Bias towards the Mauser action for long range hunting?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Gert Odendaal, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal Member

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    Good day to all the members, may you all have a prosperous new year. I am contemplating a build on a long range hunting rifle. My idea is to be able to shoot maximum 500 meters on a Oryx/ Blue wildebeest/ Eland and shorter distances on a Springbok(250 to 300 meters) The ultra long distances will be on gongs, up to 1000 + meters.

    Reading a lot about long distance rifles and shooting these rifles and specifically the building of these type of rifles it was difficult to find a build on such a rifle comprising of a Mauser 98 action. It seems nobody is confident enough to use a Mauser 98 action for a long range rifle build.

    I read a lot about Remington 700, Stiller, Bat actions used in this type of builds. I accept the Mauser 98 action is not that common in America and abroad(or is it ?) . In South Africa the Mauser action rifles are prominent since we build a lot of Dangerous Game and hunting rifles on these old Mauser 98 actions.

    Even members of long range shooting forums in South Africa said a Mauser 98 action is not suitable for a long range hunting/target rifle....

    I would really like to hear as many opinions regarding this scenario as possible? Please feel free to give your honest opinion .....

    Why/what is the reason for not using the Mauser 98 action for a long range hunting/target rifle?

    Gert Odendaal
     
  2. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    The Mauser '98 might be the 'grand daddy' of them all, but is ancient technