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Old December 4, 2019, 10:09 AM   #1
zukiphile
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Have any of you tried a bullpup rifle and found it unsatisfactory?

Context: By history, I'm a pistol and bolt action rifle shooter, but in the last decade, I've made ARs too. I have an interest in bullpups now, but I have reservations as well.

A pistol is in my hand or a holster, so I always know and can control where it points. A rifle, even an AR carbine is long enough that hanging on my shoulder it isn't going to point straight at my head.

Bullpups seem as if they would occupy an odd middle ground. They are so short that hanging muzzle up, one might easily sweep one's head. Hanging downward, there seem lots of opportunities to point at knees and vitals.

Have any of you tried a bullpup and found these issues off putting? Are there other qualities that made you hate the bullpup you tried?

Please tell me all the problems -- keep me from spending money on one.
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Old December 4, 2019, 10:46 AM   #2
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Ok I’ll bite, I’ve owned a tavor bull pup for around 3 years. I wanted one initially because they were just unique and cool for me. I have plenty of AR’s but the bull pup is just more interesting and different. When it comes to shooting it what I noticed immediately is that the rifle was different to shoot as compared to standard guns, it could just be me but it feels like follow through of your shots is more important. Maybe it’s because the gun is so short and more of it is in contact with your body, I ended up getting used to it and can shoot the gun quite well.

I routinely compete is shooting biathlons running through the bushes and shooting targets from 0-500 or so yards. The tavor has performed very well for me and when you’re running 5 or 6 miles for a match the tavor is more comfortable to sling on my back as I run. It is heavier than a standard AR and when you’re working barricades it can be a little more awkward to use, it’s all a learning curve. When it’s slung on my front you can flag your self with your muzzle since it’s so short. I push my muzzle to my off side and that’s how I overcome the issues. Every once in a while I get forced to shoot in tight confines in these matches and then The bull pup shines so it balances out.
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Old December 4, 2019, 10:50 AM   #3
Ricklin
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Sorry

I like mine! The only bullpup in the safe is my Walther G22. I enjoy it very much.
It is more accurate than my Ruger 10/22. I've had the G22 for good number of years now, and it remains my favorite.

One dy it will get a suppressor. The paperwork in the box showed the can that was available at German sporting good stores, over the counter.

While Europe firearm laws are generally far more restrictive they are not based on hollywood attitudes on suppressors.

I think that's one of the best things about bullpups, room for a suppressor.
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Old December 4, 2019, 10:52 AM   #4
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20 years ago had one of the bushmaster x15 or something like that. the change from lever or classic bolt guns was too much for my feeble brain to handle.
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Old December 4, 2019, 11:02 AM   #5
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The bullpup I own is the FS2000, so my opinions are based on that rifle. Other bullpups like the Tavor or the Styer Aug may be different and I don't have any experience handling them.

So it sounds like your concerns focus on when the rifle is slung? With my FS2000, the distance between the two points where the sling clips in is much shorter than your standard rifle. So I have to take a lot of the slack out of the sling for that right to make the rifle tighter on my back when slight. When slung, I haven't noticed it flagging my head. That being said, I don't sling it just over my shoulder like I would with a hunting rifle. I sling it cross shoulder to ensure it won't slip off when both hands are occupied. The barrel is pointing at a ~30-45 degree angle away from my head that way. If you plan on slinging it just over one shoulder, that sling would REALLY have to be short to not be hanging almost like a purse (and would definitely be flagging yourself).

Other pros/cons for the bullpup:
Triggers aren't good out of the box for almost any bullpup. You'll want to do trigger replacements, upgrades or modifications to get a decent trigger pull out of it. I upgrade all of my AR-15 triggers anyways, so it's not really out of the norm personally.

You'll have to retrain yourself for motions like changing the magazine and checking for malfunctions since both the magazine and barrel chamber are behind your grip. You'll also have to retrain your grip for your non-firing hand if you like holding your ARs further out with a C-clamp style of grip. But being a bolt action and pistol shooter, I don't think this'll be a problem for you. Having your non-firing hand just in front of your firing hand may be more natural for you.

Big benefit is how the rifle feels when shouldered. When I pick up my bullpup, it's heavier than my ARs. But when shouldered, it feels better since the weight is distributed closer to your shoulder. I can shoulder and fire my bullpup accurately with just one hand due to that weight distribution. Which also means you can hold the rifle up longer on target (i.e. get less fatigued holding the rifle up).

