How old is too old in terms of accuracy?


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Golden_006
November 20, 2009, 10:02 PM
Is a Springfield 1903A3 accurate?

How about a Swede Mauser?

or one of the old 5 round Enfields?

I'm thinking of getting an old military rifle like a Suede Mauser but not sure about a gun made in 1918 or whatever . . .

By accurate I mean how does it measure up with an AK? I figuree that's a good bench mark since it's used in many modern conflicts even today and is world-renowned as a great rifle; mediocre accuracy and all.

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R.W.Dale
November 20, 2009, 10:04 PM
Search up my "century" match results and decide for yourself

alemonkey
November 20, 2009, 10:11 PM
I'm not sure a Suede Mauser is such a good idea. I had a Suede jacket once and they get old and ratty looking pretty fast. I'd go for one made out of wood and steel.

mpmax
November 20, 2009, 10:14 PM
At sight-in this year I had a malfunction with a 1952 Vintage Remington 760. The Gunsmith at the range with his rack of custom rifles had never worked on a 760 before but felt confident advising me to buy a new rifle, "...when they get old, they stop working." Who knew?!!!

Golden_006
November 20, 2009, 10:17 PM
ooops fixed it to swede

oneounceload
November 20, 2009, 10:28 PM
My short barrel, 1907 Swede shoots 120 gr Sierra bullets into 1" @ 100 yards......works for me

rondog
November 20, 2009, 10:29 PM
I've always heard the 03A3's were killers for accuracy. I'd love to have one. I'd go for one of those over the others.

gunnutery
November 20, 2009, 10:34 PM
My No1 Mk3 Enfield was made in 1918. It shoots, but the bore is kind of worn out. So I'd say that mine is a little worse than an AK accuracy wise. If you have a chance to check the rifling do so. Mine was packed with cosmoline when I bought it.

Sunray
November 20, 2009, 10:47 PM
"...how does it measure up with an AK?..." Every W.W. II vintage rifle, in decent condition, will shoot circles around any AK. Even with milsurp ball. Comparing an AK to a W.W. II vintage battle rifle is like comparing a Lada to a Ferrari. AK's were designed to be issued to illiterate conscripts who could be taught to use it with minimal training. Accuracy wasn't required.
"...a great rifle..." Poor sights. Poor trigger. Poor, not mediocre, accuracy.
"...not sure about a gun made in 1918..." Matches are shot regularly with early, mid and late 19th Century firearms.
The accuracy of any milsurp depends on the condition of the rifle. Particularly the barrel. Then the quality of the ammo. It's age has little to do with it.
My 1903A4 will shoot one hole groups with my handloads.
Swedish Mausers are renowned for their accuracy. So are 1903A3's and P14/17's. You won't find inexpensive milsurp ammo for 'em though.
When you go looking, stay away from any rifle Century Arms had anything to do with. Their prices are cheap, but they're also notorious for assembling rifles out of parts bins with zero QC. Not even checking the headspace to ensure the rifle is safe to shoot.

Float Pilot
November 21, 2009, 12:02 AM
Swedish M/96 Mausers and Swiss K-31s are the most accurate of the older military rifles.

While an occasional 1903 or 1917 will shoot just as well, those are exceptions and not the norm.

US and Norwegian Krag rlfles and have a weaker action, but if you find one in good shape they are generally capable of amazing accuracy.

The Swede rifles were continually rebarreled by army armorers up until the late 1970s.

rangerruck
November 21, 2009, 02:04 AM
I had a mkiv Lee Enfield once, when I first go back into shooting stuff.
amazing accuracy for a rifle made in 1917; and bolt action was smooth as
glass.

shootr
November 21, 2009, 08:44 AM
+1 What Float Plane said.

SlamFire1
November 21, 2009, 09:20 AM
Military rifles are not target rifles.

The military builds a rifle that must meet a number of criteria. Accuracy is just one of those criteria, and is generally determined by what is considered a normal engagement distance and target size.

You will find that pre semi automatic rifles, the predicted engagement distance was hundreds of yards further than post semi automatic rifles.

1900 designs had powerful cartridges and simple, stiff, mechanisms which were expected to engage targets out to 1000 yards. The military even had volley fire expectations at targets even further out.

The WWII experience had a lot to do with shortening expected engagement distances. By the time you get to 1944, Officers were forbidding their troops to shoot at targets 300 yards or beyond, because skill level had deteriorated to the point that it was futile.

I don't know the exact design accuracy distance of the AK, but I think 300 yards is about right.

Post WWII rifles are generally less accurate and less powerful than pre WWII military rifles.

