Is it wrong to modify a common military surplus rifle?


B yond
November 5, 2006, 07:09 PM
I've noticed in a few threads that some people feel very strongly that common military surplus rifles like Mosin-Nagants and Mausers should not be modified from their original configuration. I would like to know how the THR community as a whole feels about this so here's the poll.

Conditions are as follows:
1. The rifle is common and plentiful, something you could get at Big 5.
2. The rifle is in working condition and fairly accurate.
4. Serial numbers on the rifle match.
3. The unmodified rifle costs less than $200.
4. Restoration to original condition and configuration is not considered a modification.
5. The modified rifle is no more accurate than the original, but may have features some shooters to use it more effectively.
6. Modifications include modifying the stock or replacing it with a sporter stock, modifications to the bolt handle, and adding anything to the gun (scope, sights, flash suppressor, bipod, etc) that is not part of the original military configuration.
7. Bubba-izing and Sporterizing are both modifications.
8. The rifle will be permanently altered.

I'm just looking for yes and no answers here, I don't need reasons. Please don't turn this thread into another argument. :)

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November 5, 2006, 07:12 PM
There are many grades of sporterizing. Bubba-ized misurps are universally frowned upon by THR folks, but tasteful done custom sporters are often highly regarded.

I myself am looking for a good small ring Spanish M93 7x57 to put an international-style full length dark walnut stock on and give it the deepest, shiniest blue possible.

November 5, 2006, 07:12 PM
No. And you should make this a poll.

B yond
November 5, 2006, 07:16 PM
The difference between bubbafication and sporterization is a subjective one, so for the purpose of this poll I will consider them the same.

November 5, 2006, 07:16 PM
Common is a relative's doubtful that today's "common" milsurps will be that way in the future... I think non-restorability is a good litmus test. If you're just switching stocks or performing other reversible hardware mods that's one thing...if you're hacking down the barrel, tapping in 20 locations, and painting it bright green...that's a shame.

November 5, 2006, 07:19 PM
Until they dry up. Think about it. :scrutiny:

B yond
November 5, 2006, 07:21 PM
Good point carpediem, the rifle will be permanently altered. I'll add that to the original post.

November 5, 2006, 07:22 PM
Would stripping down a stock to the bare wood, sanding and refinishing be considered modifying?

November 5, 2006, 07:23 PM
I voted no but with one condition... You start with a rifle that's already been monkeyed with. Examples of sombody elses handiwork can be found by the thousands in pawnshops and online for little cash.

November 5, 2006, 07:24 PM
I wish to add my own asterisk...

I answered no it isn't wrong. I have done it on two occasions...

on BOTH occasions, however, they were shall we say basket-cases...stock was beyond repair on one, and the second was already bubba'd.


November 5, 2006, 07:31 PM
It's your rifle, do with it what you like. Who cares what others think?

November 5, 2006, 07:33 PM
military surplus rifles should not be permanently altered in any way. what happens in 50 years when all the supply of yugo mausers or m44's have dried up? you're going to be glad you kept that gun in original military config.

November 5, 2006, 07:33 PM
Its your rifle, do what you like with it. Its not like it costs a great deal, its not like there aren't a couple million more.

Sure, the supply could dry up, but on a sub-$200 rifle, honestly, nobody is losing out on much.

Go ahead and bubba-ize it. If people give you crap about it, out-shoot them and shut them up.

November 5, 2006, 07:36 PM
In my opinion if you bought and paid for the rifle then it is entirely your business on what you do with it. Personally, I don't see myself modifying my milsurps, but that is because I like them in their original configuration for the historical value. Someone else who doesn't find that as appealing may get just as much satisfaction from modifying it in a way they see fit.

November 5, 2006, 07:38 PM
I vote "no" - with the caveat that, for example, Finnish Mosins have been found at Big 5s occasionally.

If there is nothing remarkable about said milsurp (the usual markings, not a rare variant of a commonly-available arm like a Remington Mosin, etc etc) then do with it as you wish, but for Mosins at least, all-matching numbers would be enough for me to leave it alone... but I'm weird like that.

I also don't consider US-made weapons to be milsurps because the prices are moronically high simply due to the fact that they're "grandpappy's rifle". Drop Garands down to $250-300 and make them publically available outside the CMP, we'll talk.

what happens in 50 years when all the supply of yugo mausers or m44's have dried up? you're going to be glad you kept that gun in original military config.

Why, so you can think to yourself "hmm, I'm not getting as much enjoyment or utility out of this gun as I would if I'd done what I wanted with it in the past fifty years, but at least I can sell it to a collector"?

There are two ends of the spectrum: on the one end, you've got Joe-Bob chainsawing the stocks on rare guns to make them look like Remchesters without bothering to see if he's got a $600 milsurp that would enable him to buy a Remchester outright if sold; on the other, you've got the small subsection of Gunboards members (let's call them, collectively, "Humphrey") who buy up every Mosin they can get their hands on and entomb them in axle grease for all eternity. Joe-Bob grins with glee at every SS-stamped K98k he chops down to 14", Humphrey breaks down sobbing whenever the inch-thick "patina" on his Mosins gets scratched. Both are really dumb extremes.

Further in on the spectrum are the normal people who don't really give a rip one way or another. I don't see anything wrong with a Mosin in original configuration, nor do I see anything wrong with one in an ATI stock with a bent bolt and scope. I own three original Mosins, and I plan to get another to bubba-ize with aforementioned stock, bolt and scope. Why? Because my guns are for me to enjoy, not for hoarding or investment; in my mind, shooting the hell out of a sporterized Mosin I enjoy and then selling it for $100 is infinitely preferable to pampering a safe queen for a few years, then selling it to a collector for $200 more than I paid for it.

And, on the flipside of the common argument, "what if" in 50 years the Mosin still costs the equivalent of $100-200 today?

November 5, 2006, 08:03 PM
I voted no. It is your property and your choice.

November 5, 2006, 08:07 PM
nothing you do with your own firearm is 'wrong', unless it creates an unsafe condition that will have an bad effect on someone other than yourself.

ill conceived, maybe, but not wrong.

Harry Paget Flashman
November 5, 2006, 08:23 PM
As long as you're not painting the stock Mandarin red or in a pastel, why not? Even the milsurps turned into abominations give us something to talk about.

November 5, 2006, 08:57 PM
NO, it's not wrong to modify them. It's your money, you bought it, you can do what you want to it.

YES it is pretty stupid, however, seeing as how you can probably find an already sporterized/bubbatized version of the same gun for less $ and not have to chop up an original.

November 5, 2006, 08:59 PM
It is your property. Enjoy it any way that you like.

November 5, 2006, 09:02 PM
your gun, your choice
But don't expect me to say it looks nice unless it does.:)

November 5, 2006, 09:03 PM
Keep in mind that if you bought it under a C&R FFL, you can't make permanent modifications to it, anything you do must be easily reverseable.

November 5, 2006, 09:03 PM
I don't like to do it, but it dosen't bother me that others do so.

November 5, 2006, 09:07 PM
Keep in mind that if you bought it under a C&R FFL, you can't make permanent modifications to it, anything you do must be easily reverseable.


