Despite remaining neutral through out most of modern history, Switzerland has maintained a very capable home guard by establishing firearms ownership in every home. During World War Two, Swiss General Henri Guisan instructed that if invaded the Swiss would fight through the last cartridge and into hand to hand bayonet combat. At that time the K31 was the nations most modern and capable bolt action rifle. Developed after the long line of Schmidt-Rubin straight pull rifles, the 31 is an improvement of the K11 but is not a true Schmidt Rubin design as both men were dead. The Swiss produced these rifles from 1932-1958, and they produced them well.
I ordered my K31 from AIM Surplus at the end of June. It arrived before the July 4th holiday and I immediately got to work documenting the transaction and set my sights to un boxing the rifle and bayonet
I was very impressed at the craftsmanship of the rifle and blade, and surprised at the weight of the unloaded carbine compared to that of a Mosin Nagant M44 of similar length. The walnut stock is very heavy compared to the Russian Birchwood. There is evidence that the rifle had been drilled with for years by a Swiss soldier, but unfortunately there was no famed troop tag under the butt plate of the gun.
The rifle was produced in 1946 and is built like a Swiss watch. The craftsmanship that went into these rifles, while expected for a country that missed out on two world wars, is intricate. They are renowned for their accuracy and are still popular in Switzerland today among match shooters. Their GP 11 cartridge is loaded to match grade ammunition criteria and despite being as costly as an AR15 to shoot, is very fun and powerful. The gun holds six in a detachable magazine, and the straight pull action has little trouble cycling through and ejecting rounds.
The guns sell in the $250-450 range with mine being $279 plus shipping. Like the famed Mosin Nagant and formerly SKS rifles, these guns not long ago were $99 specials. I highly suggest considering one, as the 7.5×55 Swiss has .308 diameter bullets, similar ballistics, and can down any game animal on the continent.
Aftermarket products include diopter sights, sight upgrades by Furter, a clamp on scope mount the Swiss used that can be bought at Brownells, leather cheek riser pads, and just about anything else of relevance. Thanks to large Swiss expatriate populations in the country, most everything can be ordered without waiting for customs.
Stay tuned. Part two of this review will be about shooting the K31.