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Old December 23, 2001, 08:32 AM   #1
leej
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The Swiss K-31 Pro and Con

I recently acquired and shot several Swiss Straight pull rifles in caliber 7.5x55. One was an earlier model and the other two were K-31's. Here is the run down on them.

Despite what the advertisements say there are no collector grade weapons being sold. They all have lots of dings and dirt on the stocks and plenty of blue wear and some even have pitting on the but plates and floor plates. Do not expect a collector grade weapon if you order one because you will not get one.

The bluing on the actions is in good shape and the bores are excellent to like new. The mechanical wear is minimal. The weapons look to have been carried much and fired seldom.

The good points of the weapon

These weapons are super accurate often shooting three shot groups of 3/4 inch and 5 shot groups of 1 1/4 inches.

The trigger pulls are fantasic for a military weapon. The three that I tested pulled at slightly over 3 lbs.

Wormanship is bodernline heaven. Quality materiels were used in the construction as was the norm during this time period of time. The same weapon today would easily cost you $2,500 or more.

As a military oddity it has no equal as a collector and conversation piece.

The bad points of the weapon

The rilfe has an extremely poor extraction caming power and the bolt has a slot in it that is open to dirt and moisture.

The weapon's bolt is all to easily not totally locked up when pushing it forward unless an extremely healthy push is used. It is all to easy to forget to do this. When this happens a safety design prevents the weapon from firing out of battery but the firing pin does move forward and strike the primer lightly. I shudder to think what would happen if you happened to have a round in the chamber that had a super sensitive primer. This weapon makes me very uneasy and cautious about firing it.

The rear end of the chamber does not support the cartridge case.

The gun is a push feed not a controlled feed weapon.

Ammo is scarce and Norma Ammo is also scarce and extremely expensive.

There is a wide variation in the chamber demensions of this rifle according to the Sierra Reloading manuel so extreme caution is advised when working up reloads.

According to Sierra cases can be made from .284 Winchester brass but as long as Norma cases are available it is probably wiser to pay the big bucks and use the originals.

In conclusion I have mixed emotions about my acquistion. The value will undoubtably go up when the current supply is gone and it is a very unusual military rifle. But its design gives me much concern over the safety of shooting this piece. Just my opinion but one would do well to heed the above warnings.
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Old December 23, 2001, 01:46 PM   #2
scottsw1
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Very good post. I just bought a collector's grade K31 from Aim last week. My gun has about 98% blueing on the action. The stock of my rifle has alot of minor dings toward the rear end that are very shallow and will steam out if I chose to refinish it.
I had read that this rifle was a work of art in construction, after breaking it down to clean it I find that it is truely an engineering marvel. I really like the straight pull action and wonder why it never caught on with other manufacturers.
Ammo I found out can be very expensive. I keep hearing that as more rifles are imported that surplus ammo will start coming in that will be inexpensive. Right now I have been buying Indep. ammo from SOG that cost $7.95 for a box of 20. This ammo is pretty good and is reloadable too. SOG's price for ammo is pretty good and I doubt that you will find it cheaper anywhere else.
Crufflers did a reveiw of the K31 back in November and it's a pretty good review for someone who may be interested in this rifle. Another good forum is the www.swissrifles.com. Good Luck.
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Old December 23, 2001, 10:31 PM   #3
James K
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None of those Schmidt-Rubin designs handle gas well, so shooting glasses are ALWAYS advised in case of a pierced primer.

Jim
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Old December 24, 2001, 02:45 PM   #4
B Shipley
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http://pub55.ezboard.com/fcollectorguns35625frm1




Yes, people have gotten a facefull of hot gases and powder residue from primer ruptures, but I've only heard this with reloads.

