I took the PTR out for several of hours of shooting. I tried making the test as controlled as possible so I could make up my mind if I should keep the rifle or not. I bought 20 round boxes of five different types of ammo. I listed them below and how many failures I had while I fired off a magazine of each. Please note that I only put 19 rounds in each magazine.
- 308 Winchester Federal Power-Shok 150 Grain Soft Point- No Failures. My Ptr-91 loves expensive hunting ammo.
- PMC Bronze 308 / 7.62 Nato- One Failure even though previously it would not fire more than one round at a time before failing to fire the next round. I attribute this to getting the rifle broken in. If anything changes I will let you know.
- Prvi Partizan M80 145 grain FMJBT 2009 Production – My PTR-91 absolutely hated this ammunition. It only fired the first round and then failed to fire the second. After racking another round it failed to fire that round and the next. After that I had a triple feed bloody mess and I gave up on the ammo.
- Prvi Partizan .308 150gr Soft Point – After the previous experience I did not expect much from the PRVI 150 grain soft point. This ammunition fired flawlessly like the 308 Winchester. The commonality between the two types of ammo is that they are both manufactured as civilian .308 and not military 7.62. The PTR is manufactured to use 308 and not 7.62 so that makes sense. Hopefully once the rifle is broken in it will take all types of ammo.
- Australian 7.62 surplus ammo – I didn’t have a link because I traded my friend some of my PMC 308 for the ammo. The Australian surplus had only two failure to fires but the rest went off without a hitch.
In summary the PTR-91 is a finicky rifle when it comes to ammo. I’ve only put two hundred rounds through it so it’s not broken in yet. I bought the PTR-91 because H&K G3’s are not available and H&K 91’s are hard to come by. In hindsight I should have bought a DSARMS FAL. I’m going to stick with this rifle for the time being but I would not bet my life on it.
I picked up a PTR-91 a couple of months ago without doing any research beforehand. I bought four boxes of 308 Winchester Federal Power-Shok 150 Grain Soft Point ammo to try it out with initially. I sighted in the rifle within 20 rounds and put another 40 rounds through it without a hitch. Cleaning the rifle wasn’t a big deal except for putting the bolthead back on the bolthead carrier properly. I found the following HK G3 Disassembly instructions on www.MG-42.net. The information made putting the rifle back together a lot easier. If you have had any issues putting the bolthead back on the carrier then I recommend this bolt assembly tool. After cleaning the rifle I thought I would not have any issues with it for a long time and then…..
I bought a case of PMC Bronze 308 / 7.62 Nato for the rifle and that’s when my firing issues started.
My PTR-91 did not like the PMC ammo even though it was brand new and commercially produced . It would fire one round, the rifle would cycle the next round and then fail to fire the following round. I tried about a dozen times and it would do this for every round that the rifle cycled. The only time it worked was when I manually worked the action. I thought that this was strange and cleaned the rifle and put it off to the side until I could call PTR.
I called PTR and they asked what kind of ammo I was using and they said that the PMC Bronze would be fine. The PTR rep sent me a new firing pin and spring. After installing the new firing pin and spring the firing issue was not fixed. At this point I went online and quickly realized that a lot of people were having problems with their PTR rifles. I came across forum posts about the PTR being picky about certain types of ammo. Here is the list that I’ve seen online.
- South Africa
- Winchester white boxes marked 7.62
- Venezuela Cavim
- Austrian (Hirtenberger)
- Some lots of German
- British (under powered) will not cycle action
- Indian (Over powered)
I also checked the headspace on my rifle with this feeler gauge from Amazon.com and it was within the recommended tolerance of .004-.020 at .017. I had all sorts of issues trying to figure out how to measure the head space on the PTR-91 until I found the following instructions to check the head space on a PTR-91.
- Let the bolt and carriers snap forward on an empty chamber
- Set the weapon to fire
- Pull the trigger
- Measure the gap between the bolt head and the bolt carrier should be .004-.020
Since my ammo was not on the list but it was sold as 7.62 / 308 winchester I thought it might not be to 308 spec so I switched back to the expensive Federal 308 ammo and the rifle worked like a champ. I then tried my friends PRVI 308 military surplus ammo and it went through it with no issues. I also used Winchester 308 hunting ammo and it went through it all up except for one misfire. For the final test I loaded a mix of all three types of ammo in a 20 round magazine with 19 rounds and fired the whole thing off without any issues. I’m going to test the rifle some more this weekend a write up my final opinion on the ptr-91 next week.