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Old June 6, 2014, 11:35 AM   #1
Skans
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Polytech M14s vs. PTR-91?

Polytech M14s (Polytech's M1A) or a PTR-91 - those are your only two choices for a 308/7.62x51 rifle. Which would you buy? Which do you think:

1. Will be more durable?
2. Will be more accurate?
3. Will hold its value in the long run?
4. Is the better rifle?

Please just choose between these two. Price-wise, they are pretty close. I'm not really interested in Springfield M1A's - not saying there's anything wrong with them, just would rather have a Polytech and replace certain parts with USGI parts should I go that route. Just wondering what others think on this.
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Old June 6, 2014, 11:36 AM   #2
tangolima
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PTR
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Old June 6, 2014, 12:04 PM   #3
ttarp
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Don't know much about M14/M1A's, but I own a PTR, and if I could only own one I'd pick the PTR again.

Durable: going out on a limb here saying PTR

Accurate: probably the M14/M1A

Value: My bet would be the M14/M1A

Better rifle: depends on intended use

Just my opinion, worth what you paid.
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Old June 6, 2014, 01:09 PM   #4
RickB
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I'm more of "blued steel and walnut" kind of guy, so I'd probably go with the Polytech.
A Canadian buddy has one (for which he paid $350 . . .), and though I've heard horror stories about the bolts being soft and out of spec, he sure likes his.
I've shot a M1A Super Match, and a HK 91 that had been converted to a G3, and both were nice, though very different.
The closest I've ever come to buying a "battle rifle" was ordering a Springfield Scout Squad Rifle, which ultimately was never delivered, but I've never really been tempted by the various FALs, CETMEs, etc.
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Old June 6, 2014, 01:25 PM   #5
Joe Demko
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I owned both. Didn't find either one interesting enough to keep. The PTR was somewhat more accurate, but less ergonomic. The Polytech was notably more comfortable in recoil. Couldn't say which will retain value in the long term. I got about what I put into them out of them, but the market was different then. It pays to remember that both guns are copies of somebody else's gun.
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Old June 6, 2014, 02:32 PM   #6
tangolima
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Both are copies of other rifles, but there is fundamental difference.

PTR paid for the design and tooling. They use German surplus parts. There is hardly any compromise in quality.

Polytech is a Chinese knock off. Didn't pay jack for anything. Steel in receiver is questionable. I dream to have a m1a, but not a polytech.

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Old June 6, 2014, 02:46 PM   #7
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The Polytech would make a nice base for a match rifle as they have a forged receiver, but it's going to take some cash to get there. Smith Enterprises offers a service for checking out your Chicom M14 to see if it is OK and if not they can fix the soft parts. Some parts are not swappable with USGI parts. You would probably be better off buying a Springfield M1A that would have a lifetime warranty by the time you probably have the Polytech checked out and fixed.

The most accurate would be the Polytech after match conditioning. But can you shoot better than the rifle?

The PTR has the cheap mag factor going for it. Not the easiest to mount optics on but there are different options out there. Folding stocks are inexpensive compared to what is available for the M1A/M14.

It really depends on what you want to do with your rifle, match shooting, sniping or a battle rifle that doesn't need to be handled with kid gloves. If the later is your preference probably the PTR 91. I'd get one with a picatinny rail on it for ease of optics mounting.
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Old June 6, 2014, 05:42 PM   #8
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I say the PTR91 on an objective basis, but maybe the Polyech for you personally. I don't have the Polytech M14 so I'm not really knowledgeable about it, but some principles apply across any commercial mechanical product.

Durability: We know the PTR91 is durable. It is almost exactly an HK91 and the the reliability of those rifles are known and have a great record. So, the PTR91 which as tangolima pointed out, uses HK parts is going to have durability at least approaching the HK91. The Polytech is known for using substandard parts compared to the original and would have to have many parts replaced before it became close to the original in spec. But you did express an interest in doing just that.

Accuracy: I like my PTR91 and feel for a battle rifle it does great. But out of the box its not likely to win many competitions. Of course you could always invest in parts and bring it up to G3 specs and then you would have a very accurate rifle. I don't know for sure about the Polytech, but we know that many of the parts are not even close to the Springfield, so accuracy can be questionable, especially on a rifle to rifle basis based on QC that is not up to the standard of Springfield (at least as far as I know). But if you bring it up to Springfield specs, we know that the Springfield is more accurate than the PTR91.

Holding Value: The Polytech might hold its value, but as soon as you start upgrading, unless you plan on not selling the rifle, you will probably just be throwing money in a hole. After all, no really cares about the aftermarket improvements done to a Tarsus if they are in the market for a Taurus. But, someone might be interested in a PTR91 brought up to G3 specs if the price was right. But who is looking for a Polytech brought up to Springfield specs?