Don't push your luck, but the action should be strong enough for the most part, on K-31s (made in .308 & .30-06 for some rare target guns).
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Old December 24, 2001, 02:53 PM   #5
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The K31 was designed to shoot the GP11, and NOTHING else. I also have Swissmun match ammo, and the precision of this stuff is truly incredible. Actually, my bro shot sent two boxes of this stuff through his Blaser R93 tactical with scope and everything and a ten-shot group was a friggin 0.75 MOA.

Using reloaded ammo is spotty at best, but if doing so, use original GP11 brass, and the rotten Berdan primers that go with it. And please, please, if you have a PE57, keep K31 and PE57 brass seperate.
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Old December 24, 2001, 09:37 PM   #6
B Shipley
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At $4000+, very few have a PE57 over here.
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Old December 25, 2001, 10:54 AM   #7
mussi
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I know.

You might soon get huge numbers of parts kits, though, since we'll be surplussing a lot of Stgw57 parts kits.
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Old December 25, 2001, 09:03 PM   #8
Pierre
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leej, at some point next week I'd like to address all of your points, but for the moment let me say that if you k31s require a "healthy push" on the bolt handle to go into full battery, then you have a problem. Most likely ammunition. NO k31 utilizing properly sized brass and properly seated-for-depth projectiles requires anything more than a smooth forward flow into battery.

Secondly, with the 1911 the case head is supported enough to safely shoot the full GP11 military round (for which it was designed, and the .308 factory conversion, which occurs in both the 1911 and the k31. In fact the k31 was factory produced in .308, 30-06 and 300 win/mag. Same basic receiver with one modification.

The k31 bolt FULLY supports the case head. The warnings originally published about the SRs concerned the earlier 1896 rifle which had the lugs at the rear of the bolt. The 1911 and k11 have the lugs midway up the sleeve and the k31 has the lugs right at the bolt face. Strong enough for the 30/06 and 300 win/mag. There is NOT a "wide variation in the chamber dimensions". I currently keep 18 k31s, two 1911s, one k11 and one of the k31/55 Swiss Snipers. I've been involved with these rifles intimately for some 20 years, as well as developing sub MOA reloading data. Chamber castings over the years with my own rifles have shown zero deviation between rifles.

I'd advise anyone interesed in these rifles to educate themselves at the Swiss Rifles Forum to clear up what may be a number of misunderstandings about the rifle structurally.

Norma ammo IS expensive, but INDEP sells for $7.95 per box of 20. For reloaders we are currently bringing in a very large shipment of premium boxer Swiss Match brass. This is mfg'd by the same folks who make the GP11 cartridge for the Swiss Army. GP11 will be available at AIM in just a matter of days now.

Please don't take the ancient data based on the 96 as applicable to k31s. Begin at www.swissrifles.com and read about these rifles. Then enter the Swiss Rifles Forum through the link provided. All of your concerns have been addresses many times over, leej. We have a wealth of long-term, experienced reloaders and collectors on our forum. You're more than welcome to visit us, and I'm very glad to hear that you're a k31 owner. Thank you for bringing the subject up.
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Old December 25, 2001, 09:28 PM   #9
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Forgot to add that I do keep PE57s, and they use the same GP11 cartridge as the 1911 and k31.
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Old December 25, 2001, 11:48 PM   #10
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K-31 = Incredible Weapon!

A slicker action than my SMLE's or Kraig
As accurate as my Swede 96 Target rifle

Ammo can be a challenge, but the results are worth the extra effort.....Match Ammo? ... Where??? Mine shot 1" 100meter groups with Swiss GI Ball ammo the day it was unpacked.
Built like a Swiss watch!
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Old December 26, 2001, 02:22 PM   #11
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Crimper-D, it's "Match Brass", and you can buy it through the Swiss Rifles Forum. The order will close out in a couple of weeks, so don't wait too long.
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Old December 27, 2001, 02:46 PM   #12
Don Gwinn
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So, this is a rifle that:
  • Is capable of MOA out of the box.
  • Fires a major caliber comparable to the .308.
  • Can use the full range of available .308 bullets, and
  • Is built with hard-to-believe fit, machining and materials

Oh, and it costs $110. Why would a handloader on a budget not have one of these?

