SLR v SA80 the results are in

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
I guess a main consideration is the real back-to-back comparison for most was they did years with the SLR, then were handed the A1 SA80 - as was I. It was pooh, accurate when it worked and the mag hadn't fallen off, otherwise it didn't instil confidence. Op Granby did little to change that, and I can't recall Bos & Kos changing anyone's mind either.

Perhaps if they went directly from the SLR to the A3, the conversation would be quite different.

Was there any standard issue kit that was decent in the 80's & 90's for the average Squaddie, remembering that lower down the food chain 58 webbing was still standard stuff for lots and BCH were wrecking people's feet for fun?
You forgot 85 Pattern clothing. Utter gash.

So, I suppose the answer is 'no'.
 
I guess a main consideration is the real back-to-back comparison for most was they did years with the SLR, then were handed the A1 SA80 - as was I. It was pooh, accurate when it worked and the mag hadn't fallen off, otherwise it didn't instil confidence.
That would be those regulars at the front of the issue queue, who got the early production rifles that were indeed gash from a disinterested factory at Enfield. Fortunately, us STABs got late-production SA80 made on new machinery in Nottingham with all of the modifications already fitted; and they just... worked. And kept working.

My "back to back comparison" was with an SLR with a shot-out barrel that could barely group to 4" (no more new barrels in the system, hadn't been for a couple of years), battered magazines in the armoury that were showing their age, and the SUIT sight with that top-down pointer.
 
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Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
What about the choice between a 5.7 x28 P90 & a 5.56 x45 L85?
Easy, the L85.
  • Combat troops with an operational requirement to kill the enemy out to 300m? L85 every time.
  • Rear area troops that may have to defend their site / convoy? L85 every time.
  • Staff Officers sat inside a Formation HQ all day, who might be confronted with Spetsnaz on their way to their scratcher? P90 or MP7 is better than a pistol, I suppose, but I'd rather have a rifle.
IMHO L85 was better than the SLR, and far better than the SMG.
 

Arse_Bandit

Old-Salt
I'm old enough and ugly enough to know that my whistful recollection of how awesome the SLR was is clouded by time and rose tinted contact lenses.
I've carried both and shot both (neither in anger as my personal weapon on all armed mobs was a German eagle stamped browning).
I've also shot a long and occasionally bizarre list of firearms and fairly recently got to shoot an SLR again allowing me to compare without the rose tint in the way. It was only a few rounds but it reminded me of the day I put around 350 rounds through one in a live BN FTX, I ended the day with a bruised shoulder and a black eye.
I used to be a pretty good shot with the SLR ironsights and the L85 meant I basically didn't have to try any more, optics and virtually no recoil made range days a breeze, the sling is an amazing leap forward and meant the end to making you carry the SLR without the sling attached to stop you being a lazy biff and carrying it over your shoulder...
I think the only criticism I ever had of the L85 was the mag at the back meant it tended to be dug into the floor when prone, but I guess that's mainly a product of me being a fat dwarf! Plus the shit tinny mags that were originally issued that caused probably most of the reliability issues.
The L85 is a million % better for FIBUA, even if you know the matchstick trick and have access to LMG mags.

Hear endeth the opinion of a fat retired biff who still likes to shoot, and who from a very early age had a fascination with the engineering of small arms.

Anyway, back to cleaning my 2 band Enfield muzzle loader ;-)
 

TamH70

MIA
Easy, the L85.
  • Combat troops with an operational requirement to kill the enemy out to 300m? L85 every time.
  • Rear area troops that may have to defend their site / convoy? L85 every time.
  • Staff Officers sat inside a Formation HQ all day, who might be confronted with Spetsnaz on their way to their scratcher? P90 or MP7 is better than a pistol, I suppose, but I'd rather have a rifle.
IMHO L85 was better than the SLR, and far better than the SMG.

