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WWII Era Rifles

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posted on Dec, 6 2006 @ 10:31 AM
I was wondering amongst those who own or have shot WWII era rifles (rifles used by the Allied/Axis powers, even if the weapon design may predate WWII), which is their favorite/least favorite and why.

I don't own, nor have I shot the US rifles from WWII, so I can't comment on those. Here are my favorite and least favorite, and comments:

Favorite: Russian Mosin-Nagant (M91/30) in 7.62x54R - I can shoot most accurately with this among all the rifles. I'm notoriously poor with iron sights, but these are easy to use and acquire a target - neither too blunt nor too fine. The round also does wreaks some good havoc. The safety is not easy to engage and disengage, however.

Least Favorite: French MAS-36 in 7.5x54 - The sights are too "blunt", and the bolt-plug becomes jammed with quick, vigorous use of the bolt. There is also no safety on this rifle!

Japanese Type 99 in 7.7mm - A close second to the Mosin-Nagant - ditto the same comment on the sights as the M-N

British SMLE in .303 - I love the .303 round, but my main complaint is the peep-sight... Has an action that can be worked very quickly.

German Mauser in 8mm - for me, the front sight blade it too fine and hard to detect in certain conditions

Italian Carcano (forgot the model, its a carbine with folding, permanently attached bayonet) in 6.5mm - the sights are "okay", but chambering the rifle can be a little tricky, and you have to load those Mannlicher-style clips just right or you'll have problems chambering. The recoil and blast is a little more than I expected (due to the shorter barrel and light weight). In spite of this, its a reasonably accurate rifle, at least for me.

posted on Dec, 6 2006 @ 10:46 AM
Mark 11 sten rocks my world, but couldn`t hit jack with it.Enfield .303 cause so easy to find in good working order but heavy, reliable.Sturmgewehr 44 the mother of all modern design is simple the best because of the time it was designed.truelly revelotionary.

posted on Dec, 11 2006 @ 12:12 PM
I own several WW2 era rifles.

Two 1903 Springfields. These are very nice shooters. Simple in operation. Reasonaly accurate too. The cartridge the 7.62x63 is a very powerful cartridge capable of being loaded to different potentials. I handload this cartridge for tailored purposes.

I also own a M1 Garand. This too is a powerful rifle as are the 1903 Springfields. Same cartridge. The Springfields are actually a bit better shooter than the Garand but no doubt about the Garands abilitys.

The M1 Carbine is a rifle I purchased for its historical significance. I dont shoot it much anymore. The main thing this rifle has going for it is it is compact. A rifle a woman can use....or someone of small stature.

I also own a 7.7mm Japanese Arisaka. I believe it is called a Type 99. This rifle must be one of the early batchs as it surprised me by its ability to shoot. I never thought the Japanese could produce a rifle which could shoot this well. IN the reloading tables I use the ballistics of the 7.7mm cartridge are very similar in performance to the .303 British round.
As I understand the history...later in the war the quality control on the assembly lines went to pieces and many rifles were poor in thier production quality.
My rifle still has the Emperors Chrysanthumum on it ..intact. Most I have seen have been ground off. Also the monopod and the dirt cover over the bolt.

AT the gun club to which I belong I have also seen the Mosin Nagant rifles fired by many members. Most of these I have seen at the club have been good shooters for iron sights. This rifles seems to be a good shooter for the prices they are asking for them.
I have also seen some 98k Mausers in 8x57mm being shot. These too are shooters.

THis time of year..November/December ...lots of people sighting in their hunting rifles to go hunting close to the Christmas shut down periods.
THough most are sporting rifles purchased off the shelf...I have seen some military rifles being sighted in for hunting. THese being a sporterized 1903 Springfield and a 8x57mm Mauser.


posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 05:47 AM
I have to say that I have never fired the American or Japanese rifles, but I have fired German, French and of course our very own .303 Lee Metford and the venerable SMLE.

I liked the K98 and found it easy to use, once I got used to the sights. The Lebel [?] was rubbish and the Lee Metford was brutish.

Of course being English, I was brought up on the stories of both world wars and what our bolt action rifles were capable of in the hands of highly skilled infantryman.

But it was not until I joined our CCF unit at boarding school that I came to realise the stories might actually be true.

