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Old October 22, 2011, 02:45 PM   #1
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rebuilding milsurps

I know this is a touchy subject, but here goes. What is the big deal about breathing new life, into an old, worn out, non matching mauser that won't shoot safely. I've heard it is blasphemous to do so; but isn't it better to continue shooting them in an altered state rather than hang them on the wall and talk about what was ! I have 5 of them; Mausers that is. A Yugo M24/47 in 8mm that was sporterized (by me) due to an extensively cracked and rotted stock, a German 98k(8mm) in military dress that shoots pretty good with a very dark bore, a Yugo M48a (8mm) in military dress (shoots good also). And 2 Spanish mausers in 7x57mm. one is a carbine that was sporterized (all original except for the stock) before I bought it; for my 14 year old son, and a long rifle that is currently being restored to original military spec pending a barrel test by a competent gunsmith (pitted real bad inside). If not good, I will sporterize it (mannlicher style) as I need a light weight mountain rifle.
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Old October 22, 2011, 03:07 PM   #2
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"Sporterizing" ("Bubbafication" as we call it today) was an "in" thing 40-50-60 years ago when milsurps were cheap, plentiful, and some people saw it as way to acquire a "sporting" rifle on the "cheap". Nowadays it is seen as a way of taking a $200 rifle, putting $300 into it and ending up with a $100 rifle.
Restoring an old warrior is a noble endeavor IMHO, while commercial sporting rifles are readily available, well designed and made and a better buy in the long run. Also remember many milsurps were used hard, often not that well cared for, reflect older steel and gun making technologies and in many cases accelerated wartime production. Just my $.02.
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Old October 22, 2011, 03:18 PM   #3
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Any old mil spc rifle which has non-matching numbers is already "compromised" when it comes to collectors value. Also any old rifle which is useless because of bad bore or bad chamber is ok to sporterize because it’s effectively junk the way it is before your efforts.
Here are some pics of what I did from a rusted out VZ 24 with a cracked stock.

Is there anyone out there that thinks I hurt it's value?
it cost about $165 at a gun show, and I considered that to be a "top value" for the rifle before I started work.
I dare say, it's worth a LOT more then $165 now
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Old October 22, 2011, 03:44 PM   #4
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true there are many cheap rifles (inexpensive) available and in the hottest new calibers. I happen to like the old ones like the 8x57mm and 7x57mm. they get the job done, without all the fire & brimstone (hoopla). As far as metalurgy, it truly is better today as you stated, not to mention machining technology and techniques, but I enjoy the low recoil, low report, lower pressures and effective ballistics, these rounds are just as good today as they ever have been, and deer, elk, and antelope don't no the difference. Oh yeah the 30-06 is also one of those great old cartridges, I had one in a synthetic lightweight Rem 700 that just pummeled me to death so I sold it to a buddy, he loves it. Wyosmith, that is one awesome VZ !! what caliber? certainly worth a ton in my opinion !! the term "bubbafication" has always sounded like a hack job to me. I would call Wyosmith's "VZ" a truly "custom rifle", tastefully done and very attractive to look at, as well as a joy to shoot (i'll bet).

Last edited by tahoe2; October 22, 2011 at 03:55 PM.
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Old October 22, 2011, 05:00 PM   #5
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I think most of it falls onto that people will take beautiful military rifles in pristine condition. Then try and 'modernize' it and make some errors, ending with a Frankenstein looking shell of its former glory. So it's not so much the good ones (like wyosmith's) that people have issues with. It's the ones where you look at it and literally say "what the hell is that?" that people start raging.
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Old October 22, 2011, 05:32 PM   #6
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I fall in the camp that says if you own it, you decide what to do with it.

That said, I have a custom rifle I had built from a Spanish Mauser about 25 years ago. No way would I do that again unless I could do 90% of the work myself, it just doesn't work cost wise.
Just remember, when you pull the trigger, the bullets come out going very, very fast. So make sure to keep the weapon pointing away from you.
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Old October 22, 2011, 07:14 PM   #7
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I know this is a touchy subject, but here goes. What is the big deal about breathing new life, into an old, worn out, non matching mauser that won't shoot safely
No problem at all. You own it so do as you wish with it. The purists will yell and scream and I say what good is it if its not safe and unshootable. There are people that cringed when I told them I refinished the stock on one of my Mosin-Nagants. Pooie to them its mine and I'll do as I please plus I have no intention of selling so they can all cry on there battered looking stocks.
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Old October 22, 2011, 07:20 PM   #8
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Well, one point is that about "won't shoot safely."

