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Vintage Rifle Matches, What Gun?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by JohnGalt88, Jan 10, 2013.

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  1. JohnGalt88

    JohnGalt88 Member

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    To those of you who do shoot or have shot in such a match I am having a time figuring what gun to buy so i can participate in the vintage matches my local club does. I don't reload myself and would like to be able to purchase ammo at semi-reasonable prices so that has narrowed my choices down somewhat. I also would like to keep the purchase under $400. Any input on the rifles i am considering would be appreciated.

    1.) My most ideal choice would have to be a Finn M39 but i can't seem to find one anywhere. It has the advantage of having readily available ammo (7.62x54R) and that ammo is so cheap. Plus you can buy good match rounds at academy. I feel i could be competitive with this set up because cheep ammo means practice and the M39 is practically as accurate as any mil surp rifle out there.

    2.) A crate mosin 19/30? All the advantages of the M39 plus its one third the cost. Might need a bit of work but that's what projects are for. I am just worried that i will get a bad one and it will never shoot well. I hear that ones with good bores and good ammo shoot almost as well as some of the more accurate options out there. Maybe with off hand shooting it won't matter as much? Plus a super long sight radius always helps.

    3.) 8mm Mauser probably a Vz. 24 maybe a yugo? I like the mauser bolt better than the nagant's but almost all of them shoot 8mm which is HARD to find and not very cheap. I think all the surplus has dried up and what is left isn't all that great.

    4.) Swedish Mauser? Guns are pricey but the ammo is obtainable. Several members already shoot them and like them. Apparently they are very accurate and don't have a lot of recoil. Would have to order all the ammo online much like the 8mm mauser.

    5.) Enfield? Never heard anything good about the accuracy of these guns or anything good about .303 even though it did rule the world at one time. Super fast action though. Rifles are high, ammo is very high and most rifles i have seen are very beat up. Don't think this is an option unless someone can convince me otherwise.

    6.) Springfield? Would love to do it but it is a little over budget. LOVE the sights and love the round. Doubt it will happen.

    7.) CETME FR8? Short handy mauser action in 308! sounds awesome and i saw one in Macon, Georgia the other day and it looked really cool. However the rifle is not rated for .308 only 7.62x51 which runs at a slightly lower pressure meaning you might have to feed it only surplus. So ammo might be harder to come by than you think. Also the short sight radius is doing you no favors in a match.

    8.) Swiss K31? probably the most accurate gun here. GP11 match ammo is readily available online and not too unreasonable. downside is i don't know where to get one and they seem to all be above $300. I also know almost nothing about the gun other than the fact that a straight pull action is very cool.

    9.) Ishapore 2A1? An Enfield without the worst thing about the Enfield (the .303 round)? I think they have detachable mags which is a good thing and a not so good thing because i imagine that they are hard to come by. Don't know how accurate they are but it seems like there are some in my price range and i can get one of those sword like WWI baronets to intimidate the competition

    Is there anything I'm missing? Any suggestions? Anyone have one of these guns who is willing to sell it in and around Middle Georgia?
     
  2. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    For local matches, why not just shoot a Garand?

    Don't you already have one?
     
  3. JohnGalt88

    JohnGalt88 Member

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    A Garand is over budget and i think they have a rule about semi autos in the match. Also i don't think it would be as accurate as the other guns nor would it be as easy or cheap to squeeze accuracy out of.

    I know i would have to shoot ball ammo out of it, then i would want a adjustable gas plug for it so i could shoot any 30-06. Then i have to buy more en block clips so i could run through ammo faster. Soon i would be sending it off to get bedded and worked on to make it more accurate. What i am saying is if i got one i would spend way to much on it.

    So as much as i want one i don't think its the best idea.


    EDIT: Actually you can shoot Garand in the matches according to the rules, but i don't think its for me. The guy who wins a lot of the time shoots a trapdoor Springfield so a semi auto is not really needed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  4. GCBurner

    GCBurner Member

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    I'd use a Springfield, my 1903A3 by choice. It's got better sights than the Mausers, Mosins, or SMLEs.
     
