2-Gun Match: Swiss K31 (Video)

I’ve been looking forward to shooting one of the local 2-Gun Action Challenge Matches with a Swiss straight-pull rifle for a while now, and had the chance this past weekend. I was debating between using a Gewehr 1911 (the older style long rifle) or the K31 (newer carbine variant), and so I left it up to a vote of folks of the Facebook page. They chose the K31, so that’s what I shot.

The K31 has the advantages of being shorter and lighter than the G11, and it also has a rear sight that is calibrated down to 100m, where the G11 rear sight begins at 300m (which would have required a bunch of estimated hold-unders for a match like this). Both rifles have 6-round detachable magazines, fed by 6-round waxed cardboard chargers. There are bandoliers and ammo pouches available for those chargers (general clip pouches don’t work because the 6-round capacity makes the Swiss clips too large to fit in most other nations’ web gear) but I didn’t have that gear available for the match. I just kept the clip in my pants’ cargo pockets, which definitely cost me some time.

Other than ammo storage, I found the handling on the K31 to be excellent. It is superbly accurate; any missed shots were entirely my own fault (I admit I have not practiced roll-over prone with a bolt gun much…or ever). The action was 100% reliable in the dust and sand, which is more than I can say for the SMLE I previously used in  a similar match. Reloading was smoother and faster than with traditional type stripper clips – overall an outstanding rifle.

Overall I placed 31st out of 45 shooters, which is a pretty decent result for being the only one using a bolt action rifle. 🙂



  1. Nice shooting. Also it is an interesting gauge on how for we have come, or haven’t, in gun design: An old but efficient rifle is at least sort of competitive with the new ones (well out of last place).

  2. British shooting trips tend to be a more genteel affair, mind you, you have better guns for sure 🙂

    Although don’t take my word for it, doubtless some member of the Barnsley Cowboy action shooting club or somewhere will correct me with a recital of their exploits of firing two Winchesters while sat on a mechanical “bucking broncho” shooting haddock at 500yrds or whatnot.

  3. Nice video, Ian. How did operating a right-handed straight-pull rifle left-handed compare with operating a right-handed turn-bolt in your opinion? It certainly looked easier than the go-around with the SMLE.

  4. Great Video, I always like watching you shooting on those sorts of courses
    I reckon I’d need a proper good pair of steelies if I ever went to an American range given how I’d manage with that weight (goodbye foot)
    If I could ask a quick question,given the trouble that the Ross had, are there any inherent reliability problems with straight pull bolt action rifles or was it just a design flaw in the Ross?
    I was just wondering why you don’t see more of them (straight pulls) given the advantages they seem to have with speed and all. The only downside I could think of was reliability and that’s just going off the example of one Rifle (the Ross)

    • I don’t think the straight-pull rifles have any fundamental deficiency compared to normal turnbolts. I think that the extra bit of speed they offer was not a particularly big priority for military forces, and their additional cost (since they all have an expensive-to-manufacture camming system built in which does the work normally done by the shooter with a standard type of rifle) was the main reason they didn’t become more popular.

      • Thank you for the answer
        most of what I knew about straight pull actions was based on hearsay, which was pretty critical of them, so its nice to know different now
        It makes sense that straight pull rifles would be more expensive to make and that would have discouraged wider adoption, I hadn’t thought of that before

    • The main problem with the Ross is that it was too sensitive to dirt for a military rifle. It did quite well as a sporting rifle, but in the trenches it jammed too easily. That wasn’t its only flaw, but it was the most important.

  5. Congratulations on your good results, in spite of the obvious handicaps versus the competition. As I, and other K-31 users have said before, it is an absolutely superb rifle by any standards, built to high-end military specifications and with few, if any, vices — but which is grossly under-rated due to its lack of general exposure to the firearms community.

    For those few skeptics still out there, buy a decent K-31 with a good supply of Swiss 7.5mm GP90 surplus ammunition. Set aside any pre-conceived notions you might have, especially the inclination to keep a fixed mindset based on the bolt actions you might already be used to. Spend a little time working with the K-31 and getting used to the way it functions. Then start in on some serious shooting. You will be very pleasantly surprised, and one of the first things that will probably come to mind is how well-balanced it is in spite of it’s apparent weight ( it is a very solid, heavy rifle, but not unduly so ), and how that weight distribution seems to add to it’s excellent handling qualities. After that, you will start discovering many sensible, user-friendly and endearing traits of the K-31 that previously went un-noticed, but which collectively add a lot to its utility in the field.

  6. Can you get Mannlicher 1895 (preferably carbine in original 8x50R)next time? 🙂 I found that one a real you to shoot, way nicer then any of Mausers I shot.

  7. That Swiss Lmg25, and these rifles, how about a kind of cross to make a sort of small bore Biathlon rifle type action.

    Straight pull, but instead of straight back… Have a sort of toggle which would only require you to pull a handle mounted to the front of the chamber “facing downwards” back to say the rear of the ejection cut out thing in the receiver to fully cycle the bolt, it would go outwards a bit.

    Actually perhaps that is how Biathlon rifles function.

  8. The Browning T Bolt 22 lr s another interesting variation of the straight pull action. I do not believe it could be sized up to hold a military caliber though.

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