If a milsurp rifle is dangerous to fire, that will probably not be changed by sporterizing it, no matter how good a job is done. Some safety concerns can be addressed by sporterizing (e.g., replacing a barrel may correct bad headspace) but others are going to be there no matter how much money is spent unless they are addressed specifically. Again, for example, a rifle made for 40k psi pressures will not be made any stronger by sporterizing and should not be converted to .300 Win Mag, no matter how pretty the stock is.

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Old October 22, 2011, 09:05 PM   #9
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I'm definitely with you on that! I'm thinking that the barrel is so rusted it would be unsafe to fire do to excessive pressure not because the action is bad (locks up tight and safety functions properly), but I'm still going to have it checked. I would only stay within the realm of the original cartridge; I plan on keeping the original 7x57mm chambering for that action with a new barrel. I like the ballistics and I want to keep it light, I also thought of toying with a 257 Roberts, If I need a magnum, I'll just buy one.
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Old October 22, 2011, 11:32 PM   #10
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I dunno.I'd hate to see someone mess with a 1903 Springfield,or,if a person had the makings to recreate a milsurp Springfield,it seems right to do so.
Pristine or rare mausers,lets not bother them.

But as far as an investment in the people who would build a education,an appreciation,I'd say lets stop the snob thing with the Bubba.

Yeah,I can buy a Savington or a Weatherchester.Would make more sense.Yup.Don't want one.I build what I want.

I bought one chopped 98 for $25 that was pitted bad below the wood.Thats the only one I have pulled a barrel from.The rest I bought as bare actions,sometimes just receivers.Nobody was going to find and buy every screw,swivel,etc to restore them.

And,there is not a thing wrong with an old school poorboy utility rifle.Cut and slim the stock,and mount decent sights.I think the old NRA gunsmithing guide has a how-to.For me,that makes more sense than having 16 show and tell mausers hoarded in a safe for show and tell,that never get shot.

And those utility rifles get passed on to the younger gen.

I'd guess Wyosmith got some education building his first Mauser sporter.

Few hoarders can thread a barrel or cut a chamber.Where do we get guys like Wyosmith?I'll give up a few learning pieces to grow some more smiths.

I'll say it again,were it not for the Bubbas and the Wyosmiths,there would not be any Milsurps.The industry/commerce/money ...Douglas,Brownell's,Fajen,etc,without Bubba,all your precious Historical Specimens would have been chop sawed,torch cut,sheared,crushed and melted to make stuff painted orange at Harbor Freight.

And,without those with a Bubba do it yourself mindset,I doubt we would have a reloading industry,the scopes and mounts we have,etc.

No,maybe all we would have is what Remington decided we needed.

Here is to Bubba!!,here is to those the likes of Wyosmith!!We owe a whole lot of the wonderful firearms industry resources we have to them!!

On a positive suggestion for the crufflers,Notice what the cowboy shooters have done for single action wheel guns,leeever guns,and cranky old shotguns?Instead of looking at milsurps as a collector commodity ,like stamps..
Start an activity movement.The Alvin York league or something.Get folks shooting them!!!

That will make an original trim WW1 battle rifle something necessary to play a great game.
Do you have any idea how many basket case,cigar box Win 97's were resurrected from the dead bt Cowboy shooters?Then Norinco started making them??And spaghetti 6-guns,Sharps,92's,73's?????

What did Jeremiah Johnson do for Hawkens,Rendesvous,etc???

Those rifles are dying,moldering away in a dark safe...just so you can say you possess them.
Where is my hacksaw?I got cut fever coming on!!!

