Re: What to do with Yugo M48 Mauser?
While the point that shortgrass makes regarding case hardening is well taken, I believe it is going overboard to advise against lapping the bolt lugs. There are many reputable gunsmiths who perform that very task on a routine basis.
Though I am but a rank amateur, I have lapped the lugs and lightly polished the bolt face on several mauser actions with excellent results. Fifteen thousandths of case hardening doesn't sound like a lot, but is actually quite a lot of material to remove with nothing but abrasives and hand tools. Even using a carbide bit and a drill (as I have done while drilling and tapping for scope mounts), it takes a bit of work to get through the case hardening. By comparison, it generally takes very little material removal to get 75% contact on both locking lugs or to square the bolt face to the barrel threads.
No gunsmithing task should be taken lightly or approached in a ham handed manner. The shooting sports in general, and gunsmithing in particular, pose inherent risks that must be managed by the application of common sense. If one does the homework necessary to understand the subject matter at hand, proceeds slowly and cautiously, and pays attention to what is being done quite a lot can be safely accomplished.
Where the mauser actions are concerned, it pays to be cautious. There are indeed some mauser variants that have a reputation for being "soft" or for having very thin case hardening. Some of the WWI and earlier mausers and some of the 1943-45 German produced K98's are especially known for quality control problems related to metallurgy and heat treating.
The M48's however, were never manufactured in factories being pressured by allied bombing or by slave labor. They are of high quality and are likely to be in much better condition than their wartime brethren.
Having said all that, we must all act within our personal comfort zones. I would never advise pushing a gunsmith to perform work with which he is uncomfortable. I would, however, not hesitate to search for a gunsmith with whom I see eye-to-eye.
In conversations like this, I am often reminded of something once said by late NASCAR great, Smokey Yunick, to the effect that many engineering "facts" turn out to be just someone's opinion when they are boiled down far enough.
Last edited by benchracer; 07-02-2010 at 12:42 PM.
Reason: mistyped a word