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My K31 Swiss do-over

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Dave DeLaurant, Sep 11, 2021.

  1. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    Ever had a rifle project that took more than one try to get right? Here's one of mine -- maybe you could share yours.

    I've spent a little over three months recently working on a do-over Swiss K31 project, and am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Let me say at the outset that if I could go back about 20 years, I would have left this rifle in its original condition. I had what seemed like a good idea at the time, back when K31s were cheap and plentiful and I had two in the safe. Lately my appreciation for Swiss military hardware has grown considerably, and I've added several more rifles and a revolver to my arsenal. If I'm not careful it might eventually grow into a proper collection.

    Swiss K31.jpg M1889.jpg K11.jpg 1929Rev01.jpg

    Anyway, my modified K31 wasn't restorable and I didn't really care for the way my first attempt came out. That meant I could either cut my losses or try once again so I opted for the latter course. In the first go round I had shortened the barrel, removed the military rear sight and had the receiver D&T-ed for a Redfield aperture sight. The metal finish on the barrel was pretty rough where the original rear sight had been soldered, but that didn't bother me as much as the stock. I'd originally had Richard's make me a semi-inletted walnut stock by duplicating an altered military stock; this was back before they added the K31 inlet to their regular catalog. I had ordered a full-length stock that would reach to the muzzle of shorted barrel. Sadly, when this one-off stock arrived the barrel channel inlet was both oversized and crooked. I should have just sent it back, but in the end I just shortened the forend and AcraGlased the channel. It worked, but wasn't pretty.

    Schmidt-Rubin K31 Sporter.jpg

    I decided to give Richard's another shot, this time with one of their standard patterns in gray laminate. I figured by now they would have the bugs worked out for this action. I likewise decided to have the barrelled action and a few additional parts refinished. I checked into several different options and eventually chose to go with an Armoloy (Jartex in Ft. Worth, TX) industrial hard-chrome job. I've owned several handguns plated with this finish and it's never disappointed me. Their service is quick and economical too -- the refinished parts were returned within 3 weeks, and the job cost less than Cerrokote or Parkerizing.

    As an additional touch, I had wanted to install a neat oversized cocking handle I'd spotted on a Swiss website. https://lk2236.ch/en/product/k31-charging-handle/

    SwissChargingHandle.jpg

    I had some questions about ordering this and could not get an email response, so after a couple weeks I gave up trying. While I was killing time waiting for the new stock I decided to try making one myself. I bought a spare K31 op-rod from Gun Parts/Numrich to keep the original as-is. I made the handle from a stainless steel Allen screw and wingnut covered with threaded aluminum tubing. This photo is mostly self-explanatory; the bottom nut is secured with a transverse rollpin.

    ChargingHandleFab.jpg

    It makes working the bolt a bit slicker, but it's pretty bulky and better suited to the bench than the field. When desired, swapping back to the original 'beerkeg' handle takes just a few seconds.

    ChargingHandle02.jpg

    I also looked around and found a slightly different Redfield rear sight bridge on eBay, which was a better fit dimensionally to this rifle than my original.

    RedfieldReceiverSight.jpg

    Once I had the new stock I spent about a month reshaping it and fitting the action. The options at Richard's were somewhat limited so I went with a stock design that required considerable modification. Since I was using iron sights, the cheekpiece and rollover comb had to be rasped off. The grip was overly long and flared for my taste, so I cut about half an inch off the bottom. I trimmed the forend back about 1" with an angled cut. I hadn't realized that the buttpad I'd ordered had a white line spacer (which I detest), but I had a plastic buttplate on-hand that required minimal fitting to swap.

    As I was fitting the barrelled action, I noticed that the barrel channel had been cut several degrees to the left of center. It was a neat, straight cut, but in order to get the barrel centered in the channel I had to hog out quite a bit of wood and then reshape the exterior to match. The barrel is extremely free-floated now!

    After the action and triggerguard were fitted I AcraGlas-ed in a pair of aluminum bedding pillars. The rear pillar was a little tricky since it was larger in diameter than the tang -- I needed to take care that my drillbit didn't poke clear through to the top of the stock.

