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Mauser Actions #4119669 05/27/10
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Back in 1969 when I was in sixth grade I shot my first deer with my grandfathers 7x57 with a mauser action. Used this gun untill I was a 9th grader and my folks got me a 7mm Rem mag. Seeing all these 7x57 posts makes me want another one.
My problem is I nothing about mauser actions .... anyone want to take me to school?
What to look for, what's the differance between the Mark X, Fn, Husquarna, and any others I should look at.
What's the differance between a small ring and a large ring and why is one better.
Any good books to read?

Thanks, Greg

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Re: Mauser Actions [Re: DuckScarer] #4119836 05/27/10
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Re: Mauser Actions [Re: DuckScarer] #4119889 05/27/10
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Simple question, complicated answer, because the Mauser was such a popular action that it was widely distributed and copied - indeed, most modern bolt actions (with the exception of the multi-lug bolts) are modified/simplified Mausers designed for easier manufacture (i.e. cheaper).

Mauser went through a series of models. Prior to 1893 all their models had a protruding magazine except for a couple black powder models which are mainly of historical interest.

The 7x57 cartridge was actually introduced with the 1893 Spanish model, but the last, and best, Mauser was the Model 98, which was made in large ring (receiver diameter 1.4") and small ring (receiver diameter 1.3") versions. Usually you can tell the difference between large and small ring receivers by looking at where the ring joins the left sidewall - with large ring receivers there is always a step-down to the left sidewall, whereas with small ring receivers there usually is no step-down. The one exception to this that I am aware of is the highly prized Czech VZ-33 and G33/40, which do have a little step-down. The large ring Mausers are considered better for magnum cartridges, but either large or small ring is quite adequate for the 7x57, and the small ring is a couple ounces lighter. There is also an intermediate length action which is about 1/4" shorter than the standard 98 which is well suited for the 7x57.

The Model 98 was originally produced by Germany, but sold and adopted by many other countries. It is the model that gunwriters mean when they refer to a "modern" Mauser action. It was built not only in Germany but also Czechoslovakia (Brno/CZ), Belgium (FN), Yugoslavia, Mexico, etc. It is a strong action not because of its metallurgy, which is carbon steel, but because of its design. Properly adjusted it is one of the most, if not the most, reliable actions, with excellent gas handling in the event of case rupture, which used to be more common than it is now. Its large claw extractor and fixed ejector system are the comparison standard.

As a sporting action, its drawbacks have to do with its bolt handle and safety, which in unmodified military form are poorly suited for scopes (remember that when it was designed, rifle scopes were basically non-existant), and its direct acting double-stage trigger, which while simple and reliable, is heavier than many modern riflemen would prefer. These are the areas where most modern Mausers are modified. In addition, in many modern Mauser actions such as the FN (Belgian) and Zastava/Mark X (Yugoslavian) the left side of the internal receiver collar is milled out as a production shortcut, which compromises gas handling, although the likelihood of cartridge rupture in modern ammunition is very low, so it is more a theoretical risk than a practical one.

So, good modern modified sporting Mausers include:

FN (Belgian) - also the basis of some J.C. Higgins, Western Field, Browning, High Standard, and early Husqvarna models. The Browning and FN versions are somewhat pricy, the Husqvarnas (model 640) a little less so, the private label brands, e.g. J.C, Higgins (Sears) and Western Field (Montgomery Ward) least expensive.

Zastava (Yugoslavian) - Interarms Mark X, Remington 798, more variable in quality than the best actions

Brno (Czech) - 21H/22F (small ring) and ZG-47 (large ring) - pricy particularly as collector interest increases.

The Husqvarna is a special case, because early post-WW II rifles were built on FN actions, then Husqvarna developed their own (small ring) action on a modified 1896 Mauser action, which does not contain a number of the safety features of the 98 Mauser but because of its superior steel is considered as strong as any modern action.

Some military Mausers (can be sporterized with modified bolt handle, aftermarket trigger, low scope safety) include:

GEW 98 (large ring German)

VZ24 (large ring Czech)

Argentine 1909 (large ring, made by DWM in Germany, prized for its exceptional finish and trigger guard bow floorplate release)

VZ33 and G33/40 (small ring Czech)

98a carbine (small ring German)

1910 and 1936 Mexican (small ring Mexican) - designed for the 7x57 cartridge, slightly shorter action than standard 98.

For reading material, Ludwig Olson's "Mauser Bolt Rifles" (available from Brownells) is considered the standard text.

Another good reference which covers many bolt actions including Mausers and many others, is Frank de Haas "Bolt Action Rifles"

Re: Mauser Actions [Re: Jlin222] #4119917 05/27/10
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Thanks Jlinn222, I've been going to ask the same question.

I've never studied the Mausers, but keep thinking I want one. There was a commerical Mauser in 7x57 that sold on gunbroker last night for $500, it had the stock styling I was looking for, but I don't know enough to feel confident in a purchase.

Whats the difference (visually) between the 98 and the other earlier Mausers? I'm sure somebody that knows would think they're as different as daylight and dark, but what is it that you should look for that tells the difference?

Will do some studying tonight on the websites provided as well.