More to the point, why don't I have one of these things? Pardon me a moment while I step out.
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Old December 27, 2001, 05:28 PM   #13
Pierre
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Heh....................good one, Don.
And it's been an open secret for more years than I can remember. Current changes in ammo availability have opened lots of eyes.
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Old December 27, 2001, 06:11 PM   #14
Handy
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Some reloading data I found for the cartridge says "Not for use with the 1911 S-R". Could someone comment on this? What is the big difference between the rifle in terms of strength?
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Old December 27, 2001, 06:41 PM   #15
Pierre
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If it's GP11 or Norma 7.5 Swiss, then the warning is erroneous and was meant for the 1896, not the 1911. ALL 1911s, k11s, k31s, k31/55s and the PE57 autoloader are rated to shoot the full load GP11 miltary cartridge including Norma 7.5 Swiss boxed ammunition.

Note that most manuals also have erroneous descriptions of the 1911 bolts. The descriptions are, in fact, of the 1896 that has the lugs at the very rear of the receiver. Anyone here can determine all of this by simply going to www.swissrifles.com and educate yourself. You might be surprised.
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Old December 27, 2001, 06:52 PM   #16
Pierre
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Sorry, Handy. I neglected your question. The 1911 receiver is a stronger one by a small bit than that of the 1896, but the bolt is the main thing. In the 96 , the lugs are at the back of the receiver and leaves the case head not very well supported. The 1911 had the lugs moved midway up the bolt and qualified to use the , then new, GP11 cartridge which is the same one used in the more modern k31s and PE57s. The bolt on the k31 has the lugs right at the face, and the fact that the factory used the same receiver/bolt setup to make .308, 30-06 and 300 WinMag k31s is a testament to their strength.
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Old December 27, 2001, 07:41 PM   #17
Pierre
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Handy, I meant the 89, not the 96. The 96 is when the lugs were moved forward. There is so much to say about these rifles and a tremendous amount to learn for the true collector. This is not the place for all of that, but if the interest is truly there, visit the Swiss Rifles website.
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Old December 27, 2001, 08:00 PM   #18
leej
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To Pierre

I am still extremely concerned about the gun possibly firing out of battery. Several people including myself have often failed to notice that the bolt is often out of battery when when we push it forward. One of the earlier models I believe it was the 1911 was extremely hard to chamber. My own Model 31 has no such problems but it is extremely easy not to seat the bolt al the way closed if you relax your vigilence for even a second when pushing it forward.

I have observed that the firing pin does indeed hit the primer although it hits it rather lightly when the bolt is not quite in battery. I am concerned that these rifles could indeed fire out of battery if the round happened to have an overly sensitive primer.

Do you personally know of any owners that have had their rifles blow up with factory ammo? I hope my worries are unfounded but right know since this rifle is new to me I am very aprehensive about shooting it any further.
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Old December 27, 2001, 08:17 PM   #19
Pierre
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Hi, Leej. I've been following this for many years and have never heard of such an ocurrence either here or in Europe.
Funny you should ask about "firing out of battery". Last year this subject came up on our board, and, to settle the arguement, I tried for three weekends to "cause" a k31 to fire out of battery. I used cases that were too long, seat depths that were too long, dented cases and purposely dirty cases. I wasn't alone. Two other members were trying the same thing. It cannot be made to happen, and if it everh HAS happened, nobody's ever reported it.

The most common couase of the bolt going home hard is TTL out of spec on the case. The second most common cause is the OAL being incorrect for the rifle.

TTL for the case is 2.180. Mine are always a uniform 2.175. The k31 and the 1911 chambers are identical, HOWEVER...........the throat on the 1911 is longer, thus a proper seat depth for a 168gr Matchking (for example) in the 1911 is3.060, but for the k31 it's 2.890. I have always asked our board new-reloaders to do the emprty cartridge test on their rifles to determine ogive/lands/grooves contact. Once they see the differences between different projectile configurations they begin to understand. Some didn't grasp that a SPBT OAL would be different than a roundnosed projectile OAL in the same rifle.

