Now I went and did it. I'm coming up on my 72nd birthday in June and as part of my "survival project" I have decided to go thru some of my basically "not fired or not fired in years" firearms. This is a large accumulation of better than 300 military rifles starting in the mid-19th century with the trapdoor Springfield's (all but the carbine...dang!) and replicas of the Spencer and some others that got too expensive over time and continue to climb. I finished the Garands last weekend, total disassembly, and greasing, oiling, and adding my second Schuster Adjustable gas valve to the group. (I won't shoot a Garand without one of these valves as I look at the valve as a way of preserving the firing condition of the rifle as the internal operating parts are not stressed). Looked at the 3 SAFN 49's gathering dust and decided they would be next. Took down the Luxembourg contract rifle first, 1 of 6008 built.The original leather sling had little white speckles (mold of course) and I gave it a treatment with Nor-V-Gen Shoe Oil (tm). As I am looking the rifle over, I recalled that some time in the dark past, this very rifle gave me what I will term "SAFN 49 thumb". Those of you who have had "M-1 Thumb" strike you and know what an SAFN 49 is, can well imagine the feeling, I think... Cleaned and greased that rifle. Next I came to a Venezuelan SAFN 49 in caliber 7mm Mauser. That rifle is basically new. However, I did not know how "new" it was. I opened the gas system by removing the forward part of the upper wooden handguard and the gas system glared at me. Just dared me to turn the gas adjuster (part of that assembly is blued, and there was no mark at all where it generally would show that someone had turned it and made a gas adjustment, similar to the scratch that appears on the cylinder of a revolver as it is used. Hmm. The gas system is still at "unset". I then took the carrier and breechbolt out of the rifle and looked at the parts carefully. No markings that would tell me the breechblock and carrier had any steady firing at all. The locking area of the bolt (rifle locks up similar to what an SKS does) still had some original storage grease in it. Looked down the bore. No copper fouling at all. After all of the years that I have had this rifle, it has finally settled in my brain that I am holding in my hands a new, un-fired rifle, (other than the work that FN may have done with it before it made the trip to Venezuela), in May of 1949. OMG!!! I have always been on the lookout for a semi-auto rifle in the condition that this one is in to try to get it to shoot and shoot well with cast bullets. This particular model built by the Belgians has a beautifully simple gas adjustment system and is just as beautifully simple to clean. The rifle operates with a long operating rod and piston (hard chromed). Now, what do I do? Shoot it? Yes or no... I've cleaned out the barrel, removing any preservative that may have been in it. Did I say it gleams...? What would you guys do? I like "medium strength" cast bullet rifle loads. I have been playing with large caliber '74 Sharps rifles and carbines for some time. The 7mm is almost sub-caliber to those Sharps slugs. I will have to get the pressure up in the 7mm using perhaps IMR 4759 powder or ???? . I have a "quantity" of 7mm moulds.
How about it? Any ideas? No drooling permitted!