Gun Review: Swiss K31 Schmidt-Rubin Rifle

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By Jeff Spiegelman

Sometimes, being neutral has its advantages. Switzerland has produced chocolate, multipurpose pocket knives, Swatches, secretive banking laws and a high standard of living. Coincidence? Maybe. In terms of firearms, all that neutrality means the guns issued to Swiss troops through the years have seen, well, lots of skiing, marching, target practice and some cleaning. And very little actual war-fighting. As a result, Swiss surplus firearms are often in very good shape compared to those of some of their less neutral European neighbors (i.e., all of them). The other benefit to not going to war often is that the focus can be put on quality. Attention to detail, accuracy, reliability, maintenance, fit, and finish are more important because there’s no need to outfit a huge force during a war-time economy. Which brings us to the K31 . . .

It’s 8.8 lbs of Swiss precision in 7.5x55mm (.308 caliber). The gun is often incorrectly referred to as a “Schmidt-Rubin.” That moniker comes from a combination of the guy who designed the original straight pull gun, Rudolf Schmidt, and the guy who designed the cartridge, Eduard Rubin.

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The K31 was developed after both men were long dead and was created by the Waffenfabrik Bern arms manufacturer. It was first issued to the Schweizer Armee in 1933 and finally left service in 1958. Over half a million guns were produced and imports are becoming increasingly popular in the US as target or sporting guns.

One of the big reasons for its popularity is its price: typically well under $500. Mine was $250 — a model 1931 Karabiner manufactured in 1950 with a beechwood stock. It has the name of the last Swiss civilian militia-man who was issued the gun under the butt plate.  If you are going to buy one, I encourage you to check for that. I’m not sure it increases the value, but it’s kind of a cool thing to have.

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The Schmidt

The gun itself is fascinating. It’s a straight pull with a 6-round detachable magazine that can also be loaded with a stripper clip. Not many firearms are made in this configuration.  To work the action, a shooter pulls straight back on the handle and then pushes straight forward. Notice, not up and back and forward and down — straight back and straight forward.

Those of us who grew up on bolt-action guns find the straight pull to be a little weird at first. It’s faster than a traditional bolt action, but there’s something about working the action without that final downward rotation of the handle that feels almost like you are skipping a very important step. Also, the bolt sticking out of the side as it does makes the gun a little inconvenient to fit into your safe, depending on how full yours is. A little nit-picky, I know, but worth mentioning.

Pick the gun up and shoulder it and you’ll know what I mean when I say quality. It’s a bit beefy around the action, but shoulders and points very well. The sights are clear and I’m especially fond of the placement of the hand grooves.  Some have stocks that are weathered more than others, but most have bright, shiny bores and clean rifling. The ring safety in the back is operated by a pull and turn.

The Rubin

Speaking of clean rifling, one of the problems many people have with mil surplus firearms is the use of corrosive ammunition. Not to worry here, though. The Swiss didn’t use it (corrosive ammo, that is; well, theoretically, as neutrals they didn’t use much ammunition period). Surplus Swiss ammo shoots a 174 grain, paper-patched, spitzer bullet at 2560 ft/s and stays supersonic at great distances.

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The best part? It’s still available and can be reloaded. Cheap, non-corrosive, surplus, accurate, .308 caliber, reloadable ammunition for a gun that costs <$500…what is not to like? If you feel like spending more money for ammunition that’s just as accurate, several companies are making 7.5 Swiss in target and hunting configurations to keep up with the American market.

At The Range

On the first real spring day of the year, and with a breeze at my back, I took the carbine to the range. The gun was made to be fired by soldiers high in the Alps. As such, I brought along a wussy-pad to simulate winter clothing.

As I said before, the straight-pull feels odd for a person who’s used to a bolt action. But it locks up tight and has a smooth, mechanical feel that breeds confidence in the design.  The detachable mag is easy to manipulate. But the rifle is still easier to load from the top or with a stripper clip.

The sights are clear and make target acquisition easy.  The trigger has a long, smooth take-up with a crisp break. It almost feels more like a modern two-stage trigger than it does anything else of the same age. Recoil is brisk and manageable. I was worried about a cartridge of this size pushing me a little off balance and making it harder to work the action. Nope…easy and precise.

