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Old July 13, 2018, 03:53 PM   #1
Skans
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308 Bullpup War....

As far as I can tell, there are three manufacturers of modern 308 Bullpups which can be purchased by civillians: Kel-Tec RFB; Desert Tech MDR and K&M M17s. I have included photos of each below. The Kel Tec is by far the least expensive and can be had for around $1,400. The DT MDR runs about $2,500 and the K&M M17s runs $2,000.

The Kel-Tec was just too much plastic for me - I would never be satisfied with it, knowing that the other two 308 bullpups were out there. So, after comparing the K&M and the DT MDR, I went with the K&M. Here's why:

M17s was made of high quality aluminum, upper receiver and lower receiver - no plastic;

Size was just a tad longer than the MDR, but more compact than the Kel Tec.

The trigger is basically a fully adjustable AR competition trigger - really a nice touch

All three are gas adjustable, so that was not a factor

The deciding factor, however, was the bolt and bolt carrier assembly. By far, the M17s was the most robust of all three. In fact, the bolt on the MDR looked fragile in comparison. The MDR bolt looks like something the Swiss would over-engineer, and I really like that! Plus, the bolt uses extractors and extractor springs which are commonly found, so spare parts won't be a problem. Not to mention, it was $500 cheaper than the MDR. Granted, the MDR is probably the sexiest looking of all three. But, I was going for heavy-duty over sexy.

My M17s is on order and I've been told that it will be delivered before the end of July 2018. I can't wait!

1. Kel-Tec RFB


2. Desert Tech MDR


3. K&M M17s


Last edited by Skans; July 13, 2018 at 04:15 PM.
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Old July 13, 2018, 04:58 PM   #2
CalmerThanYou
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What about the Tavor 7? $2099 MSRP
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Old July 13, 2018, 05:34 PM   #3
ttarp
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The Tavor will be an interesting option, once it hits the States.

I picked up an unfired second hand M17s a month or so ago, very nice and simple rifle. My initial range trip with my improvised rest, so so shooting skills, cheap ammo, and scope(not the one pictured) that I have difficulty sighting with, I wasn't thrilled with the accuracy. I intend to head to the range with a wider variety of ammo this week to see if I can find something the rifle likes.

The pictures aren't the best, but better than nothing?
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Old July 14, 2018, 10:35 AM   #4
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I've been waiting to see if the Tavor 308 would ever hit the US market. So far as I can tell, it's been promised for a couple of years now, but nowhere to be found. I gave up waiting

Quote:
I wasn't thrilled with the accuracy.
I will be very interested to hear how it does with different ammo. Are you comparing accuracy to other 308's with similar barrel lengths?

How does it feel, weight-wise? Is the trigger as good as other's have described? Reliability?
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Old July 14, 2018, 11:25 AM   #5
ttarp
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The trigger has some takeup, but a solid wall, and very light break, the trigger feels really good.

It is a bit hefty, the pictured setup is around 10 lbs unloaded, I don't have a very good scale for measuring though, and that scope and mount is fairly hefty. Being a bullpup, the weight does carry quite well.

I've only had somewhere around 60 or 80 rounds through it so far, I've had a few malfunctions while messing around with the gas regulator, but I think I have it set in a good position now.

As far as accuracy comparisons, my experience in .308s is with an 18" PTR91, 12.8" G3K "clone", and a pair of Hk SL7s. I can get around 2" groups with the SL7s pretty easy with the cheapest brass case ammo I can find, the PTR91 was probably double that with the same ammo, and the last "pattern" I shot with the G3K was around 7", I really need to try some different ammo with that one too.

I'm no target shooter, I collect stuff that interest me, and don't actually get out to the range as much as I want or should. I typically just use a blanket wadded up in my range bag as a rest, and fire the cheapest brass case ammo I can find. I believe the M17s is plenty more accurate than I've experienced so far, I just need to spend a little more time with it. I'll be looking forward to hearing how your like yours here shortly.
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Old July 16, 2018, 08:54 AM   #6
Skans
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Quote:
I'll be looking forward to hearing how your like yours here shortly.
I ordered mine from K&M in March. Still haven't received it yet - they said they are a little behind schedule, but that I should receive it in the next couple of weeks. I was set to buy the Desert Tech MDR at around $2,000, until I saw the internals of the M17s. I was really impressed at how robust the bolt, bolt carrier and receivers were constructed. I also liked the AR-adjustable trigger.

I looked at the MDR's bolt and, without an abundance of cheap replacement parts, I wasn't convinced that it would withstand abuse. When I buy an expensive gun from a start-up company, I want to make sure that it is robust and serviceable. Because, we all know that either of these companies might not be here 5 or 10 years from now.
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Old July 16, 2018, 10:10 AM   #7
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I agree, I think the Tavor 7 will be winning this field. They have built a strong positive reputation for their 5.56 bullpups. Another winning point is their price point will probably beat the others too.

