Featured Favorite Weird Rifles

Discussion in 'Rifle Opinions' started by thumbuster, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

    295
    0
    0
    Do you have a slightly off kilter but still favorite rifle? I had a few, but here are my very favorites. Both are kinda strange, but not totally unique and I'm sure some of you have one or both of these.

    You almost never see a Model 8 or 81 (as mine is) in the hunting fields these days. They are heavy. I don't think I've ever seen a scope mounted on one, maybe the bolt or breech is in the way, or maybe the steel is too thin to set the mounting screws. They did make a nice peep sight for these though, but mine has the original open sights. Funny, but it's a little off to one side, so when I mount the rifle it's a bit canted, but as far as I can tell it doesn't make any diff. The 30 Rem round is about like a 30-30, but I can load pointed bullets. Four quick shots. They used to make a magazine fix for it, but no longer. At one time, during the middle of the 20Century they were quite popular. Today they are a relic.

    Here's my other favorite kinda kinky rifle. It's a Mannlicher Schoenauer model 1952. I bought it in a pawn shop for $450. It was beat all to hell. Someone must have taken it to Africa (maybe?). It had been cut off in front of the butt I guess to shorten it, again probably fo some guys wife or kid. It is therefore short. The pad that was afixed was terrible. Some kind of homemade thing. I replaced it with a Pakmeyer recoil pad which made it longer and it does ease the recoil. The rifle is an '06 and it's short so it jumps when you touch it off. It had been dropped on the gold front sight so it was pounded flat and the gun shot high, so I replaced the front sight with something from Marble and now it shoots fine. The white bead makes it easier to see the front sight in the fine rear sight. It has a 300 yard flip of rear sight, but I've never shot it that far. The rear of the action is scratched all to heck and really looks bad. My little M.S. had some rough treatment. Bore is like new and she shoot fine.

    Both of my favorite, weird rifles are fast and have iron sights. The M.S. is quick as lightening and the action is smooth and reliable. Loaded with a 220 grain solid, it'd shoot through a moose I think. These M.S. actions are strong. It is as easy to carry as a .22. Great little rifle, huh.
     
  2. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

    295
    0
    0
    [​IMG]Here are the rifles I mentioned in my post above.
     

  3. uglydog

    uglydog Super Member

    1,427
    0
    0
    I frequently take my Model 8s and 81s out into the field, they are heavy and not very accurate but they have a fair bit of mystique to them. I have each model in all the common chamberings and they have all taken at least one deer by me. They pretty much correspond to the various Winchester offerings, the 25 Rem is similar to the 25/35, the 30 Rem to the 30/30, the 32 Rem to the 32 Win Special, and the 35 Rem to the 33 Winchester. In fact, the 25 and 30 Rem guns were briefly marked 25/35 and 30/30 Rem. Not only did this create counfusion buying ammo but Winchester unsuccessfully brought suit against Remington to change the name.
    These guns were never tapped for a scope by the factory but some were drilled and tapped later on by gunsmiths. I have a M-81 in 35 Rem that has an Echo side mount with 3x Weaver attached. A side mount is necessary as one would not be able to load the gun if it were a top mount as the rounds have to be put in from directly above. It still is not an accurate rifle but it is easier to shoot well than with the irons.
    The detachable magazines were an aftermarket option mostly from Police Equipment and Supply. It was a fairly expensive optionwo was very seldom done by private citizens. There were some done for the U.S. Navy by someone during WWII as well as a few by individual gunsmiths with various success. One by the name of Krieger of something like that had a fairly dependable conversion but again, it was expensive and not many were done.
    I have a half dozen with the aperature sight, it was a relatively common option back in the day. Today these sights are pretty valuable in themselves. The Model 8 and 81s had limited areas of popularity, only 132,000 units were produced in about 45 years, the Winchester 84 had a couple million produced in the same time frame. For being a John Browning design, they are fairly complicated with a lot of parts which, in themselves, are rather labor intensive to make as replacements.

