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Thread: Is there a general consensus of what was the most accurate military bolt rifle?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Is there a general consensus of what was the most accurate military bolt rifle?

    Not the most accurate sniper rifle but general issue rifle...

    Such as:

    Springfield 03, 03A3
    Enfield P14, P17
    Mauser 98 (Man....just name some version)
    Mannlicher (Man, just name some version)
    Enfield No. # whatever
    Arisaka
    K-31 (a ringer?)

    Well, you guys get the idea. I'm sure the sights have a huge impact. I have an Enfield Ishapore 2A1 in 308 that was hopeless...untill I maneged to come up with a Parker Hale PH5A. Boy did that change where the holes in the target were.

    So you can change the sights within reason (no scopes) and do your favorite handloads but that's it. Which rifle makes the most holes in the 10 ring?
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Of the list you gave, IMO the K31, the 96 Mauser, and the 1903 in that order.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    With issue sights and equal condition bores, I think 1903, then 03-A3, followed by the K-31. The 1903 has infinitely adjustable sights,but harder for me to see as I get older, the 03-A3 sights are easily adjusted for windage but not quite as precise . The K-31 with target sights would be hard to beat, but I am only comparing as issued rifles. I haven't really shot the others so I cant form an opinion on them.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I'm starting to think the K31 is just a ringer and throws the rest out. Although I have a P14, yes in .303, that is shockingly accurate. It also has a great trigger...which also really helps.
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    IMO it is the 1903 first the K31 second and the Mauser 98 third. But you have to hand it to the Japanese as their Arisaka Type 38 was quite good though. Now then the Boers during the second Boer War used a lot of Mauser 1895 rifles to good effect, out shooting the British. So maybe this is the real rifle for accuracy. Although the Enfield P14, 17 do have some rifles that are amazingly accurate, I would think that the rimmed cartridge would affect it some.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    Given "equal bores and equal sights" along with equal quality bullets the '03s, M95 - M98 Mausers, the M1917 and P14, and the K31s are all equal in accuracy potential (moa capability). If there is any difference between any of them in any "test" it will be small and probably reversible in any subsequent test.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Artful's Avatar
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    With issue ammo - I'd vote K31 with GP11 as the winner of what you listed
    je suis charlie

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I can only comment on what I have handled.
    M96
    K31
    M39
    Off the rack with any ammo or as issued ammo.
    It all stems from the work and standards put into the rifle, ammo and the rifles design.
    Be well
    When you read the fine print you get an education
    when you ignore the fine print you get experience

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Most military bolt rifles are solid well built rifles made to go to war and if in good condition with a bit of tinkering and good ammo will fool most people. I have found that proper bedding and quality bullets can make a huge difference. A lot of the issue ammo is not the best.

    As far as issue rifle and ammo the K31 is hard to beat. The one I had was crazy accurate, not once but repeatable. My reloads were good but could not out do Swiss issue ammo even with a scope. It might nor make sense but I didn't like the rifle so now someone has it who does.

    Dave

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    From reading of the match results of the era when these rifles were standard issue for their respective militaries I'd rank the Springfield 1903 first followed by the Mauser 1891.

    The P-14 and M1917 rifles were perhaps a RCH less accurate than the above choices but in use they maintained a high level of accuracy for far higher round counts than any other bolt action military rifle. This was due to Enfield pattern rifling coupled with cooler burning single base powders of the .303 MkVIII and .30-06 Ball cartridges.
    Most other rifles began to lose peak accuracy in less than 6,000 rounds with the best available ammunition, with 18,000 + being the limit of acceptable long range accuracy. The M1917 had a bore life of 50,000+ rounds before long range accuracy dropped below acceptable limits.
    Enfield rifling was also less vulnerable to damage from cleaning rods and mechanical wear.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I have a Ross but the barrel is absolute toast so I never bothered to shoot it for group size. Maybe I should. Who knows? It could surprise me. The rest of the rifle is choice.
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbitNutz View Post
    I have a Ross but the barrel is absolute toast so I never bothered to shoot it for group size. Maybe I should. Who knows? It could surprise me. The rest of the rifle is choice.
    Use a heavy flat base bullet, it may suprise you. I don't know what it is about the 303, off the rack only a few are outstanding most are good. I have seen many that the throat is baked, bores are rough at best and the headspace mariginally boarder line and the still shoot good enough.
    Be safe
    When you read the fine print you get an education
    when you ignore the fine print you get experience

