So, when I was thinking about rifles, Shooting Buddy asked me about the possibility of doing a scout rifle “on the cheap” so to speak, by converting a mil-surp rifle to a scout configuration. Aside from the fact that I couldn’t get one in .223, it’s actually not a bad idea. If I were going to do it, I’d use one of two rifles: either the Schmidt-Rubin K31 or one of the jillion Yugo 24/47 Mausers out there.
The K31 would be my first choice because it’s just soooo sexay – those Swiss could sure build a neat gun, and with Prvi Partisan loading factory new ammo for it, you can actually shoot the darn thing for a reasonable price. The 7.5mm Swiss round falls in between the .308 NATO and .30’06 in terms of hitting power, making a good round for the “true” Scout concept.
The Mauser isn’t a bad idea either, if for no other reason that you’d be hard pressed to find a more reliable action than the ’98 Mauser. Like Tam said, an avil may be more reliable, but it depends on the anvil. The big benefit to the Yugo Mauser is that you can buy 673 of them for a reasonable price and a boatload of surplus 8mm ammo and go whack your shoulder all day long, all day strong. Plus, the 8mm round the Yugo guns chamber will pretty much kill anything on legs in North America, although I would not be excited about taking after bears in Alaska with them (but then again, I wouldn’t be excited about bears in Alaska with anything shy of a field gun).
The more I think about this though, the Yugo Mauser might be a better idea. Due to their popularity in the C&R market, there is a decent cottage industry of aftermarket parts available for them, and like I said, you can get a lot of ammo for not a lot of money.