Bullpup Rifles/Shotguns VS. Standard Rifles/Shotguns?
I was wondering if someone could explain to me, the pro's and con's of both bullpup rifles & shotguns?
I know that the "bullpup" design offers a reduced overall length, but at what cost?
I never fired a rifle or shotgun in a bullpup configuration, that's why I'm curious about them?
I think you already hit the nail on the head...
"At what COST".
More complexity, and lower production volume, equals greater cost.
Would I buy a reliable 7 to 8-shot Bull-Pup 12 gauge semi auto as an awesome close-quarters defensive weapon. Under $500??? I'd buy 2.
Problems with bullpup designs:
1. Length of pull is usually very long and non-adjustable. This makes firing from a modern, squared-up fighting stance nearly impossible, and firing with body armor very difficult.
2. Bullpups often eject out the side of the stock, which prevents transitions to weak-side firing if necessary.
3. Bullpups are much slower and more awkward to reload compared to a conventional mag-fed rifle. Time yourself reloading a Steyr AUG, then compare that time to your speed using an M4gery. (Though I will concede that all tube-fed shotguns are a PIA and slow to reload.)
4. The long trigger linkage usually gives bullpups an awful trigger action - as if the triggers on most modern guns aren't bad enough.
Bullpups do have a shorter OAL than most conventional rifles, and have a high CDI/gee-whiz factor.
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Having been forced to transition from the L1A1 SLR (FAL) to the L85A1 (SA80) while in service, my opinion is heavily biased against bullpups battle rifles.
First, the 'pro' of bullpups:
The same barrel length can be accomodated in a shorter overall length weapon resulting in better handling in a jump, entering, exiting, riding in vehicles and in close quarters as when clearing a building. Basically getting full size battle rifle capability in the size of a carbine. FWIW you can get most of the same benefit from a conventional weapon with a collapsible or folding stock.
They look cool
Now the negatives:
No weight saving.
All bullpups are smaller caliber - 5.56NATO or less.
The action is moved next to where your head is, resulting in greater percieved noise. In the event of a kB! malfunction, your head is closer to the kB!
Ejection window in most bullpups (except FN F2000) is in right side of stock. If you are a lefty, learn to shoot right or learn to eat brass. Whether it ejects to the right only or can be changed (AUG, FAMAS), in Urban combat (where its shortness is useful) sometimes you need to shoot from the other shoulder. With a bullpup this is not possible, as even if it can be adjusted it is ususally a case of a few minutes to change the ejection side over. This means if you are shooting around a corner you have to expose your whole head and chest to fire, instead, with a conventional rifle you can swap hands and expose one eye and half or less of your head and one shoulder, while keeping most of your chest behind cover.
Shooting hand must leave grip to use mag release located above magazine. Dropping empty mags can hang up without moving stock from shoulder. Inserting reload requires left hand to push mag up armpit. Total PITA when wearing body armor or vest. Plus L85 and AUGs require mags to be slammed to engage mag catch. With the weird mag design of the P90 combat reloads are a nightmare. Bullpups reload slow! In battle, speed is life.
Even worse, the fire selector on the L85 is located behind the magazine on the stock. AUG design is better, pull the trigger a short distance to the first sear stop for semiauto. Further rearward travel to a second pressure point operates the sear in the full-auto mode. BTW, L85 trigger is total crap with a grunchy takeup.
The mag gets in the way when shooting prone.
All bullpups have a short sight radius, optics are heavily recommended.
Mounting a suppressor on a bullpup can also cause some trouble. Not the mounting of the suppressor itself, but the gasses released from the ejection port right under your face when you fire the weapon. (The FN 2000 and the FNP90 don't have this problem to such a degree as the ejection port on these weapons are not so close to your face). Suppressors tend to drive a lot of residue, gas and other nasties out of the ejection port, more so than a non suppressed weapon. The gas will cause eyes to run and feel sore if you're not wearing totally enclosed goggles (scuba mask).
Center of balance of weapon is moved back in the weapon. For a lot of experienced shooters, bullpups 'feel wrong.' But where it could count in battle, bullpups don't accept bayonets and are balanced wrong to use as a club or for a buttstroke when you are out of bullets.
As sniper weapons, I'd still prefer a conventional bolt action. I wouldn't dare shoot .50cal Barrett 99 or 95 without ear protection!
Thanks, I appreciate the info that I've recieved so far, and I'm thinking twice about ever using a bullpup designed rifle/shotgun, may it be for target shooting or for self-defence.
I found an interesting article called "why bullpups are a persistently bad idea".
Here's the link incase anyone's interested: http://anarchangel.blogspot.com/2005/03/why-bullpups-are-persistently-bad-idea.html
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