That being said, that Desert Tech looks amazing. I would get that one over the Tavor if it weren't for that price tag.
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Old July 16, 2018, 10:42 AM   #8
Skans
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Here's a comparison of the Desert Tech MDR's internals and the K&N M17s. I'm not all that impressed with the DT's bolt and bolt carrier compared to the M17s







The First photo shows the MDR bolt. The second, the M17s Bolt, and the 3rd compares the M17s Bolt to an AR bolt.
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Old July 17, 2018, 06:29 AM   #9
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What does that little buzzard do to your hearing if you actually fire it w/o ear protection?
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Old July 17, 2018, 07:54 AM   #10
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I don't intend to find out, I typically double up on hearing protection on anything bigger than .22LR anyway, so the shorty 308's don't bother me.
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Old July 19, 2018, 02:53 PM   #11
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Well I got back out to the range with a variety of cheaper ammo, and some Federal Gold Medal Match 168 gr. Of course I forgot to bring a tape, or scale, and I was using adhesive targets, so I'm guestimating the group/pattern size off of the ammo boxes.

The first couple of pictures are of my super precision shooting rest, spotting scope, and rifle.

The three pictures with the FGMM were all somewhere around 3 3/8" or perhaps an insignificant greater or smaller.

The cheap Monarch ammo patterned quite impressively.

The target with just a casing on it was using Aguila 7.62X51.

All of the less spendy .308 I've tried(Winchester 147 gr, Aguila 150 gr, MEN 147 gr, Monarch 150 gr, Federal XM80 149 gr) patterns similar to the last two pictures. The rifle shoots good enough with match ammo to satisfy me, but if I can't find something for less than $26 a box with similar results, I'm not going to be doing a lot of shooting with this rifle.
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Old July 19, 2018, 02:55 PM   #12
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The rest of the FGMM, and the Monarch.
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Old July 19, 2018, 02:57 PM   #13
ttarp
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And the Aguila. I didn't bother trying to measure the Monarch or Aguila targets.

The rifle had one failure to eject with the Monarch ammo, but otherwise functioned just fine.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 37550508_10215179907683101_807926156316639232_n.jpg (221.9 KB, 15 views)
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Old July 20, 2018, 11:03 AM   #14
Skans
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Quote:
All of the less spendy .308 I've tried(Winchester 147 gr, Aguila 150 gr, MEN 147 gr, Monarch 150 gr, Federal XM80 149 gr) patterns similar to the last two pictures. The rifle shoots good enough with match ammo to satisfy me, but if I can't find something for less than $26 a box with similar results, I'm not going to be doing a lot of shooting with this rifle.
ttarp, thanks for posting the range report on the M17s. Your "shooting-rest" looks like something I would rig. I have a couple of questions:

1. What distance were you shooting from?
2. How was the recoil and noise? How comfortable was it to shoot the M17s?
3. Did you attempt to see how fast you could shoot 2 or 3 shots?
4. Did you feel that you were getting full power and velosity from the ammo you were using; i.e. was there a ton of muzzle flash and unburned powder.
5. Would it be possible to comfortably use 30 round magazines?
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Old July 20, 2018, 12:31 PM   #15
ttarp
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1. Whoops, thats a glaring omission! 100 yards.

2. Recoil is ok, probably a bit more than an M1A, but less than an Hk RDB design. You know you're shooting a .308, but I don't consider it bad. I wear 30 NRR muffs over earplugs, and the noise doesn't bother me. Wearing only plugs, or muffs is louder than I'd like. That being said, during my baseline hearing test, the tech commented on how sensitive my hearing was, and my co-workers regularly make fun of me for wearing plugs when they don't feel the need to.

3. I didn't try any fast followup shots, I was primarily concerned with whether or not the rifle would "group" rather than "pattern" this last trip.

4. Beats me, I didn't notice any muzzle flash, but I wasn't looking for it either.

5. From a bench? No. I didn't realize there were 30 rounds magazines out there, I do have a couple of 25 round mags, and they work fine in prone position, but there isn't a whole lot of room to spare, prone would likely be an iffy proposition with a 30 round magazine.
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Old August 29, 2018, 11:57 AM   #16
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Quote:
My M17s is on order and I've been told that it will be delivered before the end of July 2018. I can't wait!
Follow-up: I received my M17s yesterday. It is a wonderful design. Breakdown of the upper, lower, bolt/bolt carrier assembly is simple and there is no way you can lose any parts during a simple assembly.

The only plastic on this rifle is the AR-style pistol grip.