Anyway............I've not been able to cause that situation to happen. I'd most certainly welcome contact with anyone who has.

leej, please elaborate on any more concerns you have. I find this interesting in that it's not on my normal stomping grounds. I'm the moderator on the Swiss Rifles Forum and I'd very much like to have you as a k31/owner member.
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Old December 27, 2001, 10:53 PM   #20
bernie
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I have a friend that bought one of these in the early '60's out of a barrel full of them at a Sears store for not much money. Great rifle! Two quick questions. How do you form the brass and where can I find load data. And can you reasonably mount a scope on one? Thanks
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Old December 28, 2001, 08:50 AM   #21
Pierre
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www.swissrifles.com

There are the other links in posts up above.
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Old January 19, 2002, 11:31 PM   #22
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I keep hearing good things about the Swiss K31 rifle so I decided that I would get one to try it out. But, how do you guys evaluate the condition of the K31 rifle? There is a store locally here that is carrying the Swiss K31 rifle for $179 and advertising it as "barrel in excellent condition". I am thinking about buying one but how does your "average joe" check the condition of the rifle and determine it is worth buying?

I have very limited knowledge in rifles, but have a technical background so if you guys give me some pointers I can probably pick it up. What kind of things should you look for? For example how do you tell if the rifle is 80%, 90%, etc.... How do you check the barrel condition, the finish, the bolt, etc.?

Thanks for the help.
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Old January 19, 2002, 11:47 PM   #23
Deaf Smith
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Pierre,

I once owned a Swiss 1911 carbine (back in high school many a moon ago), and, yes, it shot extreamly well. Still wish I had it, but when you are a kid, you are a kid.

Anyway, question. Will they ever import K31/55 'sniper' rifles? I understand they are very expensive right now, but if I was going to get a K31, THAT would be the rifle. Not only to collect, but I would have no qualms using it for deer!

Deaf
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Old January 20, 2002, 06:33 AM   #24
cpileri
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I just received mine.

A shooter Grade from AIM and am very pleased. It was so clean that a couple of very large ants (yup, the insect) were not afraid to make their home in the chamber throat!
I pulled them out as they didn't survive the shipping.
Anyway, I took alot of advice and recommendations from the swissrifles.com board. Very worth it.
I see there that Pierre is offering a clamp-on scope. I was wondering if any pictures were available of it. Off the top of my head, i would want to buy one most certainly!
Carl
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Old January 20, 2002, 09:19 AM   #25
BigJoe
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Please take Pierre's advice

on visiting the Swiss Rifle Forum. I have had a 1911 Rifle for 2 years and last summer picked up a beautiful collector grade from Sumpson's Ltd. when they were first brought in. As we all were expecting the shipment of rifles from Simpson's, I would guess that most of the best rifles were snapped up by those of us who had advanced notice. There is truly a wealth of knowledge and also people who will go way out of their way to help you on the board, and remember 2 board members travelling across Pennsylvania to meet up with each other and go shooting. There is a great feeling of friendship and respect on the board among members and also quite a few Swiss citizens who are willing to scour the surplus stores looking for parts from members elsewhere. Pierre has been an incredible asset to us as he unselfishly puts together orders, loading data, technical help, and answers any other questions that anyone might have. When I first started reloading for my rifles, no less than 5 other members walked me through checking seating depth, recommended loads, and e-mailed me asking for updates and how I was making out. I truly felt like like I was among friends and look forward to checking the boards every day. I can't recommend enough my positive experience, and know that you will be teated the same by all board members there. As there will be a number of people owning these rifles, I can only imagine that our purchasing power will increase, and we can get better quantity deals on ammo from various importers. So come on by and check out the board, we look forward to seeing you. Take care - Joe McG.
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