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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have seen this advise posted on a couple of C&R sites, so hopefully no one will mind me posting it here. This is good information if you are looking at C&R's at a gun show or from a private person. Obviously if you buy over the internet you won't get a chance to "pre-inspect", however most of the big name dealers are pretty good about returns so you could use these tips to verify if the gun is a keeper or not.

First, put together the following kit for your shoulder bag:

Small flashlight; Mini Maglite or one of the Streamlight Stylus pen lights are fine. You do NOT need a traditional borelight, IMO and experience.

Magnifying glass or a pair of cheap "cheater" reading glasses, about 2.50 or 3.00 magnification. These are a must if you are over 40 anyway.

Sectional cleaning rod and patches for 30 cal. (for a quick pass thru a bore to remove preservative turds, dust, spiders, etc.)

Paper towels (to wipe down an excessively preserved rifle before transporting in your vehicle)

Wet wipes in a ziploc bag (to clean preservative off your hands)

Small scissors or sharp pocketknife (to cut patches smaller)

A "milspec" cartridge for each of the rifles they you expect to examine, preferally a dummy, but not necessary. A milsurp round is ideal. This is for "quick and dirty) gauging the mouth of the barrel and the rifling.

Optional: Headspace gages if you are serious about collecting/shooting and can afford them.


As with any used firearm, particularly milsurps, examine the following:

Open the action and verify that no round is chambered and that the magazine is empty.

Does the S/N on the bolt handle match that of the receiver, and preferably in the same stamping font? For a rimless cartridge-firing rifle that headspaces on the case shoulder, it usually is a plus for the original bolt to be present. Note that for rifles chambered for rimmed cases like the 303 British and the 7.62x54, the cartridge headspaces on the rim and matched bolts are not as big a factor. For shooter purposes, electropencil "forced-match" S/Ns are generally acceptable.

Look closely at the muzzle crown. It helps to shine a flashlight directly on the crown, and to use your magnifier glasses for viewing. Are the lands sharply defined, or rounded, or are they even present? Taking your "milspec" cartridge (ask permission first) and insert the bullet end of the cartridge into the muzzle. As a rule, there should be between 1/8" and 1/4" of bullet jacket showing between the end of the barrel and the cartridge case mouth. If the bullet drops all the way into the muzzle clean up to the case mouth, either the rifling is gone or the bore was counterbored. The latter is not necessarily a bad thing, but if there is no counterbore the rifling is gone at the muzzle and the weapon will likely "pattern". I don't even look through the bore without checking the crown and muzzle condition first.

Shoulder the rifle and sight it. Are the sights aligned with the rifle held as vertically as you can? Are the sights tight, or is there sideplay of the front insert or the rear sight leaf? Is the front sight offset drastically to either side? This may not mean that there is a problem, but it might indicate that the barrel is not in time, sights are not aligned, or that the barrel is bent. At any rate, I personally find offset sight inserts to be annoying and usually avoid buying an example with offset sights.

Set the butt on the floor or your shoe top and sight it from the muzzle end, paying attention to the radial position of the front and rear sights. Do the sights appear to be aligned to each other and to the receiver? (This is particularly useful for AK47 and AKM clones and rebuilt/rearsenaled boltguns) Is the front sight drifted in its dovetail excessively one way or the other? This may not be a bad thing, and although the rifle may shoot POA with cocked sights I personally find excessively drifted sights to be annoying.

If the rifle passes so far, open the bolt and with the butt resting on the floor or your shoe, shine the flashlight beam directly on the boltface. This will reflect light up the bore, but not so much that it will be blinding. I find the traditional borelight with the curved plastic lens tube to be too bright and the brightness often overpowers getting a good look at the lands and grooves the full length of the barrel. Look for sharpness of the rifling lands, rust, etc. Ask the dealer or owner if you can run a dry patch through the bore. If they say yes, remove the bolt (if possible) and clean from the breech. Place a paper towel on the table or floor so that it will catch any debris expelled by the patch. Orange/brown on the patch might signify either preservative or rust, and if it feels dry and gritty it may likely be rust. Greasy means preservative, especially if you pushed out a big preserv turd. Check the more again. Dark bores do not mean bad shooters, look for sharp rifling all the way to the muzzle, and do the bullet depth check on the muzzle as outlined above.

With the bolt removed if possible, shine the light into the chamber and check for scratches or gouges. Burnish marks are no problem; deep gouges will likely cause difficult chambering and most certainly difficult if not impossible extraction due to case walls expanding into the gouges and "locking" the case to the chamber. Set the rifle down and walk on if there are deep gouges in the chamber.

Check the small parts for marks or serial numbers. For example, when checking No4 Enfields made by Savage, the more metal bits that have a blocky "S" stamped thereon the closer it is to original condition. Similarly, the 96 Swede Mauser has about 15 or 17 different parts that have the S/N or the last three digits of the S/N stamped thereon. All matching is not necessary to be a good shooter, but it helps for resale if you change your mind or interests a year from now and go to sell the weapon.

Check the stock and handguards over for cracks. Mosin-Nagants are prone to cracks on either side of the receiver tang, and often show repair blocks. This doesn't affect shooting, but it is not unusual. Unrepaired cracks might mean the purchase of a replacement stock in the future, and that means that the total cost of the rifle is actually higher than say another example on the same table.

Examine the blueing or phosphating on the metal parts, and look for any areas that are brighter, smoother, or a different color as compared to surrounding areas. This would indicate a refinish at some point. No biggie for a rearsenaled Mosin or the like, but a show stopper if it is a high-buck rare milsurp that you are looking at. Likewise, look at the interface between the barrel/receiver and the stock where visible, and examine for rust or pitting.

Assuming that you have headspace gauges and know the proper procedure for using them, and that the dealer/owner gives permission, check the headspace. There are many opinions as to which "one" gauge to buy, and IMO you should get a FIELD gage as that represents the "outer limit" for shootability. If you can afford two, get a GO and a FIELD, as that will define the entire envelope for "shootability." Your opinion may vary; this is a suggestion.

Finally, but probably most importantly, do some homework first and know something about your intended target firearms. You may just run across that extremely rare piece that the seller is not aware of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Thanks, lets keep this one alive. GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cool. Thanks go to "Noah Zark" who originally posted this info on a couple of other C&R sites. GG
 

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Gordon:

I appreciate your crediting me on this, thanks.

Noah
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Noah, nice to see you here. I'm not really the villian that the Admin and Mods made me out to be over there. Hope you will make this a regular stop, we sure could use your knowledge and experience (and class I might add). I would have asked your permission before posting that, but kinda hard to do when you are locked out. Thank you again, GG
 

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Yeah, Noah, this place is OK.
 

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I was at a gunshow recently and a guy had a yugo M48 with crest. He swore up and down that this was not a yugo because the crest did not match one in his reference book.I thought the guy should know a little more about a rifle that he was trying to sell
 

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reelfoot regulator said:
I was at a gunshow recently and a guy had a yugo M48 with crest. He swore up and down that this was not a yugo because the crest did not match one in his reference book.I thought the guy should know a little more about a rifle that he was trying to sell
Could be the guy was confused by his reference. There are two versions of the Yugo crest, one is larger than the other and has a larger "wreath" surrounding the crest.

Noah
 

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Rick, we need to get together at a Harrisburg gunshow again...........soon !!!!
 

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An addition for your mini-mag lite is available at WalMart in the camping section (no idea why there). Its called Owl Eyes, also packaged as Nite Eyes. Its a rubber coated 15" long fiber optic that slips over the end of a mini-mag lite. Makes a great bore light. Works on muzzle loaders too. Just remove the nipple and stick 'er in. Runs about $7.
 

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Karl:

These Owl Eyes attachments do come in handy.

My personal preference is to open the action on a weapon and reflect the light off the bolt or breechface. You can regulate the amount of reflected light by orienting the flashlight, so that an overpowering amount of light is not transmitted up the barrel. IMO and experience, bore lights are a dealers best friend -- the make the bore appear as shiny as possible, and overpower the eye with bright light.

With more subdued illumination being reflected from the bolt or breechface, one can see more detail of the rifling. It's a trick I learned in the last six or eight years, and I often get strange looks from dealers to whom I say "No thanks," when they are only too eager to provide me with a borelight. I'll use a piece of white paper or a knife blade to reflect light up a bore before I'll use a bore light.

JMO,

Noah
 

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Rotating the ring on the mag lite will vary the light intensity. This way you can put the light where you need it.
 

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I picked up a couple of nice Yugo Mausers one was at a show for a sporter, and at that time Samco had some unissued ones for $199, yes $199 W/accsorys+bayo matching #, delivered, this was a few years back. The ex condition one from the show turned into a dandy sporter and with a decent walnut stock ,4x18, Timney trigger and bent bolt, the one from Samco still lives pampered in the safe still unfired and with all the tags still on, even the arsinal one,and bayo still rapped in the cosmo+ paper. Dumped 4 deer with the sporter it to date, and used it 4 times, works for me. It scares me the way the prices are jumping. When I was a kid me and paw would run up to Century arms. When you walked in there were $5, $10, $15, $20 barrels full of Venez -Mausers, M-96 Swed's, 30-40 Kraigs, Turks, Garands,Springfields and more all in EX + condition. Case of ammo for the Sweed's was $12, 30- 06 case $10. Man those days are gone forever. OH Shit that's going to date me, big time!! Best advice is buy the best samples you find and don't butcher them and keep them the way you got them. The bore light advice ,on not shining it directly down the BBL is good advice, it makes a so-so BBL look good, reflect it. Good for checking out chambers and internals though. I've had hundreds of C+R guns over the years and sold them, and relized some hefty returns. Of course if I'd kept some of them a bit longer I could have made a killing!! Kinda wish I had back some of those Lugers , Walthers, Garands, FALS and Kraigs back now!!! I've still got a few dandys though, I didn't get rid of them all!!
 
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