Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons just released a video of the South African Defence Forces R2 rifle with its modified furniture. The R2 was originally a Portuguese made G-3 rifle purchased by the SADF for use by second-line troops and the South West Africa Territorial Force.
South West Africa is the former name for the modern country of Namibia. The country was a South African “protectorate” under a League of Nations mandate after World War One. This mandate was abolished in 1966 by the United Nations but the South Africans held on in whole or in part until 1990.
Getting back to the R2, there were problems with the handguards due to the climate of the region. Ian writes this about it.
The Portuguese hand guards and buttstocks were found to be unsatisfactory, however. In the heat and harsh ultraviolet radiation of South West Africa (now Namibia) in particular, the plastic would shrink and lose its fit, leading to the guns being called “rattlers” by the SADF troops. The fix this, the American firm of Choate Machine & Tool was contracted to make new hand guards based on the H&K export pattern – wider and longer and with fittings for a bipod. New stocks were also made, duplicating the shape of the R1/FAL stock.
Given the similarities of the G-3 and R2 with the currently produced PTR-91, it would be very interesting to see if you could find some of these Choate Machine handguards and stocks to use on a PTR-91. I like the looks of the Choate handguards and stocks better than the originals. While I don’t own a PTR-91, I do own a boatload of magazines for it because they were a dollar or less at the time. One of these days I’ll finally get around to obtaining a rifle to use with those magazines!
As always, Ian has produced an informative and interesting short video.