L85 with or without optics? Without? Nah, it'll be fine, gimme the weapon that was actually designed for the role, and won the NATO trials for it, only not to be adopted because Ze Chermans threw a wobbly. My old Corps had me in a role that meant most of the time my L85 was shoved somewhere the hell out of the way because it just got in the way. The P90 at least looks portable, isn't fussed about what shoulder you fire it from, and has twenty more rounds to feed itself with every time you change the magazine.

With optics? Okay, fine, but give me enough range time to practice how to use the thing properly.
 
I wonder if this type of moaning happened, when the Army introduced the Martini/Henry to replace the Enfield Muzzle loader rifle.

I bet there was some moaning, since there were ‘faults’ with the Martini Henry only found out when used in dry dusty places and had to have improvements. I could be talking twaddle since this is all from memory but:

Split cases since rolled brass used for cartridges
Extractor problems, so longer lever introduced
Cocked/uncocked indicator fitted

Given that there’s less working parts to an MH then not that many changes, but as I recall, a few soldiers of the queen got skewered in Egypt (?) because the early MHs had faults.
 
".....those MkI Longbows were good, the MkII's were crap because the yew wasn't as good and when they did the MkII* that was awful with cheap bowstring too but they were still better than those stupid cross bow things. Took a bloody age to load and the quarrels kept sliding off the thing. Bloody crap. Give me a MkI long bow anyday."

Agincourt 1415 - it is the soldier's lot to complain and we can go round and round with this discussion.
(ps - SLR looked cool and I got the line of chips on my glasses. SA80 looked modern and was easy to use. I was a sapper and I always liked my so easy to clean SMG until I got the less easy to clean SA80 and also knew that if the other side got close enough for me to ever load anything in anger things were tits up and I'd be looking to fix bayonets )
 
I was a sapper and I always liked my so easy to clean SMG until I got the less easy to clean SA80 and also knew that if the other side got close enough for me to ever load anything in anger things were tits up and I'd be looking to fix bayonets )
Now I know ya lying, sappers don’t clean weapons, they carefully put them in a bin bag on receipt and hand them back from the bag at endex!
 
I’ve not read the whole thread, but I noted a few comments along the lines that the SLR was almost fully formed and perfect on adoption and didn’t go through The changes and upgrades the L85 needed.

But wasn’t the SLR a 1940s Belgian design Followed years of trials and changes by a number of countries for universal adoption for NATO prior to be adopted by the UK in the late 50s so it had its quirks ironed out by then, and then the UK had further changes overlaid on it before final adoption?

SLR wIth stripper clip loading into the magazine? That was one of the early trials rifles, a feature kept by the Canadians IIRC but not the UK.
 
The only major failure I personally had with an L85-A1 (or L86 I suppose?) was with the gas-plug (or whatever it was called; the steel cylinder fitting in to the gas-block and within which the piston reciprocated). Admittedly it was an LSW firing blank (ie. on an exercise) so might have been a bit hammered, but the ring on the gas-plug sheared off, leaving the gas-plug half out of the gas-block and the weapon stopping. Of course, the fitting of the TMH to the uppers was also knackered, but that was to be expected.

It took a couple of goes before I identified the problem, then discovered that the nearest rifleman refused to dismantle his rifle to give me the gas-plug, despite this being the drill at the time. There was no surprised reaction when handing the LSW back in to the armoury, as failures were so frequent.

So, the question is whether the gas-plug was modified during the later improvements? Hopefully it was, but at the A2 stage or the A3 ?

Edit: Lack of distinction between the rifle and the LSW
 
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I’ve not read the whole thread, but I noted a few comments along the lines that the SLR was almost fully formed and perfect on adoption and didn’t go through The changes and upgrades the L85 needed.

But wasn’t the SLR a 1940s Belgian design Followed years of trials and changes by a number of countries for universal adoption for NATO prior to be adopted by the UK in the late 50s so it had its quirks ironed out by then, and then the UK had further changes overlaid on it before final adoption?

SLR wIth stripper clip loading into the magazine? That was one of the early trials rifles, a feature kept by the Canadians IIRC but not the UK.

