Quantcast

Looking for milsurp rifle with smooth (bolt, or not) action

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Esoteria, Mar 1, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Esoteria

    Esoteria Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    137
    I know it's kind of a generic topic.

    I have a Mosin, which is in good shape overall, shoots very well, but has a below average action, and I say that with the understanding that Mosin actions in general are pretty rough. It's hard to open (cock), heck it's even a little hard to open when already cocked. Any slight sideways pressure causes it to catch a bit on closing, etc. I can run it pretty fast 80% of the time by just putting a little extra muscle into it but... yeah.

    My other bolt actions are a 22LR and a 22 Hornet, the former of which is OK but you don't expect much from a $230 Savage, so no harm done. The other is a CZ 527 which, as I've said in another thread, I was disappointed by its action (otherwise a great gun, though).

    Anyway, last weekend I went out with a friend who had a 1920 G98 Mauser, and I was instantly very jealous. The action is super smooth. Loading rounds is almost more fun than shooting it for how nice the magazine is.

    So I stopped myself from my previous plan of getting into 7.62x54R reloading due to this realization that bolt actions can indeed be really nice.

    I have a budget of about $500. What should I get? Enfield? Yugo Mauser? What's guaranteed (or as close to guaranteed as you'll get with mil surp) to have a smooth action and magazine? Can I reliably slick up the Mosin action enough to make such a major difference for $100~150? Probably not..., and it wouldn't fix the fiddly magazine.

    I also need to consider the ability to reload for it. I'm willing to spend the extra dough on .311" bullets for an Enfield or Mosin if that's what it takes. I guess a Mauser is just as difficult to reload for. Casting isn't an option for me right now due to where I live (although I hear group buys are a thing. Might need to look into that). Loading down to new-shooter-friendly recoil would be an important consideration as well.

    Major Side-bar question: It doesn't even have to be bolt action as long as I can turn it into one (i.e. an "off" gas setting) for bench shooting and brass recovery. Going this route boosts my budget since it would fill a semi-auto role as well. Any good rifles out there with this option? I realize some ARs can do this but I'm not really into that platform right now. Wasn't there some version of the Ljungman rifle that had gas adjustment? That'd be pretty slick. But probably expensive.
     
  2. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    2,108
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    K31 fits the bill.

    so does the Swedish Mauser.
     
  3. FiveStrings

    FiveStrings Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    115
    Location:
    Western PA
    Based on what you've said I'm thinking an Enfield No. 4 rifle would be the ticket. A decent specimen is in your budget. The Enfield is regarded as having the fastest of all the WWII generation bolt actions. It also is fed by a 10-rd detachable box mag. The .303 cartridge is easily reloadable, however I've only been able to locate Sierra 150 grain Spitzers in .311 from my regular sources. These are plentiful, but I've had trouble locating other .311 bullet options. Plus, .303 British is still a commonly sold (ie. Walmart-available) commercial round. So the .303 is highly "shootable."

    The other bolt rifle you'd probably dig is the Swiss K31. CHeck out Hickock45's Youtube video on it. The action looks like it would be a ton of fun, and they are supposedly wicked accurate, but access to ammunition (ie. "shootability) is not great. OK, but not great.
     
  4. Esoteria

    Esoteria Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    137
    I've heard and been told that the K31 is still the "best deal" out there as far as rifle for the money, as they're extremely accurate and consistently extremely well made. I'm a fan of all of that, but... something about that straight pull just seems weird to me. I need to handle one in a gun show before I write it off, though. Everything else about it screams "buy me."

    The Swedish Mauser! I had forgotten about it. 6.5 bullets are more readily available, so if the action is at least comparable to the G98 I used this weekend then this is probably a front runner. Plus if I get a Ljungman later I'll already have the loads built up for it.

    Thanks for the suggestions! I'm kind of leaning away from the Enfields just because I've heard inconsistent reports in terms of accuracy and fit/finish, but I do like the cock-on-close action. Actually, in theory it just seems like it would be smoother -- easier to add extra "force" on the forward stroke than pulling up on the bolt handle, especially since you're cocking and extracting the case at the same time on the Mosin/Mauser action. I haven't shot an Enfield nor handled them next to a Mauser enough to compare, though.
     
  5. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    2,108
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    Swedish Mauser is cock-on-close.

    I wouldn't let ammo availability turn me away from the K31 if you reload. Good commercial brass is reasonably priced and isn't too hard to find. You have all the regular .308" options for bullets from cheap FMJs for plinking to the finest match bullets and everything in between.
     
  6. entropy

    entropy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    11,978
    Location:
    G_d's Country, WI
    Shoot a K31, your decision will be made. Swedish Mauser is a close second.
     
  7. chris in va

    chris in va Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Messages:
    6,141
    Location:
    Louisville KY
    If you can spring for another $130, the CMP is selling Field Grade Garands for $630. For another $100 you get an awesome Service Grade with new wood and barrel.

    If you want a single shot, just remove the gas plug.
     
  8. Esoteria

    Esoteria Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    137
    Glad to hear a consensus starting. It's a good point about the K31 using .308" bullets. I'll have to take that into serious consideration. As I said the straight pull is kind of a turn off for me but I have not actually handled one, so I'll need to do that. Shouldn't be hard to find at all at the next gun show.

    The Swedish Mauser being cock-on-close is new information, and is definitely a point in its favor (in my theory, anyway). I think I like the look of it better than the K31, too. Hmm.
     
  9. Esoteria

    Esoteria Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    137
    @chris
    Thanks -- hadn't really considered a Garand because I figured it was out of my price range and didn't consider that it could be set up to manually cycle.

