 500 or 600 yards were supposed to be the reserved for Scout/Sniper .The CMP and the Army had a program where the prospective DM was assisted in learning about shooting beyond 300 yards/meters using Highpower competitors [high masters and masters] as instructors. Because of the extended range the rifle had to be a bit more accurate and sometimes of different caliber. The M14, scoped and accurized by the Marksmanship unit was one of the first put into service. Later other dedicated rifles were introduced. The DM could use any rifle but his extra training in range estimation,wind effects,ballistics was what made the difference. Interesting question although I think the rifle to be secondary to the Designated Marksman training.
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Old April 11, 2013, 11:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
I was wondering if the term would be applied to rifles such as the USMC' M39 EMR or the US Army's Mk14 EBR
Well, since EBR stands for Enhanced Battle Rifle, I think the term "battle rifle" still applies. Let's just stick to the term "rifle" and no one will get confused.
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As I understand it, a battle rifle is a firearm that is typically chambered to fire a rifle caliber round,
A "battle rifle" is often defined as a rifle that fires a "full powered cartridge", as opposed to an "assault rifle" which is often defined as a rifle that fires a "reduced power cartridge" (then there are sub-machineguns and carbines that fire pistol cartridges). Full powered compared to what? That definition works pretty well when talking about the Gew43 and the SKS and the AK in all its variations, because those fire cartridges which were reduced in power from the standard service cartridges. OK, ready? Here's a problem with that definition. That means that the M16/M4 platform is a "battle rifle", since it fires a full-powered cartridge. Yes, the 5.56X45mm NATO is not a "reduced power" cartridge", in fact it is a higher powered cartridge than the parent cartridge, the 222 Remington. Same with the M1 Carbine, the 30 M1 cartridge is actually higher powered than the parent 32 WSL cartridge.

Hmmmmm. What to do? I say don't sweat it, just say "rifle" or "carbine" and let the semanticians wreak havoc with the terminology.
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Old April 12, 2013, 02:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
A "battle rifle" is often defined as a rifle that fires a "full powered cartridge", as opposed to an "assault rifle" which is often defined as a rifle that fires a "reduced power cartridge" (then there are sub-machineguns and carbines that fire pistol cartridges). Full powered compared to what? That definition works pretty well when talking about the Gew43 and the SKS and the AK in all its variations, because those fire cartridges which were reduced in power from the standard service cartridges. OK, ready? Here's a problem with that definition. That means that the M16/M4 platform is a "battle rifle", since it fires a full-powered cartridge. Yes, the 5.56X45mm NATO is not a "reduced power" cartridge", in fact it is a higher powered cartridge than the parent cartridge, the 222 Remington. Same with the M1 Carbine, the 30 M1 cartridge is actually higher powered than the parent 32 WSL cartridge.
The term is "intermediate cartridge" not "reduced power cartridge". An intermediate cartridge is just a cartridge that is between a traditional military rifle cartridge - like the 7.62x51mm or the .30-06 - and a pistol cartridge in terms of power and range.

Last edited by Regolith; April 12, 2013 at 02:15 AM.
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Old April 12, 2013, 01:34 PM   #5
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The terms are somewhat flexible and not rigidly adhered to by all. I have seen people use the term "battle rifle" for any and every rifle that ever saw infantry service using a "full powered" round. The SMLE is a battle rifle to some. TO others, "battle rifle" only applies to the semi auto or select fire infantry rifles using the "full power" round. Bolt guns are just "rifles"

The "power" level of the round comes from the WWII standard. Full power rounds are ones that approximately match the WWII infantry rifle rounds, .30-06, 8mm Mauser, .303 British, 7.62x54R, etc.

Pistol rounds are the .45ACP, 9mm Luger, 7.62x25mm, etc. Submachineguns fire pistol rounds.

Intermediate power rounds are those between rifle and pistol. 7.92x33mm, 7.62x39mm, etc. The 5.56mm (.223) got put into that category by virtue of its small caliber (.22) and case size. Also, the US .30 carbine round is sometimes classed by itself ("carbine" round), although some will put it in the pistol category (as it is close to the .357 magnum) while others consider it intermediate, because it is more powerful than the "standard" pistol rounds.

The term "battle rifle" came about as an easy way to refer to (primarily) those rifles with "assault rifle features" but using "full power" rounds, like the M14, G3, FAL, SVT, etc. But its not as exculsive in use as assault rifle, which, in correct use, means select fire AND intermediate power round.

