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Thread: Old Military Rifle Accuracy...

  1. #1
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    Default Old Military Rifle Accuracy...

    Just to keep the bullet question in it's own thread, let's bring that interesting discussion about the crappy old Mosin rifle up here and compare it, by reputation, with all the other military calibers of the past 150 years.

    This about the reputation of the caliber/rifle over it's existance. Not the number of enemy it has slain or even how many matches it has one or whether somebody has one that is a tack driver. There are exceptions to every rule.
    Look over this list and consider the reputation of rifle and caliber.
    I'll try to list them from memory but may miss a few.
    6.5x52 Carcano
    6.5x54 Mannlicher (was this a military caliber?)
    6.5x55 Swede
    6.5x50 Japanese
    7x57 Mauser
    7.5x54 MAS
    7.5x55 S/R Swiss
    30 Gov't '06
    7.62x51 NATO
    7.62x39 Russian
    7.62x54R Mosin
    7.65x53 Belgium
    7.7x58 Arisaka
    303 British
    30-40 Krag
    8x57 Mauser
    "
    "
    "
    45-70 Gov't

    Pick the top five most accurate (by reputation).

    6.5x55 Swede, 7.5 x55 Swiss, 7.62x51 NATO, 30 Gov't '06, 7x57 Mauser.

    The Krag rifle like the Springfield was a very well made rifle and very accurate. It didn't live long enough to make a rep for accuracy. The Swedish Mausers were very well made and very accurate and the caliber is still winning matches today. The same could be said for the Schmidt-Rubin 7.5x55 rifles. If anyone thinks the 308 and 30-06 aren't accurate, in their military rifles, he hasn't shot one enough. I think we could argue about the fifth place but the 7.62x54R won't replace it.

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    Default .303

    Hi Murphy,

    I had an Enfield #3 MK 1 SMLE. Made in Lithgow in 1943. It was as accurate as my 30-06. 3 shot sub 1" groups at 100 yards with remington ammo. Loved that gun, but had to make room for others so I sold it. Yes dumb move. My Mosin was not even close to accurate for me. New or surplus ammo wouldn't group well. I had a Finnish 1891/30 with a hex reciever. I would have to put the .303 higher up in accuracy. Just my 2 cents.

    Ron

    Oh, How about the 7.53 Carcano, 308 CETME.....

  3. #3

    Talking somewhere in there

    I'd have to put the 8X57 in there somewhere, possibly a little higher than 5th. Also, on the sniper subject, wasn't most of their rifles selected or special built for the task at hand? I seriously doubt if many were just run of the mill battlefield guns (not correct mil terminology).
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.

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    New member George's Avatar
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    Default old military

    Murphy,
    Guess I don't know what the question is and very few if any? people have extensive experience with ALL the military small arms of the past... so- I imagine over the last hundred years my vote for "best I've seen" would go to a good military match type 03 Springfield with good ammo in the hands of a good non-scope sight shooter. I have looked at some very impressive targets shot by those guns and riflemen. With modern stuff and scope sights- who knows how any military rifle/cartridge would rank but a tuned up .308 would be hard to beat. Within the context of the thread I think you covered most.

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    We have two questions in one....

    The accuracy of the Rifle and the acuracy of the Cartridge.

    6.5 Carcano, never developed into an accurate cartridge nor an accurate rifle.

    6.5x54 Mannlicher, was adopted in the 1903 M-S rifle and carbine by Austria and Greece. It is a very accurate rifle-cartridge combination. Partly due to the excellent construction of the rifles...
    It served in combat with both countries. The 1903 M/S carbine is often thougt to be the first modern mountain rifle for troops.


    6.5x55 Swedish Mauser, (6.5mm Norwegian Krag) was developed between 1891 and 1892. It was first issued to Norway in the Krag-Jørgensen 1892 Rifle which was used until WWII. In 1896 the Swedes issued the same Cartridge in the 1896 Mauser action, used until the 1950s as the M-38 shortened version. Both rifles are very, very accurate due to their superior machining. The Swede Mauser has a record of better accuracy than the krag. This caliber was also used in various sporting arms, machine guns and semi-automatic rifles. The Swede mausers and the Swiss Schmidt-Rubins set the record for international Military rifle matches.

    6.5x50 Japanese, was issued in the type 38 Rifle in 1905. The actions are very strong and simple. With Norma Factory ammo I have shot 2 inch groups at 100 yards with sporterized versions. OK by military standards of the time but nothing great. there are all sorts of odd machining variations.

    7.7 Japanese, adopted in the type 99 rifle. an even simpler version of the type 38. About the same accuracy if you can find a half-way descent one that has been sporterized.

