Swiss K31



The K31, short for Karabiner (carbine) 31, was the last of the Schmidt-Rubin rifles.  The first Schmidt-Rubin was adopted in 1889 in Switzerland.  The most recognizable and interesting feature of the Schmidt-Rubin rifles is the straight pull action developed by Col. Rudolf Schmidt.  Using this type of action, the operator simply has to pull back on the bolt handle and then push it forward again to operate the rifle, unlike other bolt actions that must be rotated upwards, pulled back, pushed forward and rotated back into position.  The Schmidt-Rubin achieves this with a cam system that automatically rotates the bolt and unlocks it using the simple rearward and forward motion imparted by the operator.  This allows the rifle to be worked very quickly for a bolt action.  The other part of the name, Rubin, comes from the inventor of the jacketed, small caliber bullet, invented by Col. Eduard Rubin, that the rifle utilized.  The original model of 1889 was big and had a rather long action which took more time to work and added length that could be used by a longer barrel.  Over the years, the Schmidt-Rubin was refined until the K31 was adopted in 1933.  This was the culmination of the Schmidt-Rubin design.  It was much shorter than previous variations and featured a much shorter action (half the length of the original) which was a great improvement.  The K31 remained in service until 1958 when it ceased to be made and was phased out for the Stgw. 57.  In all, 528,180 were manufactured.

The Swiss are a nation of marksmen and their weapons reflect this.  All Swiss rifles are extremely accurate, and the K31 is no exception.  Most can shoot 1 MOA groups with no modification.


My Rifle

I purchased this K31 from Samco for about $160 plus shipping.  I paid a little extra for a walnut stock.  Like all K31's, mine is in great condition and the bore is almost new.  It was made in 1954 and the stock was made in October of 1944.  Many K31's include a tag giving the name, position, address and other information of the soldier who carried it.  Fortunately, my rifle also had this tag.  It was issued to Werner Lehmann who was a gunner in Anti-Aircraft Company 15.  He was born in 1935 and lived in Gerzensee, Switzerland on a street named Kehr.  Pretty neat!  However, my attempts to locate this man have been fruitless so far, though others have had success.  In order to make me be able to shoot the rifle better, I have added an aftermarket St. Marie scope mount.  These mounts don't require modification of the rifle and simply screw on.  I'm using a Bushnell 3-9x scope, and I've managed to shoot 1-2 MOA groups with this set up and Swiss surplus GP11 (which is match grade).  Keep in mind that I'm a novice shooter.   Overall, these are fantastic rifles and would be an excellent addition to any collection.  The quality is extremely high and you will not find a rifle that's as well made and shoots nearly as well for the price.

K31 Specifications

  • Caliber: 7.5x55 Swiss (.308 bullets)
  • Length: 43.5 inches
  • Weight unloaded: 8lb 13oz
  • Barrel length: 25.7 inches
  • Magazine: six round detachable box
  • Type: bolt action (straight pull)

Photos (click to enlarge)