Monday, April 14, 2014

I just felt like doing a gun post.

This is an early production model of the HK G-3.   They're still being produced by license in some countries though not in Germany.

I have a Century Built G3.  When Century first start producing them with parts kits and American receivers, there were some problems. This rifle features a rather unique bolt, and Century didn't get it quite right.  Mine is from about the middle of the production run, and functions fine. It has black plastic furniture instead of wood.  I bought a complete set of wood furniture from Sportsmans Guide and someday when I get really motivated I am going to swap out the newer plastic for the more attractive (if less functional) wood.

For years, the big issue with the G3 was magazines . They come in two forms, a steel magazine and an aluminium alloy magazine.  Both were expensive,  in the 1980's they ran about $35.00 or $40.00 per example. Then in the mid 1990's the Germans released thousands of magazines, in unissued condition, from their war reserve.  You could buy the steel mags for about $6.00 and the aluminum alloy magazines for $2.00.  I bought about 50 of the latter and another 20 of the steel magazines. I knew this was going to be a one off opportunity.

The G3 aluminum alloy magazines were cheaper of course, and they were lighter.  I read that they
were originally intended for paratroop issue,  but I think it's more likely that one version preceeded the other, and they were simply a different production run.

The steel magazines were much more robust ,and significantly heavier.  Because they cost more, I didn't buy as many of them but I laid in a good supply.

With a semi-automatic rifle, it pays to have a lot of magazines. They don't last forever, even with good care.  Feed lips get bent, springs go bad, followers get bent. Some of this stuff you can repair, if you have the appropriate parts. Sometimes though, you just have to put a magazine in the scrap box and cannibalize it for parts down the road.

Obviously, aluminum alloy magazine bodies are going to be more susceptible to dents and other damage than steel.  Having a good supply of both types makes sense, especially when there is a short period of time where the price has dipped significantly. After market mags for rifles like the G3 can sometimes be hard to find, and when you do find them they may not function as well as the originals.

The HK G3 chambers the 7.62X51 NATO round.  I've used both that and Winchester .308 in my rifle without the slightest difficulty.  Overall, the G3 is a good, stout weapon that you can rely on. Parts are a bit hard to find but you can still do it.


  1. Never messed with one but I will say it is a handsome rifle.

    1. They feature in some of Rawles' novels. He is big on standardizing weapons within a group, which makes good sense. He favors the Springfield version of the M14, and the G3.

      The cocking lever is way up on the front of the rifle and that takes some getting used to for an American, but it can sure put the lead down range "mos riki tik."

  2. An attractive weapon, and I'd very much like to see yours with a wooden stock. Seems like an appropriate project for a hot and humid summer day? Happy belated birthday as well, I hope we get to follow many more, and I especially liked the whiskey post.

  3. Yeah, they are pretty. I don't really like the black plastic furniture. Oh, I know it doesn't warp and all that, and wood will, but I just like wood. Thanks , I hope I'm around a while yet myself. As long as I don't have a stroke or something like that. If I do, I have a solemn promise from a friend to finish me off so I can go out with some dignity.

  4. I have a few of the PTR-91 copies (or as I call 'em - HKlones). The guy who started the business went to Portugal, bought the HK factory that was built there by HK to do the military contract, and shipped it back to the US. For the first few years all the parts (except receiver) were HK parts. Dealer price on them these days is usually right around $1000 and there are often sales where they are $899 or $950.

    They compare extremely favorably to the originals, although in some early models there was an issue if you shot tar-sealed ammo.

    What happened was that the Germans switched over to the G36 (.223) from the G3 (.308). When that happened, all those G3s and, more importantly, their logistics train, became surplus. Obviously the Germans couldnt ship the G#s to the US market, but enterprising souls could torchh the receiver and salvage every other part of the gun which was then uncontrolled. So, for a few years there, the US was awash in dirt cheap HK G3 parts, magazines, slings, optics, etc, etc. At the lowest point, aluminum G3 mags were ninetyseven cents each from Cheaper Than Dirt. When was the last time you saw anything stamped 'HK' for less than a buck? No lie, I picked up 600 of the mags. At the time, if you wanted a .308 battle rifle and fifty magazines, a PTR was the cheapest way to go... while a basic M1A or FAL was around $1250 with one or two mags, a fella could buy one PTR-91 and over 100 mags for the same money. So, even though the ergonomics were a little annoying, the cheap and abundant logistics supply made it, to me, a good choice.