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Accurate?  Yeah, you could say that. The rear site has gradient markers out to 1500 meters. At 100 yards, the bullet is still rising. With a firearm like this, you really need a longer range than I have to really put it through its paces. In the meantime, it’s plenty o’ fun to shoot quarters at 100 yards with a .308 round using iron sights on a 60 year old gun firing cheap surplus ammo.

Conclusion

How many guns this old do you know of that are high quality, shoot inexpensive and reloadable mil-surp ammo, are accurate, reliable, good looking, a blast to shoot, a break from the same-old-same-old and readily available? A gun that can be a safe baby, a favorite range gun, or a deer-slayer? One that can even be ready for a WROL situation?  Frankly, there aren’t that many now a-days.  So how much would you pay for one?

Let’s put this in context. A Schmidt-Rubin in great shape is easier to find and (often much) cheaper than a K98 Mauser. In fact, Mosin-Nagants in similar shape are only a little less and the K31 is comparable to the best aspects of those two giants of the foreign surplus rifle world. And the K31 is superior in many ways. Is a K98 worth $50-$100ish more? Is it worth it to buy a Mosin-Nagant for $50-ish less?

The K31 seems to fly under the radar of the surplus gun world and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.  This is more than just a good retired military gun. It’s a darned good gun, period. It does everything it should, does it very well, and at a bargain price. Where else will you get this much Swiss precision for so little?

Specifications:

Caliber:                    7.5×55 Swiss
Barrel:                     23.8 inches
Overall Length:   43 ½ inches
Weight:                   8.8 lbs. (empty)
Action:                    Magazine fed straight-pull
Stock:                      Beech or walnut
Capacity:               6 round detachable magazine or stripper-clip
Price:                      $259-$349

Ratings: (out of 5 stars):

Style: * * * 1/2
While the K31 doesn’t have the same fine lines as a 1903 Springfield or K98, it’s not exactly a turd either.

Ergonomics: * * * * 1/2
It’s designed very well. Everything is where it should be for comfortable military shooting of a big, fast bullet. The only small complaint is that ring safety. It’s a little odd but makes sense if you’re up in the Alps under 6 feet of snow with gloves on.

Reliability: * * * *
This might be the only area where the Mosin-Nagant is probably superior. Then again, the Mosin-Nagant is superior to just about everything else ever made in this category.

Customize This: * * *
A scope can be added, but not easily. The surplus ammo can be reloaded with .308 bullets, making this rifle more versatile than it otherwise would be for competition and hunting. But the surplus stuff is pretty darned good.

Overall: * * * *
I’m not sure 4 stars does this firearm justice. This is the Swiss Army Knife of Swiss Army Guns. There are very few things it doesn’t do, just about all of them extremely well – all in a package that won’t drain your wallet much.

85 Responses to Gun Review: Swiss K31 Schmidt-Rubin Rifle

  1. avatarPowers says:

    Now I want one. Damn you.

    • avatarJim R says:

      Me too. Thanks a lot.

      • avatarjwm says:

        I’ve shot just about every milsurp bolt gun out there from the ww1 period on. Somehow I’ve managed to miss this one. Bucket list. Needed.

    • avatarAnonymous says:

      You can buy them at samcoglobal and simpsonltd (they both have websites).

      I have three K31′s. They are great and unbelievably accurate for the price.
      I also have a 1911 (my favorite) and a K11.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      Same here. Spent 20+ minutes I didn’t really have to spare reading up on the K31 and its siblings, and looking to see what’s available.

      Despite 20/20 or better vision (depending on which eye) I don’t particularly like shooting with iron sights, so I was very glad to see there are multiple good options available for mounting optics. The delicious irony of mounting a holographic red-dot sight on a century-old rifle design might be too much to resist, especially if I can find one with a nice sharp 1MOA dot.

    • avatarTR says:

      For the love! I just barely bought a Marlin 336 because of the CAR project, and my gun budget is shot for the next…until my wife says I can get another gun. And now you show me something like this. To quote Kid President, “Not cool Robert Frost!”

  2. avatarswampsniper says:

    The only word for the K31 is MAGNIFICENT. When I got mine they were $109.95.

  3. avatarg says:

    Nice review, and the video of the “straight pull” action is quite interesting.