  5. JohnGalt88

    JohnGalt88 Member

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    If i could find a 1903A3 for under $400 that would be my first choice but i can't. They go for much more.
     
  6. jogar80

    jogar80 Member

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    My local pawn shop has a 1903 springfield for $350. I'm sure you can find one
     
  7. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a 1903A3 and a K98k made at Brno. I'd pick the 98k over the 03-A3. Both are good sturdy rifles, the Mauser is just a little slicker and more accurate than my 03.

    But if I didn't have a pile of surplus ammo I'd say the 03.
     
  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I have shot just about all old military bolt actions (except for Arisaka) in vintage gun matches.

    The 03A3 has been the best if you get it zeroed for elevation. The rear sight has a habit of slipping down so be aware The 03 is second best if you buy one of those Ray Vin Micrometers. http://www.ray-vin.com/gunsight/03mike.htm I have an original PJ O'Hare and they are too expensive. The 03 has goofy windage (4 MOA marks!) but at least you can adjust windage. I spent hours lapping in rear sight bases for 03’s, you have to take out the slack so the ladder does not totter, but it cannot bind when you make windage adjustments.

    I recently shot a K31 in our local vintage rifle match and was totally frustrated by the zero changes and lack of being able to adjust for windage. I had to hold off the bull and that really hurt my score. The upper sling attachment is on the left, pulls on the stock and it is meant for carrying the rifle, not shooting with a sling.

    I like my M1896 Swede but I consider it fourth. It also lacks windage adjustment but mild recoil and surprisingly accurate.

    Nagants are fun to shoot, make huge fireballs, clunky to cycle, horrible triggers, no windage adjustment. If you have a Finnish M39 that is the best of the Nagants and you can adjust windage with the front sight, but it is not practicable to do in a match. You just don't have time to fool with the opposing screws.

    My Isaphore Enfield is as rough as a corn cob, I had to bed the thing to get circular groups, still it is a 4 MOA rifle, and it does not feed as reliably as SMLE's in 308.

    Enfields of all marks are hard to shoot well because of the awful stock. No good place for a cheek weld, and when you shoot them with a sling, you begin to doubt all the claims of 1 MOA Enfields. If you can shoot 3 MOA with the things you are doing well.
     
  9. nathan

    nathan Member

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    Get a Sako M 39, that should be enough to win matches. Ammo cost is not gonna kill you and you have enough trigger time. ANd the thing is so simple and idiot proof. One thing that broke on mine was the trigger spring , you can buy an original Finn for $25 from those who have them at gunboards.com. Just post at the Mosin forum and they will help you out.
     
  10. JohnGalt88

    JohnGalt88 Member

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    To those recommending the 1903A3, I would go with that in a heart beat but I can not find one in my price range in Georgia and i have done some looking. I even tried gun broker and a basic 1903 seems to start around 600-700 every where i look.

    Also does anyone have a source for 8mm Mauser? i Keep looking but the only thing i see is 30's 40's Iranian surplus which i hear is quite bad. Right now i don't think I could could get enough good ammo for a Vz. 24 (which i hear is the best 8mm mauser) or Yugo.
     
  11. The_Armed_Therapist

    The_Armed_Therapist Member

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    1.) The Finn
    2.) The Swede
    3.) The Swiss
    4.) The Brit

    ...In that order. Just me! :D
     
  12. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Member

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    I'd get the Finn.

    I think you have some misconceptions about it. It won't be "practically as accurate as any milsurp rifle out there," it'll be a good bit MORE accurate than the others if you get one in good condition. They're getting more expensive, but take a look at gunsnammo.com for a good selection.
     
  13. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    How about a Martini action re-barreled to a round that you want to use which is OK in the competition?

    Do they need to be ex military rifles? If not then what about a nice Winchester 1895? Lever action but with a 5 shot box mag so no funny bullets needed like with tube magazine rifles. Came chambered in a lot of the more popular rifle sizes to boot.

    I'm a bit fuzzy on the windage adjustment thing. Are you guys allowed to swap out the military sights for something that has windage adjustment? I'm hardly an expert on this stuff but I've never seen a military or old style rifle other than match guns which came with a windage adjustment that didn't need a hammer and brass punch.
     
