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Finally Located and Purchased a Kel-Tec RFB 7.62x51mm Bullpup - quick review

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Eddywangchang, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. Eddywangchang

    Eddywangchang pnw Active Member

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    I'm ecstatic about this new KT RFB rifle, so I wanted to share some thoughts on it:)

    After scouring through my local town, I finally realized the only way to get one was through gunbroker.
    Paid 1850$ (msrp 1880$) not including shipping and transfers, it is the gen2 18inch model, somewhere around 48xx serial range. After receiving it and shooting a few rounds, I realized the money was definitely worth it.


    Things that I noticed and researched:
    Gun handles very well in the hands. Although it is an 8lb rifle, the bullpup design seemed to put the weight right ontop of the pistol grip, making it feel lighter than it actually is. Gun is remarkably compact, especially for a 7.62x51mm rifle. Overall length seems to be only a little over 2ft, but feels much smaller. As from the pictures, you can see it is easily maneuverable even in something like a car.

    Being a lefty, part of the reason I was attracted to the RFB was the fully ambi design. Everything from the bolt release, mag release, and charging handle was all easily accessible from both sides. Most importantly, it utilizes a forward ejection system. Although first skeptical about possibilities of obstruction and failures to eject, disassembling the gun showed that the shells are actually kicked out by the momentum and recoil of the bolt carrier group. From this, I don't really see how anything short of hammering a rock into the chute would be sturdy enough to jam the mechanism. The charging handle reciprocates. Although I normally dislike such features, the chamber is completely sealed and has no sideways ejection port to peek into. This makes the position of the charging handle and bolt the only way to determine the position of the bolt, and what's going on in the chamber in the case of malfunctions. With no direct access to the chamber without dropping the mag, I also think it is valuable for forward assisting, and overall "jiggling" to try and clear jams.

    Material quality seemed to be quite nice. Although there was a ton of plastic, the milled and stamped parts were from 4130 and 4140 steel construction. The nickel boron bolt carrier was also quite nice. The gun also seems to have a second layer of steel ontop of the receiver group, which was quite nice. It's somewhat comforting to know there is an extra layer of steel construction to protect your face from the bullpup design in the case of a bad malfunction. The trigger was also remarkably crisp and tight, especially for a bullpup. The gun uses FAL mags, but can insert them vertically without rocking them in. All my surplus FAL mags seemed to fit just fine.

    Notable Negatives

    The gas adjustment is far too adjustable (45 or so settings). The gun is as far from being operator proof. I spent roughly an hour searching online on how to do a proper adjustment process. Undergassed, the gun effectively becomes a bolt action. However, what seems to be more dangerous is overgassing. I could see how someone might just leave the gun overgassed because it cycles without any issues, but doing so literally smashes the receiver against the back of the recoil springs after every shot. The recoil becomes hilariously rough when overgassed. I could see how leaving a gun on such a setting could destroy it.

    In addition, the bolt carrier group seemed to occasionally "catch", and prevent itself from going into battery after dropping the bolt. Although this may just be a break in issue, I decided to investigate, and smoothed out the sharp edges of the extractor lifts and frame elements. Afterwards, the gun functioned perfectly. Browsing the forums, quality control issues seem to be scarily prevalent compared to other manufacturers, like S&W or HK.

    Shooting:

    When I took it to the range, it cycled and fed reliably without a single malfunction from the 150 rounds of 147grain south african surplus 7.62, and 175grain .308 (I adjusted the gas system for the surplus 7.62, and did not need any tinkering for the 308). Recoil was bafflingly light, especially compared to a standard battle rifle like a PTR-91. The RFB seems to run fine dry without lubrication, but I guess that is expected of a piston gun.




    tl;dr
    Pros
    -full length battle rifle barrel with a full power cartridge in a platform smaller than an SBR (assuming the stock is extended).
    -great ambi accommodations, fantastic ejection mechanism
    -common mags
    -extra built in steel plate for shooter protection incase of malfunctions
    -reliably cycles even poor quality ammo
    -great accuracy
    -piston system, can run dry; low maintenance
    -good construction material
    -easily manipulated reciprocating charging handle

    Cons
    -dangerously adjustable gas system... definitely not operator proof, potential to destroy the gun if the operator doesn't know what's going on
    -gun needed tinkering/break-in before it was 100%
    -so much plastic
    -gen 1 model had some reported deficiencies in receiver integrity and weld strength.
    -extremely low production. The highest serial as of now seem to be in the 7xxx range... meaning roughly only 8000 have been produced over the course of 5 years from its original 2009 release date. Not to mention only a portion of these are gen 2 models.


    From my perspective, the RFB is not a gun for someone new to firearms, or someone not interested in understanding the inner functions of how it works... it's by far not a "grab and go" gun. However, with some knowledge and setup, the RFB is a fantastic firearm that reliably operates with minimal maintenance.

    I highly recommend the RFB if you can find it!
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  2. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    Seems your fairly smitten, I'm glad your happy. I hope you lube her liberally as she breaks in. let us know how she shoots! BTW what glass do you have on her?
     
  3. Eddywangchang

    Eddywangchang pnw Active Member

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    It's a leupold mark 4, I took it off my AK because the RFB didn't come with any sights, haha.
    Yeah that's a good idea, I should definitely lubricate the pieces more to help the break-in.
     
  4. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    The general procedure for adjustable gas systems is to reduce the gas below the point where it stops functioning, and then increase until it functions reliably with all ammo you need to shoot, then a "smidge" more (a "smidge" being a technical term that I could tell you what it is, but then I would have to shoot you - ;) - but it depends on how fine the adjustments are - I generally go two more clicks on an FN-FAL) .

    I wish all semi-autos had adjustable gas systems and a polymer buffer behind the bolt carrier. Where available, such as for an AK or FN-FAL, I always buy a polymer buffer and install it.

    As for it being "ridiculously adjustable", it isn't how many steps the adjustment has that make it "dangerous", it is the fact that it can be turned to a point where it can be too much for standard ammo.

    IMO - it isn't the adjustment that is dangerous, it is the operator - if the operator opens the adjustment to the point where it is overgassed and the rifle batters itself to death, then that is the fault of the operator, not the rifle.

    I would prefer finer adjustments - the DT MDR only has four settings - it should have twice as many or more (FN-FALs usually have 12-14 settings including half clicks).
     
  5. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    when shooting from a bench or plinking a tuned down gas system makes it easy to PU your brass, wish my Mini had one!o_O
     
  6. Eddywangchang

    Eddywangchang pnw Active Member

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    Yeah the RFB gas adjustment seems to allow you to gas it to the point where I'm sure it would break if consistently shot with it at that setting.

    I agree, it would be the operator's fault. There's nothing inherently wrong with a super adjustable gas piston. It just makes it less operator proof when compared with something like an ak-47 or makarov.
     
  7. Just Jim

    Just Jim Well-Known Member

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    What magazine does it use and what is the mag capacity?
     
  8. Eddywangchang

    Eddywangchang pnw Active Member

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    Standard metric FAL mags. They come in everything from 10rd-30rd.
    It came with a thermold plastic mag, which I haven't seen before, but works great.