    Crap… now I want one. Hmmm, time to go poking around the interwebz…

  4. avatarMichael B. says:

    Where is this cheap 7.5 Swiss surplus ammo you write about?

    I think that statement is a little outdated.

  5. avatarHeartbreakRidge says:

    Being half-Swiss, and having visited Switzerland many times, while it is true that the Swiss don’t have much warfighting experience in the past 500 years or so, they *definitely* prize marksmanship and accordingly they do a lot of practice, practice, practice.

    Which brings to mind the WWII joke:

    The Swiss General (aside, only in wartime is there a general!) was asked what would his 250,000 men do if the Germans invaded with 500,000 men? He thought for a moment and replied “Shoot twice.”

    • avatarHerb says:

      I thought the reply to the Nazis was “We’ll shoot twice and go home”.

      Owned a Schmidt M11 once. It was the first gun I bought when I turned 18. Cost: $19.95 plus tax. Never did fire it but that rifle just oozed quality, fit & finish. Much longer action than the K31. The straight pull bolt alone belonged in a museum of science & technology.

      Some M11′s were converted to .308 Win. Don’t know how they fared.

      • avatarDierk says:

        The joke actually pre-dates WW1 when the Kaiser or the crown prince asked the Swiss commander what he would do …

        • avatarMatt says:

          and in my experience the joke has the Swiss in question as an NCO, equivalent of a Sergeant Major, not an officer.

  6. avatarJoe Grine says:

    Thanks for the review! If this rifle were manufactured today it would retail for 2K or more. The machining is excellent and tolerances are incredibly tight. I wish you could add a picture of the bolt assembly – it is a little work of art. The barrels were made by Sig and/or Hammerli. I paid $100 each for the first four I bought (2005-06), and $500 for the last one (2013, it was much more pristine than any other sample I had ever seen). The Swiss GP -11 ammo is match grade, and it is not uncommon to find samples that will shoot sub-MOA groups at 100 yards using factory ammo. I mounted a Leopold Scout scope on one of mine using SK mounts that attach where the rear sight is normally found. The scope blocks the ejection port, making it somewhat of a single-shot affair, but that’s Ok for my purposes.

  7. avatarDesertDwellerAZ says:

    Ive been eyeing them for awhile now… Totally agree with your review…

  8. avatarإبليس says:

    This review seems outdated. K31s were very cheap and plentiful 5 years ago. Verily, they were an open secret of the gun community. Such nice Swiss Misses can’t stay single forever! I’m glad I got mine for $200 in 2008. Prices have risen by then. Still, a much better buy than Ruger/Savage/Weatherby plastic economy rifles.

  9. avatarSixpack70 says:

    They had one at the LGS for $225. I missed out on it though as it is no longer there. I have wanted one since I saw Iraqveteran8888 videos on the rifle. I did hold the rifle at the LGS store and it felt great and operated well. The bolt was a little tough to pull, but I am also not familiar with the action and it’s works.

    • avatarAnonymous says:

      Buy one at samcoglobal for $290
      https://www.samcoglobal.com/1-k31.html

      Then buy a case of ammo (brass and near match quality) with it at $0.49/round:
      https://www.samcoglobal.com/Ammo-75-swiss.html

      You won’t be disappointed.

    • avatarIdahoPete says:

      Ahhh, let this be a lesson, Grasshopper: When you see a gun you like, buy it RIGHT NOW, because it will disappear with the morning mists if you hesitate. And if you see two of them, buy both.

      Hey, this is why we have credit cards.

      • avatarSixpack70 says:

        Yeah, I know. I was trying to be a good boy and buy with cash. I just threw that out the window last week when I picked up my Saiga 12. $225 for the K31 looked like a good deal too. The stock was nice, the metal looked good, no rust or anything. I also like the Swiss guns because there is that chance that the original owner’s name is in the stock. The gun sat there for about a month. It is a “you snooze, you lose” deal. That store also keeps a good stock of ammo for them for a decent price. Even during this time of crazy ammo buying, they always had 5-6 boxes on the shelf.

  10. avatar4thestars says:

    K31 is my favorite. Such a sweet shooter. And that GP-11 ammo is pretty much the only thing I’ve found to buy at recent gun shows.

  11. avatarRuss Bixby says:

    Hmmm… I think I’ve found my next-to-acquire rifle.