November 5, 2006, 09:11 PM
Different schools of thought on this one. By analogy, there are antique dealers and collectors who believe it is sacrilege to refinish or modify old furniture in any way. Others buy old stuff explicitly to refinish it.

I'm in the latter camp. I'm utilitarian rather than a collector. It's your rifle. If you bought it as a shooter rather than a collector's item, have at it. Just don't do anything that destroys its functionality!

November 5, 2006, 10:24 PM
well you said common and plentiful but....

Swede M96 was plentiful for a while,so were Springfields,M1917 and Garand.

I saw a few months ago a excellent Winchester M1 carbine that a owner had carved checkering into the wood:eek:

I guess its alright as long as there are no perminant changes to it.

True that its yours to do what you want but today there are so many commercial designs at decent prices it makes no sense to me to try to make a historical rifle into a sporter hunting rifle.

November 5, 2006, 10:50 PM
Originally Posted by g56
Keep in mind that if you bought it under a C&R FFL, you can't make permanent modifications to it, anything you do must be easily reverseable.

If you purchase a firearm as a C&R, and then modify it such that it doesn't have the attributes that made it a C&R to begin with, then it has lost the C&R status and cannot be sold as such until it is restored back to the configuration that granted the status to begin with. Meaning - it can still be sold as a modern firearm afterwards, but will not get the C&R eligibility. If you never plan on selling the C&R milsurp you modify, or don't mind transferring it to somebody else as a modern gun, then no big deal.

Some folks have gone to the extremes and tried to purchase sporterized milsurps (ie, a rebarreled .270 Garand) and stripped receivers under C&R auspices, only to be denied the sale by sharp FFL holders. Why? That's plainly discouraged by the regs, contact any C&R or retail FFL holder and they can point it out to you where it's written in black and white.

More here:

I remember the days when I thought there would always be Mausers, Lee-Enfields, Springfields, Krags, Trapdoors, M1 Carbines, Garands, and so forth. They were cheap, everywhere, and I passed up many a pristine example just because I knew I could always find one X number of years down the road at the same prices. Boy, was I naieve. :(

November 6, 2006, 01:48 AM
I say no, but it's qualified. First, you can slap a Mosin in a synthetic stock and basically not change anything about the gun. Your making it more modern, but your not doing anything that can't be undone, and I can't see a problem in that. Second, if you have the skills, you can take old crappy military stocks and work them into something fairly pretty. It trashes the original stock, but it beautifies the rifle to a degree that would make anyone proud to own and shoot it. I don't have a problem with that either. However, I cringe when I see what people who don't have the skills can do to a perfectly good mil-surp. I have seen guns that just about made me cry because of their craptacularity. Look people, if you know you can't do it, practice on a 2x4 or something along those lines until you can!

The other qualifier is that I think it behooves the owner of any milsurp to take a little extra time to research the gun before it gets bubba-fied. Using Mosin's as an example again, there are plenty of people who can't tell a Finnish gun from any other Mosin, and while it isn't a ton of money, you are losing money tampering with those guns. There are plenty of plain-jane, run of the mill Mosin's around to tamper with, and it will take only a few minutes of internet research to determine if you should go ahead with your plans or keep it as is.

Personally, I like my milsurps just how they are. I shoot all of them, and I don't mind if they are a little clunky or whatever. They were issued and used that way, and I personally feel that it takes a lot of the fun out of mil-surps to modify them to fit modern needs.

November 6, 2006, 01:50 AM
Nah. It's your rifle, do whatever you want with it (as long as it's BATFE legal, that is).


November 6, 2006, 01:52 AM
Its your gun do what you want. Even if you had say a WWII Singer M1911 and wanted to gold plate it, and intall a set of pearl grips :barf: . I may roll my eyes at you and walk away in disgust but is your gun just the same.

November 6, 2006, 03:22 AM
I just had to dredge this one up. BTW, I never did buy it...Maybe I will yet...

November 6, 2006, 03:37 AM

November 6, 2006, 04:25 AM

In 100 years there could be hundreds of thousands of surplus guns for future generations to of our past. Instead, because of bubbas making a $200 K98 into a $100 "scout gun", there will be very few good examples left around by then.

Don't believe me? Try to find a minty Krag you can afford. Once, they were "common", and you could buy them by the barrel at Montgomery Ward....and folks cut them up and ruined them.

Either you think about the future, or you think about now. Bubba foregoes buying a $300 Savage to buy a $100 Mosin and putting $250 into it. He only sees NOW.

November 6, 2006, 04:44 AM
I would have to say 'yes', with a caveat.

If the rifle is just a barreled action, in poor shape (due to accidents post surplusing; scars earned in battle should be given due respect), or previously 'modified', I would consider it fair game. There are a couple examples of these in my basement right now, in varying stages of rebirth as project rifles.

However, a virgin (i.e., unmodified by civilians beyond the obscenity of an import marking), good condition rifle should be left alone. There are precious few examples of rifles that were actually improved in real terms through permanent modification.

Also, I wouldn't consider non-permanent additions or alterations to be modification. If it's completely reversible it's fair game by me.

Refinishing is clearly modification, even if it is bringing the item back into original spec. The process removes any character the firearm developed in the course of its lifecycle, from blood pitting to rack marks. Everything 'wrong' with a worn weapon of war is a part of its history- by extension, our own history.
That said, I have little problem with adding your own dings and scrapes to a milsurp, unless the history is too important to lose through basic use.

For example, I have a basically new M39 that probably never left its rack for longer than it took to load onto a pallet headed for AIM's warehouse. It has dings, and scratches, and gouges from the transport, and I have decided to leave all of them. They are a part of its history, and I'm enjoying the heck out of the rifle in it's original form. The most I would do is trigger shimming and possibly some stock reinforcement with bedding material- though the latter only if it become obviously necessary.

November 6, 2006, 07:51 AM
Yes. Just because it is temporarily easy to get does not make it common. For instance, 11 years ago, Finn Mosins were easy to get. As a result, some very rare (and yes, a rifle that is one of only 3,000 ever made, is RARE) rifles were butchered. I have seen many forever butchered rifles that are one of a handful left in the world. But, they could be had at Roses cheaply.

If Bubba wants to sporterize, he should at least keep it to himself and not drop it off at a pawn shop 6 months later, only to butcher another one when the mood strikes him. One Bubba can butcher 20 or 30 milsurps in a lifetime.


November 6, 2006, 08:39 AM
Half the fun of mil surps is making 'em more useful for hunting. I've modified a Mauser and an SKS for hunting, another SKS I tacticooled. That's what I got 'em for. I paid for 'em, they're mine, and in the words of Eric Cartman, "I do what I want."

That said, the military guns I've "sporterized" have fallen short of what you can buy off the shelf from Savage, Remington, Ruger, etc for hunting. It was just a phase I went through, I think, but I know others that sporterize mil surps for fun as a hobby just to be doing it. Nothing wrong with that I don't think. Some folk's "butchering" is other folk's "improving". I don't care how rare it is, if I wanna sporterize it, I ain't gonna ask your permission. It's my money, my rifle, and my spare time. A raw mil surp rifle is pretty worthless to me.

Bwana John
November 6, 2006, 09:36 AM
Yes, it is wrong.

Bubba is as Bubba does.

