The Completely Unscientific and Random Milsurp Range Day Comparison Thread

Discussion in 'Military Surplus - Curios & Relics' started by East of Here, Dec 24, 2017.

  1. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    I like taking various old military surplus weapons to the range and just shooting them for the raw joy and experience of it. However, after shooting the CMP Eastern Games and seeing so many different types of old rifles being shot, I started to wonder how the different types would compare. So last weekend, I picked 3 rifles to start my completely unscientific and unreliable self test. It is my intent to shoot a group from a bunch of types over the next few weeks to see how they perform and measure up to each other. Obviously, the interpretation of the results will be completely subjective due to differences in weapon age, weapon condition, weapon sights, ammo quality, range conditions and my own human limitations. To the extent that the results may be interesting to anybody else, I will post them here. Please feel free to post groups from your favorite milsurp rifles, along with photos, etc. It is not my intent for this to be any type of competition, just a practical look at the real world amateur performance and characteristics of various antique military service rifles.
     
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  2. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Last weekend, I selected 3 of my favorite rifles to take to the range. The first was a 1943 Ishevsk SVT-40. I had some modern TulAmmo 7.62X54R lying about, and did not want to waste any Bulgarian heavy ball, so I shot 3 rounds though it at 100 yards off a loose rest on a wooden bench. The results of those 3 rounds was a 2" group (Just ignore the MOA info in the yellow data boxes in the photos. I forgot to reset the rifle information in Range Buddy from my .22, so it calculated the MOA using a distance of only 25 yards):

    Target SVT.jpg

    Considering my poor eyesight, this group actually surprised me. I did not think that rifle would group that well, but it did. In fact, it had the best 3 round group of the day.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
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  3. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    The next rifle I chose was a service grade H&R M1 Garand because I wanted another semi-auto to match up with the SVT. For comparison, both are below:

    lineup.jpg

    I shot this Garand in the Eastern Games and it shot really well. I was sure that it would easily outperform the SVT. It grouped close, but actually a bit larger than its Ruskie counterpart:

    Target Garand.jpg

    In its defense, I was shooting loose HXP surplus ammo from the CMP, but I did pick out 3 with the same production dates (HXP 76) for what that is worth. And, I do believe that the odd fliers are more due to my poor eyesight and poor target selection (these small dots just do not give me enough contrast to have a consistent sight picture).
     
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  4. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    And finally, I brought my 1941 Toyo Kogyo Type 99 Arisaka.

    13925177_10210519901820292_5624407900564221504_n.jpg

    This is one of my favorite rifles for a variety of reasons. First, it is a matching numbers, early war version with the monopod and anti-aircraft sights intact. Second, it was built just before Pearl Harbor. And third, it was built at the Toyo Kogyo arsenal in Hiroshima. So it is kinda connected to both the beginning and the end of WW2 in the Pacific.

    It had the worst 3 round group of the bunch:

    Target Arisaka.jpg

    In its defense, I only had some old Norma round nose hunting ammo. And second, I had the rifle rested on the monopod on the block, so it was probably less stable than the others. But it is indisputable that my flier with this rifle was much worse than the others.
     
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  5. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    So groupwise, so far, the rank is SVT > Garand > Arisaka. But to make this even more unscientific, I decided to remove the fliers and then compare them again just using the "best 2 out of 3" rounds. That shuffled the order a bit to Garand > Arisaka > SVT [Range Buddy calculates the SVT and Arisaka distances as a tie, but when you actually measure them with the calipers, the Arisaka is just a hair tighter]. Also, I actually corrected the information in Range Buddy for each rifle and to reflect the correct range of 100 yards, so the data boxes are actually (relatively) correct in these photos.

    Garand:

    Garand Group.jpg

    Arisaka:

    Arisaka Group.jpg

    SVT:

    SVT Group.jpg

    This result/order is more like I would have predicted in my mind beforehand. And I expected it to be this way regardless of the number of rounds in a group. But the truth of the matter is, ALL THREE of these rifles are excellent shooters and I think they are probably relatively equal when it comes right down to it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
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  6. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    As for characteristics, I think the Arisaka is the smoothest of the 3 to shoot. For a bolt action shooting a 7.7x58 round, it has surprisingly light recoil, IMHO. Also, I love the hybrid aperture/pyramid sights on these rifles and the chrome lined bore. Honestly, it is just a sweet shooting rifle.

