09 December 2012

Immune To Bubba

Despite the engine swap and my proclivities to hot rodding, I am not bubba.

The Biscayne is as good or better than any full sized car made in its time frame.

That can't be said of Bubbaized Milsurp most of the time.

What Bubba does in 99% of cases is simply CHANGE the gun, Bubba so very rarely manages to improve it; or the improvements come with serious costs.

Yank the heavy wooden stock and apply a lightweight polymer one?  It's lighter, it's more comfortable to hold: where did all this recoil come from?  What did you expect, Bubba?  F=1/2MV^2  The bullet is going out one side with a given force; the rifle is going the other direction with the same force!

The faster it goes, the more recoil you feel.  Thus if you have a 8.8 lb. rifle firing a 148gr bullet at 2,840 fps it's going to be coming at your shoulder at 139 fps.  If you lighten that rifle to 7 lb. that same round will propel the gun to 156 feet per second, a 12% increase in velocity.

That more comfortable stock also changed the recoil geometry in all likelihood.  More drop at the heel? That's going to cause more muzzle rise.  It's exacerbated by the extra rearward velocity.

Most of those plastic stocks also shift the balance of the gun to the rear, again increasing the upward tilt of the muzzle on firing.  The good news is there's less inertia fighting you to bring it back down, but you have to bring it farther.  If it's any consolation to Bubba, this energy equation affects purpose built guns too but they almost always have better stock geometry to compensate for it.

I come from an engineering background and there's a world of difference between works at all and works correctly.

There is also gigantic difference between works as expected and works as desired.  Making a gun lighter and shifting the balance to the rear has predictable results.

With guns out there like the Savage Axis, you aren't even saving money by modifying your milsurp!  Add it up.  The savage comes out of the box with the stock already done and it doesn't need a Timney trigger to correct the mil-spec pull.  Saw one in .308 at Wal Mart for $280!  Cheap Barska scope and rings and $330 has you shooting.

The cheapest milsurp is the Mosin.  $180 for the gun, $75 including shipping for the stock, $125 including shipping for the Trigger plus $50 for a scope and mount deal from Amazon plus your labor for bedding the action, clearancing the stock for the trigger and free-floating the barrel.  $430 total.

You save $100 buying new or you could put the money you saved into better glass.


  1. Yep, overall there are so many inexpensive, yet good-quality rifles out there, it just doesn't make dollars and cents to modify collectable surplus guns.

    Maybe it used to when 1904 Springers were $15 a whack and labor was cheap to hack them, and there WASN'T a collector's market.

    These days it doesn't.

    Still with things like scope mounts that use the rear sight screws, and purpose-built stocks, at least changing the rifle does nothing permanent, and it can call be changed back in an afternoon.

  2. If Bubba remembers to save the parts.

  3. I'll offer another angle to the idea -- a cheap learning experience.

    I have two M-44s. One is really beat up, stock looks like it has been through a chipper. I paid $70 for it. Using it as a learning experience in gun-smithing/part replacement would be much cheaper then using a $300 brand new rifle.

    Now I'm with you on what you are saying. I've ran the same calculations and when it is time to get a low cost Scout Rifle / Hog Gun / ETC, I'll purchase one. But for messing around and figuring out what works and what doesn't work....why not use something that is mass produced and cheap?

    1. DING DING DING! Winner! That's a valid reason! Bubba thinks he made a sniper rifle, not an educational project.

      And since there's copious numbers of M44 at present, no reason not to carve one up.

      A related Bubba problem is the staunch refusal to recognize that even though there's a large supply, it's still a finite supply. I cannot help but think that the reason there are no Krags and Trapdoors any more is because Bubba ruined so many learning that he wasn't a gunsmith.

      Today's drop in parts means that reversing Bubba should be simple.


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