    Maybe my oddest rifle which I hunt with is a Winchester 1895. This is not the more common lever gun (I have one in 7.62x54R and 303 British but have not taken them to the field yet) but instead the Lee/Navy straight pull rifle used by the Navy and Marines from the late 1890s to the early 1900s. This is in 6mm which was developed about 40 years too early. It is effective on the smaller antlerless deer I use it on but would not want to use it on the large bucks I focus on.

    I guess the drillings I own would also qualify, one does not see many 3 barreled guns in the field. I have a couple of double rifles I have used, a Valmet O/U in 7x57R which I took two deer with and a Heym SxS rifle in 25/303 Brit which I have yet to shoot something with.

    I like odd guns as one could often get them pretty cheaply at one time. The Internet has pretty much destroyed those days as prices have equaled out and ammo is not as hard to come by as in the past.
     
  4. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

    295
    0
    0
    Great Post! Interesting. My late old gun crank buddie bought one of those 1895 Straight pull rifles from Martin Rettings. I was with him when he did it. It was in the 70's. The rifle was a like new condition. He made his 6mm rounds from 220 Swift cases which he opened up to 6mm. He special ordered the die. He even found a bayonet. After he passed his wife took the rifle back to Rettings and they re-sold it. I'm sure for lots more money than he paid.

    While I've shot my model 81 a couple of times, it's been over a decade and frankly I can't recall how well it shot. I'll have to load up some more rounds and take her out again. I use one of those hand held Lee Loaders made to load 30/30's to recharge those 30 Rem rounds.

    Those 81's are kind of tricky to load. I open the bolt and jam in the rounds with my thumb, but I'm always a bit nervous that the action is going to close on my thumb. It has a very powerful spring. It'd make an M-1 thumb seem like child's play.

    I have never seen a scoped 8 or 81. I have seen several kinds of appeture sights on them however. I wonder if one of those new made tang sights could be mounted?

    I am a big fan of my Mannlicher Schoenaur model 1952 carbine. The rifle is so small and light that it's almost hard to take it seriously, but it is a 30-06 and shoots that 30 caliber pill with authority. The action, while a little cramped, is smooth. You can easily reload it without looking. Hemingway used several MS rifles and carbines. One was a 1952 carbine like mine but in 6.5 MS. Mine has a very nice single set trigger, which works fine. People used to remove those double set triggers and mount single set single triggers. Americans weren't used to double set triggers on modern hunting rifles. I don't think they have a place on game fields anyway.
     
  5. uglydog

    uglydog Super Member

    1,427
    0
    0
    Remington stated in their literature that an "expert" shooter, from a solid rest, could keep 10 rounds inside 4" at 100 yards. That must have been with the 25 Rem and cherry picking the best group as I have not seen anyone do so with any of the larger ones. My own 25s are hard pressed to do 4" for 5 rounds at the same range, and I feel my loads are better than the original factor rounds. I can do slightly better with the 30 Rem with 150 gr Ballistic Tips but even that is a sometimes thing at best.
    Tang sights were available for the 8/81, Marble had the R-6, Lyman the 1A AT & 2A AT, and King had a pair, the #200 R-8 for "hunting" and the #201 with large disc for "target." These mounted in the holes already provided by Remington, namely the one in the back of the reciever. If you are talking about the Vernier ladder type tang sights, I don't see the purpose. One would have to drill and tap the tang for them, the calibrations would have to be by trial and error in the field as the range markings would most likely not match up, they tip back and are in the way when not in use, one runs the risk of catching the sight in the face as the gun recoils, and the sight is at least half the price of the gun and triple that of the "standard" tang sight. For something that will have problems holding to "minute of whitetail" once one gets beyond 150 yards, maybe even less, I can't see butchering a gun like that. Leave it original to preserve whatever historical/collector value it may have.
    I use stripper clips to load my 8s and 81s. The clips for the 35 and 300 Savage are the same as for the 5 round 308 (or more accurately, the 308's work just as well) though the ones for the 25, 30, and 32 are less common as they are a different head size. If they make stripper clips for the 6.8 SPU then one may be able to use them for loading the smaller cartridges.
    I am not a fan of butterknife bolts so have not found the M-S rifles to be very interesting. I shot a 1900 or 1905 briefly before sending down the road. I like set triggers whether double or single but they are not seen much outside of the old buffalo guns these days. I would like to put one on the replica Sharps I have but that projexct is on a far back burner these days.
    The 220 Swift was derived from the 236 Lee but they are shorter. This makes it impossible to use with the clips that were originally used to charge the gun. One can load 2, sometimes 3, rounds into the magazine without the clip but it is not uncommon for the rounds to bind beyond 2 rounds. This is especially so as one has to use shorter bullets as the original was 120 gr while it is rare to find anything more than about 107 gr these days. I had a few 115 gr Barnes Originals but I was offered too much for them to keep on hand. To load the full 5, one needs the stripper clip which then falls out through the bottom after the first two rounds are fed. If one wants to use the stripper clips to full advantage, 30/40 cases need to be turned down to make the 236 cases. It is rather laborious but it is the only way one can use the gun as intended. I found an easy way to do it: fork out $3/round to have someone else put in the effort. I'm still working on getting the full battle load out of 180 rounds; at the rate of brass and with clips running $35 each that is a sizeable investment in itself.

