Poor Man's Long Range Rifle


October 15, 2004, 07:12 PM
I haven't cruised this section of THR much, so I don't know if it's been covered previously or not. Either way, here goes:

If anyone is in search of an affordable, bolt-action rifle which has the capability of 1,000 yard accuracy, I suggest the Schmidt-Rubin K-31. It's Swiss made (read: Swiss watch), chambered in 7.5x55 Swiss (Known as GP-11, 174 grain cupro-nickle plated, BC of .54, and gets over 2,700 f.p.s.), and is a STRAIGHT PULL bolt-action. The bolt handle is drawn straight back, rather than having to be pivoted. The barrel is free-floated and the action bedded FROM THE FACTORY. Mine was giving 1/2 MOA accuracy the last time I fired it, and this is basically the expected accuracy of these rifles.

While the barrels are chromed, the ammunition isn't corrosive either.

While these rifles are available from many places, I bought mine at AIM Surplus (Middletown, OH/Internet) for $89 plus tax and NICS fee. AIM also has GP-11 ammo at various prices. As surplus ammo goes, this stuff isn't the most affordable, but it is considered Match Grade by most shooters.

On my last visit to AIM's web site, they offered 480 rounds of GP-11 for roughly 180 bucks. Nearly thirty cents per round, but definitely well worth it.

For more info on this rifle, and its cousins, check out The Swiss Rifle Forum.


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October 15, 2004, 07:23 PM
I like my K-31 a lot- it's very accurate, and very high quality. However, I think I'm going to sell it to finance an M-1. If anyones interested, i've got 20 or so clips and 60 rounds of ammo, along with the rifle, which is in very nice shape. The stock is well worn like all K-31s, but the bore is perfect, and the gun is mechanically sound and very very smooth. I'm asking $200 (negotiable) and I'd prefer to sell within CA.

Dave P
October 15, 2004, 07:35 PM
Sounds like an add for AIM - And you are both in the same state! Are youtrying to drum up more business for them?

My K31 barrel is not floating (how can you do that when the stock goes all the way to the muzzle, and is clamped there? And mine are not bedded.


October 15, 2004, 08:00 PM
There's many good long-range options available in the mil-surp field. A friend, intrigued with the straight-pull bolt, bought a K-31 for $99. It does shoot very well. He bought enough ammo, off the web, to make up a good supply to stash away for around $0.35/round including S&H.

At about the same time, I picked up a Czech clone of the large ring '98 Mauser in 8X57MM for $69.00. My ammo, Turkish mil-surp bought at gun shows, ran me an average of $0.07/round. It also shoots well, and for the first time in my long life I can shoot a big-bore almost like a .22 rimfire. Not a bad fun day at the range for a retired guy on a budget!

A hundred rounds fired between me and family members for $7.00 instead of $35.00 sold me on my choice!

The Turk ammo has corrosive primers. I swab my bore - plain water will work if you're only worried about primer corrosion - after a shooting session but I'm an old dude (73) to still be shooting and I grew up when even some American primers were corrosive. We just assumed all primers probably were and swabbed our barrels.

Works for me, YMMV.


October 15, 2004, 08:53 PM
Welcome to THR!

The K-31's are great and have been discussed here at length. I've been advocating them as the best bang for the buck of any firearm on the market today.

An even better long range rifle on a budget is the M-1911 Schmidt Rubin and the 96/11. These are still under $250 and sometimes under $200. My 96/11 was an extraordinary long range rifle and I miss it greatly.

Re bedding--Not to my knowledge but they are extremely well fitted.

OTOH, all barrels on my K-31's have been floating and do not exibit the same upward pressure at the tip of the stock found on some other c&r rifles. Do a dollar bill test to see for sure. I could easily run one up and down the barrel with the stock apart, and it would fit between the stock and barrel 360 degrees around the front. The stock is not pinching the barrel.

October 16, 2004, 09:23 AM
With cheap 7.62x54 around the Finnish M39 is another great choice for a long range accurate rifle. A rifle and a case of ammo should be under $200.

El Rojo
October 16, 2004, 03:29 PM
Hmmm Nate, It appears we live 40 miles apart (Taft) and I have my C&R license so we wouldn't even have to do any paperwork! I will PM you.

October 16, 2004, 04:10 PM
While I agree that S-R K-31 is a fine shooter with very good accuracy, I believe that my Swedish Mauser 96 will shoot just as well and maybe with better accuracy.

October 16, 2004, 05:52 PM
just do like I'm about to do... get one of each (K31 and M39)

October 16, 2004, 06:48 PM
Without taking anything away from the K-31, the ammo is kinda hard to come by and relatively expensive. If you add in ammo costs over some period of time, I bet you would come out about the same with a Savage in .308?

October 16, 2004, 09:39 PM
I would have to side with the M-39. I have never shot a K-31 but they are known to be very accurate rifles. I can say that my M-39 is very accurate and ammo for the 7.62x54 is much more common and cheaper. The only problem I have is that I can't find any reloadable stuff locally. Lapua is the cheapest I have found so far and it is still about $50 for 100 casings. Not ammo mind you, but just the casings. I have no doubt that I could load much better ammo than Wolf does, but it is gonna be expensive when I start doing it.

