K31 Vs Enfield .303 Carbine

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by USBP1969, Sep 17, 2018.

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  1. USBP1969

    USBP1969 Member

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    Howdy,
    I just became aware of the K31 today. From looking at Gun Broker prices. Can see that they are not cheap.
    I will be living in a very high density Black Bear area and I am wondering which wouldd be better, the MKV Carbine or th K31?

    Thanks,
    -kent williams
     
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  2. js8588

    js8588 Member

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    Why not an Ishapore 308 Enfield?
     
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  3. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    Both are great guns. But you gotta slam the bolt on the K31. There’s no “quietly” chambering another round. Or the first one for that matter.

    Will this be a stand rifle or a stalking rifle? Also you need to shoulder both. If one doesn’t point fairly naturally, I’d go another route.
     
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  4. Browning

    Browning Member

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    The .303 will have better ammo availability.
     
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  5. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Either will do the job. The Jungle Carbine will be handier since it is shorter and lighter.
     
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  6. Llama Bob

    Llama Bob member

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    K31s in good shape tend to be decently accurate.

    Jungle carbines don't necessarily hold a zero well.
     
  7. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Are you wanting it for hunting bear? A true milsurp Jungle carbine is pretty high in price, has a wandering zero issue, and recoils like a mule. It was designed specifically for one task which was jungle warfare. If you still want that, try to find a Santa Fe, etc. faux carbine--these are cutdown regular Enfields. Ammo selection is not very great on these but a bit better for the .303 than the 7.5 Swiss.

    If you want a milsurp Enfield, I think you would do a bit better with a regular No. 4 Mk 1 or a No. 1, Mk. 3 Enfield. Fast, easy to operate, and the No. 1 has good open sights with the No. 4. with micrometer type sights (not the simple flip battle aperture one) is a good rifle as well. You will see quite a few of these sporterized for pretty cheap. Nice safeties on these if in good repair.

    The Swiss K31 is a marksman type rifle that demonstrates fine workmanship but may not be the best for hard field use due to tolerances. The straight pull action takes practice to get used to. Recoil is manageable due to a heavier rifle but beware of damaging your magazine as they are expensive. Fewer sporter versions of these and prices on them are climbing as supply dries up.

    Both the K31 and Enfields in battle trim are now collectors items which means hard field use will affect their value. If you are bound and determined to use a milsurp for sporting purposes, get a Mauser 98 action, Midway or Brownells has some pretty cheap barrels, and go to town. Sporter versions, some which are gorgeous, are also around of these. If you stay within the 7x57,8x57 families and relative cartridges lengths you have quite a choice in calibers, aftermarket triggers, scope mounts, etc. for Mausers relative to the K31 or Enfield.

    If primarily for hunting, for the price, you might do better with a commercial rifle--cheaper stock ammo, variety of barrel lengths and weights, modern recoil management, and you can tailor the rifle to what you want. Ruger Americans, Savage Accutrigger models, and the underappreciated Thompson Center rifles might be worth a look. Some will have stainless barrels, already be tapped for scopes etc. and polymer stocks which can be useful for a hunting rifle. Also numerous sporting rifles are around at good prices used often with accessories that make it worth your while.

    I have those milsurp rifles listed above (my Enfield carbine is the knockoff version though) and a few more to boot, the Enfield .303 cartridge, like the Krag, can have a pretty hefty kick in a lightweight rifle. The K31 is nice and very accurate, but you will need to practice as the straight pull nature is a bit different than a traditional bolt action. This is especially true if you try to keep the rifle shouldered while working the action. The safety ain't that great either and if you hate open sights, then scope mounts are pretty pricey and vary in quality. Ammo is spottier in availability compared with the .303. Both the Enfields and the K31 do have removable mags which makes them somewhat easier than most Mausers and some sporters to unload.
     
  8. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Good ones are getting a bit scarce now on these.
     
  9. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Member

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    My sample size of Jungle Carbines is just one ;) but I've never had a problem with the zero on mine in the 25 years that I've owned it. It's one of my favourite rifles.
     
  10. mokin

    mokin Member

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    boom boom has some good word there. I'd pass on the K31 for a hunting rifle for those reasons. If you're set on one of the two, a nicely sporterized SMLE will do the trick nicely.
     
