Top 5 infantry rifles of all time

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – It would be an exaggeration to say that the rifle won the war or changed the outcome of the battle. Nevertheless, they are necessary for victory: battle is, first of all, a test of will, and ineffective small arms spread defeatism.

The effectiveness of infantry rifles is a controversial issue, and comparisons are certainly subjective. The selection in this ranking is based on a number of factors: innovation, efficiency, durability, influence on the history and development of small arms.

# 5 – Enfield rifle model 1853

Top 5 infantry rifles of all time-1853 rifle
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The sample musket gun from 1853 was clearly superior to all others at the time of its use. During its heyday in 1854-1865. most of the western world considered it the superior rifle of its time. It was a .577 rifle that fired a 35-gram bullet and weighed 4 kg. Like a musket rifle, it combined the loading speed of a smoothbore musket with the precision of a rifle.

In British troops, the rifle had its greatest use during the Crimean War (1854-1856). More than 300,000 items were imported by the Confederate States of America during the Civil War (1861-1865), and another 400,000 were imported by the Union during the same period.

The shotgun became a favorite of both sides. Its high reliability and accuracy helped it provide over 650,000 casualties during the war. It was the last and best percussion muzzle rifle to become the standard weapon for large military forces. The era of the autonomous cartridge with a charge has come, and it has become obsolete several years after its adoption.

# 4 – M16

Top 5 infantry rifles of all time-m16
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The M16 was the product of an effort to bring the characteristics and capabilities of an infantry rifle in line with the realities of modern combat. Aimed at NATO 5.56, the M16 is a small bore rifle with a fire translator and detachable box magazine.

Its rotary bolt and breechblock were derived from the Johnson M1941 rifle, and its gas firing system was based on the Swedish M42 Lyngman rifle. The M16 aluminum receiver, composite plastic stock and handrails, and the direct impact gas system made the rifle very light at just 3kg.

In 1964, the US Army adopted the M16 for overseas service. Shortly thereafter, the US Army and Marine Corps introduced a large number of XM16E1 rifles to Vietnam. Standardized as the M16A1 in 1967, it remained the primary infantry rifle of the US military until the early 1980s, when it was gradually replaced by the M16A2.

By the mid-1970s, other NATO armies were also looking for 5.56mm rifles and light machine guns. Since 1977, NATO has conducted a series of performance tests on various small caliber shells and ammunition.

In 1982, the US Marine Corps adopted the heavier NATO 4g round with the longer range M16A2 rifle. The M16 is the most widely used NATO 5.56 rifle in the world.

# 3 – Mauser 98

Top 5 infantry rifles of all time-mauser-98
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German Paul Mauser struggled for years to develop a repeater with a bolt action, based on several earlier versions, and was even rejected by the German Rifle Testing Commission.

Mauser continued to refine his 1871 model. In 1889 he received several patents which were applied to the Belgian military rifle. It was his first successful smokeless gunpowder gun and the first with double, horizontally positioned front locking eyes.

The German army accepted its design with all the improvements listed on April 5, 1898. The 98 proved to be so sturdy in design that nearly every major military or sporting bolt action has since been largely improved upon.

Mauser uses a sliding bolt loading scheme, which (despite its use in earlier models) has since spread so widely that it was called “Mauser”. The rifle has a two-row fixed magazine for 5 rounds. Flag fuse; when on, it overlaps the line of sight. The rifle’s sight is open, designed for 500 meters, but there were frequent cases of shooting at twice the distance. The weapon was equipped with a blade-type bayonet.

In the spring of 1915, it was decided to select 15,000 Mauser 98 rifles, for their exceptional firing accuracy during factory tests, to install optical sights on them and use them as snipers.

To install the optical sight, the shutter handle was bent down. Used 2.5x and 3x riflescopes from manufacturers such as Görtz, Gérard, Oige, Zeiss, Hensoldt, Voigtländer, as well as models from various civilian manufacturers Bock, Busch and Füss.

By the end of the war, 18,421 Gewehr 98 rifles had been converted, equipped with telescopic sights and issued to German snipers. Sniper versions of the Gewehr 98 rifle entered service with the Reishwehr, and then the Wehrmacht, and were used in World War II.

# 2 – AK – 47

'Classic' dogfight! The AK-47 assault rifle vs. M16 assault rifle
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The AK-47 by Mikhail Kalashnikov is today one of the most durable firearms that have ever existed.

Kalashnikov, who was already involved in the development of firearms, took his experience from World War II and developed what became the most prolific military firearms project in the world, with estimated global production figures ranging from 80 to 100 million.

It was designed for the 7.62x39mm cartridge, which combined the power of a conventional rifle cartridge with the rate of fire and controllability of a submachine gun.

Detachable box-type AK-47, gas-powered, simple, straightforward and simple. The AK is extremely easy to learn and extremely reliable in adverse conditions.

This simplicity also extends to its design and production, with the first version and subsequent AKM variants equipped with a lightweight stamped steel receiver making the rifle cheaper and easier to manufacture, which undoubtedly contributes to the rifle’s almost inexhaustible availability in today’s world.

# 1 – M1 Garand

Top 5 infantry rifles of all time-m1 garand
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Designed by Canadian John C. Garand of the US Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts, the M1 Garand is a gas-powered, semi-automatic seven-shooter.

At the time of its introduction in 1936, the M1 was truly the most advanced weapon system ever created.
It was the first successful design capable of firing a fully functional rifle cartridge in semi-automatic mode.

By 1945 the Springfield Armory and Winchester Repeating Arms Co. produced over 4 million M1 rifles, and for good reason the M1 represented a quantum leap in engineering since ancient Springfield.

The semi-automatic design reduced the recoil to the shooter, which made it possible to train soldiers in less time. The scopes were the best in the history of an American rifle. The rifle was easily disassembled for cleaning and maintenance in the field, which is a huge advantage over Springfield.

Most importantly, the M1 had a much higher rate of fire, delivering 50 to 60 rounds per minute for a medium shooter, three times the firepower of Springfield.

By the end of the M1’s service life, another 2 million rifles were produced.

Read more: Top 5 best American assault rifles in the world

Read more: Top 5 best long-range rifles (sniper rifles) in the world

Read more: Top 5 best assault rifles in the world


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