All About the PTR 91 (G3 Pattern Rifle)

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PTR 91 G.I. General Specifications

  • Caliber: .308 or 7.62 NATO
  • Action: Delayed Blowback Roller-Lock System (Semi-Auto)
  • Overall length: 40 ½”
  • Weight: 9.5 lb
  • Barrel: 18” match grade, H&K profile, tapered barrel
  • Magazine: 20rd

 

Where to begin…

I will start off with the fact that this rifle is pure nostalgia, and definitely belongs in any military battle rifle collector’s collection. It’s different, big and bad, fun, historical and just plain wild. You want a rifle that makes a statement? It’s this one.

For those who aren’t too familiar with the G3 rifles I’ll go over real quick what a delayed roller lock system is, because it’s important to understand this if you plan on owning one.

H&K’s intended purpose of the original design, as the delayed roller lock cuts out the need for a heavy bolt and a stiff spring. The idea behind this was to lighten the rifle. And because the rifle would (potentially) be lighter, it gained an advantage and could fire larger calibers to even out the weight in the end.

Another intended purpose of the design was to create a more accurate design. They figured by making a tighter gun, the gun would fire tighter group. They achieved the “tighter” design by adding the rollers. The rollers sit behind the bolt head, and they are two rubber pieces that lock in place when the rifle is cocked, creating a very tight seal right behind the bolt. The weight that these rollers create spreads across the bolt, which requires the rifle to fire a heavier cartridge regardless since this now requires a TON more force to move this back and forward. There’s a lot of pressure within that seal, which causes the delay in the felt recoil. (Hence, delayed roller lock). The reason it delays is because the pressure builds up when it picks up the next round, and then the round is fired and the pressure is relieved. A little complex.

Click here for image source (and deeper details about this system)

 

Before I go too off-topic, let’s actually talk about the rest of the rifle.

This is my second G3 patterned rifle I have direct hands on experience with. I can say that they are absolutely fun to shoot, and really stands out from a crowd. However, it is heavy and a little awkward to operate. It’s quite an old design, if you’re used to modern day AR’s you’re going to feel a bit out of place when handling this rifle.

 

The charging handle is located on the left side and sits all the way forward on the handguard. It’s non-reciprocating and folds down out of the way, but HEAVY to pull back. Requires a bit of muscling, which I think makes this rifle a little awkward when you’re trying to chamber a round or checking the chamber for a round in it. There is a neat little notch on the back end of the charging handle’s track where you can tuck the handle up into place for easy bolt hold open.

Myth: you can slap that sucker down for fast and easy round chambering!

Answer: DON’T DO THIS. You will wear down the metal on that notch and in extreme cases you won’t be able to hold the bolt open anymore unless you keep holding it by hand. And if that’s not enough to make you stop doing that, you risk chambering the round incorrectly and the rifle will be out of battery and (hopefully for safety’s sake) not be able to fire. I’ve done this personally and seen both results and I can confirm that this does happen. Don’t do it, it’s not good for your rifle and it’s not safe. 

So you’re probably curious about accuracy.

Best way to describe it: combat accurate. Absolutely not sniper rifle material. The rounds can really string out and show inconsistent patterns with groupings. Some people like to scope these rifles, others don’t even bother. I’m the don’t even bother type. It’s fun to shoot and it gets by, but don’t expect anything worth noting accuracy wise. Pretty average in this category, which is alright by me.

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But fortunately, 

The PTR 91 can run steel cased ammo FLAWLESSLY. We ran about 200-300 rounds more or less in one sitting with NO malfunctions with steel ammo (shown above). How amazing is that?! It really helps offset the costs of shooting .308 Win/7.62 NATO (another perk: it likes both)! So now that you can shoot cheap factory ammo, you don’t feel all that bad about missing your target with a big round, and you can take it out more so it doesn’t become a Safe Queen.

Which leads onto the fact that this rifle is reliable, which is very important to a lot of people. We also ran it dirty and dusty with no oil in the hot desert and it wasn’t slowing down.

These rifles need a special kind of love.

Although I said we ran it dry, I wouldn’t recommend leaving it dry. If you remember reading about the roller lock system there’s rubber pieces in there. These pieces can be prone to cracking at times, kinda like when a car tire sits in some extreme elements on the ground (ew).

Keep it on an average level of oil, check it often, and if you don’t plan on firing it for a while, consider using storing grease like **Break Through Battle Born Grease – your rifle will appreciate this.

A few other things to consider….

Which leads me to say that this rifle is not for a first-time buyer. I recommend you have a bit of experience with different types of battle rifles before committing to this one, and even a bit of experience taking down rifles past field stripping stages if you don’t like trips to the gunsmith.

If you plan on using and abusing this rifle or keeping it for the long run, definitely invest in a spare parts kit (emphasizing on the rubber locking rollers). They’re cheap and widely available, so I would really look into it. hkparts.net is a fantastic source for various parts for these rifles (and lots of other HK products as well).

The delayed roller lock, as explained earlier, sports a delayed recoil. This is strange since it feels like an entire second or more before the bolt actually moves and you are hit with the felt recoil, which can throw you off if you’re not used to this, especially in a 30 caliber rifle. This may takes some time to get used to (obviously varying from person to person), especially if you are used to the way a piston driven or direct gas impingement works.

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RECAP

All things considered, this is a great rifle for people with moderate experience in these types of rifles. If you’re looking for a G3 patterned rifle and want the highest quality but within a good intermediate budget, the PTR 91 (PTR Industries) is just that. Reliable, robust, historic, worthy enough for collectors (depending on the model you purchase) and most of all, pure fun.

Pros:

  • Fun
  • Reliably feeds
    • Runs steel cased ammunition
  • Collection Worthy
  • Magazines are cheap (you can buy the mil-surp G3 mags in big packs, I’m using them in this write up)

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Awkward
  • Suffers in accuracy
  • Requires some upkeep/maintenance

 

 

* * I was NOT sponsored to mention this. I mention this because I have been using this grease on all of my own personal guns for quite a while now and it’s now the ONLY stuff I use and recommend to others. It’s a little pricey but well worth the costs as you don’t need to use a lot of product to get great results. I used one syringe on 9 guns in the past 6 months and I still have a ton of product left to use.
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