Modernizing the G3: The Swedish AK4C, Norwegian AG3F2 and More

Of all the classic 7.62mm battle rifles of the Cold War, only the G3 remains in modern military service updated to serve alongside the more recent 5.56mm rifles (no, the M14 DMR rifles don’t count). Why the G3, and how? Today we will take a look at a clone of a Norwegian AG3F2 and a sort-of clone of a Swedish AK4D with its Spuhr stock and handguard.

35 Comments

  1. In relation to this video concerning alternative stocks for the G3 rifle . After watching the previous video on the paratrooper version, I built a working model of an under folder, that addresses the cheekwell issue and works flawlessly.
    Although the common thinking is the longer pull would be an issue it is surprisingly not, in fact the balance holding the rifle at the magazine is an almost perfect balance point on a G3 or other variants. I would like to show my concept but see no opportunity to send a photo or video.

  2. Interesting. I had always thought the FAL was the preferred rifle. I had not considered the M14 in detail concerning details of their refurbishment for use. I did not know there were no “sniper” variants of the FAL.
    A good presentation.

  3. I listened to a lecture by Mr.Spuhr and what came across to me was that he understands human-machine interface. By extending useable life of G3 rifles his work permitted substantial savings to respective countries militaries. This is a perfect case of returning “forgotten weapons” back into service.

  4. I used both G3 and FAL during my national service as in Greece we had both. The G3 was adopted as a better financial deal, spreading production licences every where. The Belgians had not such a need as they had a better product i think.Today the world comes back to the gas piston as the time of toying around with other systems has ended.The FAL is more a gun, but its reability doesn’t help replacement, money circulation,comerce,etc. It’s not expendable.In many years it needs only to replace the piston ! I forgot ! The empty magazine on the gun makes noise during walking… FALOs with QCB and double drums mags would be perfect. In any case, FAL doesn’t overheat rapidly like the G3.I’ll miss it.

    • Yes you are right.I used the FAL here in Canada years ago,and it was solid,durable arm. Just as with cars,if guns never wore out,the industry would suffer.Something to think about when people say they want a car that will last forever. Too many people unemployed,and that’s bad for everyone.It leads to revolutions and war,not a good thing.

      • The G3 was designed for the great patriotic war part 2: electric boogaloo. Hence it being designed to be made cheap and fast. Although G3s are actually very durable and are still in service all around the world. The FN FAL is a more of a peacetime desing, when you have the time to make a complicated gun with many small fiddly parts and complicated machining.

    • This is my question too. I was one time involved in documentation update for Canadian FAL.
      One thing I remember is the piston and its cylinder, dimensioning/tolerancing is fancy – more than it needs to be. There are too many individual settings. Next thing- machining of FAL receiver out of a slab takes time and the tooling/ machining cost. The HK rifle with its sheet metal housing looks simple in comparison.

      • Even if that is true, all the development is complete and the rounds standardized. I’m willing to bet Lake Cities could be producing ammunition for M14’s and SCAR-H (MK17’s)in just a couple of months and I see no reason why 5.56mm ammunition could also be developed.

  5. Actually the Stgw 57 HAS BEEN MADE made in 7.62×51 as well – this model was called the SIG 510-4 and was sold to Chile, who was the only OTHER user of the Swiss rifle. BTW – they still use it, and photos of Multicam-clad figures debussing from a HMMWV wielding that Elephant Gun during the desert training in 2019-dated photos were a bit of a shock for me 🙂 They were much more in place seen in photos from the 1973 Pinochet coup

    • They also made a civilian version of the Sig 57 called the Sig AMT in .308. Shoots very well, easy motion. Have been told the action is based on an MG42. Not sure on that but the recoil is not jarring.

      Also, like most Sigs I have shot, it will swallow any ammunition you feed into it.

      • It is, but it isn’t. The MG42 has a rolled-locked, recoil-operated mechanism.

        The SIG and G3 have a roller “half-locked” (aka delayed blowback) mechanism derived from the Mauser Gerat 06(H) and MG45 prototypes from the end of the war.

        The half-locked system was indeed derived from the 42s rollers, but works very differently.

        Hope that makes sense.

  6. An interesting, often overlooked early upgrade to the G3 was the free floating barrel (FS stamp “Freischwinger”), done after ~1983 in germany and a bit later also in most (or all?) G3 user countries. I guess it contributed to the effective precision of the plattform, especially when used with a scope and a bipod and it’s lifespan.

    The delayed blowback machanism made it relatively easy to convert the G3 to a version with a free floating barrel compared to rifles like the FAL. The fact that the upper receiver is directly connected to the barrel makes it a better plattform for mounting an optic compared to the FAL.

    • More on the floating barrel. First about triple frame. Triple frame is the part with 3 circles, bottom one mounted on barrel, middle one holds forward end of cocking tube, and top one holds the front sight. CETME C uses a tight fit of cocking tube in triple frame. If not carefully maintained that slip joint becomes rusted fixed. In use the barrel heats up and expands in length. The cocking tube does not heat up and expand. So cocking tube pulls on middle of triple frame, bending the barrel enough to impact point of impact. Also fore grip is clamped onto barrel like standard AR-15. G3 has front end of cocking tube tapered to be a very loose fit. On that tapered piece is a hanger with small tube. The G3 fore grip mounts to that hanger with a pin. Nothing should touch the barrel. This is sometimes called cantilever mounting.

