Sporterize or buy new?


December 28, 2006, 01:01 PM
I have a Turk Mauser that has exceeded the headspace requirements. I am considering sporterizing it to make a dedicated elk rifle. What I am thinking of is having the chamber reamed to 8mm-06, have the barrel cut back to 26" and crowned, D&T for a scope (so I'd also need a base and rings) and bend the bolt handel, new trigger, re-blue and then possibly carve my own stock (likely get some cheap off the shelf sporter stock until I get around making my own).

The other possibility would be to buy a CZ 550 in 9.3x62mm. I already have a 550 in 6.5 Swedish and love it. It works fine for cow elk hunting, but if I get a chance to do a bull hunt I'd prefer a bit more punch than a 6.5mm can give. Even for the cow hunts some extra punch wouldn't be a bad thing.

Considering that the original cost of the Mauser is no longer going to factor in, so only the alterations would matter at this point, would I be better off doing the sporterizing work or buying new. On there's a seller that has new 9.3mm CZ's for $500 +shipping +FFL transfer (probably $550 OTD). I haven't shopped locally, but I'd be surprised if I could beat that price. So, can I do that sporterizing work for under $550 and even if I can, should I?

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December 28, 2006, 01:04 PM
I bet you could find a good sporter 1903, 1917, or K98 for less than that.

December 28, 2006, 01:23 PM
Well, you CAN beat that price significantly IF you can do much of the work yourself. I have a Turk in the original 8x57, which I have less than $200 in, including the scope(shoots around MOA). Working on a VZ-24 in 8mm-06 AI which I'll have less than $250 in. But I spent alot of time scrounging parts off auction sites, and elsewhere (e.g. I bought a heavy target stock for $8 at a garage sale!), and I did all of the work myself.

As soon as you start adding in the cost of having a gunsmith do the work, the economics just don't add up. There area ton of good rifles out there, in the $500 dollar range, that will equal a sporterized Mauser, AND you even get a warranty.

December 28, 2006, 01:35 PM
Well, you CAN beat that price significantly IF you can do much of the work yourself. Woodworking and bedding isn't bad for a home hobbist to try. The D&T, bolt handle, crown work, and hot-tank bluing are probably best farmed out unless you have a decent machine shop and skills at your disposal. My FLG charges $50 for the bolt handle, $50 for the crown, $60 for the D&T, and $100 for the bead blasting/hot tank bluing. That's $260 to get the basic structure ready to build. You'll also need a trigger ($40 Timney Sportsman) and a beater stock. In the end, you have to ask yourself - will the Turk be the equal to the CZ in when you're done?

I've spent a lot of time cleaning up and sporterizing worthless MilSurps. My 1895 Chilean is probably my favorite and a solid rifle, but even it can't claim to be as nicely fitted or likely of as high grade materials as a modern day CZ.

If you want a project - have at it. They're fun. :) If you want a beater to abuse in the field, ditto. If you want a nice rifle that represents something more permanent than expedient, I suggest looking at the CZs.

December 28, 2006, 01:43 PM
Check the pawn shops, classifieds, and used gun stores. With a little luck you can find a cheap sporter that hasn't been bubba'd too badly. Lots of military bolt-actions were sporterized in the '50s and '60s by gunsmiths who knew what they were doing. These gems can somtimes be found for under $200 and turned into world-class hunting rifles with a little TLC.

Tips to tell a Sporter from a Bubba:

Stock: Normally I would say overlook the stock as wood is easy to replace/repair, however, a good sporter usually has an aftermarket stock, where as bubbas have the military stock cut up to look like a monte carlo.

Steel: Do you normal rifle inspection (bore, rust, finnish, scratches). don't worry if some of the blueing has worn off, it can be replaced easily and will lower the price of the gun. Now check the metalwork: if the barrel was cut, was it crowned properly? If the action was modified (rear sight removed, bolt bent), is the metal smooth and clean? A sure sign of bubba is sloppy metalwork.

Overall package: Look for thing that are out of place on the gun. Bubba will often cut corners, use makeshift parts, and generally do as little work to the rifle as possible. A sporter made by a good gunsmith will be entirely purpose-built, time will have been taken to remove non-essential features, quality parts and processes will have been used, and care will have been taken to the overall appearance of the gun.

In good condition, some of these classic sproters can be sold for over $600 and up, however, 40 to 50 years of neglect can often make them easy to overlook in pawn shops. If you pay attention and keep your eyes open, you can walk away with an excellent rifle for very little money.

Essex County
December 28, 2006, 02:00 PM
It dosen't make any sense to sporterize a Mil-Surp today, Back in the 60's maybe, but not now. That said I own a number of quality mil-surps that were done by others that were picked up for a song and a couple I did back in the seventies. There's just too much involved to make it viable now. Bolt alteration, a new saftey, a new trigger, D&T, Reblue and a really nice stock. Add it up and the costs are overwhelming...........Essex

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