    As for enjoyment level, I think I have to pick the Garand. It is just iconic and good or bad, it brings people to your table. It is a solid weapon with a solid recoil. The aperture sights make it natural to sight and it just makes you smile when it goes "PING" at the end.

    For sheer "WOW" factor, the SVT wins hands down. It has that long profile and great lines. An SVT is just a sexy beast to look at. But the combination of the 7.62x54R cartridge and that muzzle brake, it is just brutal on the senses. It is LOUD, you can feel the concussion of it and it throws a visible 2 foot fireball in direct sunlight.

     
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  7. Average Joe

    Average Joe Senior Member Supporting Member

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    Nice rifles! I really like older military rifles.
     
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  8. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Today, I decided I would pull out the shoulder pounders. When discussing and comparing the common mil-surp rifles and arguing which one has the most recoil, most milurp shooters will pick one of 3 rifles:

    1.) The Steyr M95 Carbine
    2.) The Enfield No.5 "Jungle Carbine"
    3.) The M-44 Mosin Nagant Carbine

    IMG_20171226_161243.jpg

    All three of these rifles have stout recoil, no doubt. Personally, I think I have pretty good technique and recoil does not bother me on these rifles. In fact, when I am shooting them, I hardly even notice it. However, I do feel a little stiff in the shoulder later and know I shot something other than the .22. I figured it would be fun to shoot them side by side and see how these measure up against each other, and the rest.

    In the Enfield No.5, I used commercial Remington .303 hunting ammo, as I had it lying around. In the Mosin Carbine, I used some yellow tipped Hungarian heavy ball. And for the M95 Steyr, I used some Nazi marked 1938 German production ammo. Anecdotally, I have found that the Hungarian heavy ball and the 1938-1939 German production ammo carry heavier recoil than commercial loads I have tried in 7.62X54R and 8X56R respectively. The rounds for these 3 rifles are actually very similar in case size/volume:

    IMG_20171226_161221.jpg
     
  9. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    First up was the Enfield. This is easily the smoothest of the 3 rifles. The action is smooth and even with the recoil, it shoots smooth. The conditions today sucked. Basically, I used the small orange dots again, and the sun was directly over and behind the berm. I wear glasses to begin with, and I had dedicated safety glasses over the top of my normal glasses, so the glare was insane. But I was gonna be shooting the Steyr and when I am shooting a 100 year old rifle with 80 year old ammo, I am gonna wear some damn safety glasses. And because I knew I was gonna shoot the Steyr with the safety glasses, I shot all 3 with the glasses to be consistent.

    So I shot the No. 5 first. It probably had the best quality ammo, but the glare made using the rear aperture sights damn near impossible. That being said (with much effort on my part to see through the rear aperture) the No.5 shot pretty well in printing a 2.75 inch group, all things considered:

    IMG_20171226_163311.jpg

    Then, I went with the Mosin. For this test, I used a Type 53 because in my experience, the Chinese Type 53's almost always outshoot the Russian M44's. Plus, my 53's are much smoother to operate than my 44's. That being said, the T-53 did not let me down. It had one extreme flyer over to the left, which spread the 3 round group out to 4.5 inches. But I know that was probably mostly on me and only minimally on the glare, because the Mosin sights are so basic that the glare had much less effect. I think the biggest problem was that I shot the rifle without the bayonet deployed, so I had to hold half value right and there was no dot over there to help me concentrate my aim.

    IMG_20171226_163534.jpg

    There is no group for the Steyr. This is because it was not on paper at 100. And after shooting 2 and a half groups, I had to quit because I only had one box of ammo and the last several rounds were kinda corroded. Because I was at the range basically by myself, I deemed them unsafe for the conditions. If I am gonna blow my rifle up, I want someone else there that can roll me around on the ground to put me out and/or call 9-1-1 as necessary. But the 8 rounds I did fire did go boom, thought I think they were left of center and maybe low -but with the glare, I could not discern the impact without a spotter.