You may well think that, a design solely from the genius brain of Dieudonné Saive.

For those of you old enough to have used that beloved rifle, does this look vaguely familiar?

SVT-40-Bolt-1.jpg


A tilting, rear-locking bolt in a distinctively-profiled bolt carrier, which is from a Russian SVT-40.
The FAL gas regulating system is allegedly similar to the AVS-36.
The SVT designation means Samozaryadnaya Vintovka Tokareva, Tokarev's Self-Loading Rifle.

For the benefit of those too young to have encountered an SLR (probably most people), the corresponding parts looked like this, The bolt is tilted to a different angle relative to the carrier, to show the rear-locking lug..

SLR_bolt.jpg





"The SVT-38 is a gas-operated rifle with a short-stroke, spring-loaded piston above the barrel and a tilting bolt. This configuration gained wider acceptance later. There is some dispute about who exactly first developed this operating principle, as the SVT's mechanism (as implemented in 1935 competition prototype) closely resembles Dieudonné Saive's design of 1937; Saive eventually designed both the FN-49 and FN FAL, which use similar operating principles."

The beloved SLR is a Belgian knock-off of a Russian design. The Russian version was more powerful, it needed a muzzle brake. It had been around since 1938 and Saive and FN spent the intervening years refining it into the FAL via the SLEM-1 and the FN-49.

The tragedy of this is, that by the time the British Army got the SLR in 1954, the Russian equivalent was obsolete, superseded twice in fact. First by the SKS (intermediate cartridge, same locking system) and then by Comrade Kalashnikov's nasty toy (intermediate cartridge, 30 round mag and rotating bolt). The SLR was a giant leap backwards from the EM-2. It was an excellent rifle for it's time, but its time was about 1940, it was far beyond it's best-before date by the time the British got it.

The Russian squaddies probably bitched like fcuk when the SVT-40 was binned for the puny 7.62 x 39mm replacements.

I'm not criticising Saive for nicking the design, he picked the most suitable action for his design; I'd have done the same. Other designers had used tilting bolts before Tokarev. Besides which, if the Comrades hadn't bothered to patent it, then it's fair game.

SLRs should henceforth be called SVT-54s, just to wind certain people up.
 
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I’ve not read the whole thread, but I noted a few comments along the lines that the SLR was almost fully formed and perfect on adoption and didn’t go through The changes and upgrades the L85 needed.

But wasn’t the SLR a 1940s Belgian design Followed years of trials and changes by a number of countries for universal adoption for NATO prior to be adopted by the UK in the late 50s so it had its quirks ironed out by then, and then the UK had further changes overlaid on it before final adoption?

SLR wIth stripper clip loading into the magazine? That was one of the early trials rifles, a feature kept by the Canadians IIRC but not the UK.
A magazine charger was issued as part of the equipment with the SLR along with cleaning kit and foresight protector. You had to clip the charger on to the mouth of a magazine, and it would then accept the 5 round clips. Finicky and easy to lose.
1627004588535.jpeg
 

Heartbreaklane

War Hero
I guess a main consideration is the real back-to-back comparison for most was they did years with the SLR, then were handed the A1 SA80 - as was I. It was pooh, accurate when it worked and the mag hadn't fallen off, otherwise it didn't instil confidence. Op Granby did little to change that, and I can't recall Bos & Kos changing anyone's mind either.

Perhaps if they went directly from the SLR to the A3, the conversation would be quite different.

Was there any standard issue kit that was decent in the 80's & 90's for the average Squaddie, remembering that lower down the food chain 58 webbing was still standard stuff for lots and BCH were wrecking people's feet for fun?
I ended up being issued the A1 whilst still issued with 58 pattern webbing. The bayonet kept falling out of the frog. A couple of lads lost theirs on ex and spent their weekend searching for them on Dartmoor to avoid a charge. Lads were securing theirs with para-cord after that.
 

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