    A gun I enjoy shooting on occasion and have shot one deer with is an old Standard Arms Model G in 25 Rem. This is a semi-auto gun which has the ability to be used as a pump action when the valve is closed. It is kind of fragile so I don't shoot it much as replacement parts are non-existent. Another 25 Rem I shoot but have not hunted with is a Remington M-30 bolt action. This is the Model of 1917 sporterized and sold commercially. I picked it up as Jack O'Connor started his wife out on one until he bought her a 257 Roberts. It isn't his but it is the only one I have seen.
    My lightweight old guns are represented by Savage 1920s in 250/3000 (now called 250 Savage) and 300 Savage. These are 6-6.5# guns and are a joy to carry. The 300 Savage has a reputation of breaking stocks so I found a replacement and had it glassbedded. It is slightly heavier than original but it is still less than 7# fully outfitted for the field.
     
  6. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

    295
    0
    0
    My pal who owned the 1895 Straight Pull military rifle had to work for several years before he got a 6mm round to work. He formed them from 220 Swift's, but he's been dead for some time and I can't really recall what he did. I think he said that he always had problems with it and he wished he hadn't become involved in the issue.

    I'll dig around and find some M-14 stripper clips and try to use them to reload my 81. I have a bunch of mismatched clips that I've tossed in a box. I'll probably be able to find a few that work. Thanks for the heads up.

    The butter knife bolt handle on the M.S. carbine is a bit difficult to grasp since is doesn't stick out much. If you work it with your palm it tries to slip off your hand. However after you get the bolt hand up it slides back easily. The M.S. has penuche, at least for me, and it is a very easy rifle to carry. Since mine has been beat to death it's a great jeep gun to carry on hog hunts. I'd love to shoot Javelina in Texas with it. When I found it in a pawn shop in Petaluma, CA it was in terrible condition. The stock had been beaten up and the once shinny blue had been pretty badly scraped. It still is, but I've steamed the stock and replaced the terrible home-made butt pad. I think someone set it up for their wife. The original butt plate had been hacked off and an ugly home-made butt pad attached. Oh, well I paid $450 for it and still think I got a good deal. I like slightly worn guns because one can use one without fear.
     
  7. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

    295
    0
    0
    One of my most favorite weird rifles is an M.A.S. I paid $140 for it 20 years ago. It's in nearly new condition. It is a chunky little rifle, but comes up easily. I'd call it a carbine, but it is not light. It has an M-1 Garand kind of sight picture. The rear sight took some work to figure out. If you have one, you push down on the rear sight appeture and then it can be raised.