Better Rifle: This is one super subjective questions. If you are looking for a machine to reliably throw .308 rounds time after time with reliability and reasonable accuracy over a long term basis, out of the box, I'd say PTR91 all the way. But if you are looking for an investment and just considering the return on what you pay vs what you sell, shopping for used, super deals on the Polytech might be your way to go. Are you just looking for fun at the range? But, you did say that you wanted a Polytech and want to work on it and improve on its accuracy and performance. Seems to me that the Polyech is the better gun for you as you have expressed a strong interest in it.

Go have fun.
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Old June 6, 2014, 07:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Durability: The Polytech is known for using substandard parts compared to the original and would have to have many parts replaced before it became close to the original in spec. But you did express an interest in doing just that.
Actually, the Poly Tech is known for using parts that are as good as USGI. These parts include the chrome lined barrel, the receiver, the trigger group, and op rod. The bolt, rear sight, and stock are items that most change.

Quote:
Holding Value: The Polytech might hold its value, but as soon as you start upgrading, unless you plan on not selling the rifle, you will probably just be throwing money in a hole
If you upgrade it with quality parts, and have it built by a reputable M14 armorer it will hold it's value.
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Old June 6, 2014, 07:22 PM   #10
SR420
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Quote:
Skans:

... would rather have a Polytech and replace certain parts with USGI parts should I go that route. Just wondering what others think on this.
The Poly Tech is a really nice rifle right out of the box, and it's an excellent host to build your dream M14. I have used Smith Enterprise to domesticate 2 Norinco, and 3 Poly Tech M14s. We used a mixture of GI, SEI, and Poly Tech parts... the results have been outstanding. Poly Tech trigger groups with SEI's MAX-PAK upgrade feel & shoot the same as TRW trigger groups with MAX-PAK. Poly Tech op rods are 1 piece forged units, just like TRW. Poly Tech barrels are chrome lined and as good as GI, BUT the threads for the gas lock and castle nut are metric. No problem, just use the original gas lock & castle nut to secure any gas system and muzzle device.

My CQB-16 built on an old heel stamped Poly Tech receiver.
TRW bolt, SEI 16.25" barrel, Poly Tech trigger group & op rod.
GI rear sight, SEI gas system, gas lock, sight, and Vortex.
GI walnut stock, I also have a fiberglass walnut stock for it.

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Last edited by SR420; June 6, 2014 at 07:31 PM.
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Old June 6, 2014, 07:27 PM   #11
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I have seen match rifles built around Polytech receivers. The rest of the rifles were basically GI. Even though the Polytech receivers are good, the resale value would not recoup the gunsmithing and parts put into the rifle.

I think the M14 was an excellent battlerifle, best rear sights anywhere, and I prefer the civilian version, the M1a, over any other 30 cal semi auto.

However, I do own a PTR 91, they are well built, rugged, not target rifles but accurate enough. Everyone ought to own both!
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Old June 6, 2014, 07:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Even though the Polytech receivers are good, the resale value would not recoup the gunsmithing and parts put into the rifle.
This has not been my experience. In fact their resale value normally exceeds what you have in them.

The quality of Y2K and newer Springfield M1As is nothing to brag about, and they do not hold their value.
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Last edited by SR420; June 6, 2014 at 08:13 PM.
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Old June 6, 2014, 10:30 PM   #13
Kirkpatrick
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Quote:
Actually, the Poly Tech is known for using parts that are as good as USGI. These parts include the chrome lined barrel, the receiver, the trigger group, and op rod. The bolt, rear sight, and stock are items that most change.
Well there you go. It seems like you want the Polytech but just wanted to make sure you shouldn't get the PTR91 instead. Between what SR420 and other have said about the quality of the parts, you have all the "permission" you need to buy the weapon you are interested in without having second doubts.

You said it yourself:
Quote:
just would rather have a Polytech
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Old June 6, 2014, 10:53 PM   #14
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blfuller, my experience and yours are very different.

Trying to mount optics on a M1A or Polytech is a frustrating experience. Assuming you can find a mount that stays put, the scope is placed quite high above the bore axis. This results in a poor cheek weld, unless you strap a leather pad on the stock.

The PTR on the other hand will accept a FeroZ24 scope perfectly, and it returns to zero each time, at least on my rifle. Also same for the Fero night vision. Just snaps into place. There are stocks that are made specifically to give good cheek weld with the optic in place.

I would recommend OP choose the PTR if it were me, but in the final analysis, these things are tools/toys and one has to determine what works best for himself.
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Old June 7, 2014, 06:04 AM   #15
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I'll add that I'm not knocking the PTR91, my buddy has one and loves it.
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Old June 7, 2014, 01:22 PM   #16
blfuller
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Quote:
Trying to mount optics on a M1A or Polytech is a frustrating experience. Assuming you can find a mount that stays put, the scope is placed quite high above the bore axis. This results in a poor cheek weld, unless you strap a leather pad on the stock.
Stubbicat,
I guess I was lucky on the mount on my M1A as the ARMS that I used went on and never loosened. The Springfield aluminum mounts were not very good. The Sadlak and Smith Enterprises mounts are very good, assuming your mounting location is in spec. Sadlak has a nice tutorial on how to determine if it is in spec or not.

