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 Going to the range to shoot some historic battle rifles

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RonC
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PostSubject: Going to the range to shoot some historic battle rifles   January 16th 2018, 5:03 pm

With almost all my attention going toward the traditional muzzle loaders, I† haven't been shooting rifles from my collection of historic weapons.
If there isn't too much snow on the ground at the range, I will take an M1 Garand and Swiss K31 along with the necessary 30-06 and 7.55 x 55 ammo. The K31 has a well worn stock, but the receiver and barrel are beautiful. The rifle stock was built in 1936 and the metal parts in 1937. The information about the soldier who was given this rifle is on a piece of paper surrounded by cellophane located under the butt plate. In Switzerland, you go into the army at 18. This soldier was born in 1920, so he was 18 in 1938, just in time to take possession of this rifle. After training, you take your rifle home and are responsible for its condition. The K31 and my Swedish M96 (manufactured 1906) are my most accurate rifles. A Finnish M39 from the second war with Russia is a close second.

If I manage to get out there tomorrow, I will report the results.
Ron

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OldMtnMan

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PostSubject: Re: Going to the range to shoot some historic battle rifles   January 16th 2018, 6:37 pm

My dad always talked about using a M1†Garand in WW2. I always wanted to get one in his honor but never did. Let me know if you ever want to sell it.

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RonC
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PostSubject: Re: Going to the range to shoot some historic battle rifles   January 16th 2018, 7:07 pm

My father also talked about the Garand, but he talked more about the BAR.
Sorry, but this one is a keeper. The name of a soldier was carved into the stock.

Ron

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PostSubject: Re: Going to the range to shoot some historic battle rifles   January 16th 2018, 7:12 pm

No problem. I wouldn't sell it either.

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PostSubject: Re: Going to the range to shoot some historic battle rifles   January 17th 2018, 6:09 am

i quafied on the grand and the BAR, they both were easy to shoot and very very accurate. our small local museum has two swiss black powder paperpatched bullet cartridge rifles from the settlers in the 1800/s that settled this area. they are in pretty good shape . the swiss made fine rifles.
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RonC
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PostSubject: Re: Going to the range to shoot some historic battle rifles   January 17th 2018, 6:22 am

I have read that it would cost over $2000 today to machine the receiver and bolt for the Swiss K31. The bolt pulls straight back. It rotates in a spiral, machined groove.
As I mentioned, the newly minted soldier leaves basic training with his rifle. It is his responsibility. If the barrel is fouled or rusted, he has to pay for the replacement or repair. So, they take excellent care of the firearm. The stocks take quite a beating, but the receivers and barrels generally are in great shape. On mine, the receiver looks almost new and the barrel bore shines. And that is on an 81 year old rifle.
There is a story, probably apocryphal, that Hitler visited Switzerland and asked the head of state what he would do if Hitler were to send 1 million soldiers over the mountains against the 500,000 Swiss soldiers. "All my soldiers," said the Swiss president, "would have to fire twice!"
Ron

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PostSubject: Re: Going to the range to shoot some historic battle rifles   January 17th 2018, 7:47 am

The oldest gun I have is a Mauser broomhandle complete with shoulder stock/holster. The pistol was made in 1897 and qualifies as an antique according to ATF rules. I picked up some stripper clips and reloaded a bunch of shells. It isn't that accurate because the finish and bore are not that great.

I also have a 1909 Argentine Mauser rifle. I reload for it too. I killed a doe with it a few years ago.

My most interesting gun is a Steyr-Solothurn that shoots 9mm Steyr cartridges. I managed to pick up 2000 of them about 20 years ago at a good price.†
The most interesting thing about this gun is the carved-down stock. The area where a comb would be is hollowed out into a downward curve. I think this was done to place it under the arm and shoot from the hip. In the side of the stock is carved "SSW". I believe this stands for "S.S. Waffen."
††
I wonder how many English, Russian, or American soldiers it accounted for. (I was going to add "French" to the previous sentence but then I thought about how quickly Germany overran France and realized that they didn't put up much of a battle.)

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RonC
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PostSubject: Re: Going to the range to shoot some historic battle rifles   January 17th 2018, 8:03 am

patocazado wrote:

I wonder how many English, Russian, or American soldiers it accounted for. (I was going to add "French" to the previous sentence but then I thought about how quickly Germany overran France and realized that they didn't put up much of a battle.)
That is the sobering aspect of collecting these firearms. I love to hold history in my hands, but can't ignore the deadly effects of these weapons during wartime.
I have a Japanese Arisaka 99 with intact mum (Chrysanthemum - representative of the Emperor). Most surrendered Arisaka rifles had the mum scratched out. An unadulterated mum meant that the rifle was likely a battlefield capture.† I can't help but ask how many American soldiers was this rifle used against. Maybe it wasn't turned on Americans, but used by a guard and never used in anger.
Ron

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PostSubject: Re: Going to the range to shoot some historic battle rifles   January 17th 2018, 8:10 am

"†Maybe it wasn't turned on Americans, but used by a guard and never used in anger."


Not likely. At the end of the war every male above the age of 12-13 was used as the "American dogs" advanced towards Japan's main islands. I'm sure the guards or other trained soldiers went to battle before the kids did.

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RonC
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PostSubject: Re: Going to the range to shoot some historic battle rifles   January 17th 2018, 8:12 am

I am sure you are right!
Ron

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