View Full Version : Older Military Rifles.......
Im wanting a "new" used deer rifle and was wondering which military rifles are best suited for making a good deer rifle.
BTW.....Im on a budget or I would opt for a Winchester Model 70 Featherweight
11-16-2002, 10:05 AM
If your on a budget, you're probably better off getting a good used commercial sporting rifle (win, rem, etc.). I have a Swedish M-96 in 6.5x55 that I bought for that purpose, but it was so nice, I didn't have the heart to start major surgery on it. I hear the Argentine Mausers are good as well. Maybe you can find a civvy thats cheap and needs some TLC (bbl, blue, stock, etc.)
Sporterizing a miltary rifle is a lot like putting in a swimming pool. Its expensive as hell and you never get as much money back as you spent on it.
11-16-2002, 11:50 AM
Zeke: the world of military surplus is changing. There are few rifles out there that would be a good candidate for sporterizing because of the shortage of straight un-a;tered rifles. You will lose money taking a good milsurp and altering it. As was pointed out by DK, labor costs will torpedo your wallet.
A good choice for a rugged hunting rifle is an unmodified #4, MkI or MKII British enfield in .303 British. B-Square makes a no-drill, no tap mount that you can add at your convenience, along with a scope. If the rifle is in good shape to begin with it will shoot well. The cartridge is adequate for all North American big game, and the value of the rifles is escalating. If you leave it original (Un sanded, un cut) it will return your investment plus some. The rifles themselves are rugged, have well placed and easily operated safeties, and are simple to operate. Big-5 in my area still has a few for under $100 that would make good shooters.
Of course, the best route might be to pull some OT and get a Savage 110 from Walmart. Under $300 with scope?? Hard to beat that... ~Andy
11-16-2002, 01:11 PM
As much as I love old military rifles I'd have to council looking for a used Savage for a budget minded deer hunter. It used to be that you could pick up a Mauser or Springfield and easily sporterize it for not a lot of money. No longer. Take a rifle like that into a 'smith now and you'll be caried out on a stretcher once he quotes you a price.
The SMLE that AMMOe mentions wouldn't be a bad choice if you really needed a mil surplus rifle; or one of the cheaper Mausers. Either piece could be used as-is. I've never used no-gunsmith scope mounts so can't offer anything there. I certainly wouldn't expect the accuracy that you'd see on a used Savage, though.
11-16-2002, 03:17 PM
A Wally-World Savage package deal sounds like a great solution, IMO. New gun of good quality and accuracy, reasonable choice of calibers, scope all ready to go. Don't forget, searching for a deal is itself a cost.
11-16-2002, 04:04 PM
Actually a Springfeild 30/06 version 03a3 is not a bad gun. I've done several over the years with minimal cost. Replacement stocks are pure drop in. Drill and tap for scope. Recut muzzle crown. Replace trigger and safety assembly. I did many custom rifles on the 1909 Argentine, but the receivers must be heat treated so as to handle modern ammo. A bit on the soft side. And way to costly now a days to completely customize. I agree with the wally mart Savage package. That's a pretty decent startup kit at a good price. Plus it's new and you get to wear it out.
11-16-2002, 05:41 PM
Zeke, One word of advise on converting a military rifle to a sporting one... DON'T !
M-a-n-y years ago I did the very same thing, wanting to save $$ along with doing it myself. I ended up spending just as much as if I would have bought one from the store and it wouldn't hit a barn door at 50 paces.
Just "shop" around and you'll do fine. The model 70 is a fabulous rifle and you'll be glad you got it.
p.s. one always forgets the price when they buy quality.
11-16-2002, 05:51 PM
Lets see here, M-44 carbines for $60, Czech Mausers for $70 to $80, Turkish Mausers for $30 to $60, Enfields for $90, Swiss K-31 for $90, and a few others here & there. as far as mounts go scout mounts for the M-44 are $52, same as the Enfield SMLE mounts and the mauser mounts. the K-31 mounts are $70 if memory serves me right. II,ve shoot all the rifles I mentioned except the K-31 & can hit 6 nch gongs at 100 yrds open sights. All shoot calibers that will drop deer ( M-44 is 7.62x54R, Mausers are 8mm, Enfield is 303 & Swiss is 7.5x55). The best thing is that for under $100 if you ding them up no big deal it's only $100 rifle & they will stay sighted in if you drop em for the most part anyway, they were built to be in combat so they can take a beating. hope this helps.
Bye the way get your C&RFFL & you can get em shipped to your door. Licence is $30 for 3 years go to www.cruffler.com to find out how if you are interested.
Thanks for the info guys. I like the Savage 110s also. Mom has one with synthetic stock and its sweet. She got her first deer a couple of years ago at 50 years young.
My 8 acres are all woods so my 30/30 is fine here....but over at Moms..where all the big guys are (See my Deercam Pics)...there are wide open fields with 200-300yd shots, which is why Im wanting something with some range.
11-17-2002, 03:37 AM
In my country the .303 Br is simply king since we were a British colony until 50 years ago. What ammunition do you use for hunting? Over here, the 215 grain round nose bullet remains the most popular and it has been used to take every game animal India has offered.
