Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Everything Rifle: Completed (and tested!)

Sorry about the bad picture. I may have James take good ones after I re-finish the stock.

I got my rifle on Saturday (30 May 09) and immediately sprung into action. James and I stripped it down to nuts and bolts and gave the whole works a good washing with mineral spirits and brushed the cosmoline off with a soft paintbrush. After about 25 minutes of washing and gently scrubbing with the brush, the cosmoline was off, and we began to dry parts and fit the scope mount. Oh, using mineral spirits to remove cosmoline dries the metal out quite a bit. I rubbed it down with a dab of Rotella-T 15w40 engine oil to prevent rust and keep the metal in good shape.

I found a couple of small spots of rust pitting on the receiver, and just a bit of surface rust on the barrel, but otherwise, the metal bits were in very good condition. The stock is dinged up and a bit rough looking, but I plan on re-finishing it in late June or early July. The best part, however, was that the bore looked bright and shiny. It looked like it had potential!

Then we set about replacing the rear sight leaf with a weaver-style scope mount. That required the use of my gunsmithing punches and some very small Allen wrenches. I also had to carve some very small notches out of the upper handguard so the new screws could fit. However, the amount of wood removed was very small, and will blend right in once I sand down the whole thing for re-finishing (with marine-grade spar polyurathane).

We got the whole works put together in about 25 minutes. It would have been maybe 10 minutes, but being a real man, I did not read the instructions on my scope mount and had to install it twice. I then did a rough bore-sighting by removing the bolt and looking at an object about 25 yards away. I then moved the scope's crosshairs until the object was centered in them, as well as in the bore.

This morning, James and I headed to the range to get a rough zero, and see if the old warhorse was going to work. It did. My bore-sight work had the first group hitting about 8" left and 2" below the bull's eye. After a few more rounds, I zeroed it to hit about 2" high at 50 yards, which will bring it pretty close to dead on at 200 yards, and about 2.5" high at 100 yards. The 1970s vintage Romanian surplus 8mm ammunition (150 grain FMJ steel core) was pretty accurate, very powerful, and just a bit smoky. It is not advertised as "corrosive", but it most likely is. Accuracy with five shot groups tended to hover around 5" at 50yd standing, 3" to 4" from kneeling, and 2-3 inches prone on some funky ground and shooting through some weeds. I think with a proper shooting position I could shoot 3" to 4" at 100yds with this ammunition. Some have reported that the Yugo Mausers prefer the heaver 196 grain loads.

The 24/47 handles pretty well. It isn't a short rifle, but it is just short enough to be quite handy to carry or toss in the back of a truck. The three-position safety is just a bit clunky to operate, but it locks in position very positively, and it is very functional. The trigger is a standard old-school military style two-stage. The first stage is very light with about 1/4" of take-up, and the second stage breaks at a very crisp and clean five or six pounds. The 24/47 weighs in at about 9lbs and some change, so it isn't a pain to pack around. The weight helps to tame the recoil from the 8mm cartridge which is only a half-step behind the iconic 30-06 in velocity. The difference between 8mm Mauser and 30-06 in actual muzzle energy (velocity squared x bullet weight /450436) is negligible. The recoil pulse is different than some in that it is more of a long push than a slap. The muzzle rises and it pushes your shoulder around, but it doesn't really hurt (like say, a Mosin Nagant 91/30). I like this rifle very much, and may edge out some of its younger competitors in my collection.

It's not very pretty (yet), but boy can it shoot. I customized this rifle to be my "everything-rifle"--powerful, handy, accurate, and reliable. I think it will fill this role nicely. Now to get crackin' on that stock!


James said...

I like this gun quite a bit. Bolt-action rifles aren't usually something you'd want to tote around the woods with you, but with a tiny scope and endless cheap power, it's a lot of fun.

DC Houghton, esq. said...

I just found a HUGE mistake! I was meaning to zero DEAD ON at 50 yards, which would then put me 2" high at 100yds, which is pretty near dead on at 200yds. Some gun nut I am...