    I know the manually cycling thing may seem really weird to some, but it's a huge help on the bench or for any slow firing, and I'm going to slow fire a lot more often than I'm going to rapid fire .30-06, that's for sure.
     
  10. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    2,473
    Location:
    Loveland, Colorado
    K31, Swede Mauser, 1891 Argentine Mauser, in that order for smoothness of the action. For ease of the stock sights I would rate them K31, 1891 Argentine, and Swede. For ammo availability it would be Swede, K31, and Argie. They are all pretty equally accurate out to 300 yards in my hands.
     
  11. Edarnold

    Edarnold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Messages:
    640
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    If you are used to cycling a bolt action rifle from the shoulder, the K31 will be no problem. Too many shooters today never learned the technique of raising your head as the bolt comes back, then dropping back onto the stock as it goes forward. Taking the rifle off your shoulder to cycle the bolt is dumb with a conventional turn-bolt action, and downright clumsy with a straight-pull action like the K31. Use the rifle as it was intended, and you will find a new definition of fast and smooth.

    And yes, the cartridge is easy to reload and cases will last for many reloadings, since the working pressure is substantionally below rounds like the .308 Winchester and the like.
     
  12. Esoteria

    Esoteria Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    137
    Running the bolt from my shoulder varies from highly impractical to outright impossible with my Mosin, but I'll certainly give it a shot with whatever else I have the opportunity to try.
     
  13. eastbank

    eastbank Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    4,468
    you can never go wrong with a 303 brit enfield. try a finn 39, they are what a russia 91 should have been. and the swede 6.5x55 is a sweet shooter with very good bullets. a yugo 98 in 8mm is also a good choice. eastbank.
     
  14. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,662
    My Turk Mauser's bolt is slicker than snot after I polished it a bit and greased it. It's a little hard to cock though, I had to install a heavy firing pin spring to ignite surplus ammo. But it's a very nice action, and you're right, punching rounds into the magazine is a joy unto itself
     
  15. ozarkhillbilly

    ozarkhillbilly Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Messages:
    624
    Location:
    mo
    30-40 Krag

    303 Enfield is the smoothest of what has been mentioned, K31 is good just not as smooth. The enfield were the fastest shooting bolt gun of WW2. However if you want the smoothest bolt out there then the 30-40 Krag is it hands down.
     
  16. caribou

    caribou Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    2,352
    Location:
    North West Alaska
    Finn Mosin, M-39.

    Get one in mint shape.
     
  17. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Messages:
    4,225
    Location:
    Missouri
    I have to reiterate what's already been said:

    K31 and Swedish Mauser, with the Enfield coming in close third.
     
  18. Whiskey11

    Whiskey11 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    271
    Location:
    York, Nebraska
    The answer is Mauser, and really you can pick any of them...

    Insert any European Mauser
    Insert 1903 Springfield
    Insert Winchester M70's
    Insert Ruger M77

    For a real treat, the 1903 Springfield is a heck of a rifle and you can get ones with remanned drill rifle actions (safer than low serial number ones) with new Criterion barrel, new wood, and new ref for ~$800 to ~$900 and they are shooters. I love my Rockridge Machine Tool 1903A4 clone!

    IMGP2971.jpg
     
  19. agtman

    agtman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    1,630
    Location:
    midwest
    Bolt: the U.S. 30-40 Krag rifle (or carbine).

    Semi-auto: the U.S. M1 Garand. (Might have to bump-up your budget for an M1 by a few hundred though).

    Nothing smoother on the planet than those two, not to mention the history embedded in them.
     
  20. eastbank

    eastbank Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    4,468
    if you reload or are going to, any of the rifles mentioned will fill the bill. i reload for all the milsurp that i own and by roaming gun shows, flea markets and yard sales i have amassed all the dies i have needed and then some for that task. you can taylor your loads for each rifle, for example i have a chinese t-53 carbine i load to 30-30 power levels that is a joy to shoot over factory ammo. if you turn to the milsurp side you will be lost as one is never enough. eastbank.
     
  21. bang_bang

    bang_bang Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,136
    Location:
    Elk Creek, Virginia
    Im very fond of either of my SKS rifles. You can still find good ones for a reasonable price. I also like the 303 round and love the action on my SMLE. Your options are very open, might as well sample a few now rather than wait another ten years.
     
  22. morcey2

    morcey2 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Messages:
    2,238
    Location:
    Central Utah
    Mannlicher-Schoenauer (sp?) is the smoothest action I've ever handled. It felt like the bolt was on roller bearings.

    The smoothest operating rifles I have are a 1909 Argentine, VZ-24, and a 1903 Springfield. I have a yugo-captured K98k that's right behind those.

    Matt
     
  23. justin22885

    justin22885 member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    2,102
    umm, mosins arent hard to open, and when already cocked i can open mine with my pinky finger.. most people when they buy mosins do not take apart the bolt and completely clean out all the cosmoline from the inner workings of the bolt and as a result they get hard to operate
     
  24. joem1945

    joem1945 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2014
    Messages:
    2,016
    Yugo VZ 24 in 8mm is a good choice. Looks like a K98 and mine is smooth, but a true K98 is a bit better. K98s prices are too high IMO.
     
  25. fireman 9731

    fireman 9731 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,355
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Many others have said it, and I'll say it again: Swiss K31.

    I have a Turk Mauser that is buttery smooth though too, and couple of Spanish Mausers that are fairly smooth but cock on close has always just been a little different for me.

    Now the real issue is that you aren't happy with your CZ 527. From the factory they can be a little stiff or grabby, but a good cleaning and lube, along with working the action by hand for an evening or putting about 100 rounds through it should really slick it up. Also make sure that the bolt isn't binding on the magazine. Mine was a little stiff at first but it really slicked up.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice