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Old May 18, 2013, 11:03 PM   #1
Ignition Override
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Do K-31 shooters really like their iron sights?

A few days ago was my second session with a friend's K-31.

At 100 yards, trying to line up the post tip with the leaf's notch, the first few went about 5"-6" high, and the rear leaf should have been at the lowest setting (but we forgot to check).
Did success with these K-31 sights take years of practice for those with good eyesight but very modest leaf sight (non-aperture) skills?
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Old May 18, 2013, 11:23 PM   #2
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While I haven't fired a K31, I can tell you with many military rifles the phenomenon you observed is by design- not accident. It's called 'battle sight zero' and it enables Average Soldier to hit Enemy Combatant out to 300 meters or so, by shooting at the middle of him.
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Old May 19, 2013, 02:06 PM   #3
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K31 sights are excellent. If you plan to shoot it to any great extent you should do a full study of the rifles. For example, I learned that the front band screw is instrumental in adjusting elevation. Turn it in gently to the end, and then back 1/2 turn. See what results you get and then you can further adjust with small 1/4 turns.
Let us know if that works for you, it did for me.
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Old May 19, 2013, 05:51 PM   #4
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Bought my son one, and he immediately wanted to scope it (we shoot long range), so I can't comment much on the irons.

The rifles are works of incredible quality for the money- like a Swiss watch- and extremely accurate...

As long as there's no issue with the crown or bore, if you aren't hitting with GP-11, it the shooter

If you want to fit an optic to it, St. Marie makes both a d&t and a clamp-on mount.
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Old May 19, 2013, 10:37 PM   #5
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The sights are nice for what they are, but they are still low-profile military sights at the end of the day. Luckily, there's the St. Marie scope mount readily available, Mojo sights to make the rear a bit faster to acquire, and those fancy diopter sights for those with the Benjamins.

The guns are so accurate and so easy to scope, that unless you are a dead eye with iron sights (i.e. you have better than perfect vision and the knowhow to use them) or prefer historical accuracy, the factory blades won't allow the full potential of the rifle to be tapped. Just as soon as I feel like buying another scope, it'll be going on one of my K31s.

For me, personally, there is something about the shape of the stock that forces me to really lean forward in order to get a sight picture, which results in far higher felt recoil than there should be. It is probably a length of pull issue as opposed to a comb issue, but it still makes scoping the rifle that much more tempting. If I happen across a nice cheek rest, the decision will be out of my hands

I think the guns are built better than Swiss watches, because you can find any number of broken down, abused, worn out timepieces for sale on Amazon, but there are very few K31s in similarly bad shape. I've never heard of a K31 being put up for sale as a "broken; parts only" gun.

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Old May 19, 2013, 10:55 PM   #6
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I have very good eye sight and for some reason with my k31 I see double sights, in other words I see two rear sights. The k31 is the only rifle I have ever had that problem with.

With that said, if I can force myself to concentrate on the correct rear sight, I shoot very well with k31 sights.

Also, I think they are set up for meters, not yards.
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Old May 20, 2013, 02:50 PM   #7
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Don't know what to tell you, at 100 yards from prone or from bench my M1 Garand and K31 overlap each other centered in the bull. Same guns but at 25 yards off hand I get the below groups.

Other than I have to look harder now to find that tiny notch on the K31 than I did 50 years ago I can't see much difference in effect.
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Old May 22, 2013, 06:32 AM   #8
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I think the k-31's are great rifles and the sights are very good. Still, the peep sights on my Garand and 03'A3 allow much better accuracy. I put a scope on one of my K-31's and it makes a huge difference. I have never scoped my M1 but I doubt it would make much difference in that it shoots into 2" at 100 with the standard peeps.
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Old May 22, 2013, 11:45 AM   #9
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I have a scope mounted on mine with a St.Maries scope base. The iron sights are ok and typical of military firearms. If you are wanting to improve them I would suggest you keep your eye out for some Swiss diopter sights. St. Maries makes a Swiss style diopter set that is affordable or you can hold out for an original type. Here's the website for their products.
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Old May 23, 2013, 04:49 AM   #10
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Sure, battle sights were designed for 200 years/meters, maybe farther.

Everytime I read about a K-31 accuracy, I always assume that the shooter also uses the iron sights with success. This must be a very mistaken assumption.
Both times with the friend's K-31 was against either small concrete chunks at 120 yards or the new, large Shoot N See target at 100 yards.

My shooting with the Enfield #4s, #5s and Garand is ok for a gun late-bloomer, and I would never alter a military surplus rifle which is still in the original configuration.
blfuller: thanks for the link.
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Old May 23, 2013, 12:22 PM   #11
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The standard used in training in those days was, as previously mentioned, a "zero" of approximately 300 meters. And soldiers were taught to aim at the enemy's belt buckle.

That way, with the rifle intentionally shooting high at short(er) ranges, good hits could still be attained. Also, mis-estimation of the range was also not as critical a factor with this system of aiming.

Stock sights will print several inches high at 100yds. This is intentional. If you want your K-31 to print "dead on" at 100yds, there are two ways to do it. Easiest is just learn how much low to hold to get center of bullseye hits.

Best is to install a replacement front sight blade of the proper height to obtain center of bull impact at the desired range. Once this is done, anyone shooting the rifle in the usual "American" way will be able to use it without having to take into account the marksmanship style of European armies of a century ago...
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Old May 23, 2013, 01:04 PM   #12
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44 AMP - I think you are correct about Swedes, Enfields and the 1911 Schmidt-Rubins but I have 2 K31's and both are original. The sights are graduiated from 100M at the lowest setting and mine are pretty much on target at that range. I don't believe taller front sights are needed as they are on the forementioned rifles.
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Old May 23, 2013, 05:23 PM   #13
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leafs are pretty diffucult for people that aren't used to them. I pretty much hate all leaf sights especially mauser and rusky style leafs but my arisaka 44 taught me that even with bad sights these rifles can be incredibly accurate, especially given practice.
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Old May 25, 2013, 08:21 AM   #14
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Being proficient with barrel mounted rear sights can be challenging, particularly with older eyes. There are ways to improve the standard K-31 sights.

Mojo offers a excellent replacement sight set, this is on a Mauser but it is very similar on the K-31.

There are Swiss and German made sight sets for the K-31, they can be as costly as the rifle.

My favorite set.

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Old May 26, 2013, 08:06 PM   #15
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my experience with a K31 and iron sights are excellent even with my old eyes. Biggest thrill however was finding the troop tag under the buttplate, and being successful in contacting the man it was issued to. Swiss rifle forum has info on making contact.
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Old May 27, 2013, 08:32 AM   #16
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Sarge Posted
While I haven't fired a K31, I can tell you with many military rifles the phenomenon you observed is by design- not accident. It's called 'battle sight zero' and it enables Average Soldier to hit Enemy Combatant out to 300 meters or so, by shooting at the middle of him. May 18, 2013 11:03 PM

Precisely and also, unless you are used to such sights, they can be a pain. I have been shooting milsurps for many years and prefer these sights. Many people often seach for taller sights to compensate for shooting high at 100yds.
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Old May 28, 2013, 03:19 AM   #17
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Of my 4 K31s I prefer the aperture sights on my 2 Garands and M-1A, especially since 2 of those are NM sights. That said, the leaf sight are accurate to a degree, but not to what the rifle can do. Sight radius is a big issue. My next change to a K31 will be a set of St. Marie diopters. Mojo sight was fine for rapidly hitting stuff up to 100 yards, but is pretty imprecise and still suffers from the sight radius deficiency.
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