Let's talk bullpup rifles, SBRs, and close quarter engagements

Discussion in 'Rifles & Shotguns' started by B81, May 12, 2019.

  1. B81

    B81 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
    I was procrastinating the other day, and I found myself researching AR pistols for close quarter fighting, with emphasis on inside the home and on urban streets.

    The urban street scenario is admittedly a self indulgent SHTF fantasy/paranoia. Although, localized breakdowns of civilization do sometimes occur. So, I think it's scenario that can be entertained without donning the aluminum foil beanie protectors.

    Anyway, as I meandered the world of AR pistols and SBRs, I was reminded of the bullpup. Many of these have an overall length close to that of 10.5" barreled SBR, but achieve this with a 16" barrel. This means that you can shoot conventional 5.56 ammo without loss of effectiveness and increase in noise that you get with a 10.5" SBR. The only practical limitation I can see is that the brass will eject to your face when you shoot weak side (a known issue for some designs). I hear triggers are not as crisp due to the long linkage mechanism needed to span the action being behind the trigger. But, CQB is not precision work.

    I see that some foreign militaries are adopting the bullpup in place of the carbine. Israel being an obvious example.

    Does anyone here have experience with a bullpup? Which bullpups have you tried? What was your experience like? If you abandoned the platform, what was the deal breaker for you?
  2. pscipio03

    pscipio03 Fun O' Meter on FULL

    Mar 11, 2013
    Too many cons with a bullpup to make it worthwhile IMO.
    For one, if you ever shoot them in an indoor range, you get some serious audible feedback (loud as hell to the shooter), because of how far back the action is in relation to your ear.
    One-size-fits-all of the M16 stock was corrected with adjustable stocks. If bullpups offer this, I’ve yet to see one.
    Ever try to change a mag on a rifle behind your firing hand? It’s odd and not self intuitive.
    Triggers SUCK because of the linkage. So, inevitably that means your long range accuracy will suck. So, that derails the reason for having a longer barrel than 11.5”. And, if you want a shorter package for CQB where accuracy isn’t as important, get a SBR. Essentially it defeats its own reason for being invented.
    They are a lot more complex in parts. More parts= harder to do a detail strip and more things to break.

    I wanted a Tavor badly, so I spent some time with some over about a year before buying. I figured out why very few countries have adopted the bullpup design for their military- the design is great in concept, not so great in operation.
    gaijin, Kip, seawolfxix and 1 other person like this.

  3. tarosean

    tarosean Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2013
    The AUG saw widespread use over the decades its been around.. Heck I still see them routinely in the Middle East. Seen a few FAMAS in France, of course, but not much else.

    now.. Do I own one? nope
    Would I? just for the novelty sure.
    Would I make it my go to weapon? probably not.
  4. ChuckC

    ChuckC Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Feb 2, 2016
    In an engagement of less than 300 meters any loss of accuracy by a shorter SBR barrel is only what is perceived by the shooter. A short barrel shoots just as accurately, you just loose sight radius but realistically I imagine you're putting at least a red dot on whatever you decide.

    I haven't seen a lot of bullpups with favorable ergonomics in terms of adjustments of length of pull and the armpit reload feels weird. If you're dead set on a 16 barrel get a law folding adapter. I've only messed with an AUG, And it was just as loud as any SBR I've used.
  5. pscipio03

    pscipio03 Fun O' Meter on FULL

    Mar 11, 2013
    Hence my point. Compare, maybe what- 7 countries that have adopted the Bullpup vs AK/AR platform.
  6. B81

    B81 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
    Accuracy aside, doesn't 5.56 loose start to loose effectiveness as you start cutting down the barrel much past 14.5 inches? I understand that some ammo manufacturers (e.g. Hornady) have started producing special purpose SBR ammo, and one can also consider switching to 300 BLK. However, if you can get a rifle with the compact dimensions of an SBR while keeping the carbine length barrel (16"), then there is no need to change up your ammo. That seems like an advantage.

    Just playing devil's advocate...
  7. ChuckC

    ChuckC Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Feb 2, 2016
    Not at those ranges. And going from 16 to 10.5 costs about 200 fps depending on ammo selection. Trajectory isn't affected much until you start reaching out at 300+ meters, which most would not consider CQB anymore. 10.5 is a really handy length for a pistol or SBR. And as you mentioned, a 9 or 10 300 blackout is a great alternative if you want a short stick that hits a little harder.
    salelcid, Wake27 and B81 like this.
  8. pscipio03

    pscipio03 Fun O' Meter on FULL

    Mar 11, 2013
    Well, that's the point. All things considered equal, an 18" barrel will be more accurate than an 11.5" barrel at longer ranges. So, if you took a Mk18 then replaced the barrel with an 18" one, your long range accuracy will increase by a fair margin at 350+ meters.
    So, theoretically a bullpup with an 18 barrel should be more accurate than the Mk18. However, the action on bullpups are really clunky by design and the trigger plays a very important roll in accuracy. In essence, the problem it's designed to fix (accuracy issues out of a short barrel) is now negatively affected by other factors inherent with the design of the platform and the trigger action. It negates itself.
  9. pscipio03

    pscipio03 Fun O' Meter on FULL

    Mar 11, 2013
    Now, that said, I would take a bullpup AK if one was given to me. AK's aren't the most accurate platforms in the first place, so you really have more upside with the bullpup in this regard. But, and I am assuming since I've never fired a 7.62x39 bullpup, I have to imagine the noise is even louder next to your ear out of that platform.
  10. john_anch_ak

    john_anch_ak Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 7, 2017
    I've always liked the bull pup design but the trigger sucks because of the linkage that is required. If that every gets fixed I may buy one.
  11. B81

    B81 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
    My understanding is that the accuracy (group size) is practically independent of barrel length. The barrel length does, however, impact velocity, which in turn impacts terminal ballistics (wounding ability, lethality).

    For example, the folks as Sage Defense claim that M855 ball ammo needs to maintain a velocity above 2500 FPS to maintain its lethality (source: http://www.sadefensejournal.com/wp/barrel-length-studies-in-5-56mm-nato-weapons/)

    Now, 10.5 barrel will still keep you above 2500 FPS at close range. So maybe this is a mute point. But, if you can poke holes at 3000 FPS, wouldn't the hydrostatic shock be more intense, and increase the wound size? This is part of the appeal of a longer barrel.

    Unfortunately, the info I've been able to find on wounding mechanisms of 5.56 ball has been somewhat inconsistent. Some sources cite to hydrostatic shock as being the primary wounding mechanism. Other sources point to tumbling as the primary mechanism. I've even come across anecdotes of door kickers shooting threats at point blank ranges, only for the round to "ice pick" through the bad guy leaving him unaware that he's been shot. If this is true, then the theory of hydrostatic shock is wrong, and tumbling/fragmentation is what matters.

    The counter argument to all this is that you don't need to constrain yourself to M855 ball. Just as we use special purpose HD ammo for our handguns, why not use the special purpose SBR ammo for when it really matters?
    Wake27 likes this.
  12. Geoff

    Geoff Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2016
    266B7395-CE1D-443F-AF2B-69C792E6EBC1.jpeg Built this .300 BO on a 10.5 in Noveske barrel. It is wicked good, does everything I would want an SBR to do and is a very effective hog gun at reasonable ranges. Add the suppressor and it is even more impressive. More bells and whistles that one needs, but hey, I built it for myself.
    Mike Meints and B81 like this.
  13. pscipio03

    pscipio03 Fun O' Meter on FULL

    Mar 11, 2013
    Meh... not sure that's wholly correct. Barrel length will give the bullet more time to stabilize before leaving the barrel. I've heard the theory that longer barrel only gives more velocity which translates into less drop/wind effect. Even Noveske was a large believer in this. However, I don't necessarily buy into that completely. I can always get my bullet going faster with a heavier charge behind it (assuming I don't get to critical levels). I mean with an AR, having a thick-ass barrel will assist as well due to barrel whip. Plus twist rates to bullet weight/ogive location; and so on and so on. You can what-if the hell out of ballistics and only find that there's another factor to consider. Truly the one thing that affects accuracy out of an AR barrel more than anything is ammo selection with twist rate. A 1:7 will better stabilize a heavier gr bullet than a 1:10 will. But, lighter gr bullets will begin to yaw (the ass end will start to spin faster than the front can stabilize the bullet itself) and you get tumbling out of a tighter twist barrel. Over distances this is magnified.
    But again, if there's a factor entered into the equation that detracts from the longer barrel option, you made the entire argument moot.
  14. pscipio03

