Firearms

PTR Industries—If HK Won’t, PTR Will

So you’ve always wanted a pre-ban, mint condition HK91 but don’t want to drop $2,500 on a collector piece? What if you could buy one for half as much, brand new, and made right here in the U.S.A.? What if the new one was actually better than the HK? You read that right. I said better.

PTR started making G3 “clones” 10 years ago, when they were called JLD Enterprises. JLD got their hands on genuine Heckler & Koch GmbH blueprints and tooling. This tooling and the correct specifications to use it makes all the difference, and it’s very hard to come by. I don’t know how JLD convinced Fabrica Militar to ship it all across the Atlantic Ocean from Portugal, but they pulled it off. Taking advantage of the great supply of surplus G3 parts floating around at the time, JLD began building G3 receivers to HK specifications on HK machinery, and fitting them to factory HK parts they could find. There were a few companies building G3 “clones” with a smattering of HK parts at that time, but only one that had real HK tooling for their U.S. made parts.

Soon, new condition surplus HK parts began to run dry and the other companies making G3 clones went out of business. HK stopped production of G3 rifles in 1997, so there was no chance of getting spare parts straight from the source. JLD endured, making more and more HK-spec parts here in the U.S. using the tooling brought from Portugal. At some point, a lightbulb went off and the Precision Target Rifle-91 was born. Why just make clones of a 1950s-technology rifle, when they had the power to bring the G3 into the 21st century with all the precision of modern CNC machinery? JLD changed their company name to PTR-91, Inc. and started making rifles that not only met original G3 specifications, but actually exceeded them. PTR became “The American Evolution of the Roller Lock Weapons System.”

The company is now capable of producing these rifles with every part, every pin and every spring made entirely here in the U.S. CNC machining makes it possible  to build rifles to a higher standard than the original G3 specifications. For example, PTR-91s must meet stricter specifications than the original HK guns in critical areas such as bolt gap. Bolt gap is how headspace is measured on this recoil-operated, roller-delayed blowback design, and is critical for reliability and accuracy. PTR-91s use a match grade bull barrel that measures 0.7 inches under the handguards and features standard type, 1/12 twist micro grooved rifling. PTR profiles and chambers these barrels from blanks made by Green Mountain and Thompson Center. PTR-91s are chambered for .308 but will also shoot 7.62×51 NATO. These rifles have built a reputation for accuracy, especially the top of the line PTR MSG-91 which is loosely based on the old HK MSG 90 configuration. This variant has a low profile Picatinny mount welded to the receiver, an adjustable Magpul PRS stock, and fluted barrel. When fired using match grade ammo, this rifle is capable of sub-MOA accuracy, shot after shot. A new version, the Super Sniper MSG91, is based on the PSG-1. The precision demanded by this gun’s configuration makes it a low production volume gun, so PTR carefully makes a run of only 50 Super Snipers at a time. At nearly $3,000 it’s the most expensive gun PTR makes. It is still a bargain: the PSG-1, no longer imported, sold for $10,000 when first introduced using a now-obselete fixed 6x optic! Last month, PTR 91, Inc. announced that they have changed their company name to PTR Industries, and have moved to a larger facility with room for more of those huge CNC machines. The name change reflects that the company is expanding beyond the -91 series of .308 rifles. Several variants of PTR-32 rifles are already available. These rifles are chambered in 7.62×39 and accept AK-47 magazines. Like the .308 guns, the owner may attach sections of Picatinny rail to their machined aluminum forends, and PTR offers a variety of fixed and collapsible stocks. Consider a compact G3 style rifle using AK magazines, with an AR-15 six-position stock, red dot optic atop the receiver, and foregrip and flashlight mounted on its railed forend. What an unusual, yet effective, fighting carbine! PTR is also making pistol versions of the PTR-91 and PTR-32, which are simply short-barreled versions with no stock, and have recently introduced a factory SBR program for those able to do the paperwork to own a registered short-barreled variant. Guns that divert propellant gas though a gas block in the barrel can have difficulty functioning properly when the barrel is chopped too short. For example, AR-15s with barrels less than 10.5 inches long are notorious for reliability problems. Short-barreled PTR-91s and -32s have no such difficulty because there is no gas system at all. The recoil operated, roller lock operating system works exactly the same way every time regardless of barrel length.