And of course another benefit is the short overall length while keeping that 16+ inch barrel. I have an AR pistol with a 10" barrel and the bullpup is still shorter than my AR pistol with the brace fully collapsed. So it'll be better for clearing corners or barriers. It's also great for a truck gun and can get it pointed out your window without it hanging up on the steering wheel or windshield.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions. Again, this is just my opinion based on my one bullpup.
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Old December 4, 2019, 11:51 AM   #6
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Thanks all for the quick responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by viciouskitty
When it’s slung on my front you can flag your self with your muzzle since it’s so short. I push my muzzle to my off side and that’s how I overcome the issues.
That makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trueblue711
You'll also have to retrain your grip for your non-firing hand if you like holding your ARs further out with a C-clamp style of grip. But being a bolt action and pistol shooter, I don't think this'll be a problem for you. Having your non-firing hand just in front of your firing hand may be more natural for you.
I'm not only not a c-clamp guy, I'm still a chicken wing and support hand just ahead of the magazine well guy. I've resigned myself to having a bad trigger, or at least bad by AR standards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trueblue711
So it sounds like your concerns focus on when the rifle is slung?
Yes, but not exclusively when slung. My anxiety is that a bullpup has a muzzle about as far from the grip as a pistol with an eight or ten inch barrel, so there are more opportunities for handling errors. Though I don't use a c-clap grip, I am aware that when shouldered it could be terribly easy to get one's hand in front of the muzzle.

What I am getting is that the increased risk isn't imaginary, but if you like your bullpup you will train to reduce those risks, and my prior rifle experience will have limited value.

That does help.
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Old December 4, 2019, 11:55 AM   #7
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I’ve never had issues with my grip going beyond the hand guard and over the muzzle. Most of the bull pups have some sort of handstop built in to tell you you’re getting near the end. I actually wrap around the front of the hand guard around 2 inches from the end of the muzzle. I’ve found that position to be most comfortable.
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Old December 4, 2019, 12:09 PM   #8
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I have played with several. 100% of them were overpriced (by a LOT!!!!) for what they give you.

None were as easy to use as an AR or even a Mini-14 and none were as accurate as an AR. All were priced so high that it was an insult to the intelligence of any prospective gun buyer when you see what they offer over the existing AR (which is they are shorter) and what they give up to the AR (which is potentially less reliability, usually worse triggers, not as fast to acquire the target in-spite of their short lengths, slower to reload in some cases, thick and bulky in some cases, and for all this you need to pay between 3X and 8 X more)

From a standpoint of use I am pleased with a few of them for a truck gun, but once out of a truck there are many many other rifles out there that are easier to use, and most are FAR less costly. If they were to be priced at about $750 to $800 they might have a growing following for those that want "truck guns" and who see the loss of ease of operation and a bit less accuracy as nothing to concern them. But at the current pricing I see, I think the market of people with a lot of extra money and the desire to "just be different" will flood very fast.
Like an ax with a hard wood head and a steel handle, some things are very different. It doesn't always make them better however.

Last edited by Wyosmith; December 4, 2019 at 12:14 PM.
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Old December 4, 2019, 12:35 PM   #9
zukiphile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyosmith
I have played with several. 100% of them were overpriced (by a LOT!!!!) for what they give you.
***
Like an ax with a hard wood head and a steel handle, some things are very different. It doesn't always make them better however.
I don't categorically disagree with any of that, and an AR with a really good trigger and barrel can be built for less than any bullpup of which I am aware, but I already have those.

When it gets cold and I shoot less, my imagination turns from what I do (slow fire a rifle from three positions at paper) to what might be neat. A rifle that goes around corners like a pistol, but shoots 5.56 from a barrel long enough to give great velocity is neat.

Yes, the size that makes it neat is also what worries me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by viciouskitty
I’ve never had issues with my grip going beyond the hand guard and over the muzzle. Most of the bull pups have some sort of handstop built in to tell you you’re getting near the end.
My biathlon days are behind me, but I can see how it would be worth training for a more tidy package doing what you do. I am likely to train less than you have, and I am not beyond doing something stupid.

Is muzzle blast felt by the shooter a greater issue for you?

Last edited by zukiphile; December 4, 2019 at 12:40 PM.
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Old December 4, 2019, 01:26 PM   #10
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Bullpups do cost more than they ought to, but comparing them to bottom of the barrel AR prices will always leave you disappointed regardless of the rifle. They are typically nicer quality than the cheapest possible ARs they are compared to also.

A few bullpups out there have actually have decent triggers, or can be upgraded.

The Kel-Tec RDB
Has a genuinely nice trigger, and is the most affordable 5.56/.223 bullpup I'm aware of. The big disadvantage of the RDB is there's no way to check the chamber, and the Kel-Tec is the closest in quality to the bottom of the barrel ARs people like to compare bullpups to. I passed on buying one because I didn't like all the jagged edges and sling attachment points jutting out all over the rifle.