November 6, 2006, 09:43 AM
No, it is not wrong. Stealing is wrong. Breaking things that belong to others is wrong.

Sporterizing a mil-surp may be financially foolish, and it might cause said firearm to actually be less useful than when it started, but it isn't wrong.

November 6, 2006, 09:54 AM
Even the most common Milsurps have a history, and this is why I buy them.

November 6, 2006, 10:43 AM
I don't really know why anyone should care WHAT I do to any mil surp bein' as it's mine. If I'm a bubba, I'm one of many and I'm a college educated bubba. The SKSs I've done were add ons, though I drilled and tapped the receiver of one SKS to install the scope mount. SKSs are so common even those that think it's sacrilege shouldn't care about one Norinco mil surp. That one's a fun gun and I've kept it. In fact, I might take it to the stand with me tomorrow morning. Been hunting with my Contender last couple of mornings.

Anyway, I bought this Spanish 93 small ring Mauser with the intention of doing minimal work to sporterize it. I refinished the stock, had a smith mount scope mounts and turn down the bolt. It was already turned down, but had to be reshaped. A little bit of the stock had to be relieved for this, of course.

I had a 7 mag at the time, big 26" barreled bulky Savage (still have it) and a .257 Roberts. The idea was to get a mil surp in a decent mid range caliber to fill in the gap between the two. Now, of course, I could have loaded the 7 down a bit, but this Spanish Mauser had a very handy 20" barrel and short action, nice. I could have gotten it in a conversion to .308 Winchester, but opted for the 7 Mauser original for $60. Now, what I didn't count on was that it was rifled rather fast and only shot well with 175 grain round nose Hornady bullets. But, that's okay, I theorized on hogs and deer out to 250-300 yards, it would be a hammer with those long, blunt bullets. :D I got good hunting accuracy out of it, 2 MOA, effective to about as far as I'd be shooting. The gun, while heavy, was handy as all get out in a stand, very short, and was a handsome, rugged piece. I never shot anything with it because after building it, I won a Remington 700BDL in .25-06 in a door prize at a local gun show. I traded that rifle for the little stainless M7 .308 I now own and really, really like. So, I sold the Mauser to a friend who wanted a rugged, effective, cheap rifle. I got $150 for it. I spent $60 on it and the smithing was about 60 so the gun set me back $120 without the scope I put on it. That's pretty cost effective for such a rugged and reasonably accurate hunting rifle IMHO. If I had a need in my collection of hunting rifles that a sporterized mil surp could fill cheaply and effectively, I'd not hesitate to build another one. It don't have to cost much, ya know. You don't necessarily have to do a lot of work to a mil surp to build an effective hunting rifle. A scope is pretty much a must, but beyond that, it don't have to be fancy to be effective.

That said, I don't think I'd want that old Mauser and give my Remington M7 back. :D That little gun is LIGHT as well as handy and 1 MOA accurate in what is a quite effective caliber. But, if you went to buy a stainless M7 instead of winning a gun and trading for it, it'd set you back a lot more scratch than that mil surp Mauser did. I basically don't care about the gun's former use. What I'm lookin' at is something I have use for. I'm a hunter, not a historian or museum curator. :rolleyes:

Mr White
November 6, 2006, 01:27 PM

Clear enough?

call me a purist... or an a$$hat , but that's how I feel.

Essex County
November 6, 2006, 01:58 PM
I collect Mil-Surps and none of mine are permently altered....But this is still America and you still have the freedom to do what you wish with your property. As I get older and grouchier I resent the elitest collector attitude " That nothing should be touched". I don't chop mine up becasse I don't want to and it makes no financial sense....Grouchy Old Essex

November 6, 2006, 02:14 PM
How old does a thing have to be before it's wrong to alter it from it's original condition? How rare does it have to be? Where do you draw the line?

Is it wrong to turn a 1977 Super Beetle into a baja bug? How about a 1948 split window?

It is impossible to preserve the artifacts of the past 100%. People will modify alter and even destroy their possessions until it is obvious to the general public that these items are rare and valuable.

It's supply and demand in reverse. The supply of pristine old milsurps will dwindle until there are only enough to meet the demands of collectors willing to preserve them.

For the people that hate to see old guns bubba'd, buy as many as you can afford NOW. Accept that the ones that are altered or destroyed are not yours and will only serve to increase the value of what you have.

November 6, 2006, 02:21 PM
but that's how I feel

The original post noted the strong "feelings" often associated with this sort of discussion, and indeed asked for the "feelings" of THR. I guess I screwed up in my first post, because I answered based on my thoughts rather than my feelings. That is primarily due to the fact that I have no feelings for milsurp arms. I own a fair number of them but try as I might, I just don't get the "feeling" thing. I wonder sometimes where they've been and in what role they were used, but wondering is thinking rather than feeling. I've altered one or two, and didn't feel anything other than a little disappointed that I didn't do as good a job as I'd hoped to because I'd listened the part of me that said "get it done" rather than the part that said "take your time".

Personally, I'll save the feelings for looking at my sleeping children and stick to thinking when it comes to altering mil surp rifles.

November 6, 2006, 02:25 PM
Generally I'll say yes. Previously I would have said the opposite. I can recall in the 1990's, Enfields were a dime a dozwen, and it was popular/acceptable butcher them every which way. Anyhow, today, they are running dry, and cost significantly more. I can't help but know that todays Mosins and Mausers will do them same. Anyone else remember the $99 Swedish Mausers?

Mr White
November 6, 2006, 03:02 PM

Clear enough?

call me a purist... or an a$$hat , but that's how I feel.

I probably should have appended that post with a :) or a :D. I'm really not that hardcore about milsurps.

My position on milsurps is one of... Its your gun so you're obviously free to do what you want with it but I'll never permanently alter any of mine.

Even if the guns are dirt cheap and a dime a dozen now, in 30 or 40 years when my kids get them, they might be worth a good piece of change. But its not really even about the money. Its more about that feeling (sorry kfranz, I have feelings, albiet completely different ones, about my guns and my kids) of connectin with the past that I get from shooting a gun that's exactly the same as the gun shot by that poor grunt hunkered down in some muddy foxhole in France, or around Stalingrad, or in Helsinki.

November 6, 2006, 03:07 PM
This thread really makes the perverse side of me want to slaughter some sacred cattle.

I chop my bikes, cars, guitars, and guns.

November 6, 2006, 03:39 PM
My attitude towards many of the responses in this thread is simple - if you want to presume to tell someone what to do with their personal property, then you better be prepared to pay them fair market value for it and take it off their hands. Calling them names and denigrating their choices without walking the walk in some fashion (infusions of time, effort, intellectual capital, and/or money to secure and preserve these historic artifacts) is decidedly NOT High Road....

I do not chop or alter MilSurps. I have bought altered MilSurps for the purposes of making them into useful things. I have sold MilSurps at a loss (e.g. my gorgeous 1901 Gustaf and my FN49) rather than give in to my urges to chop them or make them into things that they were not designed to be.

But I say again - you cannot tell someone else what to value; you can only work to safeguard that which you value. Sniping from the sidelines without walking the walk is, well, sooner or later going to be seen for what it is.....