    My Mosin would love some more company – with which to swap stories of cold weather and keeping the Heinies at bay…

    • avatarArdent says:

      Hmm, add an ’03 Springfield and an SMLE and complete the family. I guess my K98 isn’t invited huh??

  12. avatarMilsurp Collector says:

    I remember when these things littered shops at $200-300 each in excellent condition six years ago. They’ve doubled in price, but an essentially match grade rifle south of 1k is a godsend. Be sure to write a letter to the address on the service card and see if the original owner is still alive. I’ve heard awesome stories of people getting everything from a heartfelt reply to the owner’s original uniform and field gear in the mail as a thank you for preserving their rifle. Scoping one up is also easy with the clamp on mount you can get just about anywhere.

  13. avatarTom in Oregon says:

    Great review of a great rifle. Craftsmanship is terrific. Just like the Sphinx pistols, working the parts just makes you smile that you invested in such fine quality.

  14. avatardrewtam says:

    All of the GP11 (surplus swiss 7.5×55 ammo) I get is berdan primed.

  15. avatarAnonymous says:

    “A scope can be added, but not easily.”

    This scope mount:
    http://www.brownells.com/optics-mounting/scope-bases/rifle-bases/swiss-products-schmidt-rubin-k31-scope-mount-prod1666.aspx

    can be added in about 30 seconds and does not alter your gun. I recommend the steel one… but the aluminum is very sturdy also (I have both).

    • avatar4thestars says:

      Ooooo, this is perfect! I’ve been wanting a scope for it but hated the idea of altering the rifle. Sweet!

  16. avatarRandallOfLegend says:

    I own one. I find the blade sight to be a tad difficult to see. Still it is very accurate.

    It’s misleading to say it’s reloadable. GP11 surplus ammo is Berdan primed. So it requires a special tool, or a water based de-priming method. Right now GP11 is about 50 cents before shipping.

    • avatarPascal says:

      Not to mention Swiss K-31’s use .308 diameter bullets, BUT, have a short throat, and require a very careful adjustment of the bullet-seating die.

      Reloading takes a lot of patience. Right now Mil-sup is available, but once gone, it will not be easy to reload.

      One more factor, how many different calibers do you want to deal with?

    • avatar4thestars says:

      I’ve got dies for it and have been saving up all of the boxer-primed brass I can. Some purchased new, some once-fired Prvi Partizan. For now, I’m shooting the GP-11 but will be prepared for when that starts to dry up.

      The K-31 is a fabulous rifle. I want to get another so my husband and I can have a his-and-hers set. That, plus we won’t have to take turns shooting. :)

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      The primers might be a pain, but on the other hand, the dies are immediately available from multiple manufacturers as verified on MidwayUSA.com.

      Reloading cartridges with Berdan primers is one of those things you either decide to master, or ignore completely. I’m currently in “ignore completely” mode on 5.45×39, for example, because at 18c/round it’s easiest to simply pull and discard bullet and powder, then reload it as a single-use primed case when I’m going somewhere that doesn’t allow steel-jacketed ammo.

  17. avatarAnonymous says:

    Of all the WWII rifles the two most accurate was the Swiss K31 and the Swedish M96 (that I have researched). The only one to consistently beat the K31 was the M96. Both are great rifles.

    • avatarjwm says:

      And the Swedish rifle with that 6.5 mm round was pretty easy on the shoulder off the bench for an extended shooting session. IMHO.

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      The Swede Mausers are sweeeeeet. The Swedes knew how to make nice guns, even mass-issue military rifles, and what’s more, the Swedes know how to run an armory. Their “surplus” rifles are usually in really nice condition. So are the Swiss rifles.

      The 6.5×55 is a round that can take anything up to elk. Very nice ballistics, and when compared to our .30-06 vs. .223 debate, one wonders how different history would have been if we had learned more from the Swede’s choice of a rifle round.

      One of the real deals out there used to be the Swede CG63 target rifle. I’ve fondled only one in my life, and as a result have been “in the market” for one (on my background task list) forever.

      • avatarjwm says:

        The U.S. did toy with the smaller round idiea briefly in the old days. The Marines carried a 6mm rifle during the Spanis American war and the boxer rebellion. And I understand that Garand wanted his rifle in a lighter round than 06 but he was overruled by the powers that be.

