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Old December 7, 2010, 04:45 PM   #26
jjk308
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Been there. Done that a few times. Wont do it again because it costs way too much and takes too much work to make a sporterized milsurp that is still not quite as good as an over the counter sporter.
Add up the stock, trigger, bolt work, safety, bolt shroud, tapping for scope, crowning barrel or new barrel, checkering.... And you've added a lot of expensive stuff to a milsurp and come up with a rifle that may not be worth as much as the milsurp you started with. It may be "custom" but that doesn't mean good.
Sporterizing may have been worthwhile 30 years ago but not today, and even if someone gives you a butchered milsurp for free you'd be better off going to Walmart and buying a rifle instead.
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Old December 7, 2010, 04:59 PM   #27
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There weren't many big box discount retailers around sixty years ago, either, come to think of it, although you could buy branded guns at Sears and Wards.
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Old December 7, 2010, 06:14 PM   #28
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IMHO one of the main reasons for the change in attitude is that 40 years ago, an average working man couldn't buy a bolt-action repeater with a nice trigger and scope mounts, chambered for a modern high-powered cartridge, capable of shooting <2MOA, for the equivalent of about a week's pay (~$400 nowadays).
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Old December 7, 2010, 06:54 PM   #29
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Sporters aren't necessarily evil, with a bit of luck you can get a steal on numbers matching guns that only need a new stock.
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Old December 8, 2010, 03:16 AM   #30
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seansean1444's thoughts (among others) echo mine. mapsjanhere also has a solution for some.

My interest in guns only began late in life, and never experienced the "milsurp good times" years ago.

It is so difficult finding an Enfield #4 or #5 at a Memphis area gun shows-very few have Not had 1) stocks and 2) sights sporterized-that I've mostly given up on local shows (after over a dozen since '08). Only found my #4 by chance, having driven way south to Batesville, MS.

Therefore quickly persuaded my wife that we will divert from the normal San Antonio-Aus-DFW-Texarkana route back to Memphis, and finally attend a real gun show in Ft. Worth: Jan 1st or 2nd.
Might not find another good #4 (far below 'mint' prices), but maybe the overall gun variety will be better.

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Old December 8, 2010, 06:34 AM   #31
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In the 1950s and 1960s there were a lot of surplus bolt actions already chambered in .30-06, and they also had bent bolts, both of which made them more attractive for sporterizing. While I have seen sporterized 8mm Mausers, I suspect more hunters would rather have something else. If you had to rebarrel a military surplus bolt action, it tends to make the whole project pointless. I just don't think that market (for customized sporters) exists anymore. I would be going out on a limb if I said there is a greater variety of new sporting rifles offered than there used to be but things like Marlin's guide gun, stainless steel rifles, really weather resistant stocks and so on are all new things, not to mention a lot of new cartridges.
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Old December 14, 2010, 12:35 AM   #32
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Our possible route diversion on the return trip is only because so many guns Were sporterized, and many rear sights or front sight guards were cut off.

My gun show buddies also seldom take a second look at them. The rifles lost most of their character (so why waste time on them?), unless the only items missing are the original wooden components.
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Old December 14, 2010, 07:28 AM   #33
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Here's a thought: While not a comment on the original topic, was there not a time when there were newly manufactured commercial, sporting versions of military rifles marketed? I don't think there were commercial Krags but I'm pretty sure there were commercial sporting versions of the 1903, and all sorts of commercial Mausers manufactured. Not sure, because I've never read anything about them, but there may have been sporting versions of the Lee-Enfield. Either that or sporterizing military rifles has been done since before 1900. Likewise, there were sporting Mannlichers, perhaps the most desirable of all of them. But no doubt there were more sporting Mausers than anything else and in all sorts of calibers. I wonder how many of them were in 8mm Mauser? I guess only the Mauser is still being manufactured as a sporting arm, the last military Mauser bolt action probably being manufactured in the 1950s.
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Old December 14, 2010, 08:52 AM   #34
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Resurrections

One of my hobbies I've enjoyed for the last 12 years has been to resurrect old military bolt rifles. When I got'em all 4 were nothing but junk! Some bubba had "worked" on'em in the 1960s and 70s to the point that they literally could not hit the broad side for the barn! All had been "stored" for 30 to 40 years; 1 in a gun shop original 1960 inventory, 1 a pawn shop junk barrel, and the 2 others in someone's closet.

Now they all will shoot to a 3 shot groups of an inch or less at 100 yds - Yes even the 2 with iron sights!