November 6, 2006, 03:42 PM
I use the same methodology on modifying milsurplus as I do for cars. If it was a piece, do what you want. If it was a nice original, dont cut it up, it should be enjoyed for what it was/is.

Part of why I like my SKS so much is that its got all the carvings on the stock that some board soldier did while on watch some night or sitting around a camp fire. Neat history there.

I am so impressed with how my beauty of a M44 shoots (besides the darn bolt) that I'm looking for another in worse shape to put into a synthetic stock and mount a scope to it.

Most the time though I see people doing things that throw off the carriability and balence and simplicity of a good surplus firearm, trying to make it something its not, and that doesnt make sence to me.

November 6, 2006, 04:33 PM
If I go to hell because I had my gunsmith mount a scope and turn the bolt on my all matching 6.5x55sm M96 small ring then so be it. I will take my 96 with me and enjoy every moment of it.

At the end of the day its your weapon do with it as you may and be happy with your decision.

Collectors collect
Shooters shot

We both enjoy.


November 6, 2006, 05:14 PM
Part of why I like my SKS so much is that its got all the carvings on the stock that some board soldier did while on watch some night or sitting around a camp fire. Neat history there.

Hmm, them might have been carvin's on dat ol' SKS? Oh, well....:neener:

It might have once killed American soldiers, but now it kills deer and hogs.

November 6, 2006, 06:12 PM
I (rescued) a sporterized 1903A3 from a pawn shop in Colorado Springs, Co and whoever the former owner was sporterized it and paid a little bit more than average to get it done. I bought it in 1984 and still have it. Beautiful Gun. Will I sporterize one? No, because to me it brings discredit to the history of that gun.

November 6, 2006, 07:24 PM
Collectors collect
Shooters shot

We both enjoy.

I take great exception to that stereotype. I'm well on my way to a collection of 200 guns so far. I shoot every one of them, and if I don't, I sell them. The majority of them are either pristine or original milsurps, or specimens I took several years and unknown dollars to restore back to as-issued condition after Bubba "improved" things by taking a hacksaw to them. I enjoy taking the historical firearms out to the range, and letting others shoot these not-so-common pieces of history. Just remember, the CMP isn't going to have M1 Garands forever, I figure they'll run out in just a couple years.

Everybody has the right to take a piece of history and modify it the way they see fit. I won't agree that it's the most intelligent thing to do these days when Remchesters are widely available for customizing, but one does have the right to do so. And there's a HUGE difference between Bubba (See bastardized Mauser above in .45 Guy's posting) and true masters of conversion like R. F. Sedgley or P.O. Ackley. See this M1917 U.S. Enfield? I bought it because of the exquisite amount of work the builder had done to make a hotrod long-range target and varmint rifle, in a wildcat 6mm-270 chambering called .236 Super. I'd hardly call it a Bubba job - Bubba don't do Unertl.

Speaking of Bubba, he has cousins. I saw a Corvette Stingray in Melbourne, FL that was converted to a station wagon, and had a bright red metalflake paint job. Somebody must've thought it was an improvement. It had a For Sale sign on it, so perhaps the owner sobered up and realized what he had done.

The old saying is, "It's your bar of soap and washcloth. You can scrub as hard and fast as you'd like..." ;)

November 7, 2006, 01:16 AM
I guess according to some folks, I am going to hell. I ain't gonna lose any sleep over it. I have converted, or assisted in the conversion of quite a few "milsurp" rifles, Mausers, Springfields, Arisakas, even Krags. At the time they were as cheap and plentiful as the eastern bloc rifles are today.

Not "bubba-ed", but fine wood stocks, custom metalwork, blueing, etc. Rebarreling, custom triggers, the works. These rifles were not "butchered" they became functional works of the gunsmiths art.

Many people today think that is something disrespectful. I look at it the other way. The rifles are improved, often drastically. These rifles are not really popular right now, and can often be found at the gunshows at near bargin prices.

I also collect and shoot military rifles in issue condition. There is a great before and after thing there. I have a number of milsurps, and no plans to convert any of them. Not because of the money, or because of their historical significance, but just because I have no reason to.

I have a good friend who does just the opposite, when he can. He finds the "bubba-ed" guns, and restores them. We get a kick out of comparing, an issue 1903A1 Springfield (his) to mine, which is a .25-06, custom wood, deep luster blue and polished steel, etc.

Perhaps part of the current desire to preserve milsurps is because most of the best ones are gone, and civilian rifles are better then the used to be. When we sporterized k98s, 1903s, 1917s, and others, we wound up with a rifle equal to or better than what was available from major US makers, and often at less cost.

Those days are gone, and the cheap common milsurps available today
cannot be made into the same class of rifles. Nice guns, yes. But not the quality sporters of yesteryear. I don't mean to upset some of the kids out there who think their M 44 carbine is the greatest thing ever, but you just can't do the same things to it that we did to make our guns. Not and get the same results. You put enough work into a 98 Mauser, or a Springfield or the Enfield, and you can match the high grade guns that came out of Griffith & Howe.

November 7, 2006, 01:34 AM
I'd say NO, but keep the original military stock... you can always sell it to someone looking to un-bubba theirs.

November 7, 2006, 02:02 AM
Collectors collect
Shooters shot

I too take exception to that statement. I collect my mil-surps specifically to shoot them! If I can't shoot it and have fun with it, then I don't want it. As it happens, I like my mil-surps to stay in their original form because I appreciate the history behind them, but I still shoot the crap out of them.

November 7, 2006, 02:08 AM
Some people have an emotional attachment these rifles and believe they should be left as is. There is nothing remotely wrong with this way of thinking. However some people just see rifles and they modify them and create a rifle they want instead of the rifle others think they should be happy with. Group A sees a history or collectors value or something of that nature and Group B sees some wood and metal that together with proper ammunition can make loud noises and put holes in things.

If you are a rifle collector/enthusiast first then the rifle comes first and changing an out of production rifle must seem a lot like ruining it. If you are a shooter first then the rifle comes second and the most important thing is that the rifle carries and shoots the way you want it too. For those that are shooters first and collectors/enthusiast second modifying a mil-surp sees a lot like a good idea if you shoot with it better afterwards.

Me personally? I like to leave the rifles alone, they are fine as is. I enjoy them for what they are and see no need to change them. I enjoy seeing someone elses nicely sported mil-surp as well and it don't really do anything to me one way or another to see an altogether ruined rifle.

American By Blood
November 7, 2006, 10:25 AM
I'm not going to go out and gather signatures for an anti-bubbaing ballot inititative, but that doesn't mean I have to be OK with it. As Gewehr 98 pointed out, each milsurp is common until they run out and each is possessed of some degree of historical significance. Permanently altering a milsurp is akin to finding a Crusader's Bible in Jerusalem and adding "nekkid ladiez an' sumpin' about Dubya bein' da sekkin comin' " to make it "better."

I wish I could find it, but some months ago there was a thread in this section of the forum about a bubbaed milsurp that a poster was restoring to something closer to its original state. That's alteration I can approve of.

November 7, 2006, 11:15 AM
Cuts both ways for me:

I've sporterized a couple of Mausers, but they were types made in the MILLIONS, and more importantly the markings had been ground off, stocks were junk, etc. No collector value, whatsoever.