    7x57 Mauser,(also known as the 275 rigby, 7mm Spanish Mauser, 7mm Serbian, 7mm Boer) This cartidge was developed around 1892 and was issued in the 1893 Mauser to Spain. Remington also built and sold LOTS of Remington Rolling block rifles in 7x57mm. Mexico and most south american countries also adopted this cartirdge. It was a very effective round compared to the black powder and early cordite powder then in use by many militaries. US troops were impressed by it's range and accuracy during the Spanish American War. This led to the adoption of the 1903 rifle and the 30-03 cartirdge. The British also took a good ass-whoopin in South Africa from the 7mm. This led the Brits to modify their choice of rifles tfrom the Lee Metfort to the Lee Enfield, and modify their 303 British round with new powder and a new projectile.


    7.5x54 MAS, A french cartridge which is OK in a semi-auto Model 49/56. About a 2 inch grouping rifle if you can get a scope on it. The power is about that of the 308 (7.62) without the inherent accuracy. The bolt action MAS 36 is a big clunky rifle that would be best used to support a white flag.


    7.5x55 Schmidt Rubin aka 7.5 Swiss. First issued around 1889 this is one of the most accurate military cartridges ever developed. While called the 7.5 mm it is really a 7.62 mm and can use 308 caliber bullets. while later adopted into the type 57 auto-loader, it was originally issued in a series of STRAIGHT PULL rifles. The model 96/1911 being one, and the k11 and K-31 straight pull rifles. Like Sweden, the Swiss did not have to build rifles during war time emergencies. So all their machining is SUPER. However,,, since the Swedes and the Swiss never had to use these super well made rifles in extended combat, it makes you wonder just how well they would have done full of grit and mud. Plus ,,what would have happend if their ammo production had been rushed???


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  6. #6
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default My experience, for what it's worth...

    7.62 NATO
    7.5X55
    .30-06
    8X57 Mauser
    6.5X55 Swede
    5.56 NATO
    I've witnessed some that were noteworthy because they performed much better than I thought they should, to include...
    .303 British in Pattern 14 Enfield
    6.5 Jap in early 'captured' rifle with Norma ammunition
    .30-40 Krag, with duplication load of 220 Hornady RN/41 gr. IMR 4350
    .280 Ross, though it was in a 'commercial' hunting rifle
    7.65 Mauser in M1909 Argentine DWM mfd. rifles

    I've also seen some long range BP cartridge shooting done with 500 gr. paper patched loads in .45/70 that made me believe that I wouldn't want to be within a thousand yards of someone determined to perforate my carcass!
    In the same vein, by reputation, the Sharps rifle equipped marksmen (Sharps' Shooters or sharpshooters) of the US Civil War made a mark in the history books for themselves, as well as a lot of soldiers using the various 'front stuffers'.

    I'm still on the lookout for a MOA shootin' M1 carbine.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maydog View Post
    I'd have to put the 8X57 in there somewhere, possibly a little higher than 5th. Also, on the sniper subject, wasn't most of their rifles selected or special built for the task at hand? I seriously doubt if many were just run of the mill battlefield guns (not correct mil terminology).

    Yes, no doubt. Any rifle to be used for long shots would receive special treatment regardless of what design or what country. All of ours were tweeked. I made the statement, back on another post, that the Mosin rifles were inaccurate and challenged anyone to name one Russian sniper who used one. Well I got several names, of course. But my point was that this rifle was never considered a very accurate rifle as were the 6.5x55 and 7.5x55 rifles. Any hand made rifle with a specially made target barrel will shoot better than mill run rifles, but as a battle rifle we might say the Mosin was rugged and simple but not accurate. The Springfield, the Swedish Mausers and the Schmidt-Rubin were all noted for their targeting ability.
    The Terni (I left that one out), Carcano, Mosin, and Enfields were not known for their accuracy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrassLakeRon View Post
    Hi Murphy,

    I had an Enfield #3 MK 1 SMLE. Made in Lithgow in 1943. It was as accurate as my 30-06. 3 shot sub 1" groups at 100 yards with remington ammo. Loved that gun, but had to make room for others so I sold it. Yes dumb move. My Mosin was not even close to accurate for me. New or surplus ammo wouldn't group well. I had a Finnish 1891/30 with a hex reciever. I would have to put the .303 higher up in accuracy. Just my 2 cents.

    Ron

    Oh, How about the 7.53 Carcano, 308 CETME.....
    Yes, you're right, I did forget that Carcano. I think it is 7.35x51 and it was made in Terni and called the 7.35 Terni, but never made the list of most accurate. I think it is just the 6.5x52 necked up to 7.35. It replaced the 6.5.

    I have seen some Enfields and Krags that were very accurate also but I think with use they the actions stretch and distort and loose accuracy. I really like the Krag carbines but unless it's seen very little use, it won't be a top shooter.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  9. #9
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    The Mosins were used on a large scale, for many years.
    More than likely the rifles issues to Soviet snipers were of better quality than the run of the mill issue rifles. The Mosin designed rifles made in Finland are much better suited to accurate shooting. As are some of the WWI era Mosins that were built in th USA. The Soviet idea of sniping was much different than what we currently think of today. Most of those high scoring Russina snipers racked up their scores in city fighting. More of a designated sharp-shooter than what is now considered a sniper.
    I have fired the 7.62 rimmed Russian round in a 1895 Winchester. (yes, there were lots of them produced) It is actually a pretty good round when used in that rifle.
    The SVDs and Drugs chambered in 7.62 rimmed are nothing much in the way of accuarcy. My M-16A2 issue rifle was more accurate. But I think that is because they use the rifles in a different manner.