        I don’t know if it could be done, but I’d like to see a No. 4 Lee Enfield in 6.5 or 7mm Mauser.

        • avatarjim says:

          Don’t know about converting a SMLE to rimless unless you did it on an arsenel basis, like the Indian .303-.308 conversions. Did read a great article one time about a mania of .303 wildcats that swept Austrailia after WW2 – the two that stick in my head is that they had a lot of 6.5 Dutch Manlichers (some weird rimmed round) but no ammo, so 6.5-303 conversions were popular. The other one I remember is that the necked-down .25 was so popular that there was factory ammo made. Being Aussies, they called it a .303-.25 (there was a picture of the factory box).

        • avatarSixpack70 says:

          Garand made the first M1 in .276 Pederson. It held 10 rounds in the en bloc clip. Because the U.S. had so much .30-06 stockpiled, they asked that he change it.

          I’ve been to the Armory museum twice here in Springfield. It is drool worthy with all of the guns they have. One of the guys that works there is a Garand owner also.

        • avatarjwm says:

          Jim, I’ve also heard of No. 4 Lee Enfields being converted to 7.62x54r so they can make use of the cheap and available surplus ammo. I’ve never seen one in the real world, but it would be fun. Combine my favorite milsurp rifle with plentiful and cheap ammo.

  18. I guess it’s too much to ask that there’s any way to swap the bolt over so the handle is on the left side? Us lefties have it sooooooooooooo rough…

  19. avatarWill says:

    Thanks! No I know my next gun!! I’ve been on the fence for a while.

  20. avatarBilly says:

    I want one.
    Looks like gunpricegouger.com…I mean gunbroker.com has one for $930….
    The others are priced between $350-$500. Hence the reason I don’t shop from there anymore.

  21. avatarIdahoPete says:

    A few of the guys in our club have been shooting an interesting little straight-pull Russian .22 rifle for the 100 and 200- yard silhouette shoots we have. Not a pretty rifle, but they seem to be extremely accurate with the ammo they like. They are called the “Biathlon basic” on various web sites, and are apparently a “basic” or stripped-down version of the Ishmash Biathlon rifle that is used in serious small bore rifle competition. I seem to recall they ran around $200 or so at the FLGS, but that was 2-3 years ago. The down side was finding extra magazines.

  22. avatarFelix says:

    Two things to note

    The spent cases eject straight up — and have a strong tendency to come straght down my collar. A friend said the solution is not to rotate the barrel a bit during the pull-push cycle, but to slap the bolt handle open and close with an open palm instead of grabbing it and holding on. Seems to work!

    Sure does hold six rounds, but stripper clips only hold five, and the ammo comes in 10 (20?) round boxes. Why?

    • avatarSixpack70 says:

      That’s weird, because even the earlier Schmidt-Rubins Held 12, making two stripper clips of 5 suck for reloading still.

    • avatarTC says:

      Stripper clips hold 6 (at least mine do) and the 10 round boxes are packed 6 to a package, hence 60 rounds.

  23. avatarSean says:

    Awesome looking rifle, I am still saving up for a Grand though.

  24. avatarRonald Pottol says:

    I had a book (and if anyone can figure out what it is called, I’d appreciate it, because I lost it and cannot remember the tittle) where the author, a US Army officer who had seen infantry combat in Viet Nam shot every service rifle he could get his hands on, from the trap door springfield to the bullpups of europe, and the K-31 was his favorite of the bold action guns, he didn’t expect that.

  25. avatar0351 says:

    My brother has one in very nice condition. It’s a wonderful piece of workmanship, and the round is a mean one.

  26. avatarChris says:

    Fantastic rifles I have a couple as well as the 1911 rifle.

    If you want a collector snag a ZFK55 which is the sniper version of the K31, a handful made it to the US. Even though the ZFK55 looks like a k31, they share almost no parts and if you think a K31 is accurate, the ZFK55 will out shoot some very pricey modern rifles.