On the other hand I bought a WWI SMLE, that had been slightly Bubba'd, just the stock cut, which I've acquired the pieces for, so I can restore it to "original" condition.

November 7, 2006, 11:27 AM
They are a piece of history--avoid modifying them and find a more appropriate tool for the job.

November 7, 2006, 12:04 PM
They are a piece of history

So is everything ever made before today. It isn't always about tools and jobs, sometimes it is about trying something to see if you can do it, or trying something to see "what will happen if I do xxxx"

cracked butt
November 7, 2006, 01:43 PM
Hack away, take the belt sander to it, and make sure to put a few coats of tru-oil on it afterward- it just makes items in my collection a little bit more scarce and a little bit more valuable.

30-40Krag dude
November 7, 2006, 03:44 PM
they are certainly pieces of history, BUT history does NOT END after the war is over. the entire life of the firearm is its history. whether is was defending a country, or putting food on a familys table.

military arms are kinda like people. many of our fathers and grandfathers have been in through war, and it was only a small portion of thier life. the same holds true for your collection. I say get out there to shoot and enjoy them however you see fit. add your own chapter to history. ;)

besides, if nobody ever messed with them we would all have common boring rifles :neener:

November 7, 2006, 05:32 PM
So ya'll are gonna crucify me if I send my Eddystone to A-Square?

November 7, 2006, 09:01 PM
Can it be restored back to issue condition?

Eddystones, btw, have a reputation for cracked receivers due to overtorqued barrels, compared to those M1917 U.S. Enfields manufactured by Remington in their Ilion plant or the same rifles built by Winchester. Before you unscrew the barrel from that Eddystone, be darned careful.

November 7, 2006, 09:51 PM
I added a Lyman peep site to my M93 spanish mauser, only because I figured it was never going to be a collectible since the numbers didn't match. I paid $69 for it. It was made by the Lowe Armory. It had a duffle bag cut in the stock, which I fixed by doweling it, and replacing the cleaning rod with a long bolt I made to hold it all togther tightly. Apparently it came home as a souveniere during the Spanish American War.

First time to the range with the original site, I got a 3 round cloverleaf at 50 yards. They were so close that through my spotting scope, it looked like one hit on the paper and 2 total misses.

I peep sighted it and planned on sporterizing the stock. It's a nice piece of wood, but needs a good refinish.

All that said, I can kick myself in the ass for putting the peep site on it now. I wish I had just left well enough alone. Sad. Very sad.

November 7, 2006, 09:54 PM
Rebolted by the armory, all R stamped parts except the wood, that's an Eddystone. What a gorgeous rifle. I am trying to find an R stock for it now, and a blued bolt. The bolt that is in it is parkerized.

November 7, 2006, 10:20 PM
Depends on the rifle in question. Some yes, some no.

November 7, 2006, 10:24 PM
It's pretty much original. I's my dad's first gun, which he left me when he died. Barrel stamped 11-18, so it probably wasn't over there.

Barrel looks like a sewer pipe, bad headspace, missing swivels and barel band.

Other than that it's original.

It has sentimental value to me, because my dad bought it out of a barrel in a hardware store when he was 13 or so.

It doesn't shoot, it's incomplete.

I'd have it turned into a safari rifle, in say, .375 H&H (haven't really decided yet). No it wouldn't be reversible. A-square is hardly a bubba company, and the M1917 action has some unique features that aren't available in other actions. e.g. the interupted thread locking lugs, which provide enormous levels of extraction force.

November 7, 2006, 10:29 PM
On your M1917, the front end of the stock is a stamped letter. Is yours stamped "E", "R" or "W"?

If it is an R, I'll buy the wood from you. :)

November 7, 2006, 10:33 PM
I'm a shooter not a collector

If modifying a gun makes it more shootable to me then it gets modified

If I feel guilty about it I'll buy two and leave one unmolested

November 7, 2006, 10:49 PM
So ya'll are gonna crucify me if I send my Eddystone to A-Square?

No, but you can still have the fun of taking it to a gun show and having some wise guy "collector" say he can maybe give you $25 for it since you ruined it. :)

November 7, 2006, 11:01 PM
Seriously. I can rebarrel it to good headspace with a NOS USGI .30-06 barrel, and the missing barrel band is no big deal. Art Alphin at A-Square probably already has more than a few U.S. Enfields with the ears ground off that he'll sell you as a Hamilcar or Hannibal with the money you made from selling me that military specimen. ;)

I've done the same for other poorly-maintained U.S. Enfields, Springfields, Lee-Enfields, and M1 Garands. This Z-prefix 1903A4 was found in Florida as a deer rifle with a cut-down barrel and poorly-fitting aftermarket stock. I spotted the serial number and restored it back to as-issued condition with a new March 1944 barrel, original scope, mount, rings, and semi-inletted reproduction Type C stock. Look at it - after the Saving Private Ryan phenomenon, is anybody going to argue with me that it didn't warrant restoration?

November 7, 2006, 11:07 PM
Look at it - after the Saving Private Ryan phenomenon, is anybody going to argue with me that it didn't warrant restoration?

That same guy's just going to offer you $30, cause it's not original. :)

November 7, 2006, 11:12 PM
seeing as how the used guns on gunbroker seem to be going for $2500+, are you sure you want to take that deal?

November 7, 2006, 11:15 PM
Which I don't. I cannot afford a papered original Remington 1903A4 sniper, they go for between $3K - $5K with documentation. So I spent 5 years and some disposable income restoring an original 1903A4 that Bubba improved with a hacksaw, and I can take it out and shoot it these days without hurting the value any. While my gun is correct with respect to receiver, barrel and other fitments, I made it a point not to add the proper cartouches to the stock, and I inserted a sheet in the buttstock that states that the gun was restored from a derelict 1903A4 by me on a given date. I'm comfortable in that I'm not defrauding anybody, but I did bring a piece of history back to life.

BTW, I have gotten offers ranging from $1K to $1.5K, even though it's a restoration vs. papered. I enjoy it mostly on range day, and not just from my time behind the trigger. You should see the grins and smiles folks get making nice groups at 100+ yards using a WWII vintage sniper rifle with period 2.5x scope. :D

November 8, 2006, 12:21 AM
seeing as how the used guns on gunbroker seem to be going for $2500+, are you sure you want to take that deal?

Of course not. I was just thinking about how "bubba" seems to be catching on these days and Gewehr98's posts reminded me of the comedy bit about "Your stuff is junk and my junk is stuff." One thing about the gun world, you can always find someone to tell you why your stuff is junk, even pretty stuff like Gewehr's. BTDT, but there was that one guy who was willing to go to $40 with all the reloading equipment and stuff thrown in since I wouldn't need it and he was doing me a favor by not just going up the street to Roses and buying a better, all original one for half that. :)

November 8, 2006, 12:41 AM
Part of why I like my SKS so much is that its got all the carvings on the stock that some board soldier did while on watch some night or sitting around a camp fire. Neat history there.

Hmm, them might have been carvin's on dat ol' SKS? Oh, well....

