On Saturday, I had the pleasure of shooting one of these things. My brother borrowed it, as he’s been invited to go deer hunting during gun season this year, and he has no rifle of his own. Honestly, I don’t yet have a full-power rifle that I could use for such a purpose, so I would have to borrow something in his position. I’ve seen these guns before, but the elegance of them had escaped me until I actually had the opportunity to put one through its paces.
I failed to get pictures of the individual gun in question, but it’s very simply an excellent, all-original example of its type. It even has the cutout for a Pedersen Device – which allows these guns to fire a smaller, 30-caliber cartridge in full-auto.
But, such a device is not available to me, so we happily shot through a couple boxes of 30-06 instead. The rifle is fairly heavy, but well-balanced, and soaks up the heavy recoil quite nicely. I found that it is not so much a shoulder-pounder, but the muzzle does tend to flip quite a bit. The bolt and magazine were like clockwork, smooth operating within wonderfully tight tolerances.
I would love to tell you that I made a dime-sized fuzzy hole in my paper target at 30-yards, but I cannot. If I spend a little real time with the rifle, I believe it’s capable of far better than that, but I had a hard time with the rear notch. I found it difficult to keep my focus on the front sight, as I should, and only got as good as about a 4-inch group with five shots. I suspect that an 03-A3 would suit me better, with it’s rear peep, but the notch would certainly be manageable with some good, hard practice.
It appears that the price of these things will not be going down. The current going rate that I have seen starts just under $1000.00 and goes up from there, depending on the specific gun. Even so, I would recommend one to anyone that wants a nice shooting piece of history! Happy shooting, and be safe!