newbie with a question


October 13, 2008, 10:10 PM
i would like to turn a ww2 mil surplus rifle into a hunting rifle. i've been doing a little research and i've come up with a mauser k98 or m48, lee enfield or 1903 springfield. i know those are obvious ww2 rifles, but i was wondering which one would be the best to turn into a deer/elk killer. i wouldn't destroy the gun, i would just like to put on a nice laminent stock, scope and maybe a different chambered barrel. i'm hoping that you could educate me on what to look for in each of them, easiest one to get my hands on, and anything else. thanks in advance.


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October 13, 2008, 10:14 PM
Generally, those modifications are considered destroying it. That said, you can generally get a replacement sporting stock and a scout or cantilever scope mount, neither of which is a permanent modification, and use a military rifle to very good effect against nearly any North American land animal.

Generally, the Mauser rifle is considered the most easily modified, simply because it's the most plentiful.

October 13, 2008, 10:30 PM
Let me preface this by saying that a well done mil-surp sporter can be a true thing of beauty and a very rewarding project. A badly done sporter can be a money pit and the senseless destruction of a fine historical weapon.

Unless you've got a good friend who's a gunsmith willing to work cheap or free, or you already have your own gunsmithing tools; you'll do far better for your money spent and the end results to build up a custom rifle on a Howa or Stevens action.

A Yugo M48 or a bare k98 action are going to be the only ones that can possibly make economic sense for sporterizing these days.

Doing things like bending the bolt handle, headspacing and installing a new barrel, drilling and tapping for scope mounts, fitting a more ergonomic and scope clearing safety, inletting and bedding a stock, etc. all require time and specialized tools.

My grandfather started the sporterization of this Carl Gustaf M96 but passed away before he completed it. He rebarreled it with a Douglas barrel, bent the bolt handle, and drilled and tapped it. I finished it with a cock-on-open conversion, Timney trigger, model 70-style safety, and synthetic stock. Someday I'll get it reblued and find a nicely figured wood stock for it.

There is no way I could have gotten it to this point if I hadn't also inherited Grandad's milling machine, drill press, inletting tools, and tons of other stuff.

Please know what you're getting into before you start in on a fine old rifle with a hacksaw and arc welder.

October 13, 2008, 10:36 PM

Even through the cold medium of the internet I can sense the love and care that went into that weapon.


October 13, 2008, 10:39 PM
thanks for all the advice and keep it coming. my dads friend does some gunsmithing and would be willing to work with me. i figured that it would probably just be cheaper to build around like a stevens, but i would like to do a mil surp for something different, and i like projects. i'v seen some very nice looking sporters, i would like to do the least amount of modifications as necessary. i guess as long as i can get a comfortable stock and a scope on it i would be happy.

October 13, 2008, 11:12 PM
There are more after market parts available for mausers than any of the others except the '03, but Mausers are cheaper to acquire initially and faster to modify generally speaking. Exceptions to every statement, of course!

October 14, 2008, 01:27 AM
i had thoughts of building a milsurp ww2 sporter also. bought a 03A3 that had been chopped and stocked, so i didnt feel any guilt about rearanging things a bit.

i would recomend the 03A3. a late serial number, remington manufactured would serve well. try to find one that has already been chopped on.

the up side to the 03 is its chambered in the deer/elk killer .30-'06 so rebarreling isn't necissary. also, being a .30 bore, you can move up or down the power spectrum without changing barrels. within reason, good luck getting that 30-378 in there. richards makes laminated stocks for it. and about every 'smith in the business for longer than ten years is about gaurenteed to have sporterized an '03 before.

the downside is the stock barrel is HEAVY. it also only has 2 grooves wich, some feel, affects accuracy. its long too, so some trimming and recrowning is in order. also, it has very slow lock time.

another option is the nagant. you can chop one of those and not a tear will be spilt. dime a dozen. sp hunting ammo is available so no need for a new barrel. accuracy is spotty though.

thats all i can think of for now, literally. good luck and let us know how it works out.