Re: Mauser Actions [Re: Cheesy] #4120047 05/27/10
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98 or Pre-98:

Since some of the military spotting features can be changed, one of the most reliable methods is to look at the rear of the bolt.

The 98 bolt rear is larger diameter than the rest of the bolt body, and there is a safety lug on the bottom. The pre-98 bolt is the same diameter at the rear and there is no safety lug. In the photo, the 98 bolt is on the left.

Bruce

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Re: Mauser Actions [Re: Cheesy] #4120135 05/27/10
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bcp is correct that the 98 has a third safety lug which is missing from the earlier Mausers, however you have to get a look at the bolt for that. The most obvious visual difference to me is the bolt shroud/sleeve, which is at the rear end of the bolt. At the front of the bolt shroud on Model 98 (just behind the bolt handle) is a gas-deflecting flange which is larger diameter than the remainder of the shroud/sleeve. This is a patented feature of the 98 which is absent on older models. Looking at the silhouette of a 98 vs, say a 93 or 95 Mauser, if you follow the bolt sleeve forward from the rear it forms a straight line on the earlier models but has a little bump up on the 98 just before you reach the bolt handle.

The Husqvarna models that were modified from the 98 Swedish Mauser also have this flange (which was presumably copied from the later FN streamlined bolt sleeve that lacks the sleeve safety), but what the Husqvarna lacks is the internal gas collar in the receiver ring. That was also a patented feature of the 98 system, and among other things makes the 98 easier to rebarrel, according to gunsmiths, than any other bolt action rifle.

Re: Mauser Actions [Re: Jlin222] #4120320 05/27/10
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After having messed around with a lot of Mausers over the decades, I'll start by saying that Jlin222's long post is a very good overview.

Now I'll provide my own opinions, based on my experiences:

1) It's silly to use anything except a 98 Mauser action.

2) It's also silly to use anything a commercial action such as FN or Mark X these days--unless you just want to spend the money in order to say you have a sporter on the 1909 Arentine action, for instance.

When military actions were really cheap this was different, but these days a good (no pitting, desirable model) military 98 action can cost as much as an FN or Mark X, and you've only just started. It makes more sense to buy an action that's already scope-ready, and may even have a decent trigger and safety.

While FN's are more finely-finished than Mark X's, it doesn't take much to polish up the problem areas of a Mark X (generally the slot in the tang).

Plus, an older Mark X has a good hinged floorplate, and a decent adjustable trigger. You may or may not want to replace the trigger-safety with a Winchester Model 70 style safety on the bolt shroud.

Many FN actions, on the other hand, have non-hinged floorplates and pretty funky triggers. Both work OK but aren't as nice as the Mark X hinged floorplate or trigger.

Very often you can find complete Mark X rifles for $350 or less, sometimes even in 7x57. The Mark X barrels were pretty darn good, and if you find a 7x57 it would probably shoot very well.





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Re: Mauser Actions [Re: Jlin222] #4120782 05/27/10
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Originally Posted by Jlin222

...
The Husqvarna models that were modified from the 98 Swedish Mauser also have this flange (which was presumably copied from the later FN streamlined bolt sleeve that lacks the sleeve safety), but what the Husqvarna lacks is the internal gas collar in the receiver ring. That was also a patented feature of the 98 system, and among other things makes the 98 easier to rebarrel, according to gunsmiths, than any other bolt action rifle.


What Husqvarna did with what they called their "improved mauser action" (or 1640 action) was take the 96 small ring action and bring it up to 98 standards, but with modern (1950's) metallurgy. The result is a very strong action in a lightweight configuration. This action has a safety feature that the 98 lacks and that is both front locking lugs are solid. There is no split in one for the ejector.


Steve

Re: Mauser Actions [Re: Mule Deer] #4120792 05/27/10
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I have an old Herters J9 rifle chambered in 6mm. I would like to replace the stock. It is built on a Zastava Intermediate action. Comparing it to photos of a Mark X, they appear to be almost identical. Any thoughts? Below is a photo of one that was for sale here at the fire
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Re: Mauser Actions [Re: 257Deland] #4121013 05/27/10
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The safety on that one looks just like the Husqvarna safety. Are they all like that or did someone install a Husky safety?


Steve

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Re: Mauser Actions [Re: sbhva] #4121068 05/27/10
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mausers are over rated, but people still build rifles and spend an insane amount of money making an old beat up military mauser action into an expensive rifle, to me they are insane, why anyone would take for instance a VZ 24 that has been road hard and put up wet, sloppy bolt when opened, scrubbed receiver ring by some overzealous communist and try to make it into something, its polishing a turd, IMO.

the nicest mausers at least IMO are the huskies and the browning safari's these guns are normally in excellent shape, the bolts not sloppy ala VZ 24 and beat up military actions. the bolt release on the husky can be covered making a very clean looking action, the ones I have seen were also a very deep nice blue.

with that said the best refinement as a hunting rifle of the mauser is the winchester model 70. the winchester has a 3 POS safety and that big claw extractor and the modern things we all like on a hunting rifle, a close second is a ruger, gun snobs will laugh at these comparisons but keep in mind they are the same ones saying the new south carolina model 70's suck and are not anywhere near as good as the pre 64's even though many pre 64's look like they were machined with an old butter knife.