  11. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    I love your choices, but a good Marlin or Winchester 30-30 carbine would be lighter and easier to keep at hand than either the MKV Carbine or the K31. Or, better for stopping power, a Marlin 1895 in 45 Gov. If bears are truly a hazard, I would also recommend a .44 mag sidearm.

    Years ago, a Mosin Nagant, K31, or Jungle Carbine were cheap, with affordable ammo. Not any longer. The K31 is a simply beautiful rifle. But the available ammo is expensive, and made for war or target shooting, not for humane, quick killing of a bear.

    A used 30-30 or 30-06 Remington, Marlin, Winchester with open sights is your best bet.

    Going back to your original question...I know nothing about MKV carbines. You cannot go wrong owning and shooting a K31. It does not easily meet your need to practice and shoot problem bears. There are better guns for that. If you choose to buy a K31, make sure the magazine serial number and receiver serial numbers match. And buy the stuff to reload.

    The K31 is a heavy, accurate rifle that requires practice. Once I learned it, I can catch the spent cartridges out of the air when I shoot standing. It is THAT well-crafted.
     
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  12. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    My experience is that the "wandering zero" has not been a problem with the two Mk V's that I have had. Yes, they do kick like a mule, and the old dried up butt pads don't help. but that is to be expected with a lightweight carbine.
     
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  13. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Like Boom Boom, I have both. Only have pictures of the K31. In my opinion get the K31. The short barrel on a Jungle Carbine produces an obnoxious blast, it is a hard kicker, and brass life will be a lot shorter than the K31. The Swiss rifles are very accurate, the machining is precise, and I like that aspect of the weapon. The round is an excellent round, just equal to a 308 Win. If you plan to parachute drop somewhere, march in full battle gear 20 miles a day, I would take the lighter Jungle Carbine. But luckily, I don't have to do that.

    I did have to bed my Jungle Carbine before it started shooting round groups. For an unknown reason, none of my Swiss rifles had bad bedding.

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  14. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    I wrote my re
    I wrote my response before reading this.

    My answer is "What Boom Boom said". Except to say that open sights are probably better for bear defense than a gun with only a big hunting scope.
     
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  15. js8588

    js8588 Member

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    There are at least 6 on Gunbroker right now under $450.
     
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  16. Bushpilot

    Bushpilot Member

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    I don't think either option that you mentioned is ideal for the purpose that you have in mind. There are much better and cheaper choices out there for bear defense such as a 12 ga shotgun loaded with buck or slugs, 44 mag revolver or rifle, 30-30 rifle or a new or used 243 to 30/06 bolt action which can often be found quite reasonably. If your adamant about the milsurp I'd go with the Enfield for slightly better hunting ammo availability.... I have several Enfields and a K31 and I'd go with a "regular" Enfield instead of a Jungle Carbine because it would be both easier and cheaper to find.....
     
  17. Duster340

    Duster340 Member

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    I have and enjoy both a K31 and Shortened No4 mk1. While I like, and deer hunt with, them both. The Enfield would get the nod in your initial post question. Reasons being, the short No4 mk1 is quick and handy in the woods, the safety on the Enfield is much quicker and easier to disengage/engage, I like the peep sights on the 303 for hunting, and as an earlier poster noted, one has to slam the K31 closed to ensure it cycles/fires. I handload so ammo availability is a non issue.

    Both are fine rifles and capable of taking big game.
     
  18. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    If you have having to "slam" the bolt forward on a K31 it might be due to excessive cartridge case headspace. Unfortunately there are not any Wilson type case headspace gages on the market and I had to set up my 7.5 Swiss dies with comparators. Now my 1895 Mannlicher, that bolt is so stiff that it does take a good push to close. Both the Schmidt Rubin rifles and Lee Enfields are cock on closing, closing the bolt takes an equivalent effort. None of these rifles take more effort to chamber a round than a semi auto, and semi auto's are a lot louder. Zing! All of these rifles have positive, firing pin blocking safeties. The half cock safety on a Lee Enfield is positive and strong. The K31's and M1911 have a nice ring on the back, very easy to grasp, pull, and rotate to a locked position. These safeties positively block the firing pin, they are orders of magnitude safer than a sear blocking safety. And, they are a lot quieter in operation than chambering a round.

    hJe2mdp.jpg

    I did take a M27 Finnish Nagant out deer hunting and shot one deer. Open sights have their limitations, so do peep sights, which is why few sporting rifles come from the factory drilled and tapped for irons.
     
