Friday, October 10, 2008

Yesterday morning I decided to hit the range. And it was good. And then I came home. Which was so-so as I was short on time. And when I tried to take care of some online stuff, McAfee was updating(which seems to take bloody forever lately) and when it finishes it’s started causing things to slow down. So aside from posting about Fenris, accomplished squat electronically. In any case,

I had the chance to shoot one of these the other day

The Swiss G96/11*. Interesting history as to how this model and the 7.5x55 cartridge came about, found here at Swiss Rifles, including:
It was determined that the 89/96 could easily be converted (Model 1889s could not) to handle the new cartridge by re-barreling the rifle.

1889/96s were converted to 1896.11s buy replacing or modifying the following:

A new barrel was added.
Already fitted the the barrel were new front and rear sights.
A pistol grip was grafted onto the stock of the rifle.
The new rifles were also fitted with 6rd magazines, similar to the 1889/1900 pattern magazine, minus the reinforcing ridge, although the magazine did include a bolt hold-open feature for when the magazine was empty.
A new trigger-guard was fitted to accommodate the new magazine.

Kim has posted on the carbine version, the K11. This thing fires the standard 7.5x55 Swiss cartridge from a 6-round magazine, has a 30.7 “ barrel and, because of the bolt & receiver design, is 51.2 “ long overall. Very nice workmanship, and a two-stage trigger with a clean, light break; the K31 has good parentage. The front sight is a flat-topped blade(much superior, I think to the tapered-to-a-point blade of so many European military rifles), the rear a elevation-adjustable notch. Unlike so many that are marked ‘100’ at the lowest setting but were set for 300, the Swiss just marked the damn thing 300 and started there. Which means it hits about 9” high at 100 yards with standard ball ammo.

The action is a straight-pull bolt; when you pull the handle back it pivots at the rear to unlock the action, the bolt head is rotated to unlock and the bolt comes back to the stop. Push forward and it strips a cartridge from the magazine and feeds it into the chamber, the bolt head rotates to lock the lugs into their recesses, and at the end the handle pivots in and locks everything. The bolt head extends a lot way from the body, which is why the receiver is so damn long. Which makes cleaning interesting: I’ve got a 36” Tipton carbon-fiber rod, and with a long jag on, cleaning from the breech, when the handle hits the receiver the jag is just sticking out the muzzle, not far enough to get the patch out. Need a rod either a bit longer or with a smaller handle to push a patch all the way through. Yes, I had to clean it; small price for shooting it.

Back to the results, when I did my part this was the usual group using ball:

With the sun at a different angle to remove the glare in the rear sight, I think I might(probably in my dreams) have been able to tighten that up a bit. Even if I couldn’t, that’s still a nice group from a almost century-old rifle. Note that I was aiming at the target below this one: right about 6.5-7" above point of aim, which should indeed put it dead on at 300 meters. Recoil was a light thump; the rifle weighs enough and the stock is shaped such that it’s not bad at all. MUCH more pleasant than the 1903 Springfield with ball(I’m going to get either a slip-on recoil pad or fit one to replace the steel buttplate when I take that to the range, as after twenty rounds my shoulder is unhappy with me).

I took along some of the cast-bullet loads I’d made up for my K31 and tried them out:

Not bad at all. I do blame the vertical stringing on me; I was getting a bit tired at this point. Interesting contrast here is that with the K31 the rear sight has to be set to 500 to bring this bullet into the black at 100 yards; with the G96/11 the sight at the lowest- 300- setting places the same load dead-on. Maybe the longer barrel gives a bit more velocity; if I shoot this again I’ll try to take the Chrony along to check it.

Personally, I’d like a deeper, square-bottom notch on the rear; when the sun is hitting the sight from a frontal angle it makes for a somewhat fuzzy notch with the standard ‘u’ shape(there will be no comments tolerated about my being fuzzy). Overall, a very well-made, accurate firearm.

And, I find that Interordnance has the G96/11, the G11 and the K11 right now.

I took the M95 Steyr along to try at 100 yards. I have no ball ammo for this one, just the cast-bullet loads I made up. If you remember, the last time I tried this thing out it was something like a foot high at 30 yards, which was just amazing. Happily things are dropping enough that at 100 the point of impact is only about 8” high. No great groups to show off. This thing has the aforementioned tapered-to-a-rounded-point front sight and combined with the sun and the rear notch, I had trouble sighting precisely. The action is fast and smooth(another straight-pull design), has a strange trigger(long first stage that gets heavier as you go, then a fairly clean, heavy second stage), and the rear sling swivel is on the left side of the wrist, just right to be under your fingers. Which makes me wonder how they settled on the various features. Why not move the swivel a bit back so it’s out of the way? Why have such a heavy spring in the trigger? Why that !*#*^& tapered front post instead of a taper to a flat-top like the Swede Mauser? And why have the battlesight set so damn far for a carbine? All this must have made sense to somebody, but I have no idea why.

Side note: the clips you load the Steyr with will often drop out the bottom of the magazine well as you chamber the last round. If they don’t it’s not a problem: the empty will be pushed out as you load the next. If some don’t drop, and you want them to, squeeze the sides in just a touch and try it again.

And the reason I don’t have any 8x56r ball? Last time I saw any at a show it was $8-10/box of ten, in clips. Not worth that much to me.

*I thought it was a G11. But after looking at the comparisons a Swiss Rifle, it does appear to be a 96/11.


Mattexian said...

The shortest range setting of 300 meters is like my Swedish M1896. Does the Swiss "reach out and touch someone" to 2000m too? (That's the longest setting on the Swede, altho at that range I think you're lobbing it in like artillery.)

A tip for reducing the glare on the sights: "smoke" them, covering them with a layer of carbon from a lighter or match, being careful not to catch the stock on fire! (The rear sights on my Swede flip up, reducing the fire danger. I don't know about the Swiss rifle.)

Firehand said...

Thought about smoking them, but no matches, etc.(shame on me, should have had some in the truck). No Sharpie, either.

And they do swing up. And adjust all the way to 2000. They were still making sights for the long-range volley stuff, the changes coming due to the machinegun not understood yet.