1895 Chilean Mauser:


194? Czech Vz-24 Mauser:


1945 British No4 MK1* Enfield:


194? Jap Arisaka Type 99:
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Old December 14, 2010, 10:20 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueTrain
Here's a thought: While not a comment on the original topic, was there not a time when there were newly manufactured commercial, sporting versions of military rifles marketed?
I am pretty sure that my Ross Mk. II was a factory sporter.
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Old December 14, 2010, 10:59 AM   #36
Jim Watson
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Quote:
While not a comment on the original topic, was there not a time when there were newly manufactured commercial, sporting versions of military rifles marketed? I don't think there were commercial Krags but I'm pretty sure there were commercial sporting versions of the 1903, and all sorts of commercial Mausers manufactured. Not sure, because I've never read anything about them, but there may have been sporting versions of the Lee-Enfield. Either that or sporterizing military rifles has been done since before 1900. Likewise, there were sporting Mannlichers, perhaps the most desirable of all of them. But no doubt there were more sporting Mausers than anything else and in all sorts of calibers. I wonder how many of them were in 8mm Mauser?
A Springfield NRA Sporter is a scarce and valuable rifle. There were so few made that to say they exist is pretty much a technicality. Not something to go hunting with any more. Certainly there were numbers of nice sporters built on Springfield actions by independent gunsmiths; one of the first for Teddy Roosevelt. Col Townsen Whelen used his pull at Springfield Armory to get some very nice rifles in collaboration with his gunsmiths.

There were nice sporting rifles built on the Lee-Speed .303. By the time the SMLE was in service, British sportsmen had moved on. The original Romanian Mannlicher was very popular there for a while. I think the British sporting market had gone largely to Mausers by the time the Mannlicher Schoenauer with flush rotary magazine came out.

There is no end to the variety of Mauser sporters. I have seen nice hunting rifles on the 1888 Commission action and Haenel rifles with the '88 bolt over a flush magazine of their own design, more complicated than the Mauser box. Except in Sweden which stuck to the '94-'96 design, the next big seller was the '98 Mauser. I don't think there were many sporting versions of the Belgian and Spanish Mausers 1891-1895.

Of course I generalize, you can find about anything over the 70 years or so that a Free American could mailorder a rifle.
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Old December 14, 2010, 03:19 PM   #37
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You mean a free American who had money. Today we still like to support our local gun shops by ordering on the internet and having things transferred through some local gun shop. Me? I ordered things through the mail and that's how I bought my first four or five rifles. But I never could afford a new one and besides, I don't remember as many advertisements for new guns in magazines that you could buy through the mail. Maybe that's why there were so many sporterized.
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Old December 18, 2010, 02:14 PM   #38
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Santa just picked up a Remington 03a3 bubba special for me to fix up, Bishop walnut stock, Redfield base and rings, and an old Weaver K4 for 160 bucks......time to resurrect another one. Novermber 1942 manufacture date.
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Old December 19, 2010, 01:46 AM   #39
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If you permanently alter an unmolested historical firearm you will go to hell.



That's how I feel about it. If it's already past the point of no return go for it. But if it hasn't been through Uncle Ben's 'photo session' in the toolshed don't you dare mess with it.
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Old December 19, 2010, 01:53 AM   #40
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Bought my .303 L/E already sported, nice gun

As for going to Hell, I was stationed in New Jersey, already been there pal.
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Old December 21, 2010, 01:22 AM   #41
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Although I'm not a true collector, it is the rifles' original configurations which often can not be restored.

I understand Volucris' views, as it often appears that a large fraction of guns were modified, and have heard/read that many were in good condition. Are many people still doing this?
Could these people not afford a civilian hunting rifle, so that they can leave military rifles alone?

I've seen almost nothing about people wanting to sporterize the CMP's M-1 Garands, but it is possible.
Over at "Surplusrifle", they limit discussion of how to do it.

While past activities which increase present day 'collectability' are considered virtues by some (so a seller can make a profit?), this makes it much more difficult for shooters, who began this hobby later in life, to find guns in the original configurations.

It is bad enough that some British/Euro associations (they have websites) organize the destruction of large stockpiles of surplus weapons, and pay other countries to do so (i.e. South Africa now destroys Enfields, as if war lords prefer these over AKs...).

Last edited by Ignition Override; December 24, 2010 at 12:48 AM.
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Old December 21, 2010, 01:35 AM   #42
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It's bad enough that the monkeys at importation feel the need to put huge ass electrostenciling marks or stamps all over the rifle. You can thank the BATF for being a bunch of anti-2nd amendment retards for that one.
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Old December 21, 2010, 02:19 AM   #43
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Hello, seansean1444, I agree with you, they are getting too valuable to be altered. That said, If you ever have a chance to see an original Griffen & Howe sporter made up on a 03' action it will make your eyes pop! Also some of the very early sporters made up by Adolph..Germanic flavor in stock design..made one up on the 03' for Roosevelt for his 1912 Africa trip.
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Old December 21, 2010, 02:38 AM   #44
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Quote:
Could these people not afford a civilian hunting rifle, so that they can leave military rifles alone?
Just to interject a few facts that you may or may not be aware of into the mix:
* During the 1941-1945 period, many domestic firearms manufacturers curtailed and almost stopped manufacturing sporting rifles due to wartime needs of materials and machinery.

