The years following the great wars of the past had a significant impact on much more than the borders of Europe. One of the many facets of life on our planet effected by those wars was the supply of firearms. We’ve probably all heard a story about someone bringing home a rifle from distant lands, or some other fantastic story featuring one of the many surplus rifles that was either destined for, or retired from the fields of battle. Today I hope to share a few of those stories, and how those once prolifically produced firearms have become treasured family relics and makers of forever hunting memories. The following are just a few examples.
In the summer of 1943, many manufacturing companies had switched from making sewing machines and typewriters to making rifles for the military. One of the rifles made that summer ended up in my father’s young hands many years later, whether it ever went to war or spent it’s life crated in a warehouse somewhere is unknown. But in 1964 my Dad was a young man looking to get his very own first deer rifle. As I understand it, it was all the rage back then to sporterize these rifles, and my grandfather and his brothers had all gone through the same process to get an affordable rifle.
Dad purchased the rifle for what we would consider a pittance today and sent it to a local gun shop to have some machine work done to it. Removing iron sights and much of the unnecessary parts of the rifle, as well as drilling and tapping the receiver to accept the mounts for the four-power Weaver that was the best thing going in these parts. Dad purchased a stock kit for the rifle and began whittling away at it to fit his rifle.
My Father hunted with that rifle almost exclusively from that year until 1992 when as a young boy myself, I watched him shoot the last deer that rifle ever killed. Dad said it was always an accurate shooting rifle, something I watched him confirm a few years back. He was shooting some of the same sixties vintage ammo, in paper boxes with single-digit price tags still intact. And sure enough, dad could handily print a five-shot group under an inch.
The sporterized rifle is five years older than Dad, and yet it seems it could kill deer for another lifetime to come. It comes in around eight pounds total, and holds four 30 06 cartridges. It seems to like small and fast 30 06 loads like the 150 grain Silvertip from an old Winchester catalog. The twenty-two-inch barrel has a one-in-twelve twist, optimized for the old military ammunition, but a good fit for Dad’s old hunting handloads.
The K98 Mauser
Next up on our list is another legendary rifle, this one came from a pre-war factory in Germany. The K98 Mauser was mass-produced and copied by near countless other manufacturers who made both copies, clones, and their own rifles that mimicked the Mauser’s design. There are many things that made the K98 great, it utilizes a controlled round feed system and claw extractor that make the rifle very reliable. A blind box magazine housed the cartridges, which for the most part were 8×57. Continue Reading Here…