    IMG_20171226_165450.jpg
     
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  10. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    So for the best 2 out of 3 comparison, the T-53 outshot the No. 5:

    IMG_20171226_163513.jpg


    And it did it by a decent margin:

    IMG_20171226_163434.jpg

    At some point in the future, I will carry the Steyr M95 back out and run it at 25 and/or 50 and find out where it is shooting, then make the adjustment to print a group at 100. I suspect it is gonna shoot LARGE if for no other reason than it was not really designed for its current configuration. I do love the straight pull action, but I do not believe it is capable of any kind of notable accuracy at 100 yards.

    As a general wrap-up, I think my favorite of these to shoot is the No.5. It is just a nice action and a smooth shooter. My second favorite is the Steyr M95, just because I love the straight pull action. And third is the T-53, because even though it is very smooth for a Mosin, it is still just a Mosin. As for recoil, I can't really tell much difference. These all seem to kick about the same amount to me. So I think when it comes to milsurp recoil, these are in a 3 way tie. And they tie for second, because there is another rifle that kicks harder than these 3. But that particular rifle will have to wait until next time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
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  11. pinkbunny

    pinkbunny Senior Member Charter Life Member

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    Just to be clear, you're comparing the best two shots out of a group of five, not counting the size of the entire group, right?
    Do you think that could cause moa to seem tighter that it otherwise would be?

    I'm just wondering, because sub moa on a garand with Greek surplus ammo seems, well, generous.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  12. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Basically, this is just a snapshot to get a rough idea of how various random milsurp rifles can be expected to shoot at any given time. It is not my intent to really make any definitive findings on accuracy. Typically, I will take the rifles and shoot a fouler or 2 to warm up the barrel, then shoot a group of 3 rounds. I then compare the 3 round groups and the best 2 out of the three rounds (sort of a real vs. potential analysis). At some point, once I have marked their tendencies, I may take some of these back out on a more serious note and fire a larger group (5-10 shots) at a black circle with good contrast to see if I CAN get a better sense of "real" accuracy. But for now, I am just kinda measuring them up for illustration in a much more general sense. While my Garand shoots very well, I doubt if it or any of the other of these so far could consistently go sub moa on a group of 5 or larger on surplus ammo.
     
  13. Geezer

    Geezer Flatland Hillbilly Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I do not own any but I really like to see the old rifles being used. These guns and rounds proved themselves a long time ago and they are still relevant today.
     
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  14. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    I like to shoot mine. These old rifles have their own distinct personalities. Every time I go to the range, there is a never-ending, all day parade of guys shooting their generic AR's at 25-50 yards. But I am the only guy there with a Garand or SVT or Mauser or etc. I don't have anything much against AR's, but they just don't have nearly as much soul.
     
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  15. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Today I took out a 1938 Code 237 K98 Mauser and a 1943 Tula Mosin 91/30 ex-sniper:

    mausers.jpg

    First up, was the Mauser. I have a bunch of the old Turkish surplus ammo, so that is what I put through it. This combination produces some serious recoil. In fact, the K98 with Turk-Surp has more felt recoil (to me) than the M44, M95 and No. 5. But it shoots very well:

    Mausergroup.jpg

    Again, until I get some black stick on targets for some contrast, I am having to hold to a relative spot. But the pointed front sight on this rifle helped keep it closer. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with this group.
     
  16. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Next up was the Mosin. It is a typical 91/30 refurb, except that it is also an ex-sniper. I shot some more of the Hungarian heavy ball and it also had a stout recoil. It really did not shoot too badly, except that the group was centered about 6 inches right of center. But the group itself was not too bad:

    Mosingroup.jpg

    So, in this case, the k98 outshot the Mosin by a bit. But they were both pretty comparable. The main thing is that both have a very stout recoil with the ammo I chose to use. Overall, if I had to pick a favorite between these 2, it is the Mauser by a landslide. It is smaller, has better sights and has a butter smooth action. It is just superior weapon by a wide margin.
     