* Mauser rifles had very little competition from the domestic manufacturers even before the war. Even though they cost much more than a Depression-era worker could earn in a month, they were still in demand. Why? Other than the Winchester Model 70 and 54, there were not many nice, slim, versatile, accurate rifles on the market. Oh, some will say Remington and Savage were around, but have you ever seen their offerings from that period? Putting all those Mausers on the market was like delivering a pizza to the wrong frat house by mistake. Gone!

* Mauser rifles were the dream of just about any gun owner, having built a great reputation and a record of reliability for decades prior to the war. All those rifles were just begging to be stripped and remade into something prettier. Imagine, if you will, that there are very few new cars, the market is suddenly flooded with military Lexuses, and you want a car. Now imagine how your greatgrandchildren will hate you for painting one and putting wheels on it. Got the picture?

* I know many people probably think the USA won WW2 single handedly, hands down, no sweat, but we were neither prepared for the war nor able to immediately respond to the demands of the war when it came to us. After WW1, the Depression hamstrung the Government, and politicos like Joe Kennedy were sympathetic to the German regime. We were "isolationists". In 1940, our leaders were trying to build ships, rifles, tanks, etc, as fast as possible because they knew the war was coming, but in peacetime it is hard to build armies. Remember, in 1941 we were still issuing Springfields to front-line troops.

So there are few relics of the past left behind. Isn't that the way it always happens?
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Old December 23, 2010, 07:03 AM   #45
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If you permanently alter an unmolested historical firearm you will go to hell.
Oh well.

Smith Corona 1903A3





F.N. 98 Mauser


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Old December 23, 2010, 08:19 AM   #46
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Either way its up to the individual as to what they want to do with a mil surplus and what they want as a end result. They will lose the C&R status once they are sported. My thought is if you are looking for a possible tack driver or hunter go for the bigger bucks and get a Mosin sniper rifle. Still short money and you get not only history but the scope and mounts of the day. How many modern day rifles are set up for 2,000 meters for the price of a old sniper rifle?
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Old December 23, 2010, 09:58 AM   #47
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The way I see it, some of the sporterized rifles are historical too.
The transition from war time to peace time, I like both sporterized and original surplus rifles.
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Old December 23, 2010, 10:51 AM   #48
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Many years ago, there seemed to be and endless supply of these

guns really cheap...you could get a like new condition Lee Enfield for around $30, or Mausers for under $50. Lots of gunsmiths used these as the basis for some great hunting rifles. BUT-commercial hunting rifles got better and the surplus guns got very expensive and more scarce as people actually collected them.

I have 2 sporterized surplus rifles now, one a K-98 Mauser and one a SMLE No I Mk III. Borth were done many years ago, and both were pretty cheap. Since they were already changed, I felt no problem to change them again to my own liking, and enjoyed doing it with no loss to a collector or to history.

I paid around $125 for a 98 Mauser rebarreled to .308 with many improvements...I added a plastic stock and a Timney trigger and it is a great shooter. I', still working on the Enfield - it was in bad shape, and cost me all of $75. I have more than that in new parts now, and it is a winter project to get it right. It has a great bore and trigger, and those old Enfields really shoot.


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Old December 24, 2010, 12:54 AM   #49
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Scorch:
Well-spoken. You helped illiuminate some darkness.

I was aware of the situation you described before WW2. Luckily the Lend-Lease Act helped the heroic British hold out.
At that time, our military strength might have been less than that of Romania's armed forces.
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Old December 24, 2010, 06:16 PM   #50
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There's "surplus" as you say in your OP.

That covers "collectible" firearms, which should be preserved as a part of history, and just plain old guns, IMO.
The fact that a gun is old, and was used in wartime, doesn't make it deserving of preservation, does it?

You won't see many people griping about an old AK being put in a plastic stock, right?

I just bought two Mosin-Nagants. My first...

Nice rifles. Haven't shot them yet, but I'm refinishing the stock on one and I'll have it ready when we go to the range next week. It'll be kept original, just because...

There were over thirty million of these rifles made. Why do you think you can buy them for under $100? Still, even though they've recently become popular...there's just SOOO many of them. They won't have monetary value in my lifetime, or my son's, and probably not his son's...

The other is being "sporterized" to maximize it's accuracy potential. I want to see if it can be a decent long-range gun with a bit of accurizing work. Aftermarket stock, pillar and receiver bedding, Timney trigger...just a project, a hobby to kill time and spend money. If the barrel doesn't cut it, I may put on a UK-59 MG barrel.

No doubt, I could buy an off-the-shelf Savage .308 that'll shoot better than what I end up with. If I had to pay a professional to do what I have planned, I would need to have my head examined. But I do everything myself, so it's more of a time expenditure, not $$. But that's not the point with me...I enjoy working on guns; I get far more enjoyment out of a project than pulling a factory rifle out of the box. Call it "sense of accomplishment", if you will...
It's a "hobby"- and people spend money on their hobbies, right? So far, it's one HELL of a lot cheaper than than restoring the boats I've owned

Now as far as collectible guns go, I don't think that's even an issue. Only an idiot would take what is already a valuable rifle and devalue it.
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