This 308 Bullpup is nearly the identical length of my 13" barrel AC556 while folded. The 308 however has a 16" barrel. I am amazed at how compact this rifle is especially for a 308.

The bolt-carrier/bolt carrier unit looks indestructible, and it is fairly easy to service if needed.

The gun is comfortable to shoulder, but you'd swear it's an SBR when shouldered. The mag release can be operated from the right or left side, which is nice. Fit and finish is excellent.

The trigger has a tiny bit of take-up. Apparently the trigger is adjustable, so I will need to play with this and see if I can eliminate the take-up. Other than that, the break is clean and crisp.

I'm looking forward to shooting it to see how it is to handle and shoot.
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Old August 30, 2018, 07:33 AM   #17
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$2000-2500 for a rifle with no practical purpose since it's unbearable to shoot w/o a face shield and doubled ear protection???
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Old August 30, 2018, 07:50 AM   #18
Skans
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Quote:
no practical purpose
Well, I don't know about that - I'll have to shoot it first and let you know if I suffer any ill effects. But, what could possibly be more practical than a very compact 308? Why would I want to tote around an M1A when I can do the same thing with something far more compact?
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Old August 30, 2018, 12:25 PM   #19
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I like the concept, but I can’t put my face any closer to the explody part than a traditional rifle.
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Old August 30, 2018, 12:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
$2000-2500 for a rifle with no practical purpose since it's unbearable to shoot w/o a face shield and doubled ear protection???
A "practical purpose" v. a practical set up of the weapon.

Although the engineering purpose of the Tavor/Bullpup-type designs may be to gain a more 'compact' weapon, the set up isn't at all practical other than as a Sunday afternoon range toy - unless it's run suppressed.

Suppression (with a good can) eliminates the up-close concussive blast and auditory damage, especially if fired in rapid sequences, like double/triples taps.

Once you've suppressed away those issues, and if you can get used to the bullpup's different mechanics of reloading and manual-of-arms (versus the M-4/AR-15 school), then you might have something interesting.
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Old August 30, 2018, 02:01 PM   #21
ttarp
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Not a whole lot impractical about the bullpup design, there are some obvious tradoffs as opposed to conventional designs, but its mainly just misconceptions and people parroting what others have said rather than real experience to back their objections to bullpups.

The fact that several militaries around the world have been using bullpups as front line rifles since the 70's should point to the practicality of the design. By all means I understand a bit of hesitancy when someone is first introduced to the concept, but I honestly find most arguments against bullpups absurd.

Quote:
Although the engineering purpose of the Tavor/Bullpup-type designs may be to gain a more 'compact' weapon, the set up isn't at all practical other than as a Sunday afternoon range toy - unless it's run suppressed.
Tell that to Israel, Austria, Australia, Great Britain, and several others. Thank goodness France finally realized how impractical they were and recently started to replace the Famas.

Have you ever held or fired a bullpup? You're quite obviously free to your opinion either way, but I would be interested to know if this is based on experience, or simply conjecture.
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Old August 30, 2018, 05:08 PM   #22
Skans
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Quote:
It doesn't cost the makers one damned dime more to churn out a 308 than it does a 223, and they have suckers paying them an extra $1500 to do so. :-) Plus paying nearly twice as much per shot, for the ammo, too. :-)
Well, the K&M M17s in 556 costs: $1,799; and the 16" 308 costs $1,999. That's a difference of $200, which sounds reasonable to me. As for the price, a basic Springfield M1A will run you about $1,500. I disagree that a 308 costs the same as a 5.56 to make. The receiver, bolt and barrel are more robust, just for starters.

I noticed that the serial number on my K&M was in the 250's. At $2K, I doubt they are even making a profit yet, especially given the exceptional quality of each component of this rifle. As far as "churning them out" - I can assure you, that they aren't. I had to wait 4 months to take delivery of mine. The anodizing alone was taking 2 weeks, since each piece needed to be separately anodized and coated. Even Keltec charges over $1,500 for it's RFB, and the chassis is screw-together plastic panels.

I think if you check around, you'd see that $2K for a good quality 308 Bullpup with an adjustable trigger, adjustable gas valve, professional quality all metal construction, with the high-quality bolt and bolt carrier assembly is actually a pretty good deal.

Now, if you just don't like bullpup 308's, I get it. Pay $1,500 more and get the SCAR.
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Old August 30, 2018, 07:22 PM   #23
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I like the bullpup design. In particular I like the old school design of the AUG.

Most of the firearms we own are manufactured for specific purposes.

My O\U 20 gauge has limited but specific scope of use, as does say a Ruger Mark III or chassis built bolt gun chambered in a long range caliber. Or perhaps a super light weight mountain gun and save room for a AR, AK, and a High capacity 9mm like a MPX "pistol".
I could go on for days.
Lot's of flavors to savor.
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