Re: Mauser Actions [Re: sbhva] #4121222 05/27/10
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So I have two very nice 1909 actions. They are stripped, so no collector value is involved. I bought them many years ago for $150 each, with thoughts of building a 7X57 and 257 Roberts. They would make an ideal three gun battery when added to a 375 H&H.

I see on Douglas' website that I can have them barreled nicely for $460. I'd like a three position safety, the bolt handle forged, the receiver drilled and tapped for scope mounts, etc. Who does a good job on these actions? Or, is there someone who specializes in this type of buildup? I plan to stock them myself.


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Re: Mauser Actions [Re: cumminscowboy] #4121231 05/27/10
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Thanks for the info guys. That's what I like about this place, people are all willing to share what they know.

Greg

Re: Mauser Actions [Re: cumminscowboy] #4121242 05/27/10
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Originally Posted by cumminscowboy
mausers are over rated, but people still build rifles and spend an insane amount of money , its polishing a turd, IMO.



I disagree, I have quite a few rifles in my 2 gun safe's. Only one mauser but it is my favorite because I have never seen another like it. it is an Interarms Whitworth single shot (not a mark X). also has an awesome 8oz trigger of unknown origin.
If it came down to selling this action or my new $1300.00 BAT I would sell my BAT because I could buy another.
RC

Re: Mauser Actions [Re: Jlin222] #4121255 05/27/10
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Jlin222-

That was a very good write-up!!!!!!

Good job!!! grin

I enjoyed reading it......Thanks!

Re: Mauser Actions [Re: Mule Deer] #4121310 05/27/10
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Originally Posted by Mule Deer
2) It's also silly to use anything a commercial action such as FN or Mark X these days--unless you just want to spend the money in order to say you have a sporter on the 1909 Arentine action, for instance.


Well, shoot!..... I guess I'm just going to have to throw this one in the trash bin then. grin grin

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Re: Mauser Actions [Re: LateBloomer] #4121328 05/27/10
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That Herters J9 looks a lot like an Interarms MKX because it IS an Interarms MKX.
As a functional sporting action, the Mauser 98 is far from overrated. It is simple, rugged, and reliable as a stone. Although the design is over 110 years old, it is strong enough to handle cartridges far larger than those for which it was designed.
I have been gunsmithing professionally for nearly 35 years and was a reasonably knowledgeable amatuer before that. In that time, I have never seen a mauser with a broken firing pin but, if I had, I would have been able to strip the bolt and replace it without any tools. I have seen one broken extractor on an old, rusted mauser which didn't look like it should even fire. The chamber was so rough, the owner regularly used a chunk of wood to beat the bolt open to extract the shell. I've never seen a broken bolt stop or ejector.
Having said all this, Mule Deer is right; it doesn't make economic sense to build a rifle on a military action. You have to want to do it to pay for the modifications or you have to do it because you like to and can.
The Model 70 Winchester is related to the mauser in that they both have two locking lugs up front. That's it.
On a tenuously related subject, I have a copy of Advanced Gunsmithing by Wayne Vickery who was a gunsmith in Boise in the thirties and forties. Now, Vickery was a customer of my grandfather's automotive shop in Boise, Idaho so they were well acquainted. In 1941, when he was 15, my father got his first high powered rifle. This was a '93 Mauser which was re-barreled with a new Remington barrel chambered in 7x57. In addition, Vickery altered the bolt handle and installed a Lyman receiver sight. The total cost, according to the note Dad made in the book, was $25.00. GD

Re: Mauser Actions [Re: greydog] #4121366 05/28/10
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I could get to like Mausers if the recoil lug was made three times bigger and moved to the front of the action and if the tang area was much bigger. Sounds like I just described a Model 70 grin

Re: Mauser Actions [Re: sbhva] #4121632 05/28/10
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There is no standard Mauser '98 action. There are many variations within the category "Mauser '98".

Paul Mauser developed and patented a number of ideas that became the '98, including the magazine and ammunition clip. He developed an entire series of Mauser rifles (Models 67/69, 1889-91, 1893, 1894-95, 1896 and finally the 1898). Each was an improvement over the previous one.

Many nations adopted the Mauser concepts and the US was required to pay patent infringement payments to Mauser for the Model 1903 Springfield rifle (clip and spitzer bullet).

Adhering to the Mauser concept of internal (to the stock) magazine, controlled feeding, stripper clip, etc., the main variations include action length, receiver ring diameter, metallurgy, etc. Between manufacturers, interchangeability of parts (except for the K98k of the German military) was frequently not possible due to variations.

I fondly remember the 1950's when I could walk into gun shops and buy a WW2 Mauser rifle for $10-20 depending on condition. And, I'd have my choice of 50-100 rifles at "Ye Old Hunter" (Interarms) in Alexandria VA.

Re: Mauser Actions [Re: BFaucett] #4121638 05/28/10
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Bob,

Or you could send it to me. I have a special trash can for junk like that!


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