October 18, 2004, 08:57 AM
Dave P - The K-31 barrel IS supposed to be free floating, and the action beeded, from the manufacturer. If you take the action out of the stock, you'll notice that instead of contacting bare wood, there are two machined contact points on the reciever which contact two bedding blocks in the stock. As far as the full length stock binding against the barrel, I had that same problem with my K-31. After sanding several times I realized this just wasn't going to work. So I cut the barrel wood off. Yes, purists despise me for this, but accuracy is more important than someone else's opinion. Six shot groups are much tighter now, but could be tightened up even more. The goal, for my K-31, is as close to 1/4 MOA as possible. Now THAT'S a tack driver.

JNewell - Most people, even those of us who shoot regularly, don't go through nearly as much ammo with a bolt action as is done with a semi-automatic. If you figure $1,000 for the Savage, then my K-31 is a 90% discount right off the top. Have you priced Match Grade .308 lately? I haven't, but I'd say the difference in price is nominal. So, again, the K-31 wins the day.

goon - As far as 7.62x54 ammo goes, unless you'd be reloading for consistency or accuracy: Trying to find a Match Grade combination, then you might be better off sticking with the surplus stuff, simply for cost-effectiveness.


Bwana John
October 18, 2004, 12:03 PM
My vote goes to the M-39 Finn, because of ammo price and availabitity.

October 18, 2004, 12:12 PM
I can say that my M-39 is very accurate and ammo for the 7.62x54 is much more common and cheaper. The only problem I have is that I can't find any reloadable stuff locally. Lapua is the cheapest I have found so far and it is still about $50 for 100 casings. Not ammo mind you, but just the casings. I have no doubt that I could load much better ammo than Wolf does, but it is gonna be expensive when I start doing it.
I realize that you're looking for ammo locally, but Black Hills also makes some match ammo in 7.62x54R.

October 18, 2004, 02:39 PM
$1,000 for the Savage

I was thinking of more like $400. The 11GNS has a MSRP of $466 and has iron sights; I suspect you could get that down near the ballpark figure I had in mind. It's true that this isn't the top of the line, synthetic-stocked LE rifle with expensive glass, but neither is the K31. The Savages are remarkable performers for the money. It's a little hard to keep this apples-to-apples, but I think $400 is a lot more realistic than $1000?

Greg L
October 18, 2004, 03:18 PM
My K31 barrel is not floating (how can you do that when the stock goes all the way to the muzzle, and is clamped there?

As was mentioned it is a free floating barrel. One little trick that I've seen is to get a couple of small pieces of leather & place them between the 2 halves of the stock behind the barrel bands. This allows you to really crank down on the bands (so that the stock doesn't rattle) while still keeping the barrel floating.


Sam Adams
October 18, 2004, 03:55 PM
The cost of shooting the K-31 can be reduced considerably by reloading. Graf's has new Boxer brass for about $0.27/case, less if you buy more than 100 and/or if you are a C&R dealer. The K-31 shoots .308 bullets, which are plentiful and have lots of competition.

Sam Adams
October 18, 2004, 03:58 PM
Do you do any reloading for the K-31? Was that .5 MOA group done with GP-11 ammo? What kind of a sighting system do you use (standard sights, aftermarket peeps, or a scope)?

October 18, 2004, 04:38 PM
All of you, stop talking. NOW! Its hard enough to resist one, and you aren't helping any :neener:

(Come on, day-after-Thanksgiving Dunhams sales!)

October 19, 2004, 11:52 PM
Mr. Adams - That .5 MOA group was the day I brought it home, using stock sights and GP-11 ammo. A lot of people aren't realizing, in this thread, that GP-11 was manufactured as Match Grade, rather than "run-of-the-mill" like most surplus ammo. I can imagine Mojo sights and hand-loaded ammo!

Mr. Newell - The $466 variety Savage isn't bedded or free-floated, while the K-31 is. I'm not knocking Savage in the least. But that $466 rifle very likely won't have the accuracy out of the box that the K-31 does, and for 4 times the price. But, if you want, perhaps we could meet somewhere this coming spring and put both of them to the proverbial test? Say, sometime in April or May? Best six shot group at 100 yards with factory sights wins some kind of prize. Like, maybe, the other guy's rifle?



Sam Adams
October 20, 2004, 12:10 PM
Glad to hear about your results - and note that they aren't typical. Even with the match grade ammo, the best I've heard about is MOA (except for exceptional shooters with exceptional rifles).

I have Mojo sights, but I haven't had a chance to get the rifle out to the range yet. I will be reloading for the gun, as well. I'm encouraged by your results, and wonder if I can get close (I'd be thrilled with MOA - not bad for $120).

October 20, 2004, 04:32 PM
Simon, good post, but no go -- I don't shoot a Savage. Before you do one of these :cuss: at the monitor, though, check the owner reports here and at TFL. Many of these owners get .5 MOA without any fuss right out of the box. The Savage is a very accurate rifle and an outstanding value. My non-cruffler bolts are mostly Rem 700s and they shoot at least that well, but cost a whole lot more.

.5 MOA from any service rifle off the rack is truly outstanding. I have shot a bunch of Swedes and never gotten that kind of results, but iron sights and my post-40 eyes don't get along as well as they used to.

Navy joe
October 20, 2004, 07:42 PM
I'd have to agree that a K-31 is the base for an extremely accurate rifle. The sights are the stopping point. I plan on getting diopters for one and a scope mount for one to go with my very good deal Zeiss scope. For the fore end mine touched slightly right under the barrel band. I cut a little out of each piece of wood with a pocket knife where contact showed and when I re-clamped the wood on I put a small piece of a Q-tip shaft between the wood pieces, resulting in no contact forward of the bedding block. Worked on the trigger some, bore and action are beautiful.

October 20, 2004, 08:12 PM
Navy Joe: Do a web search for Mojo sights before you commit to a diopter. Mojos get rave reviews from everyone who uses them, and they're less than $40 last time I checked. They're avilable for the K-31 as well as the SKS and AK. There may be others as well, I'm not sure. I'll be installing a set (at least the rear, and maybe a high visibility front post of some sort) as soon as time allows.

Mr. Newell: The only thing I was trying to say was that for the money invested it's quite difficult to beat the K-31 considering that the surplus GP-11 ammo is Match Grade, the action is bedded and the barrel is free-floated. It has been said that to have that same rifle built today, would cost over $3,000. This is why I issued the challenge. I don't want you, or anyone else, to think I was being arrogant or cocky. I was simply trying to illustrate my utmost confidence in what I was trying to say. I didn't/don't intend the offer to be offensive, and it still stands open to anyone with any bone stock rifle: 100 yards, factory sights, best six shot group -- Dollar for dollar, the K-31 will win. I have 60/40 vision ( uncorrected) in one eye, and will shoot the right-handed K-31 left-handed.


P.S. - If anyone takes me up on this, try to make the location as close to Ohio as possible. Thanks.

October 20, 2004, 08:44 PM
think I was being arrogant or cocky

:) :D :evil: No worries, I didn't read it that way at all.

But if you keep talkin' like that, I may wind up buying one of them...I...keep...resisting...but...resistance...is... :evil:

The other thing that I find appealing about the K31s is the mechanical design. Just plain fascinating, very different from anything in the safe right now, for sure.

How's the recoil? The service load is basically a .308 Win, right?

October 20, 2004, 09:46 PM
K-31 is SOLD! to the man with the poser-AR-15 :D .

October 21, 2004, 12:18 AM
I've got two of them. One pre-war with walnut stock and one post-war with beech. Excellent shooters. I think the big thing with a K-31 is the difference between intrinsic accuracy and field accuracy. A lot of old military rifles can do well if you stack everything in their favor. (A padded bench, very clear target, very slow fire so you can concentrate on the trigger, etc.) But the K-31 has excellent, easy to see sights. And one of the best stock triggers you are going to find. So they shoot well from the bench but they also do quite well when you are shooting offhand or kneeling in field conditions. Great rifles and a hell of a good deal for the money.

Everybody has read the old review of one over at cruffler.com haven't they? He shows just how nice the machining is. http://www.cruffler.com/Features/NOV-01/review-November-01.html

I don't consider the cost of factory ammo to be a problem because I've never bought any! Neither one of my rifles have ever fired anything but my handloads. (Well, in my hands!) Standard .308" bullets gives you lots of choices.

The only really "flaw" in the rifle is that it is a pain to scope. The straight up ejection means that any mount (drill or no drill) is going to have to be offset. I've looked at a couple of nice mounts but just haven't been able to talk myself into it. It would be nice for load development if nothing else.

For <$100, everybody should have at least one.


October 23, 2004, 12:49 PM
Actually felt recoil, while I don't feel that it's all that bad, is probably somewhere between the .308 and the .30/06. Perhaps a little closer to the .30/06.

A friend of mine's M44 seemed to "hit harder" than my K-31, but that may be because it's shorter overall, I'm not sure.

The trigger, as another poster mentioned, is definitely one of the best found on any rifle, let alone a $100 surplus rifle. It's a true two-stage with a moderate, crisp break over. Definitely drooling material.

Yes, the K-31 is a pain to scope, but I'm going to do it one way or another. My big problem is that I'm left-handed, shooting a right-handed rifle in the first place (The Swiss made conversion is about $300...but I'm considering it).
This means that I may have to fabricate my own mount or modify an existing one. However, I've found the scope I want, considering I want 800 yards or more. It's a Leupold, of course, illuminated Mil-Dot, and will cost me about 6-7 times the cost of the rifle. Oh well. Once it's "done" I'll have a serious long-range tack driver, for about $1,000 or less, including optics. Not a bad deal, if I may say so myself.

Glad everything's "cool", Mr. Newell. (Didn't intend on making that rhyme.).


October 23, 2004, 02:06 PM
I have just got to get one of these Swedes, or a Swiss rifle. Just think of it, every one I have heard of online shoots into half an inch, and is factory fresh. I can't understand why no army is using them today. Wonder rifles for sure.

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