    They all have bayonets that are stored in the rifle. It's a wicked little bayonet.

    The round is a good one, but they are hard to find.
     
  8. uglydog

    uglydog Super Member

    1,427
    0
    0
    That MAS round is what eventually evolved into the 7.62x51 NATO/308 Win, not the 300 Savage as is mistakenly thought, according to some of Phil Sharpe's notes that have come to light in the last several years. It is not a bad round and if it things would have turned out differently it may have influenced a change to a sub-.308" cartridge as everyone but the U.S. was in favor of a smaller bore.
    The guns are prett common around here, I see them pretty regularly at gunshows and a couple of pawnshops. Ammo is not a problem either, at least not Mil-surp. If one wants to use it for hunting then it gets a bit more difficult as I think only Hornady produces such a round. They and I think Privi Partisan are also the only ones making a reloadable cartridge for the MAS which is fortunate as they are reasonably priced compared to many others.
     
  9. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

    295
    0
    0
    Ug-dog. Have you been able to find a safety on an M.A.S.? I haven't. I think it's put on safe by opening the action. Seems strange that a widely distributed military rifle would not have a safety, but then again it is French isn't it. I've also got a Lebel and it is also a strange rifle. Funny that they would have been made in such large numbers. I've shot mine several times. Not a very straight shooter. Of course when it came out it was all the rage, being the first smokeless round.
     
  10. uglydog

    uglydog Super Member

    1,427
    0
    0
    The semi-auto MAS 40/56 has a safety on the right side of the trigger guard. That is the gun I see most frequently and what I think of as the MAS. The bolt action MAS which replaced the Lebel I am not familiar with. It does not surprise me that it does not have a safety as it was common practice for soldiers to leave the gun without a round in the chamber until just before use. If a round was loaded but no immediately needed to be fired, it was thought the soldier's safe gun handling would suffice as a safety. That is not a practice I condone but it was once practiced and there are a number of individuals today who still adhere to that theory in the hunting field.
     
  11. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

    295
    0
    0
    I remember when those 40/56's came in. Quite a few did. I handled one, but since I had the bolt action rifle and I distrust imported semi-autos against breakage I didn't buy one. As I recall they were expensive.

    I also recall when those Soviet Tokarov semi-autos came in. That was about 50 years ago. I'd see them sticking up from barrels in hardware stores. They were dirt cheap and no one bought any. Very ugly rifles and in those days the ammo was difficult to come by.

    Yes, I understand your comments re the MAS being kept on an empty chamber and therefore safe. Makes sense to me. French sense anyway; which is no sense at all.
     
  12. uglydog

    uglydog Super Member

    1,427
    0
    0

    I first ran into that "practice" by those trained by and saw combat for Uncle Sam. It was a common happenstance back in my early days of hunting to find others walking around with the safety off and a round in the chamber when chasing pheasants, grouse, or driving deer. It was most often practiced by family and friends which had seen action in WWII and/or Korea. Several who went to Vietnam also had this habit but not to the same extent, maybe due to their stint being only a year rather than the duration of the war. While teaching firearms safety, I regularly ran into fathers who did not think much for using the safety on the gun and insisted that keeping the gun in a safe direction (which they always did, never fail) was all the "safety" one needed. I also ran into a former German soldier who did this as well as a number of individuals from southeast Asia. I have not met a French Soldier in the field but I did meet one though he had no interest in guns after being repatriated after Dien Bein Phu.
    I hated these types of people and make it a rule to not hunt with them. It has created some hard feelings with family but life is too short as it is to risk those who do not use simple safety devices. That there has been no injuries that I know of by these people speaks to either their safe handling or luck but neither is something I believe in relying solely on.
    There is one type of person who has this habit/thought that I don't mind hunting with, that is some western deer and elk hunters. It is common practice to not have a round in the chamber as that is safer against accidental discharge when in a saddle scabbard, walking/climbing, or just plain glassing. One tends to have a bit of time to chamber the round as the animal is either a distance away or the sight lines are a bit more open than in some eastern woods. As one often does not chamber a round until just moments before shooting it is not much different than flicking off the safety in my eyes. I follow the same procedure when possible and I have seldom not been able to make a shot I wanted to take.
     