I'm not saying that you cant still see those carvings under the camo paint that somehow got all over mine:D

October 4, 2007, 06:04 PM
I hate to see some of the nicer or rarer guns butchered but other guns are plentiful and common and are great candidates for customization. I have a Russian SKS and a Mosin 91/30 that WILL remain in original condition. On the other hand I am hunting for a Chinese or Yugo SKS to customize and a M44 to do the same.

October 4, 2007, 06:27 PM
I just bought two M44s. One has all the original issued equipment and sits. The other one is a a scout rifle deerslayer that loves 203 grain softpoints. Then again everything I have done can be undone without damage to the original.

Dr. Peter Venkman
October 4, 2007, 06:55 PM
Common today, rare tomorrow.

"Is it OK to cut up G43s and M1 Garands because they are so readily available?

Poll date March 13th, 1962."

October 4, 2007, 07:01 PM
To each his own, but I like mil surp rifles the way they are. Just because they are only $200 doesnt mean they always will be.....I know I remember hearing from "the older generation" about when M1 Garands, carbines and 1903's could be had for under $100.

October 4, 2007, 08:06 PM
Not if you own it, not if it's legal, and not if the alterations make you like it more.

October 4, 2007, 08:25 PM
As far as I am concerned, you can do what you want with your property/body/anything as long as it isn't causing unneeded harm to others (someone thinking it is ugly isn't harming them).

October 5, 2007, 07:52 PM
My 91/30 looked really bad when I got it. I mean light shellac with the dark red stuff later brushed on the forestock only and running down toward the buttstock. :barf: I thought I could refinish the wood without too much trouble. Well, 3 times later and I still don't like the way it looks.

Most Mosin Nagants were arsenal refurbished at one point or another. Wonder if they were originally shellacked? I have avoided the whole drilling and tapping so far. I just carefully clean up the original finish on all my latest acquisitions.

It saddens me to see bubba'd milsurps, but what ya gonna do?

October 5, 2007, 09:09 PM
And don't modify any of those vintage Mustangs either. They all have to be stock with the original sound systems.

October 5, 2007, 11:00 PM
History is just old stuff. I'm as fascinated as the next person by true relics of the past, but it is the way of the world that things move on. I am not in favor of holding too many things sacred so that we never get past the past.

I'll be buying an M44 in a couple weeks, as soon as I get the C&R. First thing I'll do after cleaning it and ascertaining it's condition is remove the steel butt place and sand down the toe so that I can shoot it without getting beaten up.

History is one thing. Getting beaten up every time I shoot the thing because it was designed for durability over comfort and for battlefield expedience over sunny days at the range is quite another.

October 6, 2007, 12:54 AM
Its wrong to modify one of mine....Do what you want to your own.

I certainly would never buy a bubba'd surplus gun, I like the classic old fashioned look myself.

Whenever I see a bubba'd Krag or 1903 or something like that a chill runs up my spin and I feel sick to my stomach. There was a time when Krag's and 1903's were cheap and plentiful and people didn't think twice about butchering them, now lucky if you can find a complete one for a decent price. Same is true for many surplus guns, as supplies run out, the demand and prices for un-bubba'd ones goes up.

In my case, I buy surplus guns because they are historical and I'm a history buff. Even though I might restore them, I consider it restoring them to their original glory. I'm not a fan of modern stocks on old guns, I like my Mosin's to look like Mosin's, my SKS's to look like SKS's and my Mauser's to look like Mausers, you get the idea. If I want a modern looking rifle I'll buy a modern looking rifle, if I want a comfortable gun to shoot, I'll buy a comfortable gun to shoot. Anyway that's my philosophy, to each his own. Like I said in the beginning people can do what they want with their own guns, we are free to own guns, we are free to do what we want with the guns we own.

I will admit however that sometimes beautiful custom guns can be created from old surplus rifles, IF the person has some talent and knows what he/she is doing.

October 6, 2007, 10:31 PM
Well, I voted wrong- My no should be a yes.

It was the matching numbers thing that made the difference to me. That in itself makes the weapon rare. Mixmasters however- feel free to do your best!


Big Az Al
October 6, 2007, 11:30 PM
Now we look back and ponder if we knew what was going to happen 30 years later would we?

Then again if those of us that sporterized mil surplus rifles back then, didn't and all those millions of rifles were still as issued, what would the market be?

There were some where over 17,000,000 Russain Mosin Nagants built during the time it was thier primary arm(that isn't counting the rifles made in other countries from what I have read), there will be some variants that are worth mucho danarro, what do you do with 7 or 10 or 15 million rifles? Don't you want some one to modify some of them so the ones untouched aquire value faster!?

The Deer Hunter
October 6, 2007, 11:51 PM
I voted no.

Personally, I prefer to keep surplus rifles in the surplus condition. This is not because I think everyone who owns a Mosin Nagant is going to have the 'last' one or that they will be very collectible someday but because I like how they look. I find it really cool and fascinating that someone could have used this rifle or one that looked just like this during a major world conflict.

But I also can see where "Bubba" can come from. They are just trying to make the rifle their own, and to suite their own needs. Most Mosin Nagants make fine, 75 yard deer rifles, so I find getting a plastic stock, a bent bolt and a scope mounted on it is just fine.

October 7, 2007, 08:52 AM
Gun owners should do whatever brings an aspect of joy to their owning and shooting of firearms.

October 12, 2007, 09:44 PM
I bought a M44 Mosin Nagant las week with the intent of turning it into project. I paid 80 bucks for it. After getting it home and cleaning it up I couldn't bring myself to change a thing on it. It is a really gorgeous example of a M44.

October 12, 2007, 10:01 PM
I also voted no but wanted add my thoughts.

It has import marks and is a POS to start with.
It has been pre monkeyed AKA all recently imported converted AK's etc.
You actually know what you are desecrating don't accidentally sporterize a rare gun.

October 12, 2007, 10:08 PM
It's your rifle.... do with it what you like.

October 12, 2007, 10:46 PM
I just bought a sporterized 91/30 last week for $75
It was in one of those black plastic stocks that are so popular today

I believe those stocks cost about $50, I think the sniper bolt is another $50 plus the scope mount.
I haven't received it yet because he forgot to bring it with him but that is going to be about $20

It may not be wrong but it is certainly unprofitable
However I have to say that I kinda like the gun better as a utility gun in it's present configuration

I have a friend that has a Mauser rebarreled to 7.62 x 39
It may not be pure but it is certainly easier to shoot and a lot cheaper

The first all so common SKS that I bought was about $110 unissued less than two years ago they're selling for around $200 now
Even after I adulterated it by removing the grenade launcher and making it wear an ATI Drago stock I was able to get most of my money back, but I could have almost doubled it

Just some things to think about

October 12, 2007, 10:52 PM
I look at it this way: if it is your gun, do with it as you please as far as legal modifications go, and some of those modifications that are illegal should be legal.

October 12, 2007, 11:17 PM
My opinion?

If you want a true custom rifle, are gonna take the time and money and do a nice job, go for it. I've seen some very beautiful sporterized rifles.

If you want a cheap deer gun, go buy a used .30-30. Most every gun I see that has been sporterized, fits into a category that someone tried to make a gun somethign it wasn't, and couldn't ever be.

October 13, 2007, 07:03 AM
It is yours! Use it as a trotline weight if you want too!