  27. avatarDave Lewis says:

    A great rifle. The machined Swiss cross on the receiver is a work of art. Mine was made in 1942 and unfortunately didn’t have the former owner’s name included. I’ve got about 250 rounds of ammunition – surplus and Privi Partizan – and I need to get some dies ordered. My only gripes about the rifle are the clunky safety and the European style sights that don’t work very well with my 60 year old eyes. My K-31 was the first rifle I bought over the internet by using my C&R license about 9 years ago. I just looked up the info on the rifle and found that I paid $109 for it.

  28. Mojo sights (www.mojosights.com) makes fully adjustable peep sights for this rifle.

  29. avatarLTC F says:

    Well now the secret’s out. I’ve had one of these for eons, once I filled out my Enfield Collection. Next to my Garand it’s my favorite surplus rifle.

  30. avatarStickShift says:

    I’ve had two K31s – the first I sold to a friend who loved it so much – and a K11. I think the K11 is a little better made and smoother in function than either of the K31s I’ve had, but they are all fantastic. If you like surplus rifles and don’t have one of these, you’re doing it wrong.

    • avatarDierk says:

      I have a K11 in .22! Bought it in a second-hand shop (not gun-shop!) back in ’70 in Schaffhausen in Switzerland. Single-action only, no magazine as that is still configured for the 11 ammo. It was obviously a custom job, as the open sights could be fine-tuned for .22 ranges. Who converted it and who used it I have no idea, but I keep up with the bench-resters at our club after fitting a scope!

  31. Timothy J. Mullin, “Testing the War Weapons: Rifles Light Machine Guns from Around the World”, Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 1997, p. 418:

    “BEST RIFLES [Pattern 17/ M1917 Enfield, K31, M91 Carcano, M1 carbine & SIG SG 550 according to Mullin]

    The best rifles I tested should be broken down into time periods, although they overlap to a degree.

    [...]

    2. The K31 is most likely the finest straight-pull service rifle ever made. It has a wonderful action & good trigger, and is limited only by its capacity and sights. Suitably modified, such an action might well prove to be an ideal military rifle.”

  32. I’ve won the Texas Vintage Rifle Championship four times with one of these….and my rifle has won it 5 times. (I loaned it to a Clay Hefner one year at the TSRA Championship at Terrell.) Also won the National Vintage Championship at Camp Perry with it a couple of years ago, plus shot a couple doetags with it. I shoot the standard GP11 Swiss ammo. It’s good. Video of Rick Crawford shooting at Camp Perry with it on the relay before me on the Blackfork 6 Youtube channel. Great guns all around.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-g-WrIPpeU

  33. Nice review. The only thing I would say is that they are actually not hard to scope. They are actually one of the easiest milsurps to scope, with the option of the Swiss Products clamp-on mount for no alteration to the rifle and ability to still use the iron sights, Swiss Products drill and tap mount if you want to go that route, several scout-style mounts, such as S&K, and some fairly expensive European cantilever-type mounts.

    They are actually a good rifle to scope, as many shooters get 1/2 MOA groups from them, and most will shoot under 1 MOA with the surplus ammo. Two of mine have the Swiss Products mounts, and I used an S&K scout mount on another to shoot a caribou before trading that mount off.

    If you get a clamp-on mount, make sure it as a real Swiss Products, not a copy. The copies don’t work well.

    You can’t shoot these rifles without really loving them, and with the slap-slap method of cycling the action, you can run them almost as fast as a lever action.

  34. avatarJohn says:

    Long story short , I bought one for $125 , gave it the TLC it deserved , only shot it twice ( two boxes each trip ) and sold it for $$ to buy new tires for my wife’s car before winter hit . My impression after 80 rounds ? THE MOST ACCURATE MILITARY RIFLE I HAVE EVER HAD THE PLEASURE TO FIRE . Outstanding feel when shouldered , rock solid in every way , easy on the shoulder , and an absolute TACK DRIVER OUT TO 400 YARDS .

    I have owned or fired Mauser’s , Mosin Nagants , Springfield’s , Enfield’s , Krag’s , Trapdoor’s… you name it . I regret selling this rifle . I regret even more that another one will run me ~ $400 – but I WILL own another one .