As far a cheek weld you pretty much need a cheek piece that you strap on to your buttstock. There's kydex and nylon versions available that work well...




A newer mount from M14CA looks to fix the high cheek weld and looks pretty promising, the only drawback is the rear sight is removed but it has a built-in rear backup sight. The extended version is shown, a standard length is also available.


The HK needs help as well for a cheek weld and a MSG90 stock is a little spendy but this works well too...

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Old June 7, 2014, 01:44 PM   #17
SR420
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There are several options when it comes to mounting optics, and cheek risers.
I have sampled many different configurations and finally came up with a combo that meets all of my needs... your needs may be different.

My scoped M14 uses a SAGE EBR chassis with a Magpul PRS2 butt stock made specifically for the SAGE EBR. My scope mount is a LaRue tactical LT608.
I can easily get comfortable behind the scope, and I can quickly remove the LT608 without disturbing the scope, bottom out the cheek riser, and shoot irons.

<< click thumbnail to Enlarge image.

The Short M14 in Wood now has a scout hand guard and an Aimpoint T-1.
This combo will co-witness the iron sights, and it does not require a cheek riser.
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Old June 7, 2014, 02:09 PM   #18
ttarp
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The op didn't specifically ask about scopes, but the PTR really does lend itself better to optics. If you use the low profile mounts cheek risers really arent necessary either. A lot of folks go for the rail welded on top of the receiver, and PTR offers a model with the welded rail too I believe.
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Old June 7, 2014, 03:01 PM   #19
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PTR if you don't mind the brass being in the next county.
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Old June 7, 2014, 03:18 PM   #20
tangolima
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An ejection port buffer will fix that. My SKS throws brass rather violently too.

-TL
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Old June 7, 2014, 04:36 PM   #21
4V50 Gary
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Given the choice between a Polytech M14s and a PTR-91, I'll take the PTR-91. Easier to work on than a M-14 type action.
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Old June 9, 2014, 07:13 AM   #22
Skans
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Quote:
The op didn't specifically ask about scopes,
Most likely I would be using iron sights; but I'd want the ability to mount a scope.

As I've read through all of the responses in this thread, it's about 50/50. One thing I have gathered is that if I chose the Polytech M14s path, I'd probably have to plan on spending a good bit more money to upgrade the bolt and perhaps some other parts. I wasn't aware that the trigger group and op-rod in the Polytech are actually considered decent quality. I know the receiver and barrel were surprisingly good quality. I remember seeing the tons of Polytechs at gun shows in the '90's when a lot of them were being imported - everyone was calling them "junk" because they were Chinese. It wasn't until years later that folks really changed their minds about the quality of these guns.

I really do like both of these rifles; I wouldn't mind having both. Maybe I should consider the PTR-91 with wood furniture - might temporarily satisfy my craving for wood and steel.

I suppose the take away is this: If I want more long range accuracy, then do a build on the Polytech M14s; If I want a good all-around battle rifle, then get the PTR-91. Value-wise, there probably isn't too much difference (maybe a little more with the Polytech) - you'll probably get your money back out (or most of it), but not a lot of foreseeable appreciation on one vs. the other.
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Old June 9, 2014, 10:48 AM   #23
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Most likely I would be using iron sights; but I'd want the ability to mount a scope.
Poly M14 all the way, the M14/M1A has arguably the best irons ever made. And scoping is not as difficult as people make it sound. Buy a mount, some blue loctite, don't over tighten and youre good to mount an optic.
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Old June 10, 2014, 10:46 AM   #24
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While I've never had a Poly-Tech or a PTR, And won't comment on them, specifically, I have an M1A, and had an HK 91.

The M1A is a superior rifle. One can argue about which is the better battle implement, especially for infantry combat, but its tough to make a valid case for the M14/M1A not being a better rifle.

A couple of points not mentioned, the M14 system has a safety where you can reach it, without shifting your grip. The HK system does not. The M14 op rod works in both directions, and provided a solid place to grip should you ever need manual force to open or close the action. The HK, does not.

The M14 has a gas system that can be turned off and on at will, the HK does not.

The M14 has sights that are finely adjustable. The HK does not.

And, if you are a reloader, the M14 is relatively easy on the brass. The HK...is not. Not even close.

OR, you could look at it this way, which is a bigger waste of my money? A license built US made copy of a German gun, or a Chinese knock off of an American gun? Personally, when I can, I like to buy American.
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Old June 10, 2014, 02:02 PM   #25
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Buying American is usually best, but when it comes to buying a Norinco or Poly Tech M14 here in the states, you are buying it pre-owned, and on the secondary market. Your money stays here in the USA.

EDIT
I co-mingled two stories by mistake. Here is the history behind the reverse engineered ChiCom M14 rifles LINK

Lastly, I've sold off a couple of my domesticated Norinco and Poly Tech M14s, all of them sold for more than $3K each.
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Last edited by SR420; June 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM.
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