October 13, 2007, 07:38 AM
Modify them to your hearts content. That will make the ones I have worth more. The faster and more hideous your example the more I shall drink expensive booze in your honor.


October 13, 2007, 08:55 AM
Amen MrMevel.

October 13, 2007, 09:13 AM
Given the conditions the OP stated I vote NO, if the rifle was beyond repair (original condition) then yes do what you like.

Art Eatman
October 13, 2007, 12:08 PM
To me, a "collectible" is something of which there aren't many at all. Just because they're hard come by because millions of people sucked them off the market doesn't create collectability. IMO.

IMO, "collectible" and "rare" or "few made" go together. Ferrari GTOs. 1894P Morgan dollars. Winchester 1895s in military configuration.

But old battle rifles? Hey, whatever the owner wants to do is just fine by me.

:), Art

October 13, 2007, 12:44 PM
This is not a yes/no question. It depends on condition. Numbers matching, mint condition shouldn't be sporerized. A beat up old rifle that has been to the armorer so many times that nothing matches then go ahead.

October 13, 2007, 07:08 PM
I voted NO.If you bought it.Do what you want to it.

October 13, 2007, 09:22 PM
For me, depends on the rifle. I have a Yugo SKS with some bored soldier's girlfriend's name carved in the stock. That rifle will stay as is. I plan to buy a cheap norinco and turn it into a ninja. For the most part, milsurps in my closet are going to stay as original as I can. My CMP Garand is a mix master, so I'm going to refinish the furniture and maybe replace some worn internals and that'll be it. No ninjafying or bubbasizing.
But thats my armory. The only thing I can say about others is what my father taught me: use the right tool for the job. You want a tacticool rifle, then buy one. You want a good-looking milsurp, buy that. You want a good deer rifle, an AK with a scope and a carbon fiber stock probably isn't your best bet.

October 13, 2007, 10:38 PM
It's your rifle. Do what you like.

But someone, someday is going to say "why in the heck did someone do this to that fine old rifle"

Green Lantern
October 13, 2007, 10:57 PM
I don't plan on modding my SKS or Nagant in any way. Well, I might try one of those front-sight scope mounts on the Mosin (no permanent mods needed).

I don't really object to people doing it, but it'll be a shame when/if all of the "regular" versions of certain mil-surps dry up FOREVER.

Remember, as others have said, NO milsurp EVER remains "common, inexpensive, and plentiful" FOREVER. And thanks to the UN and IANSA and other disarmament forces at work on the global scene, don't expect the supply of milsurp arms to ever get MORE plentiful. :(

October 13, 2007, 11:59 PM
I have sporterized many Mausers in the last 35 years and regret only a very few of them (an original 1909 Argentinian comes to mind). Except for one 1938 Carcano Carbine in 6.5mm, all my sporters have been M98 Mausers. I will sporterize any large ring Mauser that has been bubbahed previously but not any in COMPLETE milspec configuration. The exception to that rule is any Turkish rework. I do not own or intend to own any more Carcanos, Arisakas, Mosin Nagants,1891 Argentines etc, not because they aren't good rifles but because I don't like them and they make ugly sporters (IMHO). I presently own 4 '98 Mausers, 3 of which I personally sporterized. The exception is a 1909 Argentine Cavalry Carbine of Argentinian manufacture. (The carbine has no stock or hardware and is in excellent condition.) I want to build this one as well but just can't get over it's rareness.

October 14, 2007, 03:08 AM
I vote yes, with the usual exception for distressed/incomplete rifles.
I believe you should buy a gun based on what you need it to do. If you want a lightweight gun, buy a lightweight gun. If you need a short barrel, buy a short barrel. If you want a Duke Nukem BFG looking monster assault rifle, buy one. But milsurps are a part of our history, and I find it distasteful to alter them permanently.
Frankly, I'm thinking of purchasing a Mosin 91-30 as a deer gun, and the only change made to it would be a scout mount, which can be removed without leaving a mark. All I need it to do is put a big F-ing hole in what I point it at. I can deal with a little extra weight.

October 14, 2007, 07:24 AM
Wrong? No. A good idea? Well........ that's pretty much a no as well.

Unless someone is an extremely clever and skilled craftsman ( And there are a few of those around.) his chances of improving any rifle are pretty slim. It just simply isn't all that easy to do. I wouldn't waste my time and money even trying. It's just easier to buy the rifle that will do what I want from day one.

October 14, 2007, 08:52 AM
Here is an example of Bubba's stupidity. He took a rare Swiss 1900 short rifle(#162 out of 176 made) and sanded the stock , put a bakelite buttplate on and started to saw off the forstock. He took a vary expensive rifle and turned it into this...

October 14, 2007, 10:35 AM
You need to understand that there is no such thing as a "common military surplus rifle". They are all little pieces of history, small fragments from blasted battlefield and witnesses to heroism and evil alike.

October 14, 2007, 11:47 AM
Wrong to modify a common military surplus rifle?

Not any more so than to put 20 inch bling bling wheels on a common 57 Chevy......but it does make some of us wonder why though.

October 16, 2007, 02:48 AM
Counted among the sins of my youth I used to sporterize old Springfield's Mauser's and Enfield's but after seeing how quickly the once plentiful and inexpensive milsurps can become hard to find expensive and rare I have long since quit sporterizing old classics and now instead much prefer to restore them to what they once were.

How many German and Swedish Mauser rifles and carbines were butchered how many old 1903A1 and 1903A3's met a cruel fate?:banghead:
Yes, I am guilty of having done so in the distant past but will never again do so!

How many rare Finnish Mosin Nagants have been hacksawed because they were sold as merely a cheap old Russian rifle.:banghead:

These rifles are never going to be built again they are artifacts of history and should be preserved if at all possible to be appreciated by future generations as time marches on.

If one has to sporterize a rifle please find one that has already been ruined or devalued beyond saving and please leave the originals for present or future collectors one day your grandkids or great grandkids may thank you.;)

October 16, 2007, 07:55 AM
I've seen way too many rifles butchered because the owner thought them common when in fact, they were very rare. VKT M27, "B" barreled M91, M28/30 to name a few. A fellow THR member ended up buying that 28/30, knowing it carried the mark of bubba, because it would make an excellent shooter. He was right, it does make an excellent shooter, but it's value was lost when bubba modified every single part, from rear sight base to stock to bolt handle to barrel to receiver. Bubba took a $400 rifle and, with an afternoon's work, managed to enhance it's value negative $320, down to a good $80 or so.

If one is to sporterize, do so on a rifle already suffering bubba's handiwork. A good message, whether the post is a year old or not!


Joe Demko
October 16, 2007, 10:25 AM
Fragments of history? Everything is a fragment of history. Archeologists spend their whole careers sifting through old privies and garbage heaps. An old military rifle is no more, or less, a fragment of history than a coterminous beer bottle or patent medicine tin.
It's your rifle. Do as you wish with it.

October 16, 2007, 10:42 AM
I voted no becaue I own 2 sporterized milsurp guns. One was done in a shed I believe. With a stock of of another rifle that did not quite fit so it gothacked up then a bedding job (Not a good mind you) it has a grip cap that is too big for the grip. and it has a Remington butplate that was sanded down to fit the stock. and Lyman peep sights. It shoots good enough (2" @ 100 yards) to hunt deer where I live.

Then I have my 308 that started life as a 1917 Rem Enfield in 30-06 then became a 300 H&H mag then a 308 win.

It has a heavy taper Stainless barrel and is it the shop getting a scope mount custom made for it. The stock is made from black walnut with some of the best looking checkering I have ever seen. It has a black fore end cap and a inlaid diamond in the fore end as well.

The 308 is on the top.
WHy do I care if you want to make a deer rifle out of a 03a3 or try to make a bench rifle our of a nagant. If it is what you want then go for it.

October 16, 2007, 12:05 PM
There's a difference between "wrong" and "possibly unwise."

IMHO, it is not morally wrong to take a mass-produced rifle you've purchased with your own money, and you lawfully own, and modify it (legally) to your heart's content, IMHO.

HOWEVER, it may not always be the wisest use of the rifle, and if you screw up something that may be valuable someday, you may end up kicking yourself like the guy who carved, cut, welded, and tubbed his 1957 Bel Air in the early '80s because he thought it would be cool to have a "Pro Street" car with three foot wide tires, a powder-coated roll cage, wheelie bars, and shag carpet that would barely run twelves in the quarter, because that car is now much less desirable than the unmodified car.

However, I can find little fault with the guys who irreversibly modded a 1969 Camaro to make this work of art, which is arguably more desirable than the original car:

As to rifles, if I had a rack-grade M44, I'd probably have no qualms about modifying it for a scope. But my Finn M39, I'd go with a no-gunsmith mount (like a Millett) rather than permanently modifying it.

I'd probably be OK with refinishing the stock to protect it, though, just as I'd be OK with repainting a 1957 Chevy rather than keeping the "pristine" faded paint with the rust spots showing through.

October 16, 2007, 12:15 PM
The real problem is that few of the guns are worth modifying.

I like Enfields, but I'm fond of them in original condition, so I wouldn't chop one up.

Yugo Mausers need a lot of work to become good sporters, and don't have the most common receiver dimensions, so stocks aren't dime-a-dozen. They're not really collectible, and they have that beloved Mauser action, but by the time you're done, is it really worth the money for what you get back?

Mosins? Hell, when I started to look at the money I'd need to put into one to make a good sporter, again, it's not worth it, since I'd end up with a Mosin action.

I guess, if you have the urge to build a gun and don't trust your skills on something that's more expensive up front, a milsurp can be a good starting point. But don't expect a nice hunting rifle for a bubba investment. If you want to put together a nice rifle, start with a Howa barreled action instead.

October 16, 2007, 12:25 PM
I'm relatively sure I've said my piece on this anchient thread, but if it's your's, screw the world and grab the hack saw. Do what you want to it, if it pleases you.

You need to understand that there is no such thing as a "common military surplus rifle". They are all little pieces of history, small fragments from blasted battlefield and witnesses to heroism and evil alike.

No, it's not living, it's a piece of steel and wood, nothing else. It cannot tell you where it's been. You may not want to mess with yours, but you have no right to tell bubba what to do with his.

October 16, 2007, 12:31 PM
MC's right.

Everything is collectible when it's old enough. Do you save your empty beer cans? One day, they'll be worth money.

Surplus means "extra", "left over", "no longer needed."

I'd be more concerned about "soup from a stone" syndrome than I would with an M44 being really collectible any time soon. I.e., you can throw a few hundred bucks at your M44 and you'll still have a rifle that's a very durable POS. But now it will have a scope and a different stock on it. Woohoo.

And a true collectible, something unique, of real historical interest, is not being sold as "surplus."

October 16, 2007, 12:33 PM
The problem is that Bubba seldom ever keeps his hatchet-jobs. They end up collecting dust in a pawn shop. Of course, Bubba cannot merely work on one of these, he has to go out and do another one. And often times, they are very rare rifles cut up.

You see, bubba sees what other bubbas have done and rejects them. He'll do it better, he says. Instead of getting their hacked-up collections of parts, he starts with an uncut example and then proceeds to discover his talents and patience are no better than the other bubbas of the word. So, away it goes and the pile of junk rifles ever grows.

I wonder why folks have to cut up entire rifles when there are so many out there already cut up. If you want to sporterize, why on earth not acquire a rifle already cut up? What is the draw in getting an intact military specimen only to cut it up when there are so many that can be tinkered with?

Sure, it's your rifle, do with it as you please. But keep the darn thing once you've trashed it.


October 16, 2007, 12:41 PM
By the way, I have every right to tell bubba what to do with his, he just doesn't have to listen. White Arches, in Columbus, MS, is a great example of bubba. Built by the commander of the Mississippi militia. Every time the house was sold, all furnishings went with it, including books and a fine harp. This was quite the fancy home. At one point, it was being used as a bed and breakfast and was largely unchanged save for electricity and air conditioning. The walls were hand-painted patterns, the furniture excellent condition, the whole place a real joy to visit.

A trucking company owner buys the house and his wife decides to "fix it up." They paper over the original painted walls (remember, very expensive patterns hand painted). They cut doors into walls, and sold off furniture and managed to destroy the history of the place. Naturally, it was their home to do with as they pleased. Well, they got tired of it and sold it. They owned it just long enough to devastate the place, sell off its history, and with it, much of its value. It cannot be returned to its original condition and Bubba got tired of it.

Here is an excerpt from the New York Times on the subject...

"No need to whisper: a last-minute insert in the schedule said that one of the dozen listed houses, White Arches, would be open for ''an architectural tour only,'' a hint that something was amiss. At the appointed hour, I joined a group of visitors following azalea-lined walks toward the 1857 house.

We did not have long to puzzle. Inside, White Arches was in sad shape, lacking a lot of furniture and with much interior woodwork torn out. Photo albums on tables showed a reverse of the usual before and after. In the previous months, a family had contracted to buy the house from the Ned Hardins. They took occupancy and, according to Hardin family members posted in the house as guides, called the midnight movers just as a big payment was due. "

I had stayed in that home several times before it's gutting. For every good quality sporter, there are 20 bubba's destroying value for nothing.


October 16, 2007, 12:54 PM
The best option probably IS to go get a Bubba special, and only if it's a Mauser. Throw away everything but the action. Build a custom rifle around the action.

However, some places have more of these things in pawn shops than others. I don't see too many around here. Seen a few, but pawn and gun shop owners probably won't take most of them.

That said, I can't think of anything currently at Big 5 that's worth using as the basis for a custom rifle other than an Enfield, and those are really neat as-is.

Howa barreled action. Words to live by.:)

October 16, 2007, 04:48 PM
This thread really makes the perverse side of me want to slaughter some sacred cattle.

I chop my bikes, cars, guitars, and guns.

Though spoken by another, these words describe what is in my soul.

October 16, 2007, 04:57 PM
you can throw a few hundred bucks at your M44 and you'll still have a rifle that's a very durable POS.

Bwaaaa, ha, ha! I like that line! :D

Hard to build ANYthing from mil surp for 300 bucks that will out shoot and out hunt a Savage 110, not today. Mil surp "sporterizing" saw its day in the 50s when rifles were relatively expensive and mil surp could be had for pennies and gunsmiths worked for peanuts. That ain't the case now days.

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