    I am not a fan of anything built by Century Arms (although their new forged receiver AKs seem nice) and the HK roller system is not something to be assembled by amateur gunplumbers like the clowns at Century...but, if yours works then , by all means, keep it. If it were me, I'd probably try to sell it off for a recent production PTR but that's me.

    As an aside, if you dont already have them, I would advise you to grab all the spare parts and accessories you can right now before the availability goes down and prices go up.

  5. I've been buying parts from Sarco and Numrich for most of my guns when I could. I have some of the essentials, but I only have the one G3 rifle so it's not like Mauser parts, where I need a pretty good supply.

    My G3 works fine, it has a lot of rounds down range and I've never had any trouble with it. The PTR rifles have a good reputation, but I never really wanted to lay out the money for a G3 type. I do have a Cetme, which is a nice shooter. I have not found that G3 mags work very well in it, contrary to what a lot of the gun forum threads avere, but then, I have a lot of Cetme steel mags so it doesn't matter.

    You bought even more of the magazines than I did, and why not. At that price, you can hardy go wrong and no one can really have too many magazines for a semi-auto rifle if they intend to give it some serious use.

    I don't think we will be seeing any more German equipment or parts on the market. They signed that UN treaty to destroy military surplus arms, ammunition and related material rather than sell it on the open market. I have seen plenty of adds in Shotgun News saying that they are grinding up unissued and new condition Walther P-1's. Whether that is true, or simple scare tactics on the part of advertisers I do not know, but some of the people putting out adds saying that are reputable firms who have been in the business for many years.

  6. Harry,


    I was at walmart yesterday and there was a about 15 or 20 Spam Cans of Russkie ammo, 7.62 * 39 and .223 on the shelf.

    No 7.62 * 54R....

    I know them Spam Cans will go the way of the dinosours so its a sight I will miss.

    I did have fun at Walmart also talking to a Afghan War veteran and two Navy veterans. We were having a fun time bragging about our guns and swapping stories. The poor Walmart employee's all thought we were nuts.

    The Afghan war veteran told me how he watched as a bent barrel of an Ak-47 was heated and hammered back into shape. Then the barrel was reinstalled and a shoelace was dipped into old motor oil and then ran down the barrel of the AK. The AK was fired and the accuracy was off a little but the rifle worked...

    That kinda stuff gives AR-15 snob's nightmares:)

    I like AK's, AR-15's (if they are built well and have 18 inch barrels) Any rifle that is super reliable, fairly accurate and fairly easy to maintain is ok with me.

    1. Nothing wrong with an AK47. I like them just fine.

      Tula puts out amm in spam cans, I think Barnual (sp) does too. You can always get it from the catalog guys. So far I haven't heard anything about Obama trying to ban it, maybe he has other things to worry about. I hope so.

  7. I've been wanting a PTR91 for some time now but the $ hasn't been budgeted yet. I bought my mags a while back though. I think I have about ~ 150.
    I've been a FAL man for a few years, ever since the "kit" building was the rage.

    1. Get the PTR - the prices arent going to go down, the gun is excellent, and the mag/parts are still mighty cheap....but the opportunity to kit out your PTR for only a few bucks will not last forever. Couple years from now youre gonna be kicking yourself if you dont strike while the iron is hot.

    2. Take a look at the on line gun auctions. The PTR rifles seem to show up there ever so often. As you say though, you have to have the extra jing and right now I don't know too many people who are flush. Especially rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's today.

  8. I've gun lusted after a PTR-91 for some time. Even have 40-50 mags stashed away for one. Unfortunately got em after the the price jumped to *gasp* 2 bucks a piece but still a very historically cheap price. May get one some day.

    That being said as HK spare parts kits get into unobtanium pricing and the AR-10 game gets better I am not so sure. As lots of accessories and mags standardize to the M110/ SR-25 the logistics situation is getting easier for the AR-10. Also an AR-10 would fit my .308 concept of use of 'throwing pretty accurate hate that can punch through modest cover out to 500-600m+' and I have a decade plus countless cases of ammo into familiarization with the platform.

    In any case it is a very nice rifle.

    1. It's like shopping for a truck. If you poke around long enough you'll find one you like at a good price.