Friday, September 30, 2011

The Obsolete Rifle Match That Wasn't

As noted in an earlier post, I recently participated in what was billed as a military "obsolete wooden stock rifle" match. Now, seeing that title, without any other description, suggests to me that the focus of the match is probably bolt guns like the one above, or possible semi-autos of the '40s or not set up for quick magazine changes.

What it turned out to be was three guys (to include your curmudgeonly author) with three different generations of rifles: a competition grade AR, a competition grade M1A, and........

A rather old but serviceable Egyptian Hakim in 7.9 x 57 mm Mauser. At this point, I'd argue that only one of us was serious about using an obsolete rifle.

After checking the gas settings for the 154 grain surplus Romanian rounds I was using, we had two sighting rounds, and moved to standing slow fire. There were a couple pleasant surprises here. First, my rifle was actually accurate. Second, the significant weight and length led to more stability in the standing position. Third, I had high score for this portion, which was more of a shock than anything else given the rifles present.

Next was seated rapid fire, with one mandatory reload. With a stovepiped round on the second shot, and the Hakim's ability to smash a digit exceeding a Garand, this didn't go quite so well. Dumping six rounds into a target at 200 yards in less than the ten remaining seconds isn't an accuracy enhancer.

The next two stages, including prone slow fire, showed that shooting against competition grade rifles, shooting coats, slings, and and gloves with an standard-issue slingless military rifle, no gloves or dedicated coat, and surplus ammunition isn't going to generally go well. Something like going to the country club skeet match with your grandpa's Browning Auto-5: it'll shoot, but people will look at you like you're crazy and you'll get your butt kicked competitively. Or they'll say something like "Isn't it amazing how people used these crude primitive rifles", leading to choking back comments on the amazing lack of knowledge of what went into rifles of this era. Flint and firelocks are primitive and crude, my friend; that's a whole different concept form "obsolete".

At least my '70s era ammo didn't do this:

If the price of the primed "once-fired" 5.55 mm brass that guy is selling is too good to be true.........

Still, it's good to get an old rifle out and see what it can do. Especially when you're pleasantly surprised that the old rifle is accurate if you do your part.


BobG said...

Two of my favorite rifles in my collection are my 1903A3, and an old 303 Enfield.
I don't even own an autoloading rifle that is a center fire.

Brigid said...

That's my kind of match. I still get interest when on the table with my 3 big black guns is an old Garand.

MauserMedic said...


Both fine rifles, which I've also enjoyed shooting. Plus those old bolt guns deal with cast lead bullets quite nicely.


I've been surprised by the number of people who've seen a couple of my old semi-autos and simply assumed them to be Garands or M1As. Apparently I have fondness for the obscure.

Windy Wilson said...

Forgive my ignorance, but what happened to that cartridge case you're holding in your hand?

Anonymous said...

The bullet was pushed back into the casing.

MauserMedic said...


In this case (pun!), the brass completely separated during firing, leaving the front portion in the chamber while ejecting the remainder. The rifle cycled normally, loading a new round into the chamber and jamming. Manually extracting the round pulled the round out with the other portion sleeved over it. This almost never happens with new brass, which is what the material was presented as to the owner when he purchased it at a gunshow. I does happen much more frequently with brass that has been fired and trimmed many times though. This wasn't the only brass that separated during his course of fire. In other words, this shooter got swindled.