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Club match requires "World War I era bolt gun, in an issued condition" What should I look for?

mingus

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I know nothing about MilSurp rifles, and actually have never shot any rifle except a 22.
But I'd like to join in the fun at my club's Military Match Shoot.

The requirements are only: "World War I era bolt gun, in an issued condition".

What should I look for?

Don't need a collectable particularly, but hopefully something fun to shoot.
Readily available and reasonably priced ammo would be great, since I'm not set up for reloading.
American would be great, though not necessary.

Thanks for any advice....Lyle
 
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I have never shot in a WWI era match. So I don't know the specifics about that.
But I do know a bit about WWI and WWII guns.

I learned mostly from reading. And I read out of a love of history.
After buying my first WWII ear rifle I began to enjoy the shooting and refurbishing that goes along with these old guns.
But always there was the history. And connection to my grandfather and family.

Good luck. I hope your interest in these old guns brings you the joy it's brought me.

Now start reading.
How many 1903 lovers out there?
 

Goosebrown

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US 1903 rifle. Expensive but cheaper ammo. EXCELLENT RIFLE.

Moissan nagant 1891 cheaper. Don’t get WWII model. Cheap ammo.

Mauser g98. Not kar98. Expensive ammo. Expensive rifle.

US M1917 Medium cost cheapish ammo.

Enfield SMLE no 1 Mk III* reasonable prices. Expensive ammo. (I love this one but I reload. Surplus ammo sometimes hard to find.) Don’t get No 4 Mk I thats WWII.

Swedish Mauser 96 medium expensive expensive ammo. Excellent rifle.

Schmidt Rubin 1911 (?) excellent rifle. Medium priced. Expensive ammo. Cabelas in tualatin has like 6 last time I was there.

There are others but they’re hard to find and sometimes crazy expensive ammo.

On all rifles check dates. I think pre 1925 or so would be same or similar as WWI rifles. After that they started modifying them more. USUALLY this means full length rifle not carbine.
 

User 1234

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Check ammoseek.com for prices on mail order ammo. Food for the Enfield, 1903 or 1917 should not be expensive. In these bolt guns you aren’t ripping through 500 rounds a day.
 

BillM

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Reasonably priced WWI rifle with reasonably priced ammo narrows the field a LOT. Ammo issues
(without reloading) pretty much knock out the Carcano, Berthier/Lebel, Arisaka, Krag, Vetterli and
a pile of others. "As issued" 1903's are getting spendy!
I can think of a few that might work.
Mosin Nagant. Still reasonable, good chance of finding one as issued. Ammo cheaper than most.
No.1 MkIII SMLE (or an older MkI or MkII). Common, some were US issue, the Greek HXP ammo
is available and really good stuff.
1914 Enfield. I seem to see more of these that haven't been sporterized compared to the
1917 Enfield. Good ammo availability for either.
1910 Ross. Had one for a while. Great trigger, accurate, Canadian WWI, but I've seen them
marked "U.S. Property".

Right at the top of my personal WWI rifle wish list is a Model 1895 Winchester musket
in 7.62x54R. The Russians used a pile of them in WWI, but a decent usable example is hard to find.

Welcome to the forum.
 

Mark W.

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Does anyone bring up the Low Serial Number Springfield THING here. In that your not supposed to be shooting a 1903 Springfield below serial number 800,000 (falls about March 1918) due to the possibility of a week receiver.

My own Springfield is a 779,XXX serial number Feb 1918 Due to its having been used for decades as a Hunting rifle with store bought 180gr ammo I am not worried.

But its a thing...............
 
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This is a question better suited to your club. My first choice would be a m96 Swedish mauser 6.5x55. However, the Swedish army remained neutral through both the fist and second world wars. If your club would allow you to use a Swedish mauser chambered in 6.5x55, that's the way I'd go. I did just that in our clubs "military rifle shoot". Here's an example of how my rifle shoots:
NoNGiRN.jpg

fwm9ADP.jpg

I actually won high overall score with my rifle, and I'd just owned it for 1 day: Bought on Friday and shot in competition on Saturday. Really had to scrounge for ammo though. Not that ammo is hard to find, unless you live in the dalles :confused:
Ask your club if they allow the m96 and go find one. They can be found at or below $400.00, the last time I checked. Just for reference, here's mine:
kFpBYRq.jpg

I managed to get this one for $300.00 and it's worth every penny..
 

Mark W.

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Also 1800 Winchester model 1894's in 30-30 were issued by the US Military and used stateside to protect the timber industry here in the PNW. Granted you might end up in a bunch of explaining if you go that route.

Also the Russians used 300,000 Winchester model 1895's The Brits bought and used 1894's for home guard duty The RAF used model 1886's in 45-90 with special incendiary rounds.

Winchester Lever-Actions Go To War
 
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Given the choices, I would probably choose the 1917 Enfield. I love the beauty and fit of the 1903 eons better, but the sights of the 1917 were spectacular and ahead of their time. Longer sight radius, ghost ring, with a post front. If it had better windage adjustment, the sights would be dang near perfect!

The recoil of the Swedes are spectacular and they are accurate, but the barley corn front sights suck.
 
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Reno

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I’ve shot a very precise Mosin Nagant and a very poorly precise Mosin Nagant. It’s sort of the chance you take when buying them. Especially now a days that they aren’t readily available for $99.

My vote is the Swedish Mauser in 6.5x55. Not one that I have seen shoots poorly. Almost every rifle out there shoots well.
 

ron

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I have been shooting Vintage Rifle matches for +25 years. The 6.5 Swedish Mausers are a
great choice very accurate rifle. Last match I shot was a WW 1 rifle theme. From a shooter's
standpoint I prefer a rear aperture sight and windage adjustment on the rear sight. Front
sight is a lot sharper looking through an aperture rear sight. No windage adjustment on
rear sight means you have to hold left or right. :eek: This would exclude Mausers, Mosins, 1917, K-11.........
I have owned and shot all of these rifles. What is the course of fire?
At TCGC we shoot 20 shots standing, 2- 10 shot strings of rapid fire sitting and prone.
Then slow fire prone. All at 200 yards with pits. My favorite WW 1 rifle would be the
1903 Springfield. :rolleyes::rolleyes:
Vintage Military Rifle and Pistol Competition
My 1903 A4 Mark 1
DSC00085.JPG
 
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ron

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Given the choices, I would probably choose the 1917 Enfield. I love the beauty and fit of the 1903 eons better, but the sights of the 1917 were spectacular and ahead of their time. Longer sight radius, ghost ring, with a post front. If it had better windage adjustment, the sights would be dang near perfect!

The recoil of the Swedes are spectacular and they are accurate, but the barley corn front sights suck.
I agree who ever came up with the barley corn front sight? One thing annoying about the 1917 is
it's "Cock on Close". Pushes the rifle off the shoulder in rapid fire sitting and prone.
 

techieguy

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Mingus, I have a listing for a friend for a 1903A3 here on the forum and I'm local to you if you would like to see the rifle. email or PM me if this is something your interested in.

WTS OR - Remington 1903A3
 
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crossbow5

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I have a Remington 1917 "Enfield" for sale that is listed in the Curio & Relic Classified section of the Forum. More of this type of rifle was issued to U.S. troops than the 1903 in WWI. It does have a WWII replacement barrel. Includes some 30.06 ammo.
 

Mark W.

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Mingus, I have a listing for a friend for a 1903A3 here on the forum and I'm local to you if you would like to see the rifle. email or PM me if this is something your interested in.

WTS OR - Remington 1903A3

The O3-A3 is a WWII rifle coming into being in 1942 After Remington got permission to simplify manufacturing and correcting some of the problems with the original design (most notably the rear sights position so far out on the weapon and the single blade front sight that was both hard to see in dim light and easy to damage).
 

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