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[PHOTO CONTENT WARNING] Let's Learn about the Swiss K31

Discussion in 'Mil Surp Collectors' started by Eric H, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. Eric H

    Eric H NES Member

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    Howdy y'all,

    As many of you guys know, these military surplus rifles tend to spontaneously show up in our collection [rockon], and this last Sunday I made an excellent addition to it as well.

    Anyways, I picked up a Swiss K31 in 7.5x55 Swiss up at a LGS just over the border up in NH for what I feel was a very reasonable price considering I would probably have to pay a very similar amount if I had been lucky enough to purchase one up on AIM Surplus while they were available, plus pay for a "Best of 10", S&H, and then the final FFL transfer fee.

    This is also my first Swiss milsurp. The intent of this thread is multi-faceted as I want it to showcase my latest acquisition, to educate others about the rifle with the knowledge I currently have, and I have a few questions that I'm willing to bet y'all could answer or lead me and others in the right direction to learn more about these fine instruments; they'll be found in the photo descriptions below.

    If y'all have any questions, comments, or anything you'd like to add in relevance please feel free to comment, we'd all benefit from it!

    [​IMG]

    Right-hand side view of my spontaneous milsurp purchase on a random trip to a LGS in NH. I found this out on the rack in the corner of the shop and just knew I had to have it. These photos were captured as soon as I walked into the house with it, you guys know the excitement of a new firearm purchase is, couldn't help myself [devil]. So these were taken before I got a chance to clean and oil the metal and give the stock a quick wipedown with some furniture lemon oil.

    [​IMG]

    Left-hand side view. The stock is in VERY good condition in my mind, and in excellent condition considering that it's 70+ year old military surplus rifle. The wood cleaned up very nicely with some lemon furniture oil, and I find it to have a very nice grain, and the stocks finish is very smooth and pleasing to handle, although to me it seems "dry." Is the stock an example of a piece of walnut or a piece of birch they used post-war? It's difficult for me to determine this. What would you guys recommend to use to "condition" the stock and keep it in good shape?

    [​IMG]

    A widely known icon of the Swiss military surplus rifles is the straight-pull bolt action designs used. The K31 also used a straight-pull bolt action design, and from a distance it can be quickly and clearly distinguished from earlier Swiss designs (such as the Schmidt-Rubin Model K1911) by the aluminum knob/handle on the charging rod for the bolt.

    [​IMG]

    The Swiss crest stamping. I really do not know the official name of the stamp, if any of y'all could let me know it would be much appreciated. I am also curious about the stampings on the barrel shank, if anyone has any information on them please let me know, it appears that one of them is a "Hammer and Sickle," that's very peculiar considering that this is a Swiss-made rifle.

    [​IMG]

    A potato quality shot of the barrel shank again and part of the rear sight assembly. The rear sight assembly is your standard "roller coaster" type sliding design commonly found on rifles of the era, it is adjustable for elevation between 100 and 1500m.

    [​IMG]

    The rifle has all-matching serial numbers, and I found the blueing to be well done as well. You can catch a glimpse of the ugly "billboard' import stamping, I'll probably end up giving that a little bit of cold-blue. The rifle also has a matching troop tag of the Swiss soldier, of whom this rifle was issued to while it was in service, listing the individuals name, hometown, troop, and firearm serial number. Many of these Swiss military surplus rifles are known to contain one of these paper trooper tags beneath the butt-plate. I have not taken a picture of it, if anyone is curious and wants to see it, I'll grab one for y'all.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the rear of the bolt assembly removed from the rifle. If anyone has any information on these stampings and proof markings, please let me know. I am assuming that the rifle was built and assembled in 1944 based on the "WC 44" stamping, am I correct?

    [​IMG]

    The only mark/stamping I found on the exterior of the stock. It appears to be a Swiss proof mark.

    [​IMG]

    The front sight assembly of the rifle appears to be lined up correctly as it were from 70+ years ago. I haven't touched it and I don't plan to as I have accumulated plenty of the surplus 7.5x55 Swiss GP11 ammunition it was sighted in with (presumably). If I believe, and I be wrong, the K31 is regarded as one of the most, if not the most, accurate standard issue battle rifle during WWII, and the military surplus ammunition it was paired with is also considered by many to be "match grade" furthering the precision of the rifle in the hands of a marksman of which Switzerland is also known to breed for their military.

    [​IMG]

    Obligatory bore shot. I did not swab or clean the bore before the photo, I probably should have. The bore appears to be a little dirty with dust, or it hasn't been cleaned since it was last shot, but in very good condition with strong rifling. The crown is in very good condition as well. It was very interesting trying to get a shot of the bore without the aid of a bore-light, rifle vice/bench, and a tripod for my cellphone.

    THANKS FOR LOOKING!

    If y'all would like any other pictures, let me know and I'll happily oblige!

    Happy Shooting![mg]
     
  2. oilspill

    oilspill

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    We want to see the troop tag! Really is a great rifle.
     
  3. noddaduma

    noddaduma

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    Awesome find. The stock is birch, which the Swiss used quite a bit due to available resources.

    Can't quite tell how chewed up the rear of the stock is but it doesn't look bad.

    Get your hands on some GP11 milsurp ammo. It's accuracy in the K31 is very hard to beat...even with reloads.
     
  4. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    At the current price of GP11 reloading doesnt really make sense to me.
    I would not be shocked if your rifle actually shoots point of aim/point of impact
    mine was spot on held a nice grapfriut size group @ 200 yards first time out. Im going to a vintage match in aug or sept (need to check schedule) where I plan to run it again.

    Fine rifles and if you have not found it yet http://theswissriflesdotcommessageboard.yuku.com/directory#.VZPIoxtViko
     
  5. NavelOfficer

    NavelOfficer

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    http://swissrifles.com/
    You'll love it.
    GP-11 is perfectly reloadable, but you can easily buy a few boxes of Prvi Partizan, if you only want to deal with boxer-primed brass.
    Powder Valley seems to be the only source for KV762N LR berdan primers these days.
    Many .308" diameter bullets will work in the 7.5, but you may find some that have an improper profile for the short-throated chamber in the K31.
    FWIW, I load cast, coated, frangible, plastic, sabot and jacketed in the 7.5x55mm. I find the lighter cast loads much more pleasant for plinking and easier on the wallet, too.
    Have fun!

    The fella on CTGuntalk is still looking to sell his K11, too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2015
  6. Eric H

    Eric H NES Member

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    Ask you shall receive!

    [​IMG]

    The gentleman who was issued the rifle was named Guy Bunter who was from the canton of Geneve. I've tried researching about what the information on the tag means and so far I've only gotten that "Cp." means "Company" and "E.M." stands for "Staff's," and I'm not positive but I believe the "fus" is an abbreviation for "Fusilier" meaning Infantryman in English.

    I did a Google search for Guy Bunter of Geneve and I ran across an obituary page (Guy passed away in September of 2011) in French (of course, time to rely on my French Language skills learned in 4th Grade) but I found a few names that were listed in the obituary. Who I believe to be his wife passed away in June of 2013 and who I believe is his daughter Francine is alive and further research gives me her address whom I may mail a letter containing who I am, why I'm writing to her, and pictures of the tag and the rifle. I also found two other names of whom I believe are Guy's grand daughter and her fiance, I found them on Facebook and have sent them each a message. Hopefully I get into some correspondence with the family, it's exciting.

    Thanks for the information! When I bought the rifle I also purchased 60 rounds of GP11 at the shop, I felt like it was expensive but I wasn't sure of the availability of it so I bit.... hard $60 for 60 rounds. But I went over to my local LGS in Templeton and he was able to order in a 60 round pack for me at ~$.66 per round (I believe) which is MUCH more reasonable, and I'll probably end of ordering more in.

    Here's a few pictures for ya concerning the stock.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I've heard that many of the buttstocks are in soddy condition as I believe it was common practice for Swiss soldiers to stick their rifles into the snow/ice, resulting in water damage, and then they would sometimes kick the rifle to remove them from being stuck. This photo makes it look much worse than what it actually is (especially the left hand side), in reality it has the same or similar felt finish to the rest of the furniture.

    Absolutely, although I bit the bullet for my first pack of 60 rounds, I've found a source for GP11 at a much more reasonable rate. I'm glad to hear about the accuracy you've found in your rifle, hopefully I'll find the same in mine. Where's this vintage match? Thanks for linking me to that source, I've already made extensive use of it so far today!