Prior to joining the RAF in the late 60's, I was trained on the Lee Metford. I found this to be big and bulky and, for a 13 year old, it was a brute to handle in respect of range practices.

When I joined the RAF, my personal weapon was an SMLE and I loved it. The thing about the 303, it that you had to treat it with the utmost respect, otherwise it could take your shoulder apart.

A very beautiful rifle with an excellent rate of fire and far superior stopping power to anything I've seen or fired since.

posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 07:16 AM

Originally posted by orangetom1999

I have seen some military rifles being sighted in for hunting. THese being a sporterized 1903 Springfield and a 8x57mm Mauser.


The K98 mauser is the most popular rifle action to customize. They are plentiful and cheap. They are one of the strongest actions in existance. I have seen mausers in 22-250 all the way to 458 Win mag. It is also very popular with the wildcat handloaders as the action can handle such high pressures. Mind you these are not new actions they are WWII era actions. There are also many different manufactures of the action during this era, some mfrs had better actions than others.

The 03 springfield is also another popular action to customize. It is just as strong as the mauser but it is not as cheap or abundant so fewer rifles use these as base for customizing. Also the action is built out of such tough and hard steel that special procedures have to be used to drill and tap for scope mounts.

Anyway just some info to pass along.

posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 12:24 PM
Excuse my lack of knowlege on the rifle you mentioned. The Lee Metford.
I somewhat surmise that this rifle though chambered for the .303 round did not have the long or successful service life as was the case with the Lee Enfield.
THe rifle of which I am familiar before the Lee Enfield is the Martini. I am thinking that the Lee Metford came into service between the Martini and Lee Enflied but did not have as long a service life. No quesiton about the long and successful service life of the Lee Enfield and its service to the Empire.
Oh yes....and no question also about the hard buttstock on the Lee Enfield. Were I to own one of these I would have to put some kind of temporarty atttachment or rubber buttplate adapter. I have the same problem with my 1903 bolt action Springfield in a long shooting session. THis is my next acquisition for my Springfield without changing the original appearance or value. A temporary buttpad.

All this talk about the Lee guys are giving me the itch to buy again and I want to scratch it. However the Lee Enfield I would prefer is one in the 7.62 x 51 caliber as this ammunition can be found here coast to coast. Also very potent as is the .303.
One other feature I admire about the Lee magazine capacity in a bolt action rifle. Most bolt actions dont hold anything near this capacity.
Combine magazine capacity with a smooth bolt action and it is a excellent mix.

Ultralo 1,

I never did quite understand the prices on the 1903 Springfield. I suppose it is market conditions. Even when the Koreans were dumping thier olde M1 Garands on the market here ..all it did was drop the price of Garands. It did not affect the prices of 1903 Springfields. In my mind semi autos usually went for more than bolt actions..but not in this case. THese 1903 Springfields bring a premium price today. I am holding on to the two I have. They are both shooters.

THank you Gentlemen,

posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 08:33 PM
The M1 Carbine is a sweet little shooter, but I wouldn't want to carry one in combat unless I was rear echelon, it could use a little more power. Very handy, light weapon though. I just traded mine against a new Arsenal AK.

The Thompson sub-machine gun is a superb weapon in all respects, very controllable even on full auto.

The Russian M44 I shot was a little beast, long tongues of flame and a kick like a mule.

To my eternal shame I have yet to try out the classic M1 Garand, although 30-06 is one powerful round and the ones I have handled seemed heavy. It's record however speaks for itself.

posted on Dec, 17 2006 @ 09:25 AM
Orangetom, as far as I can make out, the Lee Matford was the forerunner of the Lee Enfield.

The story goes that a Mr Metford - a one time shooter of black powder smoothebore rifles, invented a system of rifling that was ideally suited to small-calibre black-powder rifles.

It consisted of a tube [the barrel] the internal length of which had been 'engraved' with seven shallow grooves - later to be termed 'Lands and Grooves'. [This both aided the accuracy of the firer and also allowed the rapid cleaning of the barrel after firing]

The government of the day was apparent much taken with this new barrel, that they paired it with the New bolt action and trigger mechanism designed by a Mr Lee and the new infantry rifle was introduced in 1888, obviously named the 'Lee-Metford'.