October 14, 2008, 02:10 AM
If this is your first conversion I would build a Mosin-nagant. They are the only really low cost Mil surplus rifles still available.
the 7.62X54 is a fine hunting round.
If you really screw it up you are only out $150 or so.

Take a look look at what Steve Wagner did with his.

Some You tube fun.

October 14, 2008, 06:24 AM
For less than $500 you can get you a mosin nagant with a PU scope on it, or at about $900 an original ww2 sniper Mosin Nagant. Either will work well in the role of a hunting rifle. Ammo is plentiful right now, and inexpensive, so you can practice.

October 14, 2008, 09:46 AM
lefteyedom, thats a good point. since its my first sporter (eventually i would like to have a couple), the mosin would be a good one to practice on.

October 14, 2008, 04:45 PM
Just to point out, make very, very sure you do not luck into a rare version before modifying the rifle. Hindsight is 20/20 and tiny nuances in markings and features can make all the difference between value and common.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 14, 2008, 04:50 PM
i would like to turn a ww2 mil surplus rifle into a hunting rifle.

May I ask WHY you would want to do that, when it's a lot cheaper to buy a Mossberg, Marlin, or Stephens turnbolt (than it is to get the milsurp and gunsmith a solid scope mount), and you're
likely to have a better shooter in the new commercially-made rifle?

You can, it's just that it's no longer economically a sensible thing to do, AND it actually lowers the value of the milsurp in question (AND arguably destroys a small piece of history).

Having said that, you've gotten a lot of good advice so far, and if you do, I'd recommend doing it to a cheaper type milsurp such as a Mosin-Nagant or a Yugo M48 Mauser.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
October 14, 2008, 04:52 PM
I had a gun dealer promise to have all this "work" done on a Swedish Mauser. If I remember, they shortened and crowned the barrel, bent down the bolt handle, replaced the stock, mounted new sights, etc.

When I got the gun home, after not having it for a couple of weeks, the work done was terrible. You couldn't even operate the bolt without it binding. When I looked closer, when they drilled and tapped the rear sight, they left some steel hanging down from the hole. By now, the nice bolt had some major scratches in it. I ended up having to Dremel the metal shavings off myself.:cuss:

Within a week, I traded in the gun for a new one.

All I'm trying to say is, BE CAREFUL who you choose to do your work. Make sure you get references!

October 14, 2008, 05:32 PM
MMSC had it right. Mauser 98's are GREAT beginnings for NICE guns. There are TONS of easily obtainable parts (check Midway) to modify them and they can be turned into wonderful rifles. I have 4 myself! Love them and it is not too expensive if you have somebody (as you seem to) to do the necessary 'technical' stuff.

Great project, you get EXACTLY what you want and you get the satisfaction of having a gun you built yourself for YOU.

Go for it and ENJOY!

October 14, 2008, 05:50 PM
Brownell's ( is also a great resource for parts.

If you're buying the parts yourself (rather than having a gunsmith order them) it's well worth the effort to get a Curio & Relics Federal Firearms License (C&R FFL) because you can use it to get a dealer discount on the things you buy.

October 14, 2008, 08:39 PM
thats exactly what i want to do, build something the way i want it and having the satisfaction of doing it myself (minus the real technical stuff).

how hard is it to get c&r ffl license?

October 14, 2008, 11:17 PM
Whoa, whoa, no. C&R is for obtaining functionally complete military and antique/collectable firearms IN THEIR ORIGINAL FORM, don't get a C&R with the intent of modding the gun you buy using the license. Though yes, you do get good discounts at Brownells and Midway and a couple other places.

October 15, 2008, 09:45 PM
would it be possible to make a m48 shoot 300 wsm, or like a 6.5 swede? and what barrel do you recommend if i want to rebarrel a m48?

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