    So far the stock has had about 9 thin coats of TruOil finish. There are a few shaping blemishes I still need to hide, but I can come back to fix those after I've done some shooting with it. I had the ring of the Lyman Globe front sight matte chromed to provide some low-light contrast. My eyesight isn't the greatest anymore, so a little extra contrast can be a big help when aiming at a dark target.

    K31Custom.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
  2. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    That is one sweet and handy looking customized K31! :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
    Dave DeLaurant likes this.
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    It came out looking good, a nice iron sight sporter in a scope century.
    But it is sure not a glowing recommendation for the stockmaker.
     
    Gordon and Dave DeLaurant like this.
  4. Duster340

    Duster340 Member

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    Love K31s, and your's looks sweet! Here's one I'm working on.

    20190901_092357.jpg
     
    792mauser, czhen, MacAR and 7 others like this.
  5. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    Nice! The comb and grip look more like the original Richard's stock design on mine.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021
    czhen, NIGHTLORD40K and Duster340 like this.
  6. AMraider

    AMraider Member

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    I like the Hard Chrome / Stock colour combo. Well Done!
     
  7. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    An outstanding and wise job and I just love it ! I belonged to the Swiss Rifle club in Greenfield Ca. (associate member as I am not Swiss) for decades and shot my pristine and Swiss diopter peep sighted tuned K31 in it. For matches they issued the ammo ! They allow seniors over 70 to have optics and over 55 to have those hi $ Swiss receiver sights like I did . When I hit 70 I wanted to scxope it correctly as allowed with Swiss optics but they were really hi $ and very hard to get. I moved away in retirement and in 2019 sold my rifle to a Swiss younger man in the area of the club for $1000 , along with my couple hundred factory rounds on clips.
    Your journey on your rifle is admirable sir and "GOOD JOB " !!!
     
  8. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Nice customizing Dave! Makes for a very handy little iron sighted sporter!
     
  9. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Wow, turned out gorgeous!
     
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  10. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    I posted this photo with the Swiss rifle collectors group on FB -- they were surprisingly tolerant of this one-off rifle amongst my original milsurps.

    SwissFamily02.jpg
     
  11. 792mauser

    792mauser Member

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    Like it!
     
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  12. MacAR

    MacAR Member

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    I think I'm in love... well, lust anyway! :evil:

    Does that little jewel have a 16" barrel? I'll bet it barks... I still want one though...

    Great job, Dave!

    Mac
     
    Dave DeLaurant likes this.
  13. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    Thanks Mac! I had to get out a cleaning rod and tape measure to refresh my memory -- the barrel is 20" from breechface to muzzle.

    On my first attempt I was planning to stock the rifle all the way to the muzzle, so the barrel length was determined by the dimensions of the longest duplicated stock I could order from Richard's.

    So far I've just put some reloads through it using Berry plated bullets at around 2000 fps. I agree that full-power GP11 (assuming I could find some!) might be a bit much.

     
    Gordon likes this.
  14. MacAR

    MacAR Member

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    "The muzzle flash on that is pretty thoroughly blinding"... ya don't say! Reminds me of a short barreled Remington 740 in 308 that I once had; there's a reason I don't have it anymore.

    Still, the little Swiss carbine would make a mighty fine deer-in-thick-brush gun in my mind, with the capability to get out there a ways if needed.

    Mac
     
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  15. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I am not a K31 fan but if I saw that for sale I would pick it up. That's pretty neat.
     
    chicharrones and Dave DeLaurant like this.
  16. tark

    tark Member

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    Dave, that is just plain flat-out beautiful ! As a collector, I generally dislike sporting conversions of milsurps, but when done right, they can be fantastic things to behold. Your gun is exactly that. Good job!
     
    Dave DeLaurant likes this.
  17. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    I took my first shots today since restocking and refinishing, using a .32 H&R chamber adapter on an indoor pistol range. It may be quite some time before I get to a big-boy outdoor range with it, but at least now I have the windage zeroed and know the action still works pretty slick.



    BTW, for just this once, the background noise isn't just my labored breathing -- there's a ventilation fan vent right behind me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2021
    chicharrones likes this.
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