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  19. lonniemike

    lonniemike Member

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    A properly lubricated k31 using ammo in spec, can be manipulated pretty quietly until the trigger pull. No help here, buy both.
     
  20. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    I agree with that assessment, as long as the rifle is left in the original open sight configuration.

    I set one of my K31's up for deer hunting a couple of years ago. I mounted a 2-7 Nikon with a Swiss Products clamp-on mount. The ocular portion of the scope extended over the ring safety, and it was difficult to operate quickly, especially when wearing gloves. Its a heavy rifle too, and I decided that I had better options for deer hunting.
     
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  21. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    Please don't try to hunt bear with a K31 unless you reload. FMJ bullets may be accurate but they don't expand much.
     
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  22. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    Not all black bears are created equal.
    Some can grow to be huge if there are enough groceries available.
    Will this be for hunting or general purpose bear medicine?

    I'd go with a .30-06 or.308, or a 12 gauge pump with slugs for up close and personal situations
     
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  23. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Regarding the wandering zero problem to quote Supertramp,
    "Now some they do and some they don't
    And some you just can't tell
    And some they will and some they won't
    With some it's just as well" From Goodbye Stranger.

    More seriously, the Enfield is a pretty complicated rifle to accurize as its design is not ideal for such. The additional lightening cuts, the barrel, the rear locking action, the separate butt and forend, all make things a bit complicated along the pedestrian accuracy of Enfields to begin with. It didn't help that they used a wood stock in the jungle either with multiple points for water entry. FYI, http://leeenfieldresource.com/?page_id=21 Roger Wadham goes more into depth in his book, the 2012 Complete Book on Lee Enfield Accurizing. I've been rebuilding a No. 1 using his book with a new old stock barrel that I acquired.

    I suspect that unless you fired using a clamped rifle in a benchrest remotely and fired at ranges over 100 yards, it would be difficult to detect. Some folks that reported a wandering zero tapped the jungle carbine and used a scope. It could just as well been crappy scope mounts, the significant recoil, and the less than perfect scopes of yesteryear. Also, a fair amount of these are actually faux carbines and depend on the craftsmanship of those who did them. All this plays into the maybe it does or maybe it don't. It is undoubtable though that what the Brits did did not enhance the accuracy of these rifles--they were for a quick and dirty job with minimal investment in research, design, and tooling to do so.

    However, these have now become pretty expensive to use as a knock around truck gun if they are the genuine article. Condition is everything to a collector. The rubber butt pads on these, if original, won't last under sustained use and collectors want the real article--not an aftermarket replacement. That is why I recommended finding one of the fakes carbines like a Santa Fe, or shortened sporter barrelled No. 4's or No. 1's,, and if one's heart is set on a fake carbine, then cutting off the crappy aftermarket flash hider and putting a muzzle brake would help tame the recoil. I am not particularly affected that much by recoil on long rifles but I find the Jungle Carbine with regular loads to be unpleasant due to recoil and blast. I don't like Mosin carbines for that reason. And I am enough a purist that I won't put a muzzle brake on these just to shoot them.

    I like the K31 and also have the K11 which is pretty similar. They are awesomely accurate rifles compared with most run of the mill milsurps; in part because the Swiss did the issue ammo right and kept their rifles up. Occasionally, you will run across a sportered version of these and Swiss Products does make a muzzle brake just for the K31. As a collectible, I suspect that these will continue to increase in value.

    FWIW, I suspect that folks that actually hunt bear might suggest different choices than military surplus rifles. If it is just for self defense against bears, as said above, a twelve gauge repeater with slugs might be the easiest choice.
     
  24. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I would take a 336 or 1895g marlin with williams wgrs sights over those two any day of the week. A 30-30 loaded with 170 grain soft points is no slouch.
     
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  25. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    I don't hunt bears and a lot depends on size of the bear and distance. From some of the monsters around, I would start with a 45/70 and up. Self defense from those in bear country often occurs at pretty short range which means you might not get a second shot. A 30/30 might do at a distance but at point blank, you would want them stopped asap. Even in the southern part of my state, the swamps have some really big black bears.
     
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