I think I want to convert a milsurp into a Scout Rifle


December 21, 2007, 10:31 PM
I can't justify spending a whole lot of money on this project, but I'd like to build a scout rifle.

My initial thought was to get a Mosin Nagant M38 to work on. (I already have an M44 that I like well enough). I then got the bright idea to buy a 91/30, and cut the barrel down to about 20". 91/30s are about $50 cheaper than M38s, and since I'll probably have to get the barrel crowned anyway, why not?

Since I've been doing some research, I wonder if I wouldn't be better off with an Enfield, a Mauser clone or a Swiss K31. The Enfields and the Mausers can be found in .308, and I think the Swiss 7.5 might be acceptable.

I don't know anybody with any of these rifles, so a test drive is unlikely.

An argument in favor of the Swiss rifle is that since these never saw combat, it wouldn't be like I was destroying an historical artifact or something. I'd feel the same way about a MN 91/59 as well--the Soviets ruined their historical value and turned them into novelties.

FWIW, I'm left-handed.

I plan on doing as much of the work as I can myself.

I appreciate any input or suggestions.

If you enjoyed reading about "I think I want to convert a milsurp into a Scout Rifle" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
December 21, 2007, 10:55 PM

Their insta-mount bases will allow forward mounting of an IER scope on almost any milsurp. Before doing any permanent mods, I recommend getting used to an IER setup first. Many people do not like it. It is certainly not a LONG RANGE setup. I can shoot my M48A Yugo mauser with 2x out to 300 yards, but target resolution is all but impossible beyond that with the low magnification.

I also have a Turk M1938 K'kale mauser in this config, albeit with a B-Square mount.


December 21, 2007, 11:03 PM
If you're going to butcher one, I'd either go with a Mosin Nagant or a rifle that's already been hacked up. Another good choice might be one of the beater Enfield 2A's that were being sold for $99 not too long ago or a Turk or Yugo Mauser. You can usually pick up sporterized milsurps for dirt cheap at gunshows, particularly if the work was done poorly. Other stock milsurps are just too expensive do this with and the Swiss rifles are just too damn nice to cut up. The hell with history, they're just some beautifully crafted rifles and taking a hacksaw to one is like cutting up a nice Browning. Just add a St. Marie mount and leave it as is.

A Mosin Nagant with a scout mount has one major problem IMO. The scopes end up being way too high. So long as you plan on chopping the gun up, I'd remove the rear mount and drill and tap it to fit a picatinny rail as close to the barrel as possible.

Dr. Peter Venkman
December 21, 2007, 11:27 PM
Every military is a historical piece, some more than others. I suggest using a non-permanent method on milsurps and trying to keep them as original as possible. Why butcher a milsurp when the results you get will only come after devaluing and putting hard work into a project and not even end up working as intended? By a nice, new rifle and make it a scout.

December 21, 2007, 11:36 PM
"...and not even end up working as intended?"

What do you mean, Doc?

December 22, 2007, 12:05 AM
Buy yourself that K-31 and inspect it carefully. If after that you want to cut it up. Go quickly to the nearest mental hospital and have yourself fitted for a straight jacket, take your pills, and go to your rubber room.

Dr. Peter Venkman
December 22, 2007, 12:23 AM
"...and not even end up working as intended?"

What do you mean, Doc?

What I mean is don't be expecting 'great' results after cutting down a run-of-the-mill 91/30 to a shorter length and putting a scope on the thing. I suggest trying out a K31 with a scout setup or w/ a no-drill/tap clamp-on mount.

December 22, 2007, 01:00 AM
I suggest trying out a K31 with a scout setup or w/ a no-drill/tap clamp-on mount.

After lugging my M1 through some WV mountains earlier this month, I'm trying to find a lighter rifle that I can use in the woods with my 50+ year old eyes. I don't think an unmodified K31 will suit me. Sadly, I'm not the man I was 25 years ago when I could lug my M16 and rucksack through German mountains all day and all night.

Dr. Peter Venkman
December 22, 2007, 01:18 AM
You can get a clamp-on mount for the K31 and put a big scope on it.

December 22, 2007, 11:38 AM
He's looking for lighter, not heavier, Dr. Venkman.

My advice would be to find an already butchered and/or sporterized (not the same thing, though the line is fuzzy at times) example of a milsurp and work from there. Why?

1. You're not destroying history.

2. It will be cheaper, since the value of the rifle is already reduced.

3. Some of the work you intend to do may already be done for you.

The real problem you're going to run into is that you might drop some money, time and effort into this project and still come out with a gun that looks like crap and/or shoots like crap, and is worth less than it was before you started cutting on it and dropping money into it.

your best bet, IMO, is to find a carbine version of a milsurp you want to shoot and buy a IER mount that replaces the rear sight. The M38 would be a good option in this regard provided the base rifle shoots well enough for the task. It's a light, handy carbine, and adding the scope will not butcher the rifle. if it's still too heavy, I believe there are several fiberglass stocks out there that are drop-in replacements for the wood stock. Not as cheap as just hacking the wood, but probably a money-saver in the long term and a more practial alternative in the short term.

