Swiss Karabiner Model 31

On 2006-jul-12 I brought home a new rifle, a Swiss Karabiner Model 31 #685885, manufactured at the Eidgenossische Waffenfabrik in Bern, Switzerland. These rifles are sometimes referred to as Karabiner 31s or Schmidt-Rubin K31s, named after the designer of the rifle itself (Rudolf Schmidt) and the designer of the ammunition (Maj. Eduard Rubin). The K31 is a straight-pull bolt-action, detachable-magazine rifle. The magazine can be loaded manually when the bolt is locked back, via stripper clips (sometimes called charger clips) or removed from the rifle and loaded manually. The original ammunition was "GP11" 7.5x55 Swiss. The K31 was the military-issue rifle of the Swiss Army from 1933 through 1958. There were somewhere around 580,000 K31s produced. The K31 was succeeded by the Stgw. 57/SIG 510 rifle in 1957.

The K31 was issued with a sling, a muzzle cap, knife-type detachable bayonet and carrying pouches for stripper clips. I'd like to obtain these items to go along with my K31, but have not yet looked in to the availability of them.

The Swiss military regarded marksmanship very highly. The K31 is regarded by many as one of the most accurate standard-issue military rifles ever produced. The effective range was somewhere around 400 meters (with open sights), even though the rear sight is graduated in 100-meter increments from 100 to 1,500 meters.

Lots of K31s have an ID plate written up by the soldier the rifle was issued to under the buttplate of the rifle. Unfortunately, when I ordered mine they were out of the better-quality rifles with ID tags, so mine does not have an ID tag under the buttplate.

The K31 I ordered has the less-common walnut stock. The walnut stock has a darker color and more prominent grain than the more standard beech stocks, although the beech stocks tend to be a bit more durable than the walnut stocks.

I'd say the blueing on the gun is about 80%, while the fit and finish is close to 100%. The bore is near perfect and the action is flawless. The serial numbers on the receiver, bolt and magazine match. I was surprised that the magazine floorplate had a serial number. I'm guessing that Swiss troops were only issued one magazine with their rifles.

I obtained a "battle pack" of sixty GP11 rounds for the rifle. The battle pack is a pack of six boxes of ten rounds. Ammo is also available in 480-round cases; each case contains eight battle packs. The GP11 rounds are fairly similar to 7.62 NATO; some say the design for 7.62 NATO was heavily inspired by 7.5x55 Swiss and I wouldn't doubt it.

The rifle and the sixty rounds of GP11 cost me $193.61 after shipping from, plus the extra $20 for the FFL transfer cost (through Pro-Tech Engineering). Not too bad, considering the rifle is in great shape. The K31 really is one of the gems in the current surplus rifle market.

Here's the rifle with the bolt forward.

With the bolt locked back on an empty magazine.

There's also a huge image of the K31 if you want to see more detail.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the K31 does at the range.

If you're interested in learning more about the K31, there's lots of good websites out there with information about the rifle. A few are listed below for your convenience.

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Page modified 20060718 10:59.
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