  7. Just read that Irish Defense Force is looking to replace it’s FN FALs in their DMR/sniper support roles. Still think these and other rifles like them will linger in second and third line duty for several more years.

  8. Back in the 50s/60s, the deal on cost was, essentially, that if you were an army, you could get three G3s for the cost of two FALs.

    It’s very questionable of Ian to claim that the G3 was “more successful” than the FAL. The FAL almost always beat the G3 in trials, and was much more widely adopted (and, despite what he says, was used in temperate areas, the Arctic, deserts, jungles, basically everywhere). The G3 was basically the economy option, good enough but not quite a FAL. Which is why it was used by countries with big armies and small budgets like Turkey or Iran or Pakistan.

    The G3 also came into its own in the 80s when you needed to mount optics (the FAL was never designed for optics and is a pig to scope), whether as a service rifle of a DMR (G3s are accurate), and/or your local Special Ninja Force wanted a rifle that had the same manual of arms as their MP5s, or wanted a short thumper like the G3K. Or just wanted stuff that was different and therefore better than the regular infantry, and, hey, it was German, so it must be the best, right?

    The G3 is a very good rifle (so, probably is the SG510-4). But the historical fact is that the FAL was, as they used to say in the ads, “the free world’s right arm”.

    • Consider countries who adopted HK G3 rifle (from West to East. leaving Nordic and Latin countries out):
      – Portugal
      – Spain
      – Greece
      – Turkye
      – Iran
      – Pakistan
      – Bangladesh
      – Myanmar

      That is a huge commercial success.

      • I don’t know how you can purge the Latin from Spain & Portugal, but yes, the G3 was a successful rifle.

        I sincerely doubt the US Navy has replaced all of their shipboard bog-stock M-14s w/ AR patterns other than in the submarine service. The M-14 was still being used for shore parties as late as the 1990’s, from what I’ve heard.

  9. IMHO
    G3 is simpler and cheaper.
    FAL is more reliable and durable.
    Both dislike sand and dust.
    G3 (against FAL) has a weak upper. It “stretches” as it is used. Sometimes to cracks, but usually the rifle will stop working sooner from wear.
    G3 (it seems) nobody could produce except the Germans.
    FAL was produced by all and sundry, like AK/AKM.

    It seems to me that FAL is preferable “for itself” and G3 “for that piece of meat”.

    What is in the video definitely doesn’t feel like “Modernizing.
    Normal semi-factory tuning.
    Which will add neither reliability nor durability.
    Except that,
    will slightly improve the custom properties. Although, such “improvement” is rather doubtful.

    And the scope, if desired, can be installed on both of these fossils.

    • I think the production problems were due to bad stampings? Stamping issues has seemed to be the bane of a lot of reliable designs

      • I’m not talking about samples from the video. I am not familiar with them.
        Although, it is not necessary to do ballistic calculations to say with confidence “if you drop a brick, it will fall.”
        I’m talking about the entire G3 family.
        What is it anyway?
        This is an assault rifle developed according to the MP42 ideology.
        This is an SMG for mass use in the third world war.
        This means that it is adapted for fast and low cost production.
        And no outstanding properties are required, all the same, in a big war, such devices do not live too long.
        This is the opponent of AK47. This means an ersatz automaton.
        Such a STEN-STG.
        But, unlike the STEN, there are many more mating parts.
        Therefore, an incomparably higher level of production culture is required.

        Therefore, for example Pakistani G3, this
        https://no-kill-switch.ghost.io/content/images/size/w1200/2016/10/cargo.jpg
        Therefore, any attempts to “take the remains of the rifles and stick everything else to them” will lead to a similar result.
        A kind of version of Saiga 308 at the cost of SCAR.

        • It might be interesting if it was an exact copy of the original G3.
          And now it’s just another frankengun.
          With highly questionable properties.

  10. I seem to remember a Q&A years ago, either on here or InRange.com, where Ian described the G3 as a gun he really hated! I did I dream that?

    • You are not wrong, but that was with the traditonal furniture and years ago. Since he has gotten himself a left-handed version and a SPUHR made stock, which chanced his opinion profundely.

  11. A. The M-14 should still count. As long as it’s pulling its weight and not the military equivalent of the safe queen that never fired a shot in anger, it rates. B. Great piece. The modernization program for G-3s was a fantastic idea, and I wonder how much they looked to PTR for inspiration on that welded rail. Is the Spuhr stock really that much better (i.e. worth the big $$$)?

  12. Another cheap improvement is to change 2 position G3A3 collapsible stock to 4 position. There is a parts place that can mill your collapsible stock to add 2 extra positions. Now it can fit body armor, short arms, or winter coats. I don’t remember where off hand but web search should locate them.

  13. I have the AK4B as service rifle (Swedish home guard) used the FN FNC (AK5) in the regular army. On the range i prefer the AK4 any day, in the field not so much…

    I haven’t got the C issued yet (covid) but some in my platoon gmhave, it feels like a great improvement. Hopefully I will get the “sharpshooter edition” (4x scope).

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