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Old December 5, 2010, 06:49 PM   #1
seansean1444
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sporterizeing surplus guns

does anybody else think this is pointless to practically destroy a piece of history. and dont blame the younger people because im 16 and i even think its pretty dumb.
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Old December 5, 2010, 07:03 PM   #2
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40-50-60 years agon it was an "in" thing, was seen as a way of obtaining a hunting rifle on the "cheap" or perhaps showing off your gunsmithing and woodworking "skills". You are right, today it is seen as a Sin of Bubbafication
and a way of taking a $200-300 rifle, putting $300 into and turning it into a
$200 rifle.
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Old December 5, 2010, 07:09 PM   #3
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ha ya thats exactly what i think. i mean i think they are cool for being original and being the way they were like 80 years ago or around that?? and still being a very capable gun today. that says something about the design if we use them today. i actually saw a picture of taliban and one was holding a old mosin 91/30
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Old December 5, 2010, 07:38 PM   #4
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I agree and don't agree.......
Sometimes turning one into a sporter is like a resurection, already bubba'd, extremely neglected, or any number of other reasons for horrible shape.
I have a sporterized Arisaka that we used for a fire poker in my grandpa's shop when I was a kid......it came to him already burned, in a box of loose charred parts. It has since been blued, to sporterize an intact piece.....ya, I agree with ya.
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Old December 5, 2010, 07:48 PM   #5
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I did it way back when and if I could afford to I'd do it now but it costs way more than 300 now. At least to do it right. I don't care for old military bolt guns in their original configuration but some of them make great platforms for building something that will outshoot anything that comes off a rack. I have two 200 dollar guns that cost over 1000 to build. An FN 98 Mauser and a Smith Corona 1903A3. The Mauser has taken more deer than you can shake a stick at. If it had been left in its original configuration it prolly wouldn't have been fired more than a few times in the last 34 years or so. The A3 was built as a target rifle and I don't shoot paper anymore but I take it out now and then just to play with.
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Old December 5, 2010, 07:56 PM   #6
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It's their money. They can do what they like with it. Whether or not others agree is immaterial as long as they're satisfied.
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Old December 5, 2010, 08:52 PM   #7
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I have a 1903 Springfield Mark 1 that has been sporterized back in the 60's I assume. A shame that it was done, but it has taken a few deer by me in my younger days. I am betting that it would have just sat unshot and collecting dust otherwise. Cut the value way down, that's for sure.

Especially a shame knowing that it was manufactured to use the Pedersen device, which has also become a monumental historical anomaly that is almost non existent except for a few examples....
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Old December 5, 2010, 09:02 PM   #8
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Mike, I've got one of those sportered Mk I's, too. My dad brought home quite a few deer and elk. Given the cost of an accurate commercial rifle back in the day and given the enormous quantities of accurate milsurps, it really did make sense. Times were different.

I still shoot it and it's an extremely accurate gun with a special history all its own. As far as value goes, in its current configuration, it's not worth much to anyone else, but to me, it's priceless.
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Old December 5, 2010, 09:03 PM   #9
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i can understand if the gun is pretty much ruined but like another guy said whatever makes you happy.. leavein them origonal makes scense to me
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Old December 5, 2010, 11:09 PM   #10
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Anybody that has been into guns and shooting has probably built, or had built sporters from milsurps. There was a time when it was the economical thing to do. I have had several. Now only one, and it was built on just a 98 Mauser action that I bought. Today there are way too many good, economical sporting rifles on the market. As cornbush said, if it's already been Bubba'd by some garage gunsmith then it would be a good thing to bring it back to a fine firearm. But in my opinion, a classic military rifle is way more fun to shoot as it was built.
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Old December 5, 2010, 11:59 PM   #11
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smith corona