The Lee-Matford served the UK well until the War Office decided in 1912 to change from black powder to cordite.

It was discovered that the new cartridge enabled soldiers to achieve much higher rates of fire and this caused the barrels to burn out far quicker than previously thought.

During this period, a Mr Enfield had come up with a similar design for a rifled barrel, only his design had 5 'square' grooves instead of Metford's 7.

The War Office hurriedly authorised the use of the new barrel and the Lee-Enfield was born and, the rest as they say, is history.

posted on Dec, 22 2006 @ 11:40 AM
the one feature that put the M1 Garand ahead of all the others was that it was Semi Automatic; one 8 rd clip. Having to work a bolt action is a disadvantage in combat vs being able to just pull a trigger. the 30-06 rd was a very good one as well. the weapon would fire dirty, dusty, sandy, or wet (unlike the M-16, or as my old friend who served 4 tours in Vietnam called it- that mattel tinker toy plastic piece of crap).

posted on Dec, 22 2006 @ 12:36 PM
The Mauser K98k is my absolute favorite. Or the m-48 Yugoslavian(which is not ww2 era, but late 40's and 50's, but is basically the same anyway, and was used to great extent as late in history as the Bosnia conflict as a sniper weapon). There were some m-48's that have been imported to the U.S. as surplus rifles with a small painted green fluer-de-lis on the stock from the conflict in Bosnia. If you find one of these GET IT. These were in the hands of some of the most notorious snipers in that war. And I've heard that the mere sight of one of these rifles with the markings still sends chills down some people that were there and know about it.
These were sent to the U.S. as surplus rifles, and were not sorted, only boxed up with un-marked ones, so it's luck of the draw, on what is inside any given shipment. Or was, anyway, as I think the m-48 shipments are drying up now. Occasionally, you'll find one with, of all things, cartoon stickers on it. Oh well, humour is a good thing to have in times like that, to keep one from going nuts.
But, yes, the 98 Mauser, is my hands down favorite for many reasons.
First-the sights-I love the fine sights-the front blade and fine v-notch on rear. Mainly because I was raised from a young age to draw a "fine" bead.
Second-Although it is 5-round bolt action, it illiminates human instinct to fire before aiming well. Every shot, will be more finely calculated this way.
If one has a semi, they will usually fire haphazardly in a stressful situation.
This eliminates the urge to just spray, and not aim well-which is key in using a rifle anyway.
Third-it does not require many parts, that can easily break or malfunction with dirt or sand.
Fourth-it feeds from stripper clips of 5-rounds each which works well.
Fifth-Ammo is EXTREMELY cheap to practice with as of now, but I don't know how long the surplus ammo is going to be here, so STOCK UP.
6th-It's lighter, seems to me anyway, than a fully loaded ak-it's not as chunky.
7th-yes, with corrosive ammo-you have to clean when finished shooting, but, don't you do that anyway? Windex is what I use on a patch for this, followed by a dry patch.
8th-it uses the full-power 8mm cartridge, which is, well, great in all respects. But, not in others, as you can't carry the same amount of ammo as you can with say, the 5.45x39. But, you'll definately know it's nice when it hits something, anyway.
9th-it's full power doubles well as a hunting gun for deer, hog, etc.-in which you can simply use WOLF-gold hunting loads. Don't use the u.s. brands as they are lower in power for safety reasons since there are 8mm-jr-bore rifles out there with a smaller bore dia.-the u.s. loads are not much better than 30-30's.
10th-remember, its a good full power cartridge, and the Germans did not use it for AA for nothing. Try that with a 7.62x39 and see where you get.
11th-Basically, the Mauser eliminates trouble found in more complicated semi's. The Germans knew this, and it was one of the factors.
12th-The German Imperial ordnance people before WWI had a stipulation for what the 8mm cartridge had to do--and that was to knock a living horse over at a distance of 1000 meters. It did it. And was passed through.
13th-did I mention cheap ammo?

[edit on 22-12-2006 by KingTiger]

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 11:26 AM
Enfield No 4's were my first rifle larger than a .22. I think SMLE's are true battle rifles. Probably the fastest action on a bolt. 10 round detachable mag (but they still used stripper clips for em). No4's have dialed peeps or larger battle sights. I'd use one any day over a carbine for close in action. I have a mint English No4 and excellent Australian No1.

