The argument between an assault rifle and a "battle rifle" is really comparing apples to oranges. The "battle rifle" is also called, perhaps more properly, the "support rifle". It's meant to support a light or medium machinegun, that would serve as the base of fire for a manuever squad.
The assault rifle was invented for two reasons: to simplify logistics by eliminating two or three different weapons, of often differing calibers (sub-machine gun, rifle and carbine) in the mission of supporting the MG, and to provide a more flexible weapon that would reduce the need for the MG.
When we think of survival situations, or TEOTWAWKI, we need to bear in mind that we most likely will not be part of a trained, maeuver unit with MGs and support weapons.
The remarks about the Soviet troops in Afganistan using spray and pray also ignore a significant datum: That is the method of fire that soviet training stressed. It would be normal for soviet troops, in the assault or defensive, to empty a magiazine in one or two bursts--if the intel briefings I recieved in the 80s are to be believed. That's the reason that the first firing position of an AK safety is auto.