isnt that also a typwrite company???
i know singer used to make ars
right then i have many surplus rifles some i keep some i trade for others but it has been my experience that some are just simply way cooler sporterized
i have a stock made for my 91/30 that just makes it bad it cant shoot so at least it looks cool i also made a block to fit my k31 to the same stock
i am also building a new bullpup specific to the k31 so i can put a center mounted scope on it without drilling the receiver, this would be done by getting a scout mount and the eye relief would be compensated with the bullpup stock bringing the receiver to my shoulder
i dont like to permanently damage a rifle if i can avoid it but with my nagant i had to cut close to an inch off and recrown it because there was a huge split in my hand selected barrel so what difrence does it make now?????
i also like giving an old man a new suite give those old gones something to smile about
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Old December 6, 2010, 01:18 AM   #12
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I certainly don't think it is a good idea to take a sound,reasonably complete and original milsurp and modify it.Unless maybe,there are a lot of cheap Moisins around and you need a utility rough rifle.
I do appreciate saving the classic milsurps.I release big northerns,too.But every once in a while,they will suck a lure into the gills and they are bleeding bad.I enjoy eating them.I still have 2 Mexican mauser actions and a half built 30-06 on a 1909 Argentine,just a pristine,beautiful,tight action.I bought the bare action.I am going to feel good about building a nice rifle on it.I am going to put a decent #2 contour bbl,maybe a Brownells Shilen.I have a Garret Accralite stock left,and its inletted,ready for glass.Timney trigger,I might splurge and get onen of the nice side swing M-70 cocking piece safeties.
there are a lot of hacked milsurps,they will work,or bare actions.I have 3 Rolling Blocks in process,all milsurps,all reclaimed from junk,and none were rifles.They are getting some love!!Badger half round,half octagon bbl,nice,appropriate wood,original rough and ready sight..
OP,see if you can find some old Gun Digests and look at the custom rifle showcase.You will see as many milsurps there as you do M-700s today.
You are 16.Cool.I respect your position.I respect that you have a position.
Anybody can buy and sell guns.Anybody can hack them up.But if you want to learn to square a receiver face,thread and fit a barrel,chamber and headspace a rifle,what is wrong with starting with a J+G sales Brno mauser,or if the Old Western Scrounger had a Springfield action,why not?
Have you ever read PO Ackley?Do you know who he was?
The only reas9on we have cranky old gunsmiths ,Brownells,Clymer reamers,Weaver,etc was a whole lot of milsurp conversion enterprise.I'll tell you something else.If the American Shooter,and the American gunsmith had not created a legitimate commerce in converting milsurps to sporting rifles and money,The nickle steel Springfields would all be Hundai crankshafts.The ONLY thing that kept all the milsurps from becoming SCRAP IRON (see governments) was the American Bubba,as you call me.
And,I'm not intersted in buying an off the shelf rifle very often.
Now,as I most certainly do appreciate you,I highly recommend you read Robert Ruark,"The Old Man and the Boy" (No,I am not calling you boy!

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Old December 6, 2010, 01:59 AM   #13
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Back in the days when we did it, good milsurps (mausers, springfields, even arisakas) were as common as, and nearly as cheap as dirt.

Sporterizing a milsurp was cheaper than buying a new REMCHESTER. And you got a better rifle, when it was done right. I've owned dozens, and done a few myself.

SMLEs were at the bottom of the list, and none of the Russian guns were available on the market. The Mosin Nagant was a rare collector's piece in those days. Today they are cheap milsurps. In time, that will change, again.

HiBC is entirely correct, it was sporterizing that helped build several industries, and without it, the guns likely would have gone for scrap.

Today, I wouldn't touch a GI condition milsurp, except maybe to restore it. The Mosins don't lend themselves to good sporters like the Mausers did, anyway.

If you get a rifle that was sporterised badly, go ahead and do whatever you like. If it was done right, all you need do is shoot it and enjoy it!