    Some rifles are great for target matches but leave much behind for regular military use. Take the 303 caliber ROSS RIFLE of Canada, it was produced because the Brits were being bone-heads about allowing the Canadians the rights to build Lee Enfields. So the Ross Rifle was adopted for awhile.
    It was a close copy of a Styer Straight pull design and was VERY accurate. So Accuarte that it became popular as a target rifle. BUT,,,,, it was very picky and jammed up with any amount of dirt. For reading about this rifle, check out the book (A Rifleman Went to War by McBride.)
    He was an american who joined up with the Canadians during WWI. He was a very sucessfull sniper and long range machine gunner.
    Speaking of the 303, Some of the later model Enfields were much more accuarte than is popularly believed. They may look funny and they sure are loose fitting, but they are capable of high rates of fire for an extended period of time. The later models had useable peep sights and that ten round magazine kept that rifle in Service for a long time.

    The 30-06 is a good fairly accurate cartidge, when matched to the right rifle, the accuracy of the original 1903s is well known. Even some of the 1917s are pretty good shooters. But the original battle sight of the 1903 was not all that popular in combat. It was better as a target rifle.
    The 1903-A3 had a rear peep which was more practical from a combat pont of view. The M-1 Garand and the 30-06 are well matched in most cases. But some rifles like the FN-49 in 30-06 or the Madsen Bolt action (the last bolt gun for military general issue) are not exactly tack drivers.

    The 7.62 NATO, aka the 308 WInchester is accurate and better designed than the 30-06. It should be since it is from a totally diffent era.
    BUT, if we are talking about battle rifles, the U.S. only had the 7.62 caliber M-14 in production from 1957 until 1964. LESS TIME THAN THE U.S. WAS BUILDING 30-40 KRAG RIFLES. While the M-14 is still in use, many being rebuilt for use in the current conflicts, it is not a standard issue rifle and has not been so since the late 1960s.
    Some other 7.62 rifles issued elsewhere in the world are ho-hum in the accuracy department. Either due to loose tolerances or because the sights are just plain crappy.

    7.62 x 39mm (aka the AK-47 round) This is not a battle rifle round, it is a Storm-Rifle (assault rifle) intermediate cartridge. (betwen a light carbine and a rifle.) Intended for close range work and high volume fire, it works. While the Russian and Chinese AK-47 variants are not very accuarte at all, the models made in Finland (and Israel) are pretty good. This round is also plenty accurate enough out to 300 yards in a quality SKS carbine, (such as the East German or Hungarian versions)

    5.56mm NATO (223 remington) Again not a battle rifle cartridge but an intermediate round. Much more accurate than the 7.62 x 39. This round seems to be accurate in a wide range of weapons. Originally used a 1 in 14 twist that ensured that the bullet (55 grain boat-tail) was semi-unstable and would tumble upon entering a body. This was then changed to a 1 in 12 twist for several years.
    The current ammo is a 62 grain boat-tail with a steel penetrator inside. (at the expense of about 200 fps under the original loads) This is stabilized by a 1 in 7 twist. While now capable of loner range, it is also over-stabilized and wounds are less severe.
    The M-16A2 has slightly fragile sights compared to the original sights of the M-16 and M-16A1. The M-4 carbine which is now the rage, has an opitical sight that requires batteries and is prone to getting whacked. The back-up sights are very flimsy... The shorter barrel means even less velocity and a rather large muzzle flash in low light situation. That is what happens when you send open area troops into closed quarters urban fights with a modified rifle instead of a sub-gun.
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    Has anyone ever shot a 6mm Lee Navy?

    It was issued to the Navy and Marines from 1895 to around 1903. It was a sorta straight pull cam action. Using stipper cli[ps to load the ammo. the case was used as the basis for the 220 Swift. I have never been able to handle a Lee Navy rifle, nor have I seen any ammo.
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  11. #11

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    I have a 1908 M96 swede that shoots very tight groups with open sights. I am sure with a decent scope that it would be match-accurate. Incidentally I was reading 'Out of Nowhere' history of military sniping and in the civil war the standard for Berdans rifle regiment was 10 shots in 5 1/2 inches freehand at 200 yards. Impressive shooting with any rifle let alone a muzzle loader with open sights 150 years ago. Perhaps we should all forget about rifle talk and practice more!

    Most milsurp bolt rifles are capable of good accuracy if in good condition, and with all types , snipers made some impressive shots. But they were often trying to hit human size targets, not necessarily 1 inch groups and not always at long range. I have been to France and seen the Trenches which were often only 100 yards apart..... almost impossible to believe unless you see it!

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