Monday, May 18, 2009

Project: The Everything Rifle

I just got off the horn with my local FFL (that's Federal Firearms License--a license to deal firearms) holder and ordered a surplus Mauser from J&G Sales. It's a Yugoslav model 24/47 (pictured above), and has been re-arsenaled at some point. They are said to be in good or very good condition. Higher grades are available from other dealers, but you pay dearly for a collector or "very good +" grade German Mauser. The Yugos are cheaper, but still very high quality. I ordered this particular one because I am looking to build a nice scout type rifle. The 24/47 is a bit long to be considered a "scout" rifle, since Col. Cooper defined that class of rifle as one which measures 39" or less (the 24/47 measures 43.5" tip to tip), and has a short length of pull (the distance from the butt of the stock to the trigger). The scope is typically mounted in front of the action thusly (below).

The rifle will end up costing about $180 after shipping and transfer fees. A tin of 340 8mm rounds costs $99 from AIM surplus, and can be shipped to the 48 contiguous states for but a penny. The scope, mounts, and rings will end up costing about the same as the rifle, so for say, $360, you can get a nice shooting do-everything rifle. Commercial ammunition from a myriad of manufacturers can be had for roughly the same price as 30-06 ammo, and runs from 150 grains up to 200 grains. Most military surplus is either 150 grain FMJ, or 196gr FMJ. Soft-point or other hunting ammo in 8mm is pretty well suited to most game within the United States. Most 8mm loadings are pretty darn close to the 30-06, which is really the measuring stick for rifle cartridges.

Cooper tells us that our rifle should be powerful, handy, and accurate. This Mauser fits the bill pretty well. It is 6" shorter than my Mosin-Nagant 91/30, lighter, and has a slicker action (and the Mauser generally has a better trigger). By mounting the optics forward of the action, you can keep both eyes on the target as you raise the rifle into position. The low-power scope is also a fixture of a scout rifle. Generally 4x or 6x fixed-power scope tops a scout rifle. The low power means your field of view is wider, which helps with acquisition of a target, and engagement of a moving target. My Mauser will end up very close to Cooper's description of a good rifle. My intent is to build a short, handy, powerful rifle that can do anything I need to ask of it here in the Midwest. As a bonus, I can load my own target rounds if I choose, or I can shoot up some cheap military surplus 8mm when I don't feel like scavenging for spent cases to reload.

Now we wait and see what condition the bore is in, and shoot some groups. Stay tuned.

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