I would recommend leaving any GI issue condition guns alone these days. The Mausers, Springfields, Krags, Arisakas, etc are collectors items now, and eventually the Russian guns will be, too.
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Old December 6, 2010, 02:30 AM   #14
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To make the point. My first "sporter" was made from an excellent to new condition K98 Mauser. I think I paid around $40 for it in the mid to late 60's. Restocked with a beautiful walnut stock from a company in Warsaw Mo named Bishop. Blued, drilled and taped for scope rings. Bolt bent. Timney trigger installed. Low scope safety installed. With the price of the Weaver varible power scope, made in the USA at that time . I had invested about $300 in a 8X57MM hunting rifle that today would be worth a thousand dollars or more if left alone. Yes, it might be their rifle, and they have every right to do with it as they please, but what we did with many fine old military rifles was a shame!!!
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Old December 6, 2010, 12:07 PM   #15
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i feel what is shame full is a retirement home for a fine rifle
rifles are made to shoot war rifles were made for the same reason and if fixing it up some means it shoots better give that gun some pride who cares what its worth to the world unless you are going to sell it its worth more to me if it is a fine shooting rifle with plenty of years left
as long as it makes you smile it is worth plenty
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Old December 6, 2010, 02:29 PM   #16
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30 years ago, we used to buy crates of Mauser 98s just to get the crates. $125 for 5 K98ks in a metal-reinforced packing crate (plus shipping), take the rifles out, clean them up, and sell them for about $40-$50 each and you had a killer crate that would hold up to just about any kind of abuse. Just so you know, at that time we thought 98s would never be in short supply (what with all the German, Belgian, South American, and Israeli 98s out there), and the price would be reasonable forever. So we chopped them, stripped them for actions, sporterized them, and traded them for about $50 so we could get another one and do it all over again.

Of course, we never thought anyone like Mitchell's Mausers would start refinishing Mausers and selling them for twice the market price, either. $300 for a K98?? Sounds like a drug-induced nightmare, but try finding a good one for less than that nowadays.
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Old December 6, 2010, 02:32 PM   #17
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Asking this question in this particular part of the forum is like going to a car show and asking if old cars should be restored or scrapped...

Simply put, so far as I'm concerned, if I own the firearm, I'll do with it as I please. That said, I wouldn't choose to "sporterize" today simply due to the cost.
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Old December 6, 2010, 04:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
smith corona

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

isnt that also a typwrite company???
Yes, that is the very same company that manufactured typewriters. In WWII they were called upon to produce 1903A3 Springfield rifles since the machinery they possessed was particularly suited for manufacture of firearms as well.

Also, I don't know where you heard that Singer (Sewing Machine Co.) produced AR's, but they did produce a short run of 1911A1 .45 pistols in WWII; However, that contract was canceled and they went on as a subcontractor of M1 carbine receivers and some other parts.
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Old December 6, 2010, 04:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Sometimes turning one into a sporter is like a resurection, already bubba'd, extremely neglected, or any number of other reasons for horrible shape.
I once picked up a Krag 1896 that looked as if the muzzle had been used to hammer tent stakes. The front sight was gouged up, as was the first part of the forearm. The rest of the rifle was fine, including the bore, so I had a gunsmith cut it down and lighten it up.

If I heard of someone doing that to a Krag that didn't need such treatment, I'd likely hit the roof, but this one was an otherwise lost cause.
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Old December 6, 2010, 11:54 PM   #20
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Well if non where destroyed they would have never became scarce and thus never worth collecting. Supply and demand my dear fellows. oh and I sporterized an SKS in the last year :P "puts flame suit on"
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Old December 7, 2010, 12:02 AM   #21
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Point of view...

Quote:
but what we did with many fine old military rifles was a shame!!!
Only the ones that were done badly!

You may disagree, but to me, the main reason that those "fine old military rifles" are collectable today is because of what we did to so many of them!