Last edited by HiBC; October 22, 2011 at 11:50 PM.
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Old October 23, 2011, 01:02 AM   #11
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Hi Guys I just got back here.
To answer the question from Tahoe, that Mauser is now a 270 Weatherby Magnum. I lapped the bolt back to make a 3 lug action out of it by bringing the "safety lug" to bear, and then re-heat treated the bolt and the receiver to max strength. The barrel was a Shilen.
The receiver was re-cut to feed the belted mag cases as slick as water through a funnel
I installed a 2 position side swinging safety. I welded on a new bolt handle to make it look good. The whole mess was then finished to 400 grit and rust blued. I engraved the floor plate too.
The stock is Bastogne Walnut with a steel cap and ebony tip. I used Redfield scope mounts and rings
It was made for a good friend of mine about 7 years ago. I will keep 3 shots touching at 100 yds with 150 grain Nosler Partitions.
All in all it’s a great Wyoming hunting rifle
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Old October 23, 2011, 05:49 AM   #12
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Sporterizing, Bubbafication, and Rebuilding are three separate things in my opinion

Re: Sporterizing and Bubbafication, Bubba doesn't just dabble in firearms. He's been around a long time, hacking up collector cars. Bubba is a shadetree mechanic with more ambition than skill, his standards fall under the 'looks good from my house' category, and his main tools are a hacksaw, dremel, and sledge. When Bubba pop rivets on body panels, he's hamfisted at that.

With firearms, Bubba like to hacksaw barrels short, can't strip a pistol without the aid of a dremel with the wrong stone in it, and cold blue without the benefit of a good cleaning first is his signature. He'll add the trigger cutouts on your 1911 frame with a rat-tail file and he'll put a thumb-hole in a rifle stock with a vise and a hand-drill- hey, those visejaw-marks on the stock are character-marks. He's sloppy, imprecise, and unconcerned with almost anything except solving whatever 'problem' he's trying to address with as little expenditure of effort as is possible.

Sporterizing can range in quality and effectiveness from "amateur" to "stunning". Bubba might say he sporterized a rifle, but he's using flowery prose to hide the file marks on the barrel and the re-crown job he did with wood working tools he found in the barn.

Rebuilding is entirely another thing. A rebuild may have "non-matching" numbers. Then again, during active military service, the rifle may have been "non-matching" in regards to numbers for almost its entire military career. And of course with certain firearms, "the numbers" never "matched" on the day they were made. And on the other hand, a rebuild may include completely correct parts from tip to toe
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Old October 23, 2011, 07:07 AM   #13
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So you guys don't like my sporterized rifles??

Unbelievable isn't it?

Seriously I like a well done sporter, I would never use a numbers matching rifle to start with, those are getting harder to find all the time.
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Old October 23, 2011, 10:57 AM   #14
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Wow !! that's some inginuity there (or desperation). I'll just leave it at that!
Has anyone installed a 3 position winchester M70 type safety? I'm wondering if I should try to do this myself?

Last edited by tahoe2; October 23, 2011 at 07:49 PM.
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Old October 23, 2011, 07:05 PM   #15
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Again, I am on the side of the Restorers. I like seeing an old warrior put back in fighting trim-like restoring an old military vehicle. Should I ever desire to have a "custom" rifle, or try to build it myself (harharhar) a new commcercial action is a better choice IMHO.
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Old October 25, 2011, 07:48 AM   #16
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These two are "refurbished". All I did was stock refinishing and bluing touch-up. I can't stand to see a stock in bad condition, original or not. I love these old Swiss rifles and see no reason not to give them some of their glory back. They've never been in a war, so I don't see any "preservation of battle scars" needing to be honored.


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Old October 25, 2011, 08:18 AM   #17
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Quote: I don't see any "preservation of battle scars" needing to be honored.
I agree about the Swiss rifles, plus, I'll wager most of the "battle scarring" on other milsurps is from rough handling rather than actual combat.
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Old October 25, 2011, 07:48 PM   #18
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The issue that just seems a shame is that many years ago, either many Enfield stocks were already cut up or damaged before they were sporterized, or somebody could not handle carrying an extra one/two lbs. of wood to their hunting nest.

Apparently cutting off iron sights was required to allow the use of a scope.
But maybe some had already been damaged.

Maybe the flash hiders on "Jungle Carbines" added too much weight to carry around, as some were cut off.
Luckily most FR8s seem to have been well-preserved (especially the bores) and were left alone: I bought my second last night on "GB".
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