  14. JohnGalt88

    JohnGalt88 Member

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    The rules say that the rifle has to be a service rifle pre 1956 i believe

    Wow a Winchester 1895 would be awesome in 7.62x54R and legal since the Russians ordered a bunch and used them in service at the turn of the 20th century modified for stripper clips. But i doubt you could find one and even if you could it wouldn't group with the others i think.

    But this is besides the point because such a rifle would be insanely rare and valuable and nowhere near my budget

    Re-barreled guns would be frowned upon. You could then just chamber your mauser in a bench rest caliber or even .223 and it wouldn't even be fair once you got the sights on. That takes the fun out of it. The matches are not all that serious which is why my budget is so low. Its just a bunch of guys pulling there old rifles out of the safe to shoot.

    Right now i am still leaning towards the M39 which is where i started.
     
  15. threoh8

    threoh8 Member

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    Check the rulebook closely to make certain what is and isn't legal, what the ranges are, and what the course of fire entails.

    I'm a sucker for a bolt action in across-the-course matches.

    I shot a Swedish M96 Mauser for years, starting in as-issued trim, evolving to a match rifle configuration, and now going back. If you get the front sight set for windage and have good enough eyes to use the notch and post sights, it's great. If the rules allow, there are taller issue-style front sights that can let you use a 6:00 hold at 100 yards.

    Other Mausers work well enough, but I detest the V-notch rear sights and inverted-V front sights on many variants.

    Springfields, especially the 03A3, are really nice the sight department. '03's can have very slick bolts. I think Springfields are the class act in this genre, but I am biased. M1917 Enfields, less so, but still pretty good.

    SMLE's can be a lot of fun. Sights vary.

    Swiss rifles are new to me, but I hear good things.

    Mosin Nagants aren't so good in rapid fire, at least for me, because of the bolt knob placement. The surplus ammunition is also not so good, in general. Handloading, once you find enough brass and the right size bullets for your rifle, is the way to go.

    ANY of these rifles can be a lot of fun, and match shooting will teach you a lot.
     
  16. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Yeah, too bad about the 1895 being out of the price range.

    I've got a couple of Russian Mosins that I love shooting. But so far I've only used the usual milsurp ammo. Results for accuracy are woeful at best. My groups at 100 yards rested tend to be around 6 to 7 inches with the odd flyer outside of that size. And I know that even with my "old guy eyes" from shooting other guns that I'm more like a 4 inch shooter even with plain iron sights. Hell, my FLINTLOCK manages to match my 4 inch built in vision limit! ! ! !

    So all in all if you go with a Finn or Russian Mosin I'd seriously plan on either buying modern factory ammo or get yourself into reloading. Otherwise the milsurp ammo will hold you back badly.
     
  17. JohnGalt88

    JohnGalt88 Member

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    The plan was to practice with the best surplus stuff i could find and then shoot Prvi Partizan Match 7.62x54R 182 Grain. I see the stuff for about $13 all the time at my local Academy and have heard good things. Plus i have never had any bad experiences with Prvi.

    The priv is all so really good brass apparently so if i ever wanted to reload i could do so. I have heard that it is Priv who supply Winchester with there 54R brass and i would not be surprised if they do it for the few others who put out 54R. They also don't download it as much as every American producer. I know they also supply Hornady with their steel cased umm... brass? for there steel match line.
     
  18. tahunua001

    tahunua001 Member

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    I'll answer as best I can

    1.) My most ideal choice would have to be a Finn M39 but i can't seem to find one anywhere. It has the advantage of having readily available ammo (7.62x54R) and that ammo is so cheap. Plus you can buy good match rounds at academy. I feel i could be competitive with this set up because cheep ammo means practice and the M39 is practically as accurate as any mil surp rifle out there.
    I would say this is probably one of your best options the cheap ammo for plinking and practice and the expensive stuff for matches however you will likely have huge point of impact changes between cheap bulgarian surplus from the 50s and brand new match grade ammo it can be discombobulating to be sure and in the heat of the moment during a match you may forget where to hold as you are used to POI being the surplus rather than MG and miss your shot.