Basically, inside these general guidelines, its pretty much up to who is doing the talking to define their use of the term.
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Old April 12, 2013, 08:49 PM   #6
James K
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Scorch, the G. 43 fired the standard 7.9 rifle cartridge; perhaps you are thinking of the MP.43, later called the StG. 44.

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Old April 12, 2013, 11:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
What's interesting is that DMR' are not restricted to rifle caliber platforms, the Mk12 SPR which is used by SOCOM is a good example
This is because DMRs are called DMRs not EBRs.

They are designed for a role not from something else.
An m14 EBR is an "Enhanced Battle rifle" (scope and different stock slaped on an old gun), but it is in the role of a DMR. A Sniper rifle is a rifle that is used by the role of a Sniper, hence Sniper rifle, its not called a EHR/ETR (Enhanced Hunting Rifle/Enhanced Target Rifle).

My question is, does it really matter?
You could go all day thinking about strange rifles that don't meet all the criteria of what its name is.

The British L86 LSW (light Support Weapon) is just a longer heavier barrel and a bipod, but the M249 SAW is a Light Machine Gun (LMG) but is also referred to as a LSW? And the German MG42/34 was commonly referred to as a Heavy Machine gun, yet could be used in a Light Machine gun role.

So basically it either boils down to;
A) the name refers to the role it was intended for, or B) it doesn't really matter as there will always be something that is an exception.

A far more important question is how come a Platypus lays eggs yet also feeds its young milk, and still be called a Mammal yet lay eggs???
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Old April 12, 2013, 11:25 PM   #8
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Also what does one classify 50 Beowulf as?

On one hand its a straight walled case like a pistol cartridge,but yet wasn't designed for pistols?

But it has a mush higher muzzle energy than 308 or 30-06, so is it a rifle cartridge?

Or is it a a carbine round? But generally Carbine refers to a shortened Assault or Battle Rifle, but the the 50 Beowulf can be had in both Carbine length and full size length barrels?
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Old April 13, 2013, 09:01 PM   #9
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The 50 Beowulf is a "rifle" round in that it does the same thing as a 45-70.

Doesn't mean that the lines don't get blurred between the categories all the time. Old and slow (ie, safe for all firearms) 45-70 loads can be surpassed by 454 Casull loads or other big bore handgun rounds.

Some things are like platypi, they just don't fit well in any single category.

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Old April 13, 2013, 10:54 PM   #10
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Battle rifle is a made up term, it's defined by the person that types the loudest.

The Designated Rifleman is defined by his role not the weapon he carries.
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Old April 14, 2013, 11:02 AM   #11
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Maybe I'm simplistic.

What I mean is, the AR I used as an infantryman in Vietnam was a "battle rifle"

The AR I use today is a target rifle.

I used the first in battle, I use the latter in High Power Rifle Matches.

But then again, I don't go much for labels, I lean more to how the tool is being used.
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Old April 16, 2013, 02:42 AM   #12
trg42wraglefragle
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Quote:
What I mean is, the AR I used as an infantryman in Vietnam was a "battle rifle"

The AR I use today is a target rifle.

I used the first in battle, I use the latter in High Power Rifle Matches
You can't use a AR in a high power match as the only reason 223/5.56 is considered an intermediate round is because there was no other category for it, maybe useful in a low power rifle match though.
(this is sarcasm BTW).

I think people get far to hung up on names and labels, and like I've pointed out you can draw what ever rules you want to label certain firearms, but there will always be something that doesn't fit like its supposed to.

Quote:
I lean more to how the tool is being used
I'd agree with that.
A DMR is a rifle used by a DM and a Sniper rifle is used by a Sniper, it is the purpose that names the firearm, a Sniper isn't called a Sniper because he uses a Sniper rifle, his rifle is named after him.
(Geez makes me sound like a mall ninja using the word Sniper so many times).
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Old April 16, 2013, 11:01 AM   #13
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In my squad, we often had the PDM with us. (That's Platoon Designated Marksman, not enough rifles for each squad to have one, and as I was told repeatedly, our MTOE didn't call for SDMs)

I always called his weapon a rifle, and generally just a rifle, because all of us carried carbines, so in effect, he was the only one with a real rifle.
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