    I used the ‘ol ” Easy off ” oven cleaner gun dealer trick on my wood , a wet towel and a steam iron to raise most of the dents , dried it in an industrial oven @ work ( 150 degrees for 8 hours ) and then gently sanded her back down with fine sandpaper & then some 00 steel wool . Then another 2 weeks worth of lemon oil & steel wool . Coat her down , give it a day to sink in , then the steel wool & more lemon oil . I’d guess about 20 coats in all . The birch stock stayed a beautiful blonde color , and aside from a few ” character marks “, she was slick as glass .

    Unusual rifle that will turn heads at the range , shoots better than this old man can see these days , and keeps going up in value . What more do you want ? My next K-31 will ride right behind me in the Chevy & and put meat in my freezer when called upon should I do my part and point her at the vitals . ONE VERY FINE RIFLE AND A BARGAIN EVEN AT $400 ( I won’t pay that !! ) . If I only had $$ for 1 rifle , this would be @ the top of my list . Prepper’s take note !

    Sermon’s over , you can watch ” Duck Dynasty ” now …

  35. avatarJason says:

    I purchased my K31 this past February for 250 out the door. Kick myself for not ponying up an additional 500 and getting the k98 and m44 mosin, all in excellent shape that were flanking the swiss! I reload using privi brass, 178gr SMK’s, and around 45 gr of either IMR 4350 or R17. My rifle is disgustingly accurate for being 72 years old. No desire to glass it, but I would like to add a diopter sight, and a LASIK procedure for me! 3 inch, 18 round groups are easy, provided a shooter does their work!

  36. avatarpontiaku says:

    Boy someone chewed the hell out of that front sight…

  37. avatarReid says:

    One of the best reviews, along with the responses, that I’ve seen so far on the
    K-31. I agree that the GP-11 ammo is great stuff; when shot over the chrono, it was showing a bit over 2,700fps. Don’t want to sound wimpish, but when combined with the steel buttplate, the recoil will really get your attention.

    Note that the Swiss rounds are actually .307″, not .308, but there’s no problem in using the latter when reloading. One thing to be pointed out, however, is that the cartridge head is fully supported in the K-31, but isn’t in the earlier model of 1911, so care must be taken if loading for the earlier guns. Most of the reloading manuals I have mostly use IMR powders. I called the Sierra 800 number for the ballistics support guys, and worked up really nice load using Varget, which has been the best powder I’ve used for the cartridge so far.

  38. avatarBrent says:

    I have 2 of these very fine rifles (K-31) that I bought when they were around $200.00 each. I shoot in competitive matches so the second K-31 is kept in the safe for when the first one wears out. I should live so long. Our local gun range holds 3-4 Swiss rifle matches each year. These are shot at 300 meters in prone position and are mostly slow fire (1 shot per minute) and/or rapid fire (6 in one minute or some version). Most matches run about 18 rounds. Most are fired using some type of rest (log, bedroll, ammo can, etc). Some require the use of a sling if the shooter is under 60. Once I found the best way to attach and manipulate the side mount sling I found it quite easy to use. Other than friendly competition the scores are ‘qualification’ scores. You have to get a certain score to ‘qualify’ and then you get a medal. The swiss medals are some of the best looking I have ever seen. Ribboned and very heavy and colorful. We usually have a banquet once a year to distribute the medals as the scores are turned into the Swiss and the medals are sent from there. The targets are either camoflagued sillohuette or bulls-eye. We are allowed to use diopter sights as I was told that these are acceptable in the Swiss matches. These 60 year old eyes can’t make out the standard sights any more. I have used the MOJO sights and they are quite good. I tried the ‘Ghost Ring’ configuration and found I shot better with a front post. I now use diopter sights and absolutely love them. The load I use and find to be the most accurate in both my rifles is – 42grs 3031, Norma brass (just bought 200 rounds through Midway), Winchester standard primers and Hornady 155gr A-Max bullets. Full length resize the cases. I use Lee dies including the Lee crimper die. These are loaded to chamber length as both rifles have different throat leads. I find this load to be softer on the shoulder than the heavier loads. Don’t know the fps and don’t really care. I have had high total score for the season on more than one occasion and my tightest group for 300 meters has been 3 inches. For more info the Match Director can be contacted through our local range on the match schedule page at Eastern Nebraska Gun Club. By the way – Our club sponsors Swiss pistol matches, too. But, that is another story.

