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Old December 14, 2015, 07:49 PM   #1
joe sixgun
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please don't ban me for asking....but

Which milsurp is best for sporterizing? I wouldn't dream of butchering a good rifle but bubba has left many unfinished or poorly finished projects out there. I am always on the lookout for a good deal on a rifle so which ones should I be watching for.
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Old December 14, 2015, 08:13 PM   #2
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I won't ban you for that, I used to do it myself.

The Mauser 98 is the one with the most options.

I've had sporter 98s, built off military actions in calibers ranging from .22-250 to .458 Win Mag.

Suitable Springfields or 1917 Enfields can also be converted into a wide range of calibers. Mauser style actions, including the Arisaka can also be used.

The other systems, like the SMLE or the Moisin Nagant or the Krag are best left on either their original calibers or suitable pressure wildcats based on the original case.

Since the Moisins are the most recent (and still the cheapest) aftermarket stuff for them is easiest to find, but with them, no matter what you do, you still wind up with a 7.62x54 Moisin Nagant.

With a Mauser, you can, if you invest the time, skill and money, wind up with a rifle the equal of about anything made during the classic era. Few do, but you could do it.

Absolutely not economical today, done right you will spend 2 or 3 times what the rifle will bring on the sale market, but you will have a rifle, done right, and done exactly the way you want it.

Good Luck.
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Old December 14, 2015, 08:14 PM   #3
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The favorite one in the immediate post-WWII era was the K.98k. Hundreds of thousands had been brought back by returning GI's and they made excellent sporters; 117 years on, the Mauser 1898 action is still considered one of the best. And there are plenty of "half way" sporters around for relatively little money. I would avoid the Yugoslav Model 48 and 24/47 since they are short actions and standard Model 98 parts and accessories like scope mounts don't fit.

Other surplus rifles commonly sporterized were the U.S. Model 1903 (Springfield)* and Model 1917 (Enfield) as well as the Japanese Type 38 and Type 99 rifles, and the more recently imported British SMLE and No. 4 rifles. The Japanese and British rifles, though, don't lend themselves as well to scope mounting as do the Mausers and the U.S. rifles.

*Avoid the early single heat treated rifles, below 800,000 for Springfield, 285,000 for Rock Island as anything but collectors items.

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Old December 14, 2015, 08:31 PM   #4
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Lots of Mausers and Springfields out there. Same with Enfield P17s, they can be very good for upconverting to a larger caliber, the action is very strong and has been used for .458 Winchester Magnum.
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Old December 14, 2015, 11:20 PM   #5
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i have no qualms with chopping up any variant of the mosin nagant, or mauser's for that matter. have fun.
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Old December 15, 2015, 02:05 AM   #6
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find yourself an old Williams Gunsight catalog and go from there
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Old December 15, 2015, 04:28 AM   #7
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Depends what you want to use it for and if you are doing the work your self. You can buy just about anything for a large ring Mauser to go sporter, but the "Add ons" can get expensive and they are usually pretty heavy when done. You can make some really good long range rifles from them. If you hunt where it is straight up and down and thick, most people want short and light. You have the advantage of knowing exactly what you want. I have seen some nice Russian sporters on this forum, but they all were set up for out west or power line shooting. They are cumbersome and really do not make good all around deer rifles. The Brit guns are a little awkward to get use to, especially the safety. Worse if you scope it. Probably the cheapest way to go is a Carcano. You can side mount a scope and bend the bolt down with a little heat and you can still access the safety. The next cheapest would be the Arisaka. You have to weld a bolt handle on to clear a scope, but that is it. Both can easily be made into short, light walking around guns. It pretty much comes down to what you have to work with and what use you have for it. A lot of the guns people call "Bubba'd " became that way because someone worked on a gun with no equipment. I have hunted with a lot of cut down guns (I hate the word "Bubba'd") I picked up cheap and they did the job. Not much to look at, but some really shot good. You have to look at it and decide if you have the tools to do it.
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Old December 15, 2015, 04:31 AM   #8
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Look for m98 Mauser rifles in poor condition or already sported.

Although if you want to play gunsmith, keep an eye out for Savage 10/110 series rifles too. Not milsurp, but they can be had for cheap and are a great platform for home gunsmithing.