The market has completely flipped in the last couple decades. Fine sporters, with custom wood and metal work aren't in high demand anymore. Today the push is for the synthetic and stainless "all weather" guns, and the original condition milsurps.

The fact is that guys who did most of the fine sporter work are now gone, mostly, and those still in the business are high end, high dollar craftsmen who can't (and don't try) to compete economically with the mass produced sporters we have available from the big makers today.

If we hadn't sporterized so many of the old milsurps, they would still be around in large numbers, in their varying conditions, and not worth very much. There's still lots of milsurps out there. Its just the ones in good shape that are scarce and expensive nowdays.

Its the free market at work, decades back, supply was high, demand low and value was figured by a differnet standard. Once upon a time I could buy a military issue Krag for about $40. The same Krag with the extra wood removed, maybe the barrel shortened to a more convienient length, drilled and tapped and scoped to make it a better hunting rifle (better by the standards of the era), might go for as much as $250.

Today, decades later, that same GI issue Krag in my neck of the woods goes for the best part of $1000, if you can find one. And I can walk into 3 gun shops within a hr's drive and find maybe 4 sporterized Krags, (usually with period scope) for $250-350!

Right now, the Russian Moisins are cheap, a decade ago, they were dirt cheap. A decade from now, they will probably be considerably more expensive. And they are the last of the milsurps that are ever going to be on the market, in quantity.

(leaving out the Bubba's) What we did was nothing to be ashamed of, rather the opposite, in fact. We took old clunkers and made nice rifles out of them.

Now, 30-40 years later, you are welcome to have a different opinion of what is a nice rifle. But don't even try to tell me we were wrong to do what we did then. We weren't.
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Old December 7, 2010, 02:17 AM   #22
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Now, 30-40 years later, you are welcome to have a different opinion of what is a nice

some of us still enjoy giving an old man some pride
my on going project of the modern k31 is a cheaply produced all purpose all terrain rifle that by todays standards should be well over 1,000 for the action barrel and stock then so much more for the optics
those rifles deserve more than retirement to a closest these war rifles are made for the mud and rain the sun and snow shoot till the barrel glows cherry red and throw it in the case only checking on it to make sure the case isnt on fire
if you enjoy polish and wood work by all means collect and clean up but please dont look down your nose at us simple folk that enjoy a rifle not a wall hanging
i like knowing i have a rifle that i can low crawl through the mud with and not cry about scuffs scrapes dings and rain i have a few new rifles but they dont get used not like my surplus
those are special they have earned respect they dont live on a company name
i fish with my dads pole cause it catches fish i buy new ones but if they dont catch they go in the shed or traded
those military guns are made for any thing you throw at them thats why they are still here
push it to the limits
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Old December 7, 2010, 04:47 AM   #23
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Once again.I am not advocating altering the existing old milsurps.
As you all collect,please realize the older equivalent of the CMP was the DCM,Director of Civilian Marksmanship.Between the DCM and the NRA and Springfield Armory,a whole lot of military Springfields were altered to the Sringfield Sporter,which some may mistake for a bubba hack,as it was a chopped original stock.They are a part of history,too.
You might research the Sedgley Springfield,the Griffin and Howe sporters
And you also might check into British prestige makers who altered P-14/P-17 rifles to make African rifles.
This is all a little like what goes on with with AR's and 1911's today.Or 1986 Toyota solid axle 4 wd pickups.How many get left box stock?
To a degree,these are evolutionary paths.What? Guys who came home from WW1 had carried a new kind of rifle.They were used to single shots and lever actions.To a degree,a WW1 battle rifle is designed to be a handle for a bayonet,a war club,and being as low in the mud as possible.
Put it this way,go find some rendevous type buckskinners.At roundball ranges,shoot against them,offhand,with a milsurp.Those old riflemakers,Sam and Jake Hawken among them,made elegant,shootable offhand rifles.Same with Sharps,Hepburn,Stevens,Ballard,Reminton.Scopes had not really arrived,so it was iron sight stocks.Those old boys knew what they wanted a rifle to hang like.If you ever read the Foxfire book where Herschel house builds a rifle,old school,or Ned Roberts"Muzzle loading Cap lock Rifle:,you will know that backwoods bubbas made their own tools,barrels,stocks,and bullet molds and shot groups at 40 rods,220 yds,iron sights and black powder,most of us would be proud to shoot today.
The artistry of these bubba riflemen prototyped the modern sporting bolt action rifle and showed remchester the way.
There is another part of history.Would I chop a 34 Ford Coupe today? Not at all.
But,would you take the rod in American Graffiti out of America?
Its all good.I hope we never lose the guy who builds his motorcycle his way,his car his way,or his rifle his way.I hope our young folks will find a way,like building rifles,to know a file,and a lathe,and a chisel,and a micrometer,workmanship,fitting wood to steel.What is better than building a rifle to learn those skills?
See.I don't think it would be so bad for our young man OP,as a young man who appreciates firearms with a passion,to use all those tools and skills to build his own rifle.
We might lose an original Mauser or Springfield ,incomplete,cracked stock,dark bore,,,,and gain a better young man,and a good sporting rifle.