Modern battle rifles have increased magazine capacity, fire rate, and emphasize simplicity of manufacture and are better battle rifles even if they are less accurate than their 1900 counterparts.

Golden_006
November 21, 2009, 10:34 AM
Military rifles are not target rifles.

The military builds a rifle that must meet a number of criteria. Accuracy is just one of those criteria, and is generally determined by what is considered a normal engagement distance and target size.

You will find that pre semi automatic rifles, the predicted engagement distance was hundreds of yards further than post semi automatic rifles.

1900 designs had powerful cartridges and simple, stiff, mechanisms which were expected to engage targets out to 1000 yards. The military even had volley fire expectations at targets even further out.

The WWII experience had a lot to do with shortening expected engagement distances. By the time you get to 1944, Officers were forbidding their troops to shoot at targets 300 yards or beyond, because skill level had deteriorated to the point that it was futile.

I don't know the exact design accuracy distance of the AK, but I think 300 yards is about right.

Post WWII rifles are generally less accurate and less powerful than pre WWII military rifles.

Modern battle rifles have increased magazine capacity, fire rate, and emphasize simplicity of manufacture and are better battle rifles even if they are less accurate than their 1900 counterparts.

I always thought that but since I had limited experience -- and after reading this board -- always thought that firepower in modern combat was far superior to accuracy. And that old bolt guns were great for ww1 trench warfare. But for some reason or another others here have said differently.

shootr
November 21, 2009, 01:20 PM
Dunno about post WWII rifles being less accurate that WWII rifles.

My ARs and even well-used M16s I've shot do very well compared to my Garands or 03s. Based on my personal experience, the AR family will consistently outshoot all other US mil rifles and the lower the skill level of the shooter, the better he or she does with the AR. JMPO. YMMV.

Art Eatman
November 21, 2009, 02:23 PM
I know of two Springfields and one 1917 Enfield which with scopes were all sub-MOA with handloads. My father sporterized the Springfields in the late 1940s, and I sporterized the Enfield in 1950. Nothing done internally insofar as "improving" anything.

If the leade is not burned from lots of usage, there's no reason an old military rifle won't shoot tight groups. Scopes help, of course, since the sights are generally rather coarse for precision shooting.

Slimjim
November 21, 2009, 02:36 PM
Military rifles are not target rifles.

The military builds a rifle that must meet a number of criteria. Accuracy is just one of those criteria, and is generally determined by what is considered a normal engagement distance and target size.

You will find that pre semi automatic rifles, the predicted engagement distance was hundreds of yards further than post semi automatic rifles.

1900 designs had powerful cartridges and simple, stiff, mechanisms which were expected to engage targets out to 1000 yards. The military even had volley fire expectations at targets even further out.

The WWII experience had a lot to do with shortening expected engagement distances. By the time you get to 1944, Officers were forbidding their troops to shoot at targets 300 yards or beyond, because skill level had deteriorated to the point that it was futile.

I don't know the exact design accuracy distance of the AK, but I think 300 yards is about right.

Post WWII rifles are generally less accurate and less powerful than pre WWII military rifles.

Modern battle rifles have increased magazine capacity, fire rate, and emphasize simplicity of manufacture and are better battle rifles even if they are less accurate than their 1900 counterparts.

Are you sure you know what you're talking about? The swedes built their rifles to a very high standard and the swede mauser is one of the most accurate surplus guns you will find. All their ammo was match grade and non corrosive. They ended up with a bullet that has a very high sectional density So they hit alot harder than it should for its size. IT all depends on the country of origin of your military surplus rifle.

SlamFire1
November 21, 2009, 03:09 PM
Are you sure you know what you're talking about?

I regularly shoot in highpower competition. I got my Distinguished and a Regional Gold with the M1a. My name is on one trophy in the CMP trophy room. I have been squadded with the Worlds best at Camp Perry.

I have never seen anyone use a full military Swedish Mauser, in Highpower competition, except in the Old Bolt Gun match at Perry.

Had one bud who loved M96's, he would drag it out to our local 100 yard reduced matches. I don't think he ever broke an expert score with the thing.

The swedes built their rifles to a very high standard and the swede mauser is one of the most accurate surplus guns you will find.

True, but it is not a target rifle.


All their ammo was match grade and non corrosive.

I have never seen anyone using Swedish ball ammo in a highpower rifle match. I am aware of guys shooting in vintage rifle matches, maybe the stuff is used there. I have shot Swedish ball, it is better than most surplus ammunition. I would not waste my time using the stuff in a match. I would use SMK's instead.

Maverick223
November 21, 2009, 04:32 PM
How old is too old in terms of accuracy?If it was built in the 18th century, it is likely too old to be sufficiently accurate (due to the uncommon use of rifling during that time period)...anything else is fair game. Accuracy has improved over the years, but if you stick with a rifle that was built in the late 19th century (when Mausers were introduced) or newer, you will find that accuracy *can* be quite good depending upon the make and condition. The Swedes and Swiss K91s in particular are very accurate surplus rifles, but if you are looking for a tack driver, l would look elsewhere (a modern target rifle, not surplus).

:)

Mauserguy
November 21, 2009, 04:49 PM
The age of a rifle is irrelevant for accuracy. The condition of the individual rifles is paramount in assessing the potential for good accuracy. Having said that, unfortunately many older surplus guns have been well used and abused. Choose your guns carefully.
Mauserguy

Float Pilot
November 21, 2009, 05:12 PM
At one time there were international military rifle matches where all the contestants from various countries would meet in one country and use the rifles and ammo from the host country. When you review the scores of those matches they were always much higher when held in Sweden or Switzerland.
Of course those were the days of classic long range shooters.

Any military rifle will shoot much better with finely tuned hand-loaded ammo.
Much of what supposedly passes for Swede issue ammo is really mass reloaded practice ammo. Then there is stuff like PMC which has undersized brass and huge variations in bullet weight.

It may indeed be difficult to compete with a Douglas barreled M1A in a 600 yard match using a Swede bolt action m/96 Mauser. But if you are competing in a bolt action military match then you should be able to hold your own.

If you want a 600 yard open sight rifle based on a military rifle, then get a Swede CG-63 military target rifle.

Let me see if I can get some group photos to show up.

Shadow Man
November 21, 2009, 05:47 PM
"...how does it measure up with an AK?..." Every W.W. II vintage rifle, in decent condition, will shoot circles around any AK. Even with milsurp ball. Comparing an AK to a W.W. II vintage battle rifle is like comparing a Lada to a Ferrari. AK's were designed to be issued to illiterate conscripts who could be taught to use it with minimal training. Accuracy wasn't required.
"...a great rifle..." Poor sights. Poor trigger. Poor, not mediocre, accuracy.

I'll warrant that the AK-47 with poor sights, trigger, and accuracy will perform better under fire than you will...don't sell the gun short because it does not punch match-grade holes in a paper target. It does what it was designed to do, and it does that very, very well.

As for the AK-47 being handed to untrained recruits...look into how much training the average G.I. was recieving at the end of WWII. And while generally the M1 Garand is a great weapon, I've met more than a few that couldn't hit a thing, at any range. Also, I'd put my AK-47 clone up against an M1 carbine in a combat-like training course any day...in fact, I have. And the differences are negligible. Not enough to cast serious doubts about either weapon in the hands of an even remotely trained shooter.

"Accuracy wasn't required." Accuracy was not a main issue concerning the AK-47, but it still had to pass certain requirements, based upon the Red Army's experiences of WWII. Please refrain from broad, sweeping generalizations...someone might mistakenly think you know something.

dmb
November 21, 2009, 06:43 PM
I have a Swede M96-38 that was the first rifle I purchased years ago. It was made in 1899 my Mauser for the Swede's. It will out shoot my M-1 Garand, Enfields and K98's. The 6.5x55 round is a awesome round out to about 400 yards then it's lighter mass starts to petter out. Up here in Ontario, you rarely take a shot at game at that distance anyway.

Shadow Man
November 21, 2009, 06:54 PM
As a reply to the OP: a gun cannot be "too old" to be accurate as long as it has been properly maintained and is in good shape. That is like saying that a car is "too old to be driveable." My next-door-neighbor owns a meticulously maintained Model T, and goes driving with it all the time. The same goes for my two M1903A3's sitting in the gun cabinet. Despite having been manufactured in the 1940's, they are both excellent shooters, despite their 60+ year old age.

armoredman
November 21, 2009, 07:50 PM
My 1943 No4Mk1* shoots MOA occaisionally with one handload, it works for me.

Avenger
November 21, 2009, 10:25 PM
Well, I know of a few guys who hunt deer here in Ohio with severely vintage muzzle-loaders. I would say that dropping a deer at 100ish yards with a rifle made when the US flag had only half as many stars as it does now is "acceptable" accuracy!