    • avatarBill Lintott says:

      Great comments about the Swiss shooting matches. How can I contact your club to participate in some of those matches. Thanks, Bill

      • avatarBrent says:

        Go to engc.com (that’s the website for Eastern Nebraska Gun Club). Pull up the shooting schedule and you will find the Swiss rifle and pistol match directors’ name and phone number next to the Swiss matches. He will be able to give you much more info than I.

  39. avatarRalph says:

    Just bought a 1944 WW II era K31 with a ME of .752 , is there ANYTHING I need to know about this rifle or look out for, before shooting it ?

    • avatarBrent says:

      Make sure it’s clean, pointed in the correct direction and have fun. On a more serious note – Don’t get your face too close to the bolt ring when you shoot. I’ve knocked the lens out of my glasses a couple times before I learned. You will need to move your head to one side when you cycle the bolt. It’ll become second nature. Ensure that the bolt is completely closed. The rifle has a safety. Pull the bolt ring and turn 1/4 turn and release. The opposite to take it off safe. Or course an empty chamber and magazine is the safest. You can load through the top with or without a stripper or you can remove the magazine and load that way.

      • avatarRalph says:

        I had heard there were issues with the 1944 era rifles “op rod ” cracking / breaking ,and wondered if anyone here could enlighten me

        • avatarpontiaku says:

          Just do a google Image Search for ‘op rod k31′. You can see a little nub on the charging handle can sheer off.

  40. avatarEd McGaugh says:

    The K31 is still pretty cheap here in Switzerland. I bought one at a second-hand junk shop for CHF100 (US$110) ten years ago but my shooting buddy just bought one last week with matching numbers and a bayonet from a fancy gun shop for CHF150 (US$165).

    Just one warning: There is a square lug at the front of the bolt which sometimes fails. Look for a crack in this area.

    It´s a good tip about the paper under the butt plate. I looked and mine was still there!

  41. avatarRalph says:

    After doing more research on the 1944 era rifles, I have found that the bolt issue seems to be rather rare, and most suspect parts were replaced when the rifle was re-arsenalized / and re-issued . Mine seems to be in fine shape, as does the overall rifle itself. I am waiting on ammo to arrive , and hope to shoot it very soon. I will also re-load for it, as soon as the Redding die set is available . I do have about 40 rnds of GP 11 ammo, but since it is berdan primed , the brass { to me anyway } is disposible. I will shoot the P/P boxer primed rounds and reload it . There WAS a troop tag under the buttplate , but after seriouss consideration, will not try to contact that soldier . Craftsmanship seems to be very good, and as advertised . Wood is walnut, and looks to be original to the rifle. Altogether, I’m a happy camper, and will post shooting results when I get to the range, soon, I hope .

  42. avatarRick Bohnenkamp says:

    This is a nice, fair article covering the Swiss K31 Schmidt-Rubin Rifle. Of all of my milsurps, my Swiss rifles make my day on the range a satisfying outing. All four of my Swiss rifles shoot M.O.A. using GP-11 ammo.

    Three of these rifles, I bought from Simpson’s. I live close buy, and they allow me to peruse their racks of rifles for that perfect buy. They also have an excellent website that lets you view the rifles up close. They even list bore sizes.

    I went to the Aledo gunshow looking for a Garand or M1A last fall, but walked away empty handed. Not to be disheartened in my quest for a new to me firearm, I traveled over to Simpson’s. I ended up in their backroom dusting off their racks of 96/11′s. I narrowed my focus down to two, then made purchase on one with the flip of a coin.

    Yesterday, both windy and cold, I took my newest 113 year old 96/11 to the range to see how it’d do with some GP-11 I had just purchased along with a couple of reloads. It shot 12-14” high at 200m and right on the nut at 300m. I stood up three bowling pins laying at the 300m target stands. With this sixty year old steering with irons, it took me four rounds to knock them over. What a sweetheart.

  43. avatarPowers says:

    Last week I finally got my K31. My comment was the first when this article came up, and it really lit a fire under me. Now I have an impeccable Swiss K31 in close to mint condition, a “p” series (Private) version for civilian market or as my serial number indicates, for the Swiss government. Individuals were allowed to take their rifles home for good upon retirement and the “P” stamped on them. At least thats what I have been able to pick up from researching it. Mine was originally made for the KTA. I guess someone took it home when they retired. Beautiful rifle.

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