New for 2012, PTR is releasing a “Modern Sporting Rifle” intended for hunters looking for a reliable, accurate .308 semi-auto. The MSR features a welded Picatinny rail on the reciever, no iron sights, and a raised cheekpiece on the stock to help shooters look through a magnified optic. A five-round magazine is provided, and the free-float barrel ends in a target crown with no muzzle attachment. Removing some of the military features of the rifle slims it down for hunting purposes, with the side benefit of being legal in some states with assault weapon bans in effect.

If you were in charge of PTR Industries and had a growing company moving into a bigger building, what new products would you design? How would you turn your expertise with HK’s roller locked rifles into exciting new products? I would personally love to see PTR build a high quality HK94/MP5 type rifle in 9mm. Pre-1989 HK94s have become unobtainable to the average shooter, selling for $4000 and up. A few low-volume gunsmithing shops produce MP5 clones that have earned a mixed, mostly poor reputation. The .22 LR clones imported by GSG are wildly popular. PTR Industries has proven they can build a quality product at an affordable price, and they know the critical details of HK’s roller locked system like few others do. Should they build an MP5 clone, or can you think of an even better idea?

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (18)

  1. PTR-91 is amazing. They have a barrel from Thompson Center and it’s an absolute tack driver. I am talking using Lake City 7.62 at .50 cents a round which it eats up like it’s nobody’s business I can hit quarter sized chunks of broken clay pigeon on the 200 yard berm. Compared to all the other battle rifles given its roller blow back mechanism and match grade barrel the PTR has the highest potential for accuracy even compared to the storied M1A. The only exception that can match or maybe beat the PTR is the AR-10 which is heavier, much more expensive and a difficult build that requires a lot of tuning. Out of the box the PTR-91 is unbeatable and you’d have to spend way more money to do appreciably better.

    The other benefits is that you can very easily add a scope and spare magazines cost $3-5 apiece. To find a better shooting gun or a nicer shooting gun you have to pay quite a bit more. To find a gun that both shoots more accurately as well as has nicer “feel” like a SCAR or custom AR-10 you have to spend an arm and a leg. With a PTR you can make up the difference with spare mags, a nice optic with mounts and your first case or two of 7.62 Lake City ammo with change.

  2. Sorry that won’t work with a roller gun the springs so powerful that it would destroy a hold open in a short amount of time, unless placed right at the start of the bolts forward travel which would make it unreliable

  3. Bought my PTR91 with the thought of PTR/SBR . went to hkparts,com for upgrades . They hooked me up with http://www.madkc.com for certified HK armorer . when I saw the MADKC / hand made American line of HK pattern rifle I was BLOWN away ! $1000 for PTR & $700 in HK/PTR parts . What I saw was the HK pattern rifles in Full & semi as good as my preban HK91 . A HIGH QUALITY , HAND MADE AMERICAN HK Pattern rifle by MADKC and fell in love with the HK all over again ! So good that I kept turning it over looking for the Made in Germany /stamp

  4. Holding my PTR 91 MSG proudly, and glad to have happened across one of the few left in N. America. Sweet, sweet – well constructed piece. Killing flies at an UNGODLY range… PTR is producing some great weapons and the staff there have been a pleasure to work with. A half-decent set of optics & you’re got a damned-fine Dedicated Marksman Rifle. But even at the basic level, the PTR 91 (an improved HK 91 Clone) is one of the top 3 publicly available Main Battle Riffles. And, I’m talking In the World… For the money its hard to beat. (Oh, and did I mention you can still get Factory NEW 20-Round mags for less than $7..?)