  17. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    I also have been playing with some custom loads for the Garand for the CMP Eastern Games this year. I worked up some loads last night, and took them out today to see how they worked. The test bed was a 1942 Winchester:

    Winnie the Pew.jpg

    I had an old NRA small bore target that I was gonna staple onto the backer for some contrast, but left my shoulder bag at home, so that was a no-go and I had to shoot the plain white target with this one. Again, I had some trouble with contrast but overall, I think it shot very well:

    Garand2.jpg

    The load was 46.5 grains of IMR4395 pushing some 148 gn FMJBT's I have lying around. I have some match 150's I want to try, as I suspect they will be more consistent.
     
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  18. Combat Diver

    Combat Diver Active Member

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    You wouldn't happen to have a FN49/SAFN semi auto rifle by any chance? :)

    CD
     
  19. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Nope. But I would love to have one.
     
  20. Rskahle

    Rskahle Founding Inglorious bastard Charter Member Benefactor Supporting Member

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    That SVT you have is an absolute excellent shooter. The Tell-Tale nick in the side lets me know who you got it from, and I had sold it to him. I only took it to the range once or twice but it was surprising how well it grouped.
     
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  21. BowWow

    BowWow Happy to be here

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    You have some super cool toys!
     
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  22. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Yes. He told me the bore was like new and when I saw the bore was a mirror, I knew it was gonna shoot. And it does. Other than that gouge, it is in excellent condition. It looks like it fell onto something sharp/jagged. I have been meaning to repair the gouge, but just haven't yet gotten around to doing so.
     
  23. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Thanks. I was lucky enough to get a C&R before the imports ended and the SAMCO bankruptcy drove up the prices of the remaining retail stocks.
     
  24. Jeremy2171

    Jeremy2171 Semper Gumby

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    I'm in the process of working up for CMP games as well.

    Will reverify my garand, M1903 and carbine from last year.

    Still need to determine what I'm using for vintage....last year was a K98 but didn't do well as I grabbed it at the last minute.

    I shot a venny FN 49 last year but due to CMPs stupid rules it falls into the " modern military" class. I barely got a medal since the cut off scores are so high due to the large amount of ARs. Looks like I'll be going to an AR to stay competitive..

    Wish they would have an AR "only" then an "all other" match...
     
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  25. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    I just took my H&R Garand in 2016 and missed 2017 because I had some jaw surgery done that week. But this year, I am planning to take the H&R again and maybe an M96 Swedish Mauser or a K31 Swiss.

    On a related note, it is my understanding that they will be using electronic targets at the travel games. I am not familiar with those targets. Does this mean no more working the pits between your relays?
     
  26. Jeremy2171

    Jeremy2171 Semper Gumby

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    Yup..much faster with the electronic ones...they shoot 10 relays in one day and are still done early...

    No pit duty..just change shooters and reset the remote monitor for the next relay.

    Very fast and very few errors.

    Always bring extra ammo...just in case they have an alibi..
     
  27. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    On the one hand, that is really cool. On the other, it is a little sad because working the pits at Butner was also kinda fun.
     
  28. Jeremy2171

    Jeremy2171 Semper Gumby

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    Here are a few of my choices for the Vintage Military

    1918 Dutch M.95 Knil Rifle in 6.5x53r

    IMG_20170615_104004014.jpg


    Has a minty bore and tight crown and still shoots pretty damn bad with Hornady 160grn round nose.
    M95KNIL254.jpg


    But I subbed in some .268 Hornady projectiles meant for the Carcano (same powder charge) and look at the difference....
    m95knil160.jpg

    And here at 200yds...
    M95KNIL.jpg

    So it's got potential.... :)
     
  29. dalek

    dalek Member

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    I would not be surprised if they consider the SVT, G43/K43, G41, RSC 1917, and Mondragon just to name a few "modern," or put them in some other class they have to compete with scoped ARs
     
  30. Jeremy2171

    Jeremy2171 Semper Gumby

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    That IS correct they ONLY match that those "vintage" rifles can shoot is IN the "modern military" match.

    However.... if you look under rifles allowed for "vintage" sniper....guess what listed??? SVT, G43, G41, FN49 etc...

    It's a "vintage" rifle for sniper but nowhere else...
     

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