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Good Surplus Bolt Rifle?

Answers:1   |   LastAnswerAt:2011.03  

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Colter B 
Asked at 2011.03.02 22:18:23
I want to get a bolt action rifle that fires either the Russian 7.62x54r round or the 8mm Mauser round.

The candidates for bolt action rifle are....
M44 Soviet carbine, has a folding Bayonet. 120 dollars
M38 Soviet carbine, (m44 w/ no bayonet) 160 dollars
Mauser98k German carbine, made in Yugoslavia 160 dollars

Anyone own any? I want to know the good and bad of each one. I hear the m38 is gaining value but I like bayonets. The Mauser98k is probably better made but I don't know.

Anyone know of any other bolt action carbines that fire either of these rounds or another that is as cheap that I should consider instead? I am trying to keep the price at 175 dollars or less since this is just a rifle for fun.
answer DJ  Answered at 2011.03.02 22:18:23
The fact that you have narrowed the field of military surplus rifles down to 8mm and 7.62x54r shows me that you have done your homework and picked the most accessable calibers regarding cheap and reliable milsurp ammo.

I have plenty of rifles in each of these calibers and they are my weekend standards for taking to the range. They are both big, robust rounds that shoot well out to longer distances and definitely cause the .22 shooters at my range to move far to the other end of the firing line. Both of these European calibers are similar in ballistics to the American .30-06 and are quite suitable to hunt where you would the venerable .30-06.

The Russian rifles are both simple and robust, like the Russians themselves. Considering this rifle was designed in the late 1880s and saw production through 1960 and many are still in service in parts of the world today, it is perhaps the longest serving bolt action rifle ever made. The differences between the early Model 1891 through the 91/30 revision and into the 1938 and 1944 carbines and even the 91/59 reworked carbines are slight. Bolts for example between all these models were exactly the same and interchangeable.

Fit and Finish on some models and some different factories will vary and the wartime models with really rough finishing work are surprisingly desired by some collectors. On the early 91/30s, hexagonal shaped receivers are desired by collectors as well buy usually only cost you $10 more.

If you like to shoot 200 yard targets as in the Garand Match like I do, you want a 91/30. The M38 and M44 carbines are good, but are less rifle at long range than the mid length 91/30 barrel. Also, the carbines will have more felt recoil but offer a huge and impressive fireball blast out the muzzle which is great for night time displays of firepower but nothing else.

Be careful with M38, most I have seen are counterbored. Also, while you may think the attached bayonet is cool on the M44, it's a major PITA in my opinion for a shooter and adds considerable unnecessary weight.

The 8mm Mauser is my favorite hands down. I love the Mauser design and the fact that it was so influential for over a century and strongly influenced the Springfield 1903 and Jap Arisaka rifles is a testament to its superior design. Most sporting rifles sold in the world today are based on Mauser design. I have two dozen 8mm rifles so I buy ammo by the case monthly.

My favorite examples are one of my German K98k and a Czech VZ-24 which is nearly mint. The Czech was made under direct supervision of the Mausers during the period after WWI when Germany could not produce arms. It's quality of steel and production are unmatched and many say it has the smoothest action of any rifle ever built.

My favorite shooters are a Yugo M48 which I have modified with Mojo peep sights and believe it or not a stock Turk 1903 which can hit the 18 inch 350 yard gong at my range consistantly from a sandbag rest. It really frustrates the guys with weatherbys and $1400 Leopold scopes when I do this with an old beat up Turk and no scope and ping that gong a few times in a row.

I would suggest calling a number of gun shops in your area to see who has an account with Century Arms, southern Ohio gun (SOG) and Aim Surplus. Also try Classic Arms and Empire Arms, both are a little higher but they are small shops that personally hand pick the best of the distributors stock and offer excellent service. Most pawn shops are also FFL dealers and many will order whatever you find available and do the legal transfer to you. Look up all these on Yahoo and consult me for price info if you want.

As you can tell, I love talking about this stuff.....write me for more, my email is in my profile.
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