    Peace

  5. If I am PTR, I’ll make a Bullpub configuration rifle using the G3 internals. The reason is simple — it’ll be a good 8 inches shorter and still pack the same barrel length (hence velocity of a conventional configuration. Unlike the AR or FAL type rifles, the G3 design lends itself to easy bullpup transformation because it does not have springs or buffers inside the stock. Mechanically, you can chop off the stock and the rifle will still operate.

    I’ll use a transfer bar to operate a hinged lever that replaces the trigger. Or, alternative an adjustable “hydraulic remote trigger”. I’ll also add an ergonomic innovation in form of a safety lever in front of the pistol grip. This safety lever operates the safety mechanism in lieu of the manual safety. Grip the rifle and it’s ready to fire, release your shooting grip and it is automatically safe. Not unlike the HK P7 pistols except you are not actually cocking the firing mechanism you are just actuating the safety.

  6. What an amazing tool, I have a (AW) model, it is simply devastating. At 100 it is bullet in bullet, at 500 I shoot 2″ groups, beside my M40,,,,, ummmmmmmm that’s a toss-up.
    If your wanting to run surplus ammo don’t buy an AW model, it’s for killing long range.
    If you decide on the 91 AW, call and find out what your rifle was tested with and use that, it will surprise you if you yourself can shoot.
    I wish PTR had a 9mm model with a match barrel to sit next to her.

  7. They should make a .223 / 5.56mm version that takes AR STANAG mags and has a last-round-bolt-catch built in too. That would totally rock – and mop the floor with the other HK93 clones out there…

  8. I too would love to see PTR do an HK770 / SL7 type rifle.

    My PTR91F is a great rifle. Low mount and a Leupold 1.5-4x make it even better. It’s a little muzzle heavy with that heavy barrel, and yeah it’s irritating that it won’t reliably eat German DAG ammo (made for the G3 for crying out loud). I think a PTR-91 G.I. model is in my future!

  9. I have two PTR rifles atm (91sc, 91k) both are fantastic. I’ve been hesitant to purchase a PTR32 due to some mag issues and cost, but it’s in the pipeline. I’d really love to a see a .40 or .45 cal MP5 clone from PTR, as well as a standard HK93, but I think vector has that sealed up, but I am so in love my PTRSs I’d sell my vectors in a heartbeat for PTR-94s and PTR-93s……

  10. I would like to see PTR Ind develop some accessories, (folding sights, folding butt stock and a custom tuned trigger pack.)
    I would also like to see some experimental work, for example a CNC machined monolithic receiver with full ambi controls, along with new designs and styles to the grip and its frame.

    With the advent of the FN Scar 17s, HK MR762A1 & the upcoming Colt 901 series, PTR should develop a platform that is convertible, by the user, to different barrel lengths & even calibers.

    PTR started out the right way by purchasing the factory tooling and blueprints for the G3 and they should do the same in developing a MP5 series.

    Finally, I would like to see a roller delayed hunting rifle, along the lines of the old HK model 770 with classic style and beautiful wood furniture.

    Oh yeah, PTR also needs to introduce a line of pistols. An import, like the (Slovak GP K100) or something along that line.

    Am I asking too much ?

  11. I bought a PTR-91 from a competitor (sorry CTD!) and let me tell you these rifles are top notch quality at half the price of HKs. Would love to have an SBRd version too!

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  13. PTR GUNS ARE SUPER.

    I OWN M1A’S, FAL, & A PTR 91.

    ALL ARE GREAT.

    BUT MY FAVORITE IS THE PTR HANDS DOWN.

  14. Looks on CTD website for a PTR91. Out of Stock. Dang it. 😉

    I would love to see PTR make a MP5, I’m kinda surprised they haven’t already, I know Vector, Bellator Arms and a few others, but you need to pay the price for one, a decent one will go for $2,000-USD. You could buy a PTR-91, Glock 17, and a Mossberg 590 for the price of just 1 MP5 Clone, that’s kind of over the top for an MP5.

  15. They should ABSOLUTELY make H94 and MP5 clones Not just in 9mm, but other calibers as well. They’d sell them like hotcakes! One factory SBR MP5 clone in 9mm (and one in .45 ACP) for me, please!

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