Sunray
November 21, 2009, 10:50 PM
"...Accuracy was not a main issue concerning the AK-47...does what it was designed to do..." Exactly. Accuracy wasn't required for illiterate or semi-literate conscripts.
"...handed to untrained recruits..." Not untrained. As little training as possible. I doubt the hordes of Third World CT's got/get as much training as any Cold War era Warsaw Pact conscript.
"...Up here in Ontario..." Hi. Where? You might get a 400 yard shot in some places. London area. 400 is way too far, anyway. Mind you, you can't turn around around, here, without there being some kind of building within a few hundred meters. Miles and miles and miles of corn and soy bean fields. The deer love it.
You know about http://www.canadiangunnutz.com/forum/

Shadow Man
November 21, 2009, 11:11 PM
Sunray, I think you are missing my point about the Kalishnikov. It is perfectly accurate enough for its intended purpose of putting rounds into tango's at very close to medium ranges. The USSR was also very money oriented. The fewer rubles they could spend teaching soldiers how to shoot, the more they could spend building the tanks, planes, and ICBM's that were supposed to be the defining weapons of WWIII. Hence, the AK-47 and its bretheren are very instinctive weapons to shoot. It is not so much that accuracy wasn't required, but that the Russian's view of war (remember, Kalishnikov was a tanker) was dominance through armor and air power. The lowly foot soldier took a back seat. And as for its lack of accuracy having any bearing upon its use by the Third World...when last I looked, they use it because it's inexpensive, simple to use, and brutally effective. They also use a wide variety of other weapons, like G-3's and FAL's. Are they now devoid of any accuracy because they have been soiled by illiterates?

Sunray
November 21, 2009, 11:50 PM
"...I think you are missing my point..." You and I are saying the same thing. The AK certainly works, but it was designed to be made as fast as possible and be issued to illiterate troopies who could be taught to use it with minimal training.
"...they use it because..." They were given to them by the Soviets. They're the major cause of the Third World Debating Club's resolutions to curb the international trade in small arms.
"...tango's..." A 'tango' is a tank in NATO parlance. snicker.
"...put my AK-47 clone up against an M1 carbine in a combat-like training course any day..." That challenge I'd take. An M1 Carbine is lighter and handier than an AK. Mind you, both of 'em are evil up here. AK's are prohibited altogether. Carbines are restricted just like a handgun.

Maverick223
November 22, 2009, 12:16 AM
"...put my AK-47 clone up against an M1 carbine in a combat-like training course any day..." That challenge I'd take. An M1 Carbine is lighter and handier than an AK.Me too, the M1 Carbine is a much handier, more controllable, lighter package that has quicker sights and is more accurate to boot. The AK is more powerful and has a greater following, but when it comes to quick handling and lead on target the Carbine wins. It is also just as reliable, but must limit its diet to only one handful of sand to operate. :D

Shadow Man
November 22, 2009, 12:20 AM
Fine, then we are saying the same thing, with two different approaches. I guess what really irked me was the tone... "illiterate troopies." While those bent upon killing me may not have been as well trained or as well educated as I, I never dismissed them in such a cavalier fashion. To do that is to invite death through carelessness. Then again, I rarely feel the need to look down upon anyone. But that is just me.
You are correct. At one time, the Third World was given AK-47's, courtesy of the USSR. But now, many of those nations manufacture their own. And when given the choice, they manufacture AK's, not M16's. (Yes, they have both, believe it or not)
Snicker all you like sir, but "Tango" is the phonetic word for the letter "T" which happens to be the first letter of "target." Hence, "Tango" = "Target." It's been in my vocabulary for years. However, "hostile" fits the bill just as well. As for "Tango" being a tank in NATO parlance...once again, we must know of two different NATO's...because that was never my experience. Then again, we rarely referred to them as tanks...MBT's, yes, M1's, yes, Abrams, yes, tanks...not too often.

Sunray
November 22, 2009, 12:56 AM
"..."illiterate troopies."..." W.W. II era and most early Cold War Russians came off the farms and were illiterate. Most Third World CT's are illiterate too. It's not about looking down on anybody.
"..."Tango" is the phonetic word for the letter "T"..." Yep. And 'E' is 'Echo', not 'Easy', up here. Taught radio procedure, among other things, long ago, while in the Queen's Service.
"..."Tango" being a tank in NATO..." Armoured radio SOP. As in, "Gunner! Target, tango. (Plus the range and vector) Load HESH/AP/sabot."
"...must limit its diet to only one handful of sand to operate..." Carbines must be clean to work properly. AK's aren't as fussy.

Maverick223
November 22, 2009, 01:56 AM
Carbines must be clean to work properly. AK's aren't as fussy.Joking, but a Carbine can digest a little dirt and still operate (but certainly less than an AK...or a handful).