The K&M M17s
Also has an excellent trigger, and is a very simple AR180 style rifle. Its a very open design, you can see whats going on in the rifle unlike most bullpups. This also means dirt has a lot of ways to get in, if you like torture tests I doubt it would fare well. The M17s is a righthanded only rifle, and I find the safety awkward to engage, though easy enough to take off, otherwise the problem is proprietary side rail mounting system, and I honestly think it cost more than it should for what you get.

The Tavor
Has trigger upgrades available, and has great ergonomics, its been a while since I've shot or handled one, but I liked it fine.

The AUG
Has a couple of upgrades that can be done to the trigger, but will never be something to write home about. In the last couple of years Corvus Defensio parts have become available here in the States, they offer a decent bit of aftermarket rails and accessories for the AUG.

As for your concern about the short overall length, plenty of folks use SBRs, some of which are about the same length of bullpups, and I've never heard complaints about the muzzle from that crowd.
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Old December 4, 2019, 02:27 PM   #11
T. O'Heir
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"...100% of them were overpriced..." Yep. 2 grand USD for a 16.5″ .223 Tavor. About the same for a 7.62 model. Big kid's toy that is difficult to change mags. Moreso if you're shooting prone.
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Old December 4, 2019, 02:52 PM   #12
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I had a Micro-tech copy of the AUG. It was a good rifle and if i had wanted (or been able) to devote myself to it exclusively, it would have been a keeper.

I was still working and using a M4, so the different manual of arms killed it for me. I just paid the $200 and built SBR’s on the AR platform to get the same compactness. The loss of barrel length doesnt effect much with the way i use that platform
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Old December 4, 2019, 05:55 PM   #13
jonnyc
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I got to try a prototype Tavor back-in-the-day.......hated it. I've stuck with conventional long guns.
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Old December 5, 2019, 06:20 AM   #14
jetinteriorguy
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Back around the mid 90's I put a bullpup conversion stock on my mini 14. Didn't care for it, the whole setup was just awkward for me. Guess I'm just too old school.
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Old December 5, 2019, 10:37 AM   #15
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Increased muzzle blast hasn’t been much of an issue with me, when I had a brake on the end it was a bit obnoxious. I’ve since changed to a BCM comp and I would say I can’t tell the difference between the tavor and a 16 inch AR when it comes to blast.
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Old December 5, 2019, 07:43 PM   #16
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I enjoy the heck out of my PS90 (basically a bullpup) but it has a couple clear downsides: a lot of gas near your face and a bad trigger. I think the ergonomics are great otherwise and it's probably the lightest shooting and best handling gun I own. Don't know about slings. I've looked into it, but haven't attached anything yet.
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Old December 5, 2019, 09:28 PM   #17
rickyrick
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I think it’s a nice idea.
But, I have an inappropriate and probably unfounded fear of having the receiver and chamber that near my face.
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Old December 5, 2019, 10:38 PM   #18
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I own a bunch of AR's including one I SBR'd and two pistons. So obviously I like AR's.
However, I also own a Tavor SAR. One of my favorite rifles. It's a little heavier than most AR's but I really like the way it shoulders. I probably shoot it better offhand than nearly all of my AR's.

Trigger is pretty bad, but there is a pricey upgrade that makes it a lot better. Ergonomics take some time to get used to, and mag changes are slower. But the gun is reasonably accurate and has been 100% reliable. Never really had a problem sweeping my body.
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Old December 6, 2019, 04:22 AM   #19
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Quote:
But, I have an inappropriate and probably unfounded fear of having the receiver and chamber that near my face.
This is not a minor point for me, either.

As a teen I had the opportunity to use a few of the original bull pup rifles. These were bolt action or single shot guns converted to what was called bull pup configuration. They were varmint guns, almost exclusively. The advantage was that one could have an extra long barrel, yielding the highest possible velocities in a rifle with the same or even less overall length than the conventional design.

Balance sucked, darn poor as any kind of stalking rifle, these were meant to be shot rested, and one shot at a time. Outstanding triggers were almost impossible but a acceptably good one could be done.

For shooting woodchucks and things like that the idea worked pretty well in several ways.

Now when the idea of a bull pup was translated into a semi or select fire military carbine, things change and for me, I've never liked them much. I have had opportunity to handle and shoot several variations and to me their only upside is being short, and short isn't always a useful advantage.

What may be useful for a soldier or police SWAT can be nothing but a drawback for a civilian who doesn't need it.

My days of boogie in and out of armored vehicles and urban combat are long, long over, so I don't need short rifles for that. You might, I don't. personal thing. Home defense? If you think its the right gun, fine. Here's my list of dislikes, I'm sure they don't all apply to everyone...

short length = muzzle closer to your face
action close to your face, not a big deal if you're only shooting a single shot, but more than a couple and they get HOT.

Plus, at least for me, the ever present below the surface thought that if something goes wrong all that 50Kpsi pressure is RIGHT THERE by my cheek. Now, intellectually I know that having the action close to a foot further forward probably won't make any significant difference if things go badly wrong, doesn't change the way it makes me feel.