Are you sure you want to remove more weight from a 7.62x54R rifle, though? Make sure you have a good pad, or a good masseuse.

Mike ;)

December 22, 2007, 01:23 PM
i would go with a mosin...

December 22, 2007, 04:02 PM
I personally have no problem with modifications to old firearms, as long as they are not very rare.

But, If you wanted less work, you could find a premade military carbine, as mentioned above. I have been drooling over those Jungle Carbine Enfields.... they are beautiful guns. I have never shot or handled one though, so this is just a neutral suggestion, but enfields have always been good to me.

December 22, 2007, 05:13 PM
M-38, sporter stock, scout mount. Nonpermanent modifications and very little weight.

December 22, 2007, 06:38 PM
As a lefty, you may struggle with the straight-pull mechanism as it's set up on the right side of the K31.

cracked butt
December 22, 2007, 10:10 PM
You can find left handed bolt handle adaptors for K-31s, but they cost more than the rifle itself. K-31s are fairly heavy especially with a scope mounted to it. Chopping the stock will probably diminish accuracy, but it willstill be better than 99.9% of mosin nagants.

I wouldn't bother with a M-38, they are usually shot out and I've never heard of anyone proving them to be accurate- mine might be good enough to hit a sheet of typing paper most of the time at 50 yards, but not any better.

M44s are as heavy as a 91/30. If you can find a 91/59 (basicly a cut down 91/30) you might have a lightweight rifle that will give you acceptable accuracy.

Probably the lightest carbine out there is the Swedish M94- but these are very scarce and you'd spend less money taking a hacksaw to a brand new remchester.

A carcano would be light too, and it isn't very hard to find onethat is already hacked up- they seem to be everywhere.

February 2, 2008, 06:49 PM
I've got a Chinese T53 barrelled reciever on the way. Let's see how it looks.

Mike 56
February 2, 2008, 08:20 PM
If you want to make a sporter out of a milsurp a 91/30 would be a good choice. A lot of Mosins have a lot muzzle were from cleaning with steel cleaning rods so cutting the barrel nice new rifling at the muzzle. You can mark the barrel with a tubing cutter and cut it with a hack saw. Smooth out the saw cut with a file. Buy a bullet shaped dremel stone to clean up the burs at the muzzle. You do not need a scout mount with a 91/30 remove the rear sight base and you will find a 3/8 dove tail that 22cal rings will fit on.


February 2, 2008, 10:02 PM
If you are just looking for a fun project, and will be satisfied to end out with a gun that's fun to play with at the range, then I'd say go for it. I made a "scout" rifle out of an M44 (that was already hacked up), with the intention of possibly brush hunting with it. Bottom line, its not a practical hunting rifle. It's too heavy, the trigger (even after a trigger job!) is not made for precision shooting, and the bolt (in my experience) is not as light and fluid as modern bolts and does not lend itself to quick follow up shots, should one be necessary.

In the end, for me, it was kind of a waste of time and money. Granted, one could hunt with it, I just wouldn't. I would sell it, but I probably couldn't even get what I paid for the scope and scope mount. Don't mean to pee in your Cherios, just sharing my experience.

February 3, 2008, 12:11 AM
My cheerios aren't offended. I came here for advice.

My M44 is my first bolt action rifle. As I said earlier, I'm left-handed, so most of my weapons have been autos. I learned to shoot with a single shot .22 lever action Ithaca M49.

Since I'm a lefty, quick follow up shots with a bolt action are a daydream anyway. Well, not optimal at least. As a lefty, you learn to adjust to the right handed world, so I'd probably be quicker than most of you would trying to get a second shot with a left handed bolt action, but you know what I mean.

I like the idea of building something. If the T53 scout stinks, so be it. I will have learned something that I can use on the next project.

Heck, I don't even know if the barrell on the T53's got any rifling left. I bought it on gunbroker for $10+shipping.

February 3, 2008, 05:33 AM
By the way, I'm left-handed also. Oddly, I'm right-eyed... so I shoot handguns with my left hand, but like hitting a golf ball, playing guitar, or tying a trout fly -- I shoot rifles right handed. If its the only way you know, its awkward at first but quickly seems natural enough.

February 3, 2008, 09:17 AM
An S&K scout mount fits on the rear sight of an M38/M44 with no permanent modification and only a little work. If it doesn't work, you can always put the rear sight spring back and the rifle is back to original form.