Was it Clyde Baker? about 1920's,wrote "The Modern Gunsmith"? Have you ever really read it?
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Old December 7, 2010, 07:09 AM   #24
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here,s a rifle a g98-40 made for the germans in hungry in 1941, it was only made for a few war years and realy hard to find in ex shape, i got this one at auction for 200.00,all number match and has a ex bore and original sight hood. but bubba cut the stock off and all the forward metal is lost. i am looking for a replacement stock,but no luck yet. a rifle like this that was in issue condition now would bring 1200-1500 easily. the man who cut it down just wanted a lighter hunting rife and bought it cheaply. eastbank.

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Old December 7, 2010, 07:36 AM   #25
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One of the most beautiful rifles I've ever seen was a sporterized Krag and they aren't easy to make beautiful with the loading gate. That isn't to say I wanted it, however. Some military rifles don't lend themselves to easy sporterizing if nice look results are what you want. Mausers that have stepped barrels, Japanese rifles or just about any French army rifle, although you could buy sporterized Lebels before WWII, if you wanted one.

History? The Swiss K-31 is a fine piece of weaponry but it doesn't really come with any history. I'm not so sure I'm that interested in German army history at all, either, being more of a socialist myself. How about a Carcano?

Now a curious thing is that some rifles were modified by their owners to produce, usually, sniper rifles and the results look very much like sporters. This includes the 7.62mm Lee-Enfields, including commercial versions, the 7.62mm MAS sniper rifle (but we don't like French rifles, do we?) and the Italian variations of the M1. Frankly most of them look more like heavily customized competition rifles rather than sporter rifles but you get the idea.

In a way, the M14 and it's imitation the M1A, plus the Italian modified rifles, are all a kind of sporterized M1, except for the big box magazine, and it might be the ultimate in sporterized military rifles. You probably weren't even thinking of that, however.

I believe it is true, as some have mentioned, that there are no longer the custom gunsmiths who used to do these sporterized rifles of 50 years ago. Tastes change. The sorts of rifles they did were nothing like rifles you could buy (well, some were, I guess). I'm referring to the fancy ones, of course, real custom rifles. Fancy stocks were what set them apart. But also, it might be that just as many were produced using factory produced barreled actions from FN and Brno as were made with surplus rifles. Remember, all those Yugos weren't surplus yet and neither were a lot of other bolt actions. Those were still in the army at the time. Today, many military surplus rifles have been refinished by the time they reach the market and may not represent the typical surplus gun available in the 1950s or earlier. And besides, the 1940s and 1950s, there was still a military market for surplus guns. That's what Castro's friends were using.

You could say that a sporterized military surplus gun is one that got out of the army and got dressed in civies.
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