    pscipio03 Fun O' Meter on FULL

    Mar 11, 2013
    But if you have an itch for a bullpup, by all means scratch it. I'm not going to tell you it's a bad idea. I'm just going to say don't try to validate the purchase using logic. If you want one, get one and have a blast. Hopefully you're never put into a situation where you need 300+ meters of accuracy outside of target shooting anyway.
    jmr986 likes this.
  15. Wake27

    Wake27 Active Member

    Oct 16, 2017
    I only shot a Tavor briefly, but I hated it. The ergonomics were weird AF. Sure, enough time on it could make it better, but the AR is an incredibly ergonomic rifle and I doubt it’s ever going to be beat by a bullpup there. As was said, 200yd and in shouldn’t see a significant difference in terminal performance from 10.5-16. The key, is not using 855, as you eluded to. That **** is hot garbage. Get an 11.5 or 12.5 and quality ammo (I like Gold Dots) and you’re set.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    ChuckC likes this.
  16. Sneaky One

    Sneaky One Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2016
    My answer to that niche weapon for home and truck defense. 8" barrel 27 inches overall in 300 blkout. 6.3 lbs before accessories. Aimpoint micro T2. I think it is ideal Very accurate to 100 yards. That is as far as I have shot it.
    Mike Meints, Wake27 and B81 like this.
  17. Dwe

    Dwe I'm a terminal 1911 Addict!

    Sep 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
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  18. Babboonbobo

    Babboonbobo Avatar is back to my favorite things!

    Nov 18, 2014
    I kind of want to try one of these Keltec RDB bull pups 5A4F8F97-792A-4D0D-805A-BA3B7CA9408B.png
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  19. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    I prefer the old M1 Carbine with a folding stock and 30 round magazines.
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  20. zChambers

    zChambers ........... Supporting Addict

    Jan 21, 2015
    I've been able to off-and-on mess with an SA80, FAMAS, a P90, some variant of an AUG (can't remember), and put a few hundred rounds through a civilian Tavor. I think the most impressive one I've tried was the P90. Very compact, relatively light weight, and very easy to manipulate and control. If the ammo wasn't so expensive I would probably own an SBR'ed civilian P90 (and a Five-Seven pistol for that matter).

    All the other bullpups I've tried have been relatively "meh." They are generally pretty heavy, offer (in my opinion) less overall controllability, and in some cases have potential accuracy.

    Its been touched on before but the controls and manual of arm are a lot different from an AR. You can learn to manipulate the controls very well but it requires dedication to the platform do so.

    Most are annoying to fire from the left shoulder. Being able to shoot from the left shoulder is a necessity in close quarters, inside your house, on the streets, whatever. I prefer to have a gun that won't shoot brass in my face if I have to change my shoulder. The P90 is good about dumping cases downward, and a Keltec gun does that as well. Haven't heard anything good or bad about the Keltec though.

    The short nature of the bullpup forces me to adopt a very scrunched in shooting position and I personally don't like it. I also feel like I have more options on shooting positions if I have a little rail space to work with, and rest against objects, etc.

    The above is all kind of a late night rant/my opinions on bullpups. Bullpups have some advantages in confined spaces and weight balance. I think a lot of my problems can be overcome with training, but I continue to be issued and continue to use an AR-type weapons very well so there is little incentive for me to change.

    The ONE Bullpup I'm interested in is an SBR'ed Desert Tech MDR in 300blk. Desert Tech seems to have addressed some of my problems with bullpups and the 300blk cartridge is in my opinion, one of the best if not the best cartridge you can choose if you want a semi-auto gun with a sub-9" barrel to use inside 250m.
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
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