Mosin Nagants-I have a long and one of the newer carbines. They are great shooters. Also had one of the nice Finnish carbines. If you've shot SMLE's a lot, the Mosin's action is going to feel slow and awkward.

Yugo M48-haven't fired it yet, but it feels sooo comfortable in my arms. My firing pin feels like it hits unusually soft compared to a SMLE or Mosin. Is this designed as such or should I check it out?

MAS 36--it does feel odd, but let me also say that there are some nice re-arsenaled ones out there with great stocks and parkerized finish. You could get one in great condition cheap.

Type 99 Arisaka--haven't fired it yet either. Barrel is exc but the rest needs cleaning. In the field, often the dust covers and monopod were yanked off, as in my case. The MUM is half ground off--I've heard the mum signifies possesion of the Emperor and thus grounded prior to surrendering them.

Steyr-Hungarian M95-Straight pull bolt. This little carbine looks like it's going to kick like a mule. My surplus ammo had swastikas and eagles on em.

I really want a 1903 but yeah, they're priced high. I guess since there's no surplus.

Overall, the Enfield No4 is still my favorite. I will concede that the Mauser action (1903's included) are known for their accuracy. The 30-06 and 8mm is better for hunting. The Mosins are probably the best value in terms of price, accuracy, and supply of ammo.

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 12:31 PM

Originally posted by DoBravery

Yugo M48-haven't fired it yet, but it feels sooo comfortable in my arms. My firing pin feels like it hits unusually soft compared to a SMLE or Mosin. Is this designed as such or should I check it out?

Clean the weapon thoroughly, especially the bolt and firing pin. Mine had the same initial problem; the pin would not strike the primer with enough force to fire the round. The cosmolene used in storage gunked-up the works, as it were.

Try that. If it still is not firing properly, you might have a problem with a spring or the firing pin itself.

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 01:43 PM
Thanks a bunch. I just didn't know if it was supposed to be that way or not.
Yeah, my M48 came with a bunch of cosmoline on it. I guess I need to be more thorough.

posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 10:36 PM

Originally posted by DoBravery
Thanks a bunch. I just didn't know if it was supposed to be that way or not.
Yeah, my M48 came with a bunch of cosmoline on it. I guess I need to be more thorough.

Let us know if it works!..

posted on Jan, 2 2007 @ 10:33 PM
Surprisingly enough I have only fired two WWII-era rifles--the M1 carbine and a Mannlicher-Carcano M-1938 (91/38) in 7.35 mm.

The M1 carbine wasn't that big a deal, IMHO. But the Carcano--which I bought for dirt cheap on a lark--is a surprisingly powerful and accurate rifle no matter what the "Oswald couldn't have made those shots with that junk rifle" crowd would have you believe. (But I DO NOT want to open that can of worms here.)

This Carcano's iron sights aren't adjustible, but it fires groups smaller than a quarter at 100 yds, although this particular example is consistently about 3 inches high and 1.5- or 2 inches to the right of the POA from a sandbag rest on a bench.

Anyhow, it's really not bad for what basically amounts to a Mauser knockoff. Obsolete by the time WWII was in full swing, for sure, but still pretty capable I'd wager. Today it would make a very nice little brush country deer rifle.

(And yes, the 7.35mm variant recoils pretty good and the muzzle flash is quite visible in broad daylight.)

EDITED TO ADD: And good luck finding 7.35mm ammo these days. I don't think you can unless you stumble across some vintage stuff. I don't even know who supplies brass or other reloading equipment for this caliber these days. The original brass is Berdan-primed.

[edit on 2-1-2007 by Tabasco1]

[edit on 2-1-2007 by Tabasco1]

posted on Jan, 2 2007 @ 10:44 PM
Nice. I almost bought one of the long rifled 6.5 Carcano's. I think the inserted clip concept is kind of cool. Your right though. The shorter barrel doesn't so much compromise accuracy--more so it reduces bullet velocity. But for fights less than 300m, it has all it needs.