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Old December 15, 2015, 06:19 AM   #9
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Single shoulder actions like the small ring mausers, rem 700 and savage 110 are the easiest to change barely and set headspace. Many have moved to a locking nut setup.
What do you intend to do?
If you want to build a fine rifle then a large ring mauser is probably your best start. If you want to make a tech gun with black stock than a Mosin nagant is most available and least expensive.
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Old December 15, 2015, 10:53 AM   #10
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Thanks, I have an M17, but because of sentimental value I can't modify it. Basically I want to build a range gun and be able to work up some hand loads for medium to long range shooting.
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Old December 15, 2015, 12:00 PM   #11
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I'm fixin' to do the same thing with a partially worked M98 I got on Gunbroker. Like you, I have a sentimental old rifle, another 98, that I carried as a kid. It's no valuable collector's original, but I'd never touch it. This "new" one is going to be a learning experience.
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Old December 15, 2015, 12:09 PM   #12
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Joe, you'll just have to find another P17 to work on! Simple, eh?
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Old December 15, 2015, 06:26 PM   #13
joe sixgun
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Kilimanjaro, if you insist, then I just have to buy another rifle....dang it...LOL.
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Old December 15, 2015, 09:18 PM   #14
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I have two sported rifles a US Krag and 1891 Argentine , both are a joy to shoot.
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Old December 15, 2015, 09:58 PM   #15
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Right now the Mosin-Nagants are popular project guns because they are cheap, but they don't make very good sporters, even with a lot of work. Scope mounting is not easy and doesn't work out very well, trigger pulls are not very good, the bolt handle is short and cocking stiff, the magazine does not sit flush, the safety is nearly unusable, etc. Of course, those things can be overcome (Reid Coffield's articles in Shotgun News prove that) but if the work has to be done by a professional the cost can be many times what the gun cost and way beyond any possible future value.

There is an old and and all-too-true saying that sporterizing is the way to turn a $1000 rifle into a $200 rifle and spend $1200 doing it.

Jim
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Old December 15, 2015, 10:00 PM   #16
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I'll make you a great deal on a barreled Mauser receiver (no bolt) and 7-08 barrel (not installed).
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Old December 15, 2015, 10:18 PM   #17
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I'd go with a 98 and I have. If you can find a 1909 Argentine or an F.N those have nice actions with the 09 being the best.
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Old December 15, 2015, 11:02 PM   #18
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This was built on a 1909 Argentine action. .458 Win Mag.
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Old December 16, 2015, 02:36 AM   #19
joe sixgun
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At this rate I may have to do several projects. There is a new smithy in my area that has a full service facility I may try out for anything I don't dare tackle myself.
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Old December 16, 2015, 04:09 AM   #20
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Quote:
Basically I want to build a range gun and be able to work up some hand loads for medium to long range shooting.
You can make a milsurp a decent long range shooter. But I'd still recommend picking up a cheap Savage 10/110 or Stevens 200 and building off of that.

I've done the build up a Mauser thing several times now, and there is essentially no cost savings over going the Savage route if you can find a Savage action for less than a Mauser action.

Mauser's are a great action for practicing on while you learn gunsmithing, but if you are more shooter than gunsmith in your hobby pick a Savage to build on.

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Old December 16, 2015, 08:54 AM   #21
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Best bet is the 98 mauser. I have several I have bought off gunbroker in various stages of being done/destroyed. I fix them up for less than it would cost to build one. I have them in 30-06,2 in 25-06, 220 swift and I am building my first one from scratch from a wasted barrel original vz24. It will be in .260 rem. I like the vz actions the best.
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Old December 16, 2015, 07:06 PM   #22
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Look for something like this:

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=530994429
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Old December 16, 2015, 09:11 PM   #23
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I think your question is a very valid one.

I enjoy reloading and shooting at shorter ranges - cast lead and light loads. Right now I have a 1905 Danzig GEW98 8mm Mauser. I knew the WWI vet who brought it back in 1919 and it sat since that time until this past year. Fun to shoot.

I would like to add another caliber but I am fully satisfied with one that's been chopped so am going to be looking - possibly a 30-06 or 303 . . depends on what I run across - pretty much open to what ever I see that strikes my fancy. I have seen racks in pawn shops, etc. with lots of cut-downs, etc. and for the price . .. if you can get it at a fair price . . . they'd be fun to "personalize" to what you want and they would end up as good serviceable rifles.

Lots' of good information given . . . an interesting thread and I'm glad you asked what you did!
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Old December 17, 2015, 02:15 AM   #24
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I have a GEW 33/40 mountain rifle that has been sported. The metal work was done by a professional but it looks like a 14 year old boy cut the stock down. It's the only one I've ever had that had the original bolt handle stretched and reformed that actually looks nice. Most reformed bolt handles look like crap. I'd have thought it was a replacement if not for the remnants of the original serial number and the hollow knob. I have a curly maple stock for it but it has deep tool marks and I don't have the skill to smooth it out.
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Old December 17, 2015, 06:50 AM   #25
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What CAN be done, if you put the effort into it..

This is an Arisaka, now in .308Win,








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