    I will? Psshh, I already do!
    Yeah, I'm not currently set up for reloading but I'll definitely be saving all my brass for it, even the GP-11 brass. Thanks for giving me some info on the reloading information, I'll keep that noted!

    It's a funny thing, the Saturday/day before I bought the rifle I had almost bought a Hornady L-n-L Classic Kit on sale at Cabela's for like $289 plus all the goodies I'd need for reloading 9mm. I'm glad I waited [smile] I'll have to check out that advertisement, you know just for curiosities sake!


    Alrighty, I got another dilemma I think y'all could help me with, the rifle's butt plate. I am in conflict on what to do to take care of it. Do I keep it oiled to help prevent further rust and corrosion, or do I take a brass brush and some oil and get the rust off of it? What say you? Part of me says "Keep it original and keep the patina, it'll be more valuable." And another part of me says "Clean up the rust, it'll be more valuable intact."

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for reading!

    -Eric
     
  7. SKS Ray

    SKS Ray Moderator NES Member

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    I've read some cool stories about people contacting previous owners through troop tag info. One guy even got a box full of cleaning tools, bayonet, and other goodies from the original owner along with a letter saying he was glad someone who appreciated it ended up with his rifle.
     
  8. Eric H

    Eric H NES Member

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    Yeah, it's incredible to hear about stories like that! Hopefully I can get some form of correspondence going with the family and frame it and store it with the rifle.
     
  9. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    I shoot mostly at Old Colony Sportsmen in pembroke MA. Although you can go to any CMP match/shoot and have at it.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_ed7I-0dDxIY2tQMHVTQVUxSVE/view
     
  10. Eric H

    Eric H NES Member

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    Thanks for the info Mac!
     
  11. The5thDentist

    The5thDentist NES Life Member NES Member

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  12. Waher

    Waher NES Member

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    I'd use a bronze brush and oil to gentle remove the rust on the butt plate just to keep it from getting worse. The appearance of the steel once cleaned up after rusting is enough patina itself.
     
  13. Eric H

    Eric H NES Member

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    That's exactly how I thought I would take care of it.
     
  14. Sweeney

    Sweeney NES Member

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    I'd toss the butt plate in an electrolysis bath to remove the rust...far more effective and far less work than mechanically trying to remove it.
     
  15. noddaduma

    noddaduma

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    Yep. I've done that many times for milsurps.
     
  16. Eric H

    Eric H NES Member

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    Hmm, I just may have to consider dunking the plate into an electrolysis bath too, two interesting approaches to it.
     
  17. je25ff

    je25ff

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    Was this design the first straight pull back? I seem to remember a French rifle that, I think, used this.
     
  18. rali

    rali

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    Hey,

    Congrats on the new rifle!

    You asked about the crest. It's called an escutcheon and here it's simply the official Swiss coat of arms. In German, it is the "eidgenössische Wappen"

    The cross in the shield on the stock is a quality control acceptance for the stock. The cross on the receiver is, as you suspect, a proof mark. In this case, it's the stamp that indicates the rifle passed it's functional test after assembly. Not sure about the "wc44" -- that may be a repair stamp.

    All K31s were built at the Waffenfabrik Bern, which was the Swiss Army firearms factory. The serial on yours indicates it was built in 1944 and was one of 51900 manufactured that year. No parts get date stamped when the rifles are built, so the serial is the only way to know. As I noted above, repairs are stamped. Also, if it was repaired, you should see a stamped cross on the tang behind the receiver.

    Reto

    - - - Updated - - -

    Dunno about the French, but the steyr m95 was a straight pull, as were all the Schmidt-Rubin designs from 1886 on. K31 was a variant because the bolt locks up differently from the earlier Schmidt-Rubin designs.

    Reto
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
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  19. SKS Ray

    SKS Ray Moderator NES Member

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    Canadian Ross rifles.
     
  20. Eric H

    Eric H NES Member

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    I thank you for the information, very much appreciated! I don't believe there is a cross stamped on the receiver tang, but I can check that next time I get into the safe.
     
  21. JuergenG

    JuergenG NES Member

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    It's also called Schweizerkreuz (Swiss Cross)
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
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