View Full Version : C and R Safety Issues

Dan K. Evans
October 26, 2009, 01:54 PM
How safe are C and R surplus weapons?

I have a number of surplus weapons that I would like to fire. All look good, they are clean and tight with no obvious mechanical defect. Here is a short list: Schmidt Rubin, 2 Nagant 44 carbines, 91/30 Nagant, two MAS (one bolt, one auto), 24/47 Mauser, K98 Mauser, 2 SKS and several revolvers and semi-auto pistols. I have ammo for all of them. Most had tags attached suggesting that a qualified gunsmith check these out before firing. Occasionally some will post saying they received their Nagant rifle on Monday, put a patch through the barrell and fired it Tuesday with no problems. In general, how safe are my C and R firearms? Advice appreciated. Thanks, Dan

October 26, 2009, 02:51 PM
It should be fine. I have almost shot all my older rifles (at lease the one that you can get ammunition for). I have just about all the mentioned rifles and have fired them with no problems.

I check my first (I clean them so I know no barrel obstructions) look for any cracks, broke parts, etc…

So go have some fun and stop worrying.:)

October 26, 2009, 03:48 PM
well, with my particular Mosin, the shop recieved it tuesday, I fired it tuesday, I picked it up on wednesday, fired it again and then ran a patch through it. But, mileage varies by user. The big issues are generally headspace and cosmo gumming up the action. If you have any doubt, just have a GS check it out. If the bolt on the rifle or barrel/cylinder/slide on a pistol mismatch the rest of the numbers, then you should definitely have it checked, but generally speaking matched parts will work pretty well. It's always a good idea to get an older gun checked, though.

October 26, 2009, 07:33 PM
Shoot them they should all be fine.My standard test for any new surplus rifle is to fire one or two rounds of commercial ammo and check the brass for any deformation.If the brass looks normal I consider it to be alright to shoot.

October 26, 2009, 07:34 PM
I have pretty much stuck to surplus rifles of fine to excellent condition, and had no issues with shooting them. If the gun is a model with potential or proven issues, usually something will be posted about the problems somewhere, if you care to search the net. Like the man said, matching guns seem to be fine. Some countries guns have a shaky rep or maybe should be approached cautiously, such as some Spanish rifles or maybe something like Pakistani rifles. Especially if they have been converted from their original caliber, even if done in-country for their purposes, not by some importer or a bubba. Mosins have an issue sometimes with sticking cases, but that is an ammo problem. The Russians were arsenal rebuilt and stored away for reissue, till sold off, so with numbers matching, I take it they are checked and safe enough. Deterioration or rust can negate your safety margins. I would think that, if someone had problems with a surplus gun blowing, there would be pictures and postings all over the gun forums about it. Remember when Glocks kaboomed? Posted all over the place!

October 26, 2009, 07:48 PM
I have pretty much stuck to surplus rifles of fine to excellent condition

Yes, me too. It is not worth the $30 you might save to buy something in fair poor condition and not be able to use it safely.

Usually, anything C&R is worth the little extra $$ to get in very good - excellent condition, in my experience, besides what's already been said about the things like Spanish Mausers and Pakistani stuff...

October 26, 2009, 08:44 PM
I've shot as old as an 1896 Krag rifle with no problems.

October 27, 2009, 09:03 AM
I don't think that my great great grandfather's 1862 Springfield contract rifle has ever seen a gunsmith. I shoot it a couple of times a year.

I always give a new firearm a very close inspection, but I've never found any problems. I suppose that the downside to that is that it only takes one problem to ruin your day.

I have taken a couple of guns to the smith, though. One was my great grandfather's 1864 Colt Lightning because it was hard to eject unfired rounds. The gunsmith said that it was supposed to be that way. The other was my grandfather's Winchester 1906 because it wouldn't extract rounds. As the gunsmith pointed out, it's hard for a rifle to extract anything if it has no extractor.

But as far as safety issues go, I've never had any problems or even suspected that a weapon might be "trouble". My personal threshold for taking it to a gunsmith is if I have any reservation about chambering a round. If I get the feeling of "I wonder if this is going to be OK", then it's not OK. But that's never happened, but refer to paragraph 2.

October 27, 2009, 03:37 PM
Maybe don't shoot Chinese Mausers(most are ate up) Japanese training rifles, some Spanish .308 conversions, Italian guns converted to 8MM by the Germans, most imports rebored(not rebarreled) to 30-06 back in the day, smokeless in non smokeless guns, non matching bolts without a headspace guage, anything with a dark crusty bore, anything with deep pitting in pressure areas, anything old Spanish, anything that might be old Spanish, anything that even smells old Spanish, anything with mysterious markings that might be Chinese copies, anything that will become worthless if something breaks, if valuable, and mystery ammo. That leaves alot that is still nice to shoot but good stuff is drying up quickly as time goes on. Grab one or two nice Mosins, if you can afford them(few can't) as they will dry up too one of these days. Once something dries up on the market, you really cannot lose money on it, when everyone is aware of the shortage and scarcity. You surely cannot lose money on a nice condition SKS you bought a few years ago, can you?

October 27, 2009, 05:18 PM
What about the Chilean M1895 chambered for 7.62 nato? How are those for safety issues?

edit: also, hardcase... I thought the Colt Lightnings didn't pop up until the 1880's or 90's.

cougar gt-e
October 27, 2009, 10:17 PM
Most Mil surplus C&R guns were functioning and were being used when taken out of service, but preserved with a full dunk in a cosmolene vat. Now, the gun could have been a dud before it was dunked or could have been broken even. Download the field strip instruction, do that and inspect the parts.

If you don't feel comfortable doing that, pay a smith the 30-50 bucks it will take to have it done.

Odds are very good that guns in the original caliber that show minimal wear will be fine shooting original ammo. All bets are off if you get some hot shot +++P+++ ammo that your crazy cousin Larry reloaded one weekend while he was on a bender! Shoot the stuff it was originally shooting and it should be fine.


Dan K. Evans
October 29, 2009, 08:13 AM
Thanks much for your thoughts and experiences relating to C and R safety issues. Dan