I did it on an M38 just for giggles with a 4X Simmons pistol scope. It works OK, though it took forever to get it on paper even at 25 yards. Stupid me, I left my laser boresighter at home that day. :banghead: Would have saved me 40 rouonds and an hour of fuss. Still, once I got it zeroed at 25, it worked well enough. I'm not sure I'd hunt with it. I'd have to see how accurate handloads would be out to 100 yards, as all I've shot through it is Hungarian mil-surp.

As for the K-31...DON'T! Those should never be bubba'd or sporterized IMO. They are just too nice and accurate to mess with. Of course, a man can do what he wants with one if he owns it.

February 3, 2008, 11:40 AM
Lately, I've been hard pressed to find milsurps(ok, mosins mostly, since that's my thing) without vividly ugly import markings all over the receiver. IMO, the historical value of these rifles is already gone, so find one with good working parts and bubba away.
If the T53 receiver doesn't work out for you, that is.

February 3, 2008, 03:51 PM
Any scope recommendations for a 44 scout project? And no, I don't want to stick a 400 buck piece of glass on a less than 100 dollar rifle.

February 3, 2008, 10:00 PM
tasco 3-9X40, with rings it was $45 at wallyworld, im gonna sport a 91/30 for 200yard target/hunting. but in the meen time i put it on my marlin .22lr and loved it at the range today, high viz and quick target aqqusition.

February 3, 2008, 10:06 PM
It will be difficult to find a milsurp that accomodates a left handed shooter. The only one that is *mostly* amedextrous is an AR style firearm and not really milsurp (at least for another 30 years). I would honestly have to tell you that a scout rifle for both right and left handed individuals is the .45-70 lever action shorty. Technically a .45-70 is a milsurp round so maybe that would work :D


February 3, 2008, 11:23 PM
I've been here and done that "scout" conversion. I'm still having lots of fun with the rifle! Sure it's a waste of money but in the end I could care less what's money for if you cannot blow some of it on a fun project! Here's mine:


Mike 56
February 3, 2008, 11:53 PM
dogrunner, crankyfarmer pistol scopes that start at 33.00. http://www.crankyfarmer.com/scopeindex.html


February 4, 2008, 01:14 AM
If you go with a nice Enfield or K31, try to find a way to modify it that isn't permanent. See if you can save the original furniture and mount your scope without permanently modifying the weapon.

If you want an Enfield-type rifle in .308, I'd say a really really good bet would be an Ishapore 2A with a cracked stock. The ones with cracked stocks are VERY affordable, and you can add on $50 for an ATI synthetic stock that fits the Enfield No1/Ishapore 2A.

A Mosin Nagant wouldn't be bad either. You can get an M44 or a 91/30 for well under $100.

Essex County
February 4, 2008, 01:52 PM
It's a Free Country, Chop and Channel anything that You've paid hard earned money for. It won't make any financial sense and You'd be much better off buying a used commercial sporter. I'd be able to sleep at night if I made a project gun out of a 91-30 or a Turk, but never a K 31 or a Swede. Essex

February 5, 2008, 12:52 AM
JP, I need more specs on your scout conversion. I'm pretty much doing something close to that. What is your optic mount? AND more importantly how does it work? Take it easy and have a good one.

February 5, 2008, 10:14 AM

What brand of scope is that ? Does it provive for adequate eye releif ?

February 5, 2008, 11:53 AM
Looks like the B-Square, which is what I used on mine. The basic B-Square mount is a solid piece, but I don't like the way it attaches -- the leveling screws just don't make for solid contact points IMO. So I had mine drilled and tapped, it now solid mounts (I recommend using a good gunsmith to do this, since it has to be lined up properly with the bore).

I've used handgun scopes on both of my scout rifles (the MN and a Mini-14). One cheaper one (a Bushnell that cost about $125 IIRC) and a Burris on the Mini-14 (about $280). This is one instance where the money spent makes all the difference. Obviously putting a $280 scope on a $85 gun is just not practical -- which is why its on my "accurized" Mini-14 -- but the Burris is ten times the scope the Bushnell is. The depth of the eye relief and the absolute clarity of optic are far superior, and it is very forgiving in terms of lining up a shot.

I don't mean to be a 'scope snob', but I have to say that part of the reason I don't shoot the MN more is that the scope is more difficult to line up -- how I position my shooting eye in relation to the scope is a very narrow sweet spot. I'm only saying all of this because the bottom line in using a handgun scope as a scout scope is that it may not work in practical environments unless you use a scope that is suitably forgiving in terms of quickly lining up shots.

That said, I really like 2x-7x handgun scopes as scout optics. I suppose the only drawback is the site picture is fairly small (more so on the Bushnell...) relative to standard scopes. At 2x it is in "classic" scout mode, and for the occasional longer shot, 7x is ample.

If you enjoyed reading about "I think I want to convert a milsurp into a Scout Rifle" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!