:)

Shadow Man
November 22, 2009, 09:50 AM
I'm glad "E" is "Echo" up there. It is down here, too. Hasn't been "Easy" since the 1950's. As for the whole Tango meaning Tank/Hostile...I was never armored, never will be. Had a few friends who were though, and if they ever referred to a MBT as a "tango" I never heard it, and if I did, and decided to make any comment about it, we laughed at the fact that two branches of the same service had two different meanings for the same word. That's as far as it went. If you genuinely did not understand me when I referred to "targets" as "tangos" then my apologies. But now that you do, isn't it time to stop nitpicking and soapboxing this thread? If that's how you did things in Canada, great! But that's not how we did things down here, and that makes neither one of us right, or wrong. Our whole discussion was not very High Road, and I am dropping it here and now, for the sake of our fellow THR members.

Another thought...isn't the venerable M1 carbine the same rotating bolt system as the M14? Because the M14 is renowned for being able to operate in the sand, so I would think the M1 could too, if that was the case...but I'm not sure, I haven't taken my M1A1 (Korean War era) out into my nephew's sandbox...hmmm...

M2 Carbine
November 22, 2009, 10:49 AM
Is a Springfield 1903A3 accurate?
I have a 03A3 and 03A4 I bought (1961) NIB from the government for $14.50.
I have two M1 Garands.

For accuracy these rifles will shoot circles around such military issued rifles as the AR15's and AK's.

I was in the Marine Corps in 1955. We had M1 Garands and were required to qualify at 500 yards. A piece of cake.:)

While I have a number of AR's and AK's and love the guns, they don't compare to the 03 and M1 for accuracy. (except for my RRA National Match AR, but that's not a normal issue AR)

scythefwd
November 22, 2009, 11:15 AM
My Grandpa could out shoot a lot of people with irons and a sling till the day he died and he had a palsy. No lie, he kept a 2 inch group at 10 yards with his 22lr handguns, and that, I swear upon everything dear to me, was with a 1.5 inch shake.

Rifles.... as long as they are in good condition, age doesn't affect accuracy.

guntech59
November 22, 2009, 03:27 PM
Not the best I've ever shot with it, but the only target pic I have. 1905 dated CG m96/38 with handloads. Pushing up to 43 gr of RL22 closes the groups to just under 2".

Understand that I am 50 and wear bifocals. I'm sure a more experienced shooter with better eyes could REALLY make it sing.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d86/guntech59/3-8-09target3.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d86/guntech59/S4300088.jpg

35 Whelen
November 22, 2009, 04:08 PM
Is a Springfield 1903A3 accurate?

Unmodified, as-issued 1903-A3. Mind you, these groups are the rule, rather than the exception.
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/03A3/P1010007descr-1.jpg
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/03A3/314299RedDot.jpg
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/03A3/31129110shot.jpg
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/03A3/311291Targetmod.jpg

How about a Swede Mauser?

The '96 Swedish Mauser is arguably the most accurate mass produced military bolt rifle ever made. I say arguably because I've owned upward of 6 or 7 Swiss K-31's and they are extremely accurate too. Awhile back I shot a High Power match and I gentleman with whom I was shooting told me he got his Master classification in 12 months time with a Swedish 96 Mauser.

I'm not sure what you mean by "5 shot Enfield", but here's a few targets fired from my old 1942 Maltby Enfield again, with cast bullets:

http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/MaltbyEnfield-23red.jpg
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/MaltbyEnfield9red.jpg
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/MaltbyEnfield15red.jpg
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/Maltby3-06-1.jpg

I have been shooting a Swiss K-31 in High Power competition since February. By June I was shooting Expert scores, by October I had qualified for Expert classification and in November I received my Expert card. All this with cast bullet loads. I'll may have to switch to jacketed bullets to get my Master classification, but we'll see.

Most people don't get good accuracy from old military rifles 1) they don't know how to use and shoot with open sights and 2) they shoot them with old milsurp and/or commercial ammunition.


By accurate I mean how does it measure up with an AK?

See above pictures. ;)

35W

rodregier
November 22, 2009, 06:59 PM
My casual reading suggests that match projectile production quality after WWI improved a lot more than *volume* barrel rifling quality. Feed modern match-grade projectiles to an old rifle in good condition and it will probably surprise you. Modern innovations like hammer-forged and ECM rifling are focused on reducing per-unit production costs, as opposed to making a quantum leap in accuracy. Today's match-grade rifle barrel makers are using very old-school technologies (broach, single-point cut and button rifling), along with modern measurement and quality control techniques.

berettashotgun
November 22, 2009, 07:23 PM
My mosin can bayonet a 5" circle at 10 feet every time - even with a cold barrel.:neener:
Minute of deer is easy with most of them.
Match shooting against a, say, PANDA action rifle is not a good bet to win.

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