  13. 870shooter

    870shooter Member

    5
    0
    0
    The oddest in my small collection is the Greener Martini, 577/450, a great black powder beast, could use a restoration, I guess...
     
  14. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

    295
    0
    0
    I was raised in Western Kansas were everybody shot. We'd hunt birds, pheasant, bob white quail and ducks and prairie dogs in the summer. I saw very few deer when I was a kid and not a single turkey but they are pretty thick now, and there are very few bob white quail, what a shame.

    I was taught to never close the action until just about ready to shoot, and then I was taught to set the safety. While mounting the gun, rifle or shotgun we were taught to flick off the safety. We were NEVER to trust the thing however. So many guys were hunting that we always heard of accidents, few fatal. But one fellow, an older fellow was chasing after pheasants with several others. A bunch of birds flushed and flew across the field(s). He jumped into his pickup, putting his gun beside him. He drove over to where the birds had lit. He opened the passenger door and grabbed his gun by the muzzle. While watching the birds he pulled the gun from where it was placed in the passenger's side, muzzle up. It went off. The entire load hit him square in the chest. That's where they found him.

    I like hunting with a double gun because I can open it while hunting and only close it when the birds fly. Most of mine have an automatic safety that goes on as soon as the gun is closed. So I've got to get used to pushing it with my thumb.

    I like pumps too. I'll shoot anything, but I love old doubles.
     
  15. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

    295
    0
    0
    Back to weird guns. I've got two interesting ones. A Snider musket that is in wonderful nearly new condition and a Martini Henry MKIV musket. Both have fine bores, but the MH is a bit dark, but sharp and not pitted. I've shot the Snider, but never the MH. I shot minie balls in the Snider. It shot around corners. A fellow who shoots one told me they are better shooting round balls. I'm out of cases, so I'll have to scare some up before trying it out again.

    I bought the MH from the Old West Scrounger, aka Dave Cunningham. He also sold me some Knoch rounds still in the red and yellow box. I've not shot them. Too neat to shoot. Nor have I fired that rifle, but I'd like to, again if I can locate some cases.

    Here's my Snider: [​IMG]
    I'd love to own one of those Martini's in .303. Used to see them pretty often. No longer.
     
  16. RuffBuff

    RuffBuff Well-Known Member

    53
    0
    0
    thumbuster,

    I just have to say that reading through this thread has been a pleasure - the photography is top-notch. I like to see and hear about those oldies but goodies. I have none that I would call that among my rifles, but do have a couple of double-barreled shotguns that may pre-date your rifles, but that's a whole 'nuther forum.

    Sadly, I believe that in years to come, any rifle with a wooden stock will be considered an "old-timer, weird rifle"
     
  17. RiverratMike

    RiverratMike New Member

    3
    0
    0
    In about the eighties I picked up a 1904 Carl Gustafs, Swedish Mauser, 7.62 x 55 in my travels. Looking at it from the but plate forward it was in good shape, had a rack number medallion, the serial numbers matched, the bore was clear and sharp but then I got to the forestock just in front of the sling ring. Some DPO had cut the stock off, leaving hacksaw marks on the barrel, about 5 inches from the muzzle. Also he pared down he front sight. Aaarghh! This changed a collector piece worth about a grand to a trunk gun worth about a hundred bucks. That taught me to look things over a little better. But the weird thing is that I wouldn't part with it.
     
  18. clampdaddy

    clampdaddy Member

    8
    0
    0
    My Remington 81 in .300 savage gets a few looks during deer season but the one that really seems to make people do a double take or stop to ask questions would be my 34" barreled C. Sharps Arms Hartford model in .45 2 7/8ths (45-110). Last year a warden stopped me and asked if he could see my license and my dinosaur tag . :lol: