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Worth the effort to "sporterize" WW2 era rifle?

Old 09-10-2010, 02:11 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Worth the effort to "sporterize" WW2 era rifle?

I'm pretty new to hunting in general--the biggest critter I've bagged is a squirrel with a .20 caliber pellet gun, and I didn't think garbage-fed suburban squirrel would taste very good. The animals I'd like to focus on are deer and feral hogs, both of which are causing significant environmental damage in my area. (East Texas) I'd like to get some opinions here on the most appropriate firearm for the task.

A few years back, I inherited a few .22 rifles my brother and I shot as kids, along with a Remington M1903/A3 and a Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk3. Both of them are in decent shape, and were fired about 20 years back without exploding. They also weigh a ton. I know that it's possible to reduce the weight factor by replacing the original stock with a lighter synthetic, and scope mounts are available that don't require drilling or tapping.

This brings me to my actual question. Is it worth the time and effort to "sporterize" one of these dinosaurs, or should I just sell them and get something newer? They've survived this long, so they must be pretty durable. Durability is very important. I'm clumsy.
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:49 PM
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I have a friend that loves the old military rifles, foreign and domestic but I never saw one shoot worth a nickel. Now I am no expert so maybe there are good shooting versions out there, but I am guessing they are old and used up. Personally I would stick to a modern rifle if possible.
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ACK2069
This brings me to my actual question. Is it worth the time and effort to "sporterize" one of these dinosaurs, or should I just sell them and get something newer? They've survived this long, so they must be pretty durable. Durability is very important. I'm clumsy.
There's no right answer....I've sporterized a large number of WWII rifles.....so here's my advice:

The 1903-A3 is a .30-06 and certainly worthy of deer and hogs..... However any attempt to sporterize it will only reduce the value.....Unless you're darn good at it.

I'm assuming you're a younger hunter....Put that Springfield 03-A3 in the closet and drag it out twenty years from now.....You'll see it in a much better light!...Don't sell it.....don't sporterize it.....shoot it but as you say...It's a bit heavy

Now that .303 British Lee Enfield will also kill deer and hogs and IMO will never be worth much.....(some will disagree.....but they're Brits and Canadians.....let them get their own Enfields!)

You can take a hack saw and a rasp and any other tools you want to that rifle.....It will never be as good as when you're done and I hope you cut off everything that reduces weight without injuring its strength! It's a fairly powerful rifle and strong enough for the .303 British cartridge it was chambered for.

Remember that no matter how nice a job you do it'll still be darn near worthless.....except to you!

Now.....here's the best option.....put the Springfield in the closet.....leave it there for at least twenty years.....and then look at again to see if you want to have a talented "smith" turn it into a great rifle.....

Sell the Lee-Enfield and take that money and add a few bucks with it and cruise the used gun racks looking for a Rem -700 or a M-70 push feed for about $400.....you now have a real fine gun to hunt with and another waiting in the wings.....

well...you asked!
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:07 PM
  #4  
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Both are collectible pieces. The last Springfield I had and sold for $525 to a collector. Needed a new stock as the old one had been cyt. I would get the Springfield to a military collector as there is a very excellent chance it is worth much more than you think, more than enough to but a Rem. or Savage, which I prefere
The Lee Enfield, perhaps not as much.\The Springfield is an excellent as is hunt rifle. Keep in mind, you can buy an excellent Savage at a very reasonable price that will shoot probably much better than you can.
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:10 PM
  #5  
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Sorry, to answer your original question. NO. You will wind up with more money in it than you can buy a new good rifle with perhaps better cartridge than either. ( Now that statement will probably start something). Been there done that.
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Old 09-11-2010, 12:53 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Teddee5
Sorry, to answer your original question. NO. You will wind up with more money in it than you can buy a new good rifle with perhaps better cartridge than either. ( Now that statement will probably start something). Been there done that.

.......... Yep. Sell 'em or keep 'em, but don't hack at them. It will only de-value them and you probably will end up with a POS that won't shoot worth a hoot. You should be able to pick up a decent used Remchester with glass for around $500, I would think. You will undoubtedly have more than that in "sporterizing" the mil gun. Like Teddee said... "Been there- Done that"...
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Old 09-11-2010, 01:03 PM
  #7  
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For a really good job you'll spend a lot more than what you could just go out and get a good rifle. I've (a lot would say ruined) reworked a lot of mausers, with them actions were cheap and there is a ton of aftermarket stocks barrels etc for them. But it's a sows ear, no matter how many gold rings you put on them it's still a sows ear. Save your money and buy any one of a # of quality rifles.
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Old 09-11-2010, 01:50 PM
  #8  
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Both the A3 and the Enfield should be keot in "original" condition. Contrary to what the guys have said, the Enfield in good condition and unaltered are collectible. There are a lot of collectors in the US who would love to have it.

Save a few buck and get a new rifle, if nothing else but to add to a collection.
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Old 09-11-2010, 10:28 PM
  #9  
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Personally, I would not waste my time sporterizing an old military rifle. The Enfield or german Mausers can be used as platform receivers for target rifles, but that sort of rebuild is MUCH more intensive than what you're talking about.

Old military rifles, if they're the genuine article and in good condition can have high collectors value, so sporterizing them will RUIN any value they had.

Secondly, yes, they're heavy, but even with a modern synthetic stock, they're still heavy than a typical modern rifle. At the end of the day, it's still going to be an enfield. It'll still be long, still heavy, still have way too long of bolt throw, and probably a lot of slop, still have a heavy trigger, etc etc etc. It's like putting a flame paint job and a bolt on "lego block" race spoiler on a 1975 pinto. It wasn't all that great in original form, and now you just made it look even more stupid.

Plus, if you consider that the scope mounts, bending the bolt, new safety, and new stock will cost you about $100 a piece, you'd be saving money to just go buy a modern Savage bolt action and call it a day.
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:24 AM
  #10  
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Here's a WWII service rifle I "sporterized"....It happens to be a Mauser....I did all the work but the safety, trigger, barrel, chamber reamer. stock blank, stock routing, and misc items such as scope bases and mounts and sling swivel studs, recoil pad, Williams iron sights, barrel engraving and bluing was over $1,000

With some creative smithing your O3-A3 might turn out this nice.....but the Lee-Enfield won't!

BTW....the "so called" collectors value of the Lee-Enfield is about $150....give or take.....

It don't take long and that used Rem-700 begins to look like a bargain!







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