    2.) A crate mosin 19/30? All the advantages of the M39 plus its one third the cost. Might need a bit of work but that's what projects are for. I am just worried that i will get a bad one and it will never shoot well. I hear that ones with good bores and good ammo shoot almost as well as some of the more accurate options out there. Maybe with off hand shooting it won't matter as much? Plus a super long sight radius always helps.
    I would never take a 91/30 to competition shooting unless it was a competition just for mosin rifles. many have been shot out and damaged by untrained conscripts who don't know the proper way of using the steel cleaning rods. they have one of the worst reputations for accuracy out there only they have been able to get away with it as they have always been the cheapest game in town. horrible triggers mean you'll have to upgrade to a timney which can be a dis qualifier in some matches and adds $100 to the cost of your cheaper alternative to the M39(which actually puts your average mosin above the M39 costwise). also take into account non adjustable sights that were zeroed at 300 meters was bayonets attached and they hit VERY high most of the time unless you alter the front sight.


    3.) 8mm Mauser probably a Vz. 24 maybe a yugo? I like the mauser bolt better than the nagant's but almost all of them shoot 8mm which is HARD to find and not very cheap. I think all the surplus has dried up and what is left isn't all that great.

    not a bad gun and generally are considered one of the more accurate of the 98 pattern mauser.

    4.) Swedish Mauser? Guns are pricey but the ammo is obtainable. Several members already shoot them and like them. Apparently they are very accurate and don't have a lot of recoil. Would have to order all the ammo online much like the 8mm mauser.
    this is not the case at all, $400 is the average M38 price right now, that is a lot better than $700 for a springfield, $900 for a K98 mauser or $800 for a m1917. the ammo costs about the same as 308 and is considered by many to be the most accurate mauser design of all time.

    5.) Enfield? Never heard anything good about the accuracy of these guns or anything good about .303 even though it did rule the world at one time. Super fast action though. Rifles are high, ammo is very high and most rifles i have seen are very beat up. Don't think this is an option unless someone can convince me otherwise.
    the rifles average $350, that is far from being high, albeit ammo is a little higher than some but comparable to 30-06 or 8 mauser. my savage enfield number 4 MK1* is the rifle that got me hooked on milsurps in the first place. it has the smoothest action of any I have tried with the exception of the swedish mausers. 10 round detachable box mags give it a huge advantage over other all of your other choices which only have 5 round fixed mags meaning that in those comps where speed is the key you have faster reloads and less of them than all of your other competitors. they are not the most accurate milsurp out there but they beat the breaks off a 91/30 mosin nagant any day of the week.


    6.) Springfield? Would love to do it but it is a little over budget. LOVE the sights and love the round. Doubt it will happen.
    unfortunately this is the case for many. the 1903A3 is a rifle that I would love to have in the collection but they are hard to find in parts matching and still shoot. one of the best bolt actions out there as far as accuracy and sights, not the greatest action but far from the worst either.

    7.) CETME FR8? Short handy mauser action in 308! sounds awesome and i saw one in Macon, Georgia the other day and it looked really cool. However the rifle is not rated for .308 only 7.62x51 which runs at a slightly lower pressure meaning you might have to feed it only surplus. So ammo might be harder to come by than you think. Also the short sight radius is doing you no favors in a match.

    no experience, can't help you here

    8.) Swiss K31? probably the most accurate gun here. GP11 match ammo is readily available online and not too unreasonable. downside is i don't know where to get one and they seem to all be above $300. I also know almost nothing about the gun other than the fact that a straight pull action is very cool. some people swear by them, I personally can't stand them, will never add a swiss to my collection but it's all for personal dislikes.