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    GONRA's not a bolt action rifle guy (so should keep my big yap shut) but
    am pretty sure any rifle that has front locking lugs at least
    HAS THE POTENTIAL for great accuracy.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master vzerone's Avatar
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    . The Swiss K31 and 11 are the most accurate and it's repeatable over and over. Don't forget the Swiss are known for precision. I'm an American and would love to think we make the best of everything, but we don't. There may be some exception rifles in other models, but like said they are exceptions.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I read that if they were to produce the K31 today it would cost about $1,200. This was apparently done as part of some university study.

    I love the idea of a straight pull action with interrupted locking lugs like the Ross MKIII.

    After seeing an episode of forgotten weapons where they do a mud test on an SMLE No.4 Mk 1 and it failed immediately and hopelessly. I no longer even consider any argument regarding a particulat bolt action being suspeptable to debris.
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master vzerone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbitNutz View Post
    I read that if they were to produce the K31 today it would cost about $1,200. This was apparently done as part of some university study.

    I love the idea of a straight pull action with interrupted locking lugs like the Ross MKIII.

    After seeing an episode of forgotten weapons where they do a mud test on an SMLE No.4 Mk 1 and it failed immediately and hopelessly. I no longer even consider any argument regarding a particulat bolt action being suspeptable to debris.
    What's nice about the SMLE's is that if they do get dirt or mud in them they are easier to clean it out. You don't have a bolt going inside a front receiver ring like in the Mausers. The SMLE is one hell of a battle rifle with lots of years under it's belt.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    It's a tough question to answer when talking about unmodified rifles, as they all suffered from varying degrees of low to high stress from wartime production demands. Pre-war Mausers and Arisakas are jewels, but with some of the last ditch ones, I'd be concerned about their ability to even hit the ground. If you want to see "roughly finished", look at the Moisin Nagants that were made between Hitler's invasion and the battle of Stalingrad.

    I've seen a lot of military rifles that will hold MOA with just a little bit of care in making sure slop is taken out and that which should be locked down is, and nationality didn't seem to play into it much. The Swiss K31 and Swede 96's as general categories would be a safe bet because their home nations had relatively fewer wolves at the door when they were being made. I'd have to give the P14/1917 a lot of potential points on the size and rigidity of the thing, and then there's the fact that the 1903 is one of the few with an actual heritage as a serious match rifle. . .and finally, can a hundred million Mauser 98's be wrong?
    WWJMBD?

    Buried in molds until covered with mold.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    From my personal experience...and, except for the '03 and an Arisaka, my milsurp collection includes at least one of every rifle mentioned thus far...I'd call accuracy a 'dead heat' between my 96/11 and my 1898 Krag. Both shoot better than I can hold. Of course, I've never shot the Krag with issue ball but my CB loads, essentially, duplicate original .30-40 ballistics.

    Bill
    "I'm not often right but I've never been wrong."

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Really? The Krag shot that well? I would not have thought it would have placed that high. I don't own one and have never shot one, prices are really getting silly, even for marginal Krags.
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    The Krag was always considered to be an accurate rifle within the limitations of its cartridge.
    The Krag cleaned the clock of every other military rifle at the Palma matches one year but was disqualified because the rifles used had custom made barrels and the ammunition used was specially made match grade ammunition nothing like the standard mil spec Ball ammo.

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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