View Full Version : 1889 Swiss

March 29, 2012, 04:59 PM
I recently just bought a 1889 Swiss rifle made in 1892. I was under the assumption when I bought the rifle it was a k31 but inexperience took over. The rifle is chambered in 308 with a 308 stamped on the barrel as well the Swiss markings. It has all matching numbers and no import markings. My questions are how much is it worth and is it possible to find a magazine for this rifle because it does not have one. Also the stock does not have the fore end piece.

March 29, 2012, 09:18 PM
1892? Then it's absolutely NOT safe to fire with .308 ammo. It's relative value is greatly reduced by the fact that it's not in its original chambering, and the fact that it's missing a mag isn't helping either. '89 mags are fairly hard to find.

And when you say that a piece of the forend is missing, I can only assume that it's been sporterized. What is puzzling, however, is that all Schmidt Rubins have one piece stocks, unless you are referring to the handguard.

My guess would be a parts gun, probably worth more if you sold the individual parts on eBay or some such. Overall, my guess is about $75-80 as you describe it.

Pictures would help.

March 29, 2012, 09:30 PM
The barrel looks to be in better shape than some of my newer rifles does that make a difference?

March 30, 2012, 09:42 AM
There were quite a few 1889's that were rechambered to .308 and had the stocks cut. They were modified by importers and sold as sporting rifles in the 50's-60's.

March 30, 2012, 09:59 AM
There isn't any importation markings on the rifle. Does that have any significance and does the rifle have any value? I have 100 bucks in the rifle?

March 30, 2012, 10:20 AM
There isn't any importation markings on the rifle. Does that have any significance...?
IIRC importation marks were not required prior to the 68 GCA. Many milsurp rifles and handguns that came over in the 50s and 60s lack them. Many of these guns have export marks applied in their European country of origin, but that's obviously not the same thing.

FWIW the lack of import marks is mainly a Big Deal on two generalized groups of milsurp firearms:

Guns that originated in the former Soviet Union and its satellite states, because we weren't on speaking terms with those countries until well after the 68 GCA went into effect.
Milsurps that weren't imported in significant numbers until recently, e.g. Swiss K31s.

Mike Irwin
March 30, 2012, 03:55 PM
Rechambered to .308 Winchester?


The original 7.5 Swiss cartridge was a paper patched lead bullet with a load of smokeless powder that developed pretty sedate chamber pressures.

Even so, the bolt strength and design was recognized to be an issue, and as as smokeless powder technology evolved, the design of the bolt was changed in 1896 to make it stronger and less likely to fail.

Here's some good information: http://www.swissrifles.com/sr/

March 30, 2012, 04:04 PM
This may be a stupid question but can the bolt be updated to a k31?

Mike Irwin
March 30, 2012, 04:27 PM
"This may be a stupid question but can the bolt be updated to a k31?"


The K31 employed a radically different design that dramatically shortened the entire bolt assembly.

Even if it could, there would still be the issue that it's chambered for an older, much less powerful cartridge.

When the modern 7.5 Swiss was adopted, several previous models were updated to take the new cartridge, part of which included fitting a newer, stronger barrel.

This was not possible on the 1889, so those rifles were removed from service.

James K
March 30, 2012, 06:30 PM
The Country of Origin* (COO) marking has been required for all goods imported into the U.S. since c. 1906. It is still required on all imported products today, except for firearms. The GCA '68 changed the requirement for firearms to show the importer and the caliber, but not the country of origin.

Either marking can be applied in the exporting country or in bond in the U.S.; usually for non-firearms, the COO will be applied in the exporting country. For firearms, it is often applied here before official importation.


*For youngsters, note that at one time the US actually made products and traded with a number of countries; under the current administration, US manufacture is forbidden, and all imports come from China, so the COO might not be necessary.


March 31, 2012, 03:02 AM
Like I said: Dismantle completely, and put the parts for sale on eBay. You'll get your money back and probably a little extra.

April 1, 2012, 01:47 PM
Would the rifle be safe to fire if it was loaded with light reloads?

April 1, 2012, 02:40 PM
Would the rifle be safe to fire if it was loaded with light reloads?

I, personally, would only consider firing such a rifle if the reloads contained black powder or a black powder substitute as the 1889 Schmidt-Rubin is considered, at best, marginal for the primative smokeless powders of the time in the original chambering. Even still, I wouldn't fire the gun with anything at all until I had the OK to do so from a competent gunsmith familiar with this particular model.

Mike Irwin
April 1, 2012, 09:52 PM
If it was rechambered for .308, one would have to assume that it was fired with .308. If that's the case, I wouldn't even fire a kid's pistol cap in it.

April 3, 2012, 07:45 PM
This is probably a dumb question but....are you sure it is an 1889 and not a 1911?

April 3, 2012, 07:49 PM
Yes it has a straight stock and rear locking lugs also the serial number dates it to 1892.

April 7, 2012, 09:39 PM
Decided to trade the rifle for a savage 22 thanks for the advice.