On K31s, Sporterizing, and Buffalo Targets at 1.27 Miles
- Caleb Downing
Featured image courtesy of Bouterolle
My introduction to the K31 was back around 2009-10. My brother purchased one at the Oklahoma City Gun Show and wouldn’t shut up about how accurate and amazing the rifle was. After watching Erick and Ernie’s videos, I now am convinced that my brother wasn’t just blowing smoke.
Let’s take a look at this piece of history and see how capable it still is.
The K31 was developed back in 1930 for the Swiss Army. Just like many, many other things Swiss, the K31 is a finely tuned piece of engineering.
Some key features are its straight-pull bolt, free-floated barrel, and exceptional two-stage trigger. Synthetic stocks weren’t a thing at the time, so walnut stocks were used until around 1946 when they were replaced by beech stocks.
Not so for the star of our first video, though.
In Erick’s (IV8888’s) video, we get to see a pretty highly modified, or sporterized, K31. A custom stock with better ergonomics was used along with a Hammerli trigger and Crimson Trace scope. It was very apparent that this old rifle could still shoot. Erick was having no problem connecting with his steel targets out to 300 yards, and doing all that with surplus 7.5×55 ammo. As impressive as this “reborn” K31 is, I was even more blown away by how well a completely unmodified version did against a target more than a mile away.
The above video’s a little longer, but man, is it worth a watch.
Watching Ernie Jiminez’s video brought back some fond memories of rifle qualification in the Marines. We used iron sights back when I went through and being able to read the wind, dial in for range, and connect down range was quite the satisfying feeling.
I thought shooting open sights at 500 yards was challenging, but after seeing Ernie place multiple hits at nearly five times that range, well. I might need to rethink my definition of long-range.
Many long-range shooters will spend thousands of dollars on their optics alone, but not Ernie. He paid a mere $99 for his record-breaking rifle. He didn’t add a fancy trigger or put in some super heavy target barrel. The ammunition used was the only thing not “off the shelf”. Ernie used some hand loads utilizing the 190 grain Sierra MatchKing projectiles to make his hits.
So I guess my brother wasn’t just talking up his new purchase. The K31 is truly a very capable rifle. What do y’all think? How well do you think you’d do with a ninety-year-old rifle and a target over a mile away? I know I’d need more practice before attempting such a feat.