Nowadays, the only big game we can hunt here is wild boar and here, too the .303 is well loved.
I have heard that a huge number of Ischapore .303s were exported to the US both in SMLE and No 4 models as well as a few of the rare .308s (which we are not allowed to own in India being a "military" caliber). Is yours one of these?
11-17-2002, 07:34 AM
Mehulkamdar: I have about 80 Lee Enfields in .303 caliber dating from 1899 to 1954. I collect them. The Ishapore .308's you referred to are quite common here and well thought of. Still, I haven't seen one that will shoot with the standard .303 as of yet. I think the most common .303 cartridge for hunting is the factory 150 grain Spitzer Soft Point. It is loaded by Winchester and is generally very accurate. Remington makes a 180 grain round nose -or did- that shoots very well indeed. I shoot a handloaded 210 grain round nose of my own making. (Cast lead alloy, heat treated) as my primary bullet. It is effective on both game and targets. In my estimation, the 215 grain RN would be the optimum big game cartridge and you're lucky to have it. People who don't reload here can't get to shoot it. Even the surplus market carries only 180 grain as the top weight. Most shooters are happy with the arrangement, willing to trade off bullet weight for flat trajectory. What model is your .303?? ~Andy
11-17-2002, 09:07 AM
HEY ZEKE-CAN'T HELP YA HERE , BUT GREAT PICS ,THINKING OF GETTING MY
FIRST GAME CAM (WOODS WATCHER) AND YOUR PICS SURE HELPED INSPIRE ME !
11-20-2002, 05:10 AM
You must really like the Lee Enfield to have 80 of them! I can only think of one person whom I know of who collects military bolt action rifles like you do, and he lives in Belgium. I can't blame you for liking them so much - they are grand old guns, aren't they?
I don't have a Lee Enfield at the moment - my guns are a Fox 12 bore shotgun, a Mannlicher .30-06 rifle and a .25 Llama pistol which I shall be selling soon. My country's laws allow the ownership of only three guns and these are mine.
I have extensively shot .303s though, mostly SMLEs and a friend who lives in Coorg (a beautiful hill area about 800 miles from where I live) has a most beautiful one (SMLE) that we use for hunting wild boar sometimes. We do get the 215 grain ammunition regularly here (we were a British colony after all) and the lower weight bullets are not very well known here among hunters. The ranges we hunt at are from short to very short compared to what we read about in your country. In dense jungle, a 100 yard shot is often a long distance! That is why, perhaps, high velocity ammunition never found favour in my country and even the old .280 Ross etc are practically unheard of here. Our gun technology is at least 50 years behind yours, if not more, since we cannot import guns into India (except for ISU match rifles and competition shotguns for trap and skeet shooting)
For a long time, the .303 was a "prohibited bore" in my country since it was classified as a military caliber, but it has now been made available to the public. We also have a version called the .315 which is basically the .303 case with an 8mm bullet which is more popular in India these days. Ischapore still makes Enfield rifles though these are all the newer .315s because there is a brisk demand for them.
11-20-2002, 08:04 AM
Mehulkamdar: Fascinating! The ".315"! I hadn't heard of such a thing. I also was't aware that Ishapore still manufactures the Enfields. That .315 takes the standard .323" bullets?? What are the avalable bullet weights?? I'm guessing a 226 grain would be about top weight.
I have been a fan of the Lee Enfield for over twenty years. When I bought my first it was $39 US and it came with two boxes of reloadable ammunition. The .303 wasn't too well thought of when I was young. My Uncle Willy was a gunsmith and he hated them from a "sporterizing" standpoint, and passed his distain on to me. I later learned that Enfields that had the military stocks altered didn't shoot as well as those left in the original wood, and that unaltered, they were capable of very fine accuracy. I started buying odd Enfields because of interesting proof marks, or maker's marks and suddenly I realized I was a "collector". I have friend in Montana that also collected them and we spent alot of time visiting second-hand shops buying them at relatively cheap prices. We were lucky enough to find some of the rarest makers and models. My favorite is a BSA factory sporting rifle with triple leaf express sights, English walnut stocking, and buffalo horn fore-end tip and grip caps. It was made on the early Speed Patent reciever and is dated 1914. This rifle was in a second-hand shop marked as a "Sporterized Mauser" and was $69 dollars. The owner of this shop had so little regard for the Enfields that he didn't even take a good look at this rifle before pricing and placing on the shelf. If he had, he'd have seen that it was a fine quality English light Rifle. This was only a six years ago and I'm afraid that public opinion of the Enfields -especially in the light of such a wide open market as we have here in the United States- hasn't gotten much better. Many shooter's still consider the rifles "junk" and the cartridge as being underpowered.
I have long held that the Lee Enfield could be the finest bolt action rifle ever produced. Not the prettiest. Not the most accurate. But if longevity counts for anything we must take into account that the rifle entered service in the late 1800's and is still being manufactured. The rifle has been in active military use since the beginning. The 303 cartridge is likewise the oldest, active military cartridge still in use. There are few, if any, other rifle/cartidge combinations that can boast such a history.
Thankyou so much for the information on the Ischapore production and the ".315" cartridge. I hope that you manage to accquire one for yourself very soon. Happy hunting!~Andy
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