Homeland defense, courtesy of the Swiss K-31

Homeland defense, courtesy of the Swiss K-31

This is a discussion on Homeland defense, courtesy of the Swiss K-31 within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Spent some easy time at the range yesterday with my Swiss "twins," a pair of K-31 Schmidt-Rubin carbines. I’ve had it in the back of ...

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Thread: Homeland defense, courtesy of the Swiss K-31

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    Homeland defense, courtesy of the Swiss K-31

    Spent some easy time at the range yesterday with my Swiss "twins," a pair of K-31 Schmidt-Rubin carbines. I’ve had it in the back of my mind for a long time to see which one is more accurate, so if I ever decide to part with one I can keep the better example. These guns intrigue me but I’ve been reluctant to shoot them due to the scarcity and cost of GP11. Well, that’s easier to find these days than .308 and probably cheaper, at about 60 cents a round. I’ve been searching for brass to reload, but new brass is at least as expensive as loaded ammo, and once-fired stuff just isn’t out there.

    For the uninitiated, the K-31 is the Swiss battle rifle which spanned about 4 decades of service, until replaced by a semi-auto. It has a straight-pull bolt action and shoots the 7.5x55 cartridge, which in issue form ("Gewehrpatron 11" or GP11) is pretty much match-quality ammo. It's a 174 grain bullet launched at 2560 ft/sec. In the first pic you can get an idea of what the K-31 looks like.

    So I brought about 60 rounds of GP11 and a box of Privi Partizan soft points – at least that stuff is boxer-primed. I think so far I’d only actually shot one of the K31s, so the bores got swabbed first to displace any hibernating scorpions. I started at 50 yards just to see if I was on paper, and I was pleasantly surprised – especially given sexagenarian eyes and open sights and the questionable contrast of a red sighting target. The next 2 pics show what 6 rounds of GP11 and 5 of the PP soft point look like (rear sight elevation at its minimum). Using the On Target software, that’s 2.8” and 2.0”, respectively. Overall, no discernible difference in ammo at this range.

    Eventually, I moved out to 100 yards. My choice of targets was limited, but I wanted a black bull to improve the sight picture. With my first target, I pushed the rear sight slider up 2 notches because I didn’t read the markings correctly – the slider falls between the marked numbers. So I had to shoot a few sighters to see where the shots fell, and meanwhile I had guys on either side of me shooting buckshot which of course strayed onto my target. So once I realized where to put the elevation adjustment (first notch = 100), I was rewarded with what GP11 can do (4th pic). Those 5 shots measured 3.0 inches – 2.9 MOA – not too shabby for a rack-grade battle rifle! Obviously the windage needs adjustment but I needed a vise to hold the gun steady as I tapped the front sight (clever adjustment, too – love those Swiss designers).

    So then I tried to compare the 2 different ammo types, and my test protocol failed since I shot both on the same target. As you’ll see, I also messed up my sight picture midway through the string, as there are 2 distinct groups and given 5 rounds of each, I really don’t think the ammo is responsible for the shift. I looked at scoring this a couple of different ways, none of which would fly in competition, but that’s not what I’m doing here. Assuming I changed my sight picture, the 7 shots in the black fall into 2.3 inches! And note that this is the other rifle. So I’ve got two battle rifles of 1954-55 vintage that shoot into 3 inches at 100 yards with decent ammo. What I didn’t take a picture of is my big grin.

    So much for the grouping… I had some real fun, too. The young bucks on either side of me had their combat shotguns and ARs and were occasionally popping the steel plates at 200 & 300 yards. The little .223 hits with a wimpy little ‘tink’. So at the appropriate time, I loaded up a mag full of GP11 and a reload in one of those cardboard-and-tin chargers, and proceeded to nail 10 for 10 on the 200 yard plates… registering a much more authoritative WHAP on the steel – which got their attention! For my last string, I shot a mag full offhand with a sloppy (loose) hasty-hasty sling support. I hit my first shot on the 300 yard plate and missed 2 more, then went 1 for 3 at 200 yards as well.

    The other thing about these K31s is that they are easy shooters. I popped off 50 or 60 rounds and only near the end did I start to feel a little fatigue… I’d say shooting my Ruger .30-06 and the Garand are both tougher on the shoulder, and the Mosin is notably tougher than all. Granted the 7.5x55 is a less intense round than the .30-06, but not by much.

    All this just confirmed my desire to reload some ammo for these guns… they’re just too much fun to leave sitting in the dark!
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    Smitty
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    I bought a couple of these K31s after a friend who owns a large midwest shop imported 1K of them. Wisely I also bought a couple thousand rounds of GP11 to go with them. These are truly exceptional rifles that are built like Rolex watches. To manufacture the K31 now would be cost prohibitive. Every time I bring one to my local club range other members always inquire about it. Amazingly these rifles are still relatively cheap on the C&R market and are true gems.
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    great right up and, i must say, beautiful weapon.
    weekend pre-apocolypse nomadic warrior, leather duster and all.

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    Distinguished Member Array squid86's Avatar
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    Nice shooting and very very nice guns.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR cuz robots are cooler than fruit.
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    "A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again."

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    OMG! You're actually OC'ing! Someone's gonna grab your gun or shoot you and steal the whole load!

    I wish I had the extra cash to invest in old military firearms. Some people have all the fun!
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    Well done an nice guns

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    I like both of them!!!!!!
    NOT LIVING IN FEAR, JUST READY!!!
    I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness,
    nor the arrow for its swiftness,
    nor the warrior for his glory.
    I love only that which they defend.
    -J.R.R. Tolkien

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    Very good narrative on a very interesting rifle! Felt like I was there to read it. Great photos too!

    The 7.5X55 cartridge is as "healthy" a round as anyone could want for most any purpose short of African "Big 5." The Swiss very much went their own way with rifle and cartridge design and it must be said they were successful. Both are to be admired.

    Always wanted to try one of these but didn't take advantage of prices when rifles and ammo were cheapest. Shot one on a single occasion when I was a kid and felt it deserved all the respect that I would give to the '03A3 Springfield. My son is suppose to work a deal to get one of these rifles from a friend of his. I'm rather hoping that he does for I'll get to play with it some too.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    OMG! You're actually OC'ing! Someone's gonna grab your gun or shoot you and steal the whole load!

    I wish I had the extra cash to invest in old military firearms. Some people have all the fun!
    Don't know if you picked up on it, but since I was shooting the Swiss K-31 that particular day I thought I'd carry the SIG (Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft, or 'Swiss Industrial Company'). Kinda ties the outfit together, as my fashion-conscious bride would say.
    pgrass101 likes this.
    Smitty
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