Balance is wrong for someone with a lifetime's experience with convention arms
Magazine in close, tough to find without looking AT it. With regular rifles the mag is usually in your field of view with the rife shouldered. Can be looked at by glancing down without moving your head or taking the rifle from your shoulder. Bull Pups I've handled aren't like that.

Significantly less versatile than conventional designs, in that the left hander has to has a left hand rifle. Which also limits tactical utility in (rare) situations where you might need to shoot with the "off" shoulder/hand

There's no free lunch, to get some you have to give some, what you get with a bull pup is a short weapon that has full rifle barrel length velocity. But to get that, you have to take some other things with it. Might be the bee's knees for climbing in and out of Humvees, but that's not something important to mees, hehe

They're interesting, they scare me a little bit, they're not something I'd spend my own money on (even if they were cheap, and they aren't) but if were decades younger and issued one, I'd make do...but they wouldn't be my first or even second choice, if I had a choice.
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Old December 6, 2019, 08:15 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zukiphile View Post
-- keep me from spending money on one.
If you want to try one for very little money......I took a 10/22 and put it in this "bullpup" stock: https://www.badgerm22.com/

It sure didn't help the trigger any....lol.....but with a reddot it is a lot of fun to shoot on the cheap.
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Old December 6, 2019, 12:02 PM   #21
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I can sort of understand being worried about the action right under your face on a bullpup conversion stock, because the rifle wasn't designed that way. But more people have died from E-Cigarrettes exploding in their face than military style bullpups. Even the thought that a firearms company like Steyr or IWI wouldn't test such a rifle and design it to be safe for the shooter in the event of a catastrophic failure is absurd(if you do know of some serious injuries due to bullpups, please link them, I've never run across any).

But I do sort of get it, when something makes you uncomfortable, words often don't change the way you feel about it. Kind of like I was told everything was safe and under control at my workplace when a plant less than 3 miles away with a clear line of sight was on fire and exploding.
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Old December 6, 2019, 12:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
But more people have died from E-Cigarrettes exploding in their face than military style bullpups.
I understand the intent, but its a poor choice of example. EVERY "more people have been killed by...." is a poor choice of example.

If nothing else gets us first, TIME kills us all. That doesn't mean I have a fear of clocks. (though I haven't worn a wristwatch in 30+ years, but that's a different thing, )

I know all the proper testing has been done. and they are "safe", but...having been hit in the face with gas from a ruptured case in a BOLT ACTION in the early 70s, I'm a bit biased. No, its not logic, its emotion. And memory

You can say I'm more likely to win the lottery than have a problem, but while true, I've WON the lottery, a few times over the years. Just never won the big jackpot.
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Old December 6, 2019, 02:11 PM   #23
zukiphile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttarp
I can sort of understand being worried about the action right under your face on a bullpup conversion stock, because the rifle wasn't designed that way. But more people have died from E-Cigarrettes exploding in their face than military style bullpups. Even the thought that a firearms company like Steyr or IWI wouldn't test such a rifle and design it to be safe for the shooter in the event of a catastrophic failure is absurd(if you do know of some serious injuries due to bullpups, please link them, I've never run across any).
I wouldn't label as absurd anxiety about a mechanical failure. Even where a design is sound, mechanical failure can arise. I know a fellow from the legion who nearly lost his hand firing a surplus Garand with blanks because a part was worn.

As extraordinary as the forces in a firearm are, failure of the mechanism itself is likely a rarer danger than my misuse of the firearm, especially in one that is a bit foreign to me.
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Old December 6, 2019, 02:46 PM   #24
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It seems like you're deliberately missing my point, when it comes to bullpups people seem either not to think about it, or even to assume the designer took no thought for safety with the shooters face next to the action. And I would label that as absurd and irrational to the extent of criminal negligence on the manufactures part.

Like I said, I sort of get it having been in what I consider a similar situation recently, nobody is forcing anyone to buy or even shoot a rifle they aren't comfortable with.

What I don't like seeing is ungrounded(even if understandable) fears not being addressed about the design.

I dunno, maybe I'm completely off base here, I won't hijack your thread any further.
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Old December 6, 2019, 03:52 PM   #25
zukiphile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttarp
It seems like you're deliberately missing my point, when it comes to bullpups people seem either not to think about it, or even to assume the designer took no thought for safety with the shooters face next to the action.
I don't believe anyone is missing your point. Both the writers who expressed misgivings about everything happening just under their faces rather than eight or 10 inches in front of their faces also acknowledged the remote quality of the risk. I don't read anyone here assuming that designers disregarded anyone's safety.

My vignette only served to illustrate that even a safe design can be dangerous if imperfectly executed.
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