Monday, May 01, 2006

It's almost too bad the Germans didn't invade Switzerland;

There'd have been a hell of a lot less of them after the attempt

Range report, K31














To an extent you could sum it up by the above statement

First, let us sing the praises of range day! The sky was clear, the temperature cool, the wind light and the birds were singing. Including a mockingbird sitting on the range house tv antenna not ten yards from my position, who kept singing throughout. And there I was, with a sixty-some-odd year old military rifle in fine condition which, thanks to the Framers, I have the noted right to own. It's good.

Ahem. First a couple of notes. I was using the Swiss surplus ammo with, I believe, 174-grain FMJ bullets. Second, remember I said the front sight was set in a diagonal dovetail?














So windage means, instead of moving the sight left or right, you drift it forward or back. Why this method I don't know, but it works well. The muzzle crown is deeply recessed:















well-protected from getting dinged in the field. And it has an unusual trigger:














What you see is the trigger, the sear is the vertical bar and the horizontal link at the top both holds things in place and provides the pivot for the sear, and the coil spring provides the tension for the works. You pull the trigger, the trigger pivots on its pin at the bottom of the sear as the sear pivots on the pin with the link, which pivots around the pin at the back which is part of the receiver; the sear slides down to the first stage stop, then a little more pressure pulls it down through the second stage. Sounds odd, but it works very well.

I say again, very well. First, to see if the sights were roughly on, set up a target at 50 yards and fired three:














Ok, no complaints there, and no need for the second target I'd stapled up. So over to the 100 yard line.

First three at 100:















Ok, fire four more:















For me, with iron sights, that ain't bad a'tall. They grouped a bit to the left, so drifted the sight back(back means 'left' on this, remember), fired a couple, tapped it back just a touch more, and everything from then on was nicely centered.

I fired a little over thirty rounds, and very much wished this range allowed setting clay pigeons up on the backstop; this rifle would be a wonder at busting them. Last four I fired from a sitting position, elbows resting on knees:














The circled holes are the ones fired, the one real high and real low are from something else(no, I won't talk about it right now). The one out of the bull was a called flyer, sight drifted a touch just as I fired. If that's not good enough for you, shut up. For me, from a little-practiced position with a new rifle and iron sights? I'm pretty damn happy.

So, 1. good sights, easy to see
2. very good trigger; first stage long takeup, second breaks clean at about 3 or 3.5 pounds
3. I'd call it mild recoil, no worse than a .30-30 in a Winchester carbine
4. it looks a bit awkward, but it handles very well. I put my right thumb along the top of the grip behind the cocking piece, angle & thickness is such that I could not comfortably wrap it around
5. very good accuracy.
6. forgot to add earlier; Og, yes, it is as slick an action as you've heard. Doesn't show as well in just sitting and cycling it. But fire a shot and it's just pull-push and the next shot is ready. Very quick, very smooth.

If you wanted to scope one of these, there's one problem for a standard mount: it ejects like a Winchester lever gun, straight up and back, so a scope has to be offset to the side. Personally, I think I'd rather go with one of the 'scout' mounts that fit into the rear sight base. Stick a long-eye-relief scope in that and you're good to go. I think that would be a very good setup with this rifle.

Overall, Kim's right; if you don't have one of these, you should try to get one. I could wish the surplus ammo was not as expensive, but there are commercial loads out there with reloadable brass for decent prices, so if you planned to shoot a lot the stuff for reloading is available. This rifle, which(as previously mentioned) came from AIM Surplus, is well worth the money. There are a number of dealers with them, and no, I'm not listing all of them; buy a copy of Shotgun News and check it out. Or fire up the search engine of your choice and check around.

And now, I've got firearms to clean and a stock to prepare for refinishing. Or at least to take down and get ready for refinishing.