    9.) Ishapore 2A1? An Enfield without the worst thing about the Enfield (the .303 round)? I think they have detachable mags which is a good thing and a not so good thing because i imagine that they are hard to come by. Don't know how accurate they are but it seems like there are some in my price range and i can get one of those sword like WWI baronets to intimidate the competition
    I doubt an ishapore would give you anything that a standard number 4 couldn't. the ishapore if I'm not mistaken is based off the number one which is a lot more poorly balanced(IE front heavy) than the number 4 and is just a much larger and bulky gun. match that to the fact that 308 is has more bullet drop than just about any of the calibers you've listed with the exception of maybe the 8 mauser and 303 brit I doubt that the ishapore would be a very smart choice. also since they were a later production rifle(60s and 70s I believe but could be wrong) they may not be allowed to compete with all the rest.

    overall I would say with your budget the M39 is probably your best bet with a swedish mauser a better suited rifle but less economically friendly. a close 3rd would be a horribly inaccurate enfield number 4 in the gawdawful 303 brit cartridge.
     
  19. desidog

    desidog Member

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    I have or had most all of what's listed so far, aside from the Finn.

    If I wanted to win the competition, and do it with ammo i bought, the ONLY gun on your list i'd go to is my K31 with GP11 ammo.

    In second place in no particular order, would come the No.4mk2 Enfield and the Vz24...but this conversation is a bit unfocused without the particular examples of these rifle types in mind. For example, some No.4 Enfields have 2-groove barrels that won't stabilize boat-tail bullets, while others have a five groove barrel and boattails aren't an issue. So the particular example is more important, in my mind, than the rifle's design type. Also, for what it's worth, one shooter can outperform another shooter with one rifle type, but not necessarily another.

    And to expand on tahunua001's only missed point, the FR-8 is a great rifle, but mine kicks too much and has too short a sight radius for me to take it to a competition and be competitive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  20. ball3006

    ball3006 Member

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    I have several Mosin Nagant....

    rifles, a M39 and two 91-30s that shoot one inch or less with Privi 150grsp ammo. Plus that ammo is reloadable. However, all of these rifles are Finn rifles.

    The Enfield is not meant to be reloaded by changing out the mag. You will find that in some rifles the mag is serial numbered to the rifle. The rifles are meant to be reloaded with stripper clips....chris3
     
  21. tahunua001

    tahunua001 Member

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    though that is their intended purpose, fast reloading capability is a bonus that comes from the detachable mags. I've done it several times with no parts matching enfields it makes hunting easy, a mag of 123 gr SSTs for medium game, a mag of 180 SP for big game, and a mag of FMJ for plinking and varmints... works like a charm. and I have personally yet to see an enfield with a serialized mag.
     
  22. 762gunr

    762gunr Member

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    Here is an excellent source for mil surp rifles of all varieties. His prices are average to high but I have always heard that he is very honest in his descriptions. I see M39's pretty regularly on his site.
    http://www.empirearms.com/rifles.htm
     
  23. 762gunr

    762gunr Member

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    I own a nice H&R Garand, WW1 Rock Island 03', M44, 91/30 and a Finn M39.
    Tops in accuracy would be the 1903(I would prefer the 03A3) followed by the M39.
    The M1 is a great gun but not very accurate and more of a battle rifle. There is a reason the 1903 was nicknamed "silent death"
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2013
  24. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    I currently own a 1903, two 1903A3's, and 1917, a No. 4 Enfield, a Garand and three Swiss K-31's. I gave up trying to make silk purses out of sows ears and sold all my Mosin's, stripper clips, ammunition, brass, dies and bullets.

    If you don't handload and don't want to spend an enormous amount of money on GOOD ammunition, the Swiss K-31 is the ONLY choice as far as I'm concerned. I've owned 8 or 10 different ones over the years, used them in High Power competition and they're so incredibly accurate as-issued and VERY fast to operate. And the surplus GP-11 ammunition is phenominally accurate as well. The stripper clips for these rifles are in my experience infinitely easier to use than those for the 03A3

    I've owned several Mosins including a Finn M39. Using them in High Power competition is a pipe dream in my experience. Also, mention these rifles and someone is sure to pipe up about the inexpensive ammunition. The stuff I tried, with the exception of a batch of commercial surplus, was all corrosive and only somewhat accurate.

    I'd advise you to check the CMP website for the results of their annual vintage rifle matches. These results will tell you what the Big Boys use. The last few years I've checked, Swedish Mausers and Swiss K-31's totally dominated the top 20 spots with the odd 1917 some.

    35W
     
  25. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    to bad you can,t use a dolled up 96 swede. eastbank.
     

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