Which rifle to sporterize?


July 8, 2003, 11:57 PM
I'll be needing a winter project, and I have decided to sporterize a milsurp, finally utilizing my newly aquired C&R license. I probably won't do most of the work myself, as I think it's best to leave expert work for the experts. BTW, I know I won't save money in the long run. I just want to build a rifle that's MINE. Just picking out components, installing the simpler items, etc, sounds like fun to me.

But which one? I think I'd prefer a Mauser, due to aftermarket availability, but again I ask, "Which one?" Don't worry, purists. I don't intend to destroy a prime specimen. Consider it bringing a class act back to life.

Opinions, please?

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July 9, 2003, 12:16 AM
pardon the gun newbie here but define "Sporterize"

me i would recoat it with a KG kote......maybe an odd color. Puke (i mean milspec) Green or an anodixed blue. synthetic stock it an flute the barrel

July 9, 2003, 12:18 AM
Get a 1909 Argentine and get the bolt handle bent and the barrel reamed to .35Whelan .Or get an inexpensive barrel in caliber of your choice screwed on. Bolt it on an inexpensive preinleted stock and you got it!:)

July 9, 2003, 09:15 AM
Swedish Mauser! The guns are usually accurate already; when free-floated, you've simply fine-tuned an already tuned shooting instrument. Their barrels usually come graded as to armory condition and are not worn out. The action is smooth yet tough. The trigger pull is very good (personal opinion) The 6.5x55 cartridge is devastating on whitetail, accurate, has flat trajectory, fairly good ammo availability, and doesn't make you whince when you pull the trigger.

July 9, 2003, 10:21 AM
Great project! You will have a blast and learn something in the process. The most readily available rifle to sporterize right now seems to be the VZ24. I have seen these with 'cracked stocks" going for as little as $59 recently. Check SOG and Century for availability. The Czeck 98/22 would also be a good choice. Steer clear of the M48's out there if you are planning to sporterize. The 48's are good shooters in good shape, but the non-standard action length makes stocks a problem.

A 1909 Argentine is a great action if you can find one, but they are not currently very easy to come by.

I have had good success with the bargain barrels from Midway, but Douglas or Shilen are excellent, consistent choices.

Choose a caliber that fits the action.
Best: 7x57, 6mm Rem, 257 Roberts, 6.5x55.
OK: 25-06, 270 Win, 280 rem, 30-06 Spfld, 35 Whelan.
The 06-based cartricges may require a small amount of magazine lengthening for proper function with some bullets, but that is within the capability of a home smith with a friend who is a welder. With the magazine lengthened, the 7mm Rem Mag and 300 Win Mag are doable.
Not Recommended: 308 Win, 243 Win, 7mm08, 22-250
Feeding is an issue with short cartridges that the M98 action is not designed to work with.

Good luck, and keep us posted!


AJ Dual
July 9, 2003, 10:23 AM
As a C&R licensee and collector, how about just buying a nice inexpensive Savage rifle that meets your needs, and you leave history alone?

Just because these rifles are $50-150 now, dosen't mean they'll allways be, and it's not like the authentic arsenals are making any more either. Some of these rifles if produced today to the same standard could cost thousands to produce, and these were made in an age without CNC...

When you've seen a 4 digit serial numbered Springfield '03 that was lovingly sporterized in the early 60's and is now virtually worthless, you'll understand.

I am not 100% against sporterizing, but I think in this day and age, only rifles that are otherwise unusable, missing the stock, all the hardware and sights, or something similar should be sporterized. I guess it's better for a workable barrel and bolt to live on as some kind of usable rifle, but complete C&R's should be left alone.

July 9, 2003, 12:46 PM
Andrew, if you read my second paragragh, you'll know that I have no intention of destroying a quality piece of history. Mis-matched numbers and broken stock is fine with me.

Clemson, that's the kind of advice I need! Thank you!

Now, of the "best" calibers you listed, which do you favor, and why? I'm referring to the 7 x 57, 6mm Rem, .257 Roberts, and 6.5 x 55. If these are the easiest calibers for my first go around, I might as well pick one of those.

July 9, 2003, 01:01 PM
Buy a K98 and put a synthetic stock on it. Don't cut the stock. It takes away from the gun. If you sportize a milsurp make it so you can get it back to its original form. Or Buy a Mosin Nagant and put a synthetic stock on it. Drilling a grinding stuff off is a bad thing to do. If you want a sporter then buy one don't reck history.

July 9, 2003, 09:18 PM
The 7x57 and the 257 Roberts were my first two sporter Mausers. They are based on the same case as the 8mm Mauser, so they feed perfectly. Either would be excellent. It pretty much depends on what you want to hunt. Both are fine for Whitetails. The 257 has a little bit of edge in the range department for antelope, for instance. The 7mm will take bigger game like elk if you want to hunt them. I personally love the 257 Roberts. It is a light kicker, and it usually is very accurate.

The VZ 24's with cracked stocks are certainly not collectable. Use one of those for a donor action and don't worry about it. I collect Mausers and have several very nice, matched originals. I also build my own rifles on pieces bought as barreled actions and cracked stock guns.


4v50 Gary
July 9, 2003, 10:02 PM
Mauser 98K. Plentiful supply and it doesn't take a two piece stock (unlike the SMLE). Plenty of barrels so if you want to restore it, the original remains.

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