My Budapest M95 is actually a re-arsenaled carbined chop down of the long rifle. To confensate, it has a tall front sight blade along with relocated sling swivels. I guess they also realized in WWII that the long rifles wouldn't be so necessary.

posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 06:20 AM

Originally posted by Tabasco1

EDITED TO ADD: And good luck finding 7.35mm ammo these days. I don't think you can unless you stumble across some vintage stuff. I don't even know who supplies brass or other reloading equipment for this caliber these days. The original brass is Berdan-primed.

[edit on 2-1-2007 by Tabasco1]

[edit on 2-1-2007 by Tabasco1]

Good caveat there. I was about to ask, "Where in the world have you found 7.35 Carcano ammo!". Prvi-Partisan (sp?) makes new 6.5 Carcano in FMJ, but I don't recall if it's Boxer or Berdan primed. I suppose you can reload with that brass, provided you have the 7.35 carcano die-set, as well as a supply of 7.35 bullets.

I had thought about getting a 7.35 Carcano (I like "oddball" calibers), but ammo availability nixed that idea. Of my militaria, I ask a few questions:

1) Is there availability of factory ammo, preferrably non-corrosive?
2) Does the weapon function, and can it be fired safely?
3) Is it in good condition, cosmetically?

I've seen some specimens that fit question #3, but have bores that look like 50 year old sewer pipes, or are not safe to fire, or don't function.

Some that are internally fine, and are safe to use, but the exterior looks like they've been buried in the sand at low tide for years.

These rifles aren't being made new any more, so as time goes by, they will just get harder and harder to come across, and good specimens will demand a premium price.

posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 06:30 AM

Originally posted by DoBravery
Nice. I almost bought one of the long rifled 6.5 Carcano's. I think the inserted clip concept is kind of cool.

Ugh...that's one of the worst features, IMO. Here's why:

-without the Mannlicher-style clips you can only fire one round at a time by manually inserting the cartridge into the chamber directly. Try that with winter gloves or some angry, dangerous beast (or man) charging you!

-the bottom of the magazine is open (allowing the clip to drop free after the last round has been chambered), which to me is like saying "come on it" to mud, sand, or anything else which can enter into the action.

Don't get me wrong, its a neat little rifle and cartridge, but that was an impediment initially to obtaining the weapon -- I wanted to be sure I could find those clips before I got the rifle. I didn't want to be able to just shoot one slow round at a time.

My Carcano has gain-twist rifling. I can't recall if all variants had this, or just the earlier versions. I also seem to recall that the rifling gave the bullets a left-handed spin, totally unique to all other rifles.

posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 09:59 AM
FYI, related to a U2U received:

If anyone has a Swiss Schmidt-Rubin rifle, remove the buttplate and check underneath. You might find a name/address tag of the person to whom the rifle was issued. Mine did, and I was able locate and
briefly communicate with the man.

Its been awhile, so I can't remember how I actually found his e-mail, other than I received some advise and a weblink in a forum thread on

I know the Swiss weren't combatants in WW II, but the rifle in question was issued and in use during the time of WW II. One story I heard is that a German general came to visit a Swiss general. The German asked how many men were in the Swiss army, to which the Swiss said, "500,000". The German asked, "What would you do if I stationed 1,000,000 men on your border?", to which the Swiss general replied, "I'd tell them to shoot twice and go home."

posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 03:18 PM

Originally posted by Zhenyghi
Of my militaria, I ask a few questions:

1) Is there availability of factory ammo, preferrably non-corrosive?
2) Does the weapon function, and can it be fired safely?
3) Is it in good condition, cosmetically?

1. Yes, factory (arsenal, actually) ammo does turn up from time to time. I still have several boxes of 1939-vintage Italian-made 7.35mm rounds. They were in excellent condition, like minty new, when I purchased them and I have kept them in a U.S. military ammo can nice and safe and dry. The shooting performance I spoke of earlier was with that very pre-WWII ammo.

2. My example, S/N Q73XX, functions quite well and has been fired safely by me about 100 times.

3. YMMV. I'd give the finish on the metal on this rifle about a 75 or 80 out of 100. The stock, however, has been refinished at some point with some kind of varnish. Also, a recoil pad has been amateurishly fitted. The bore is shiny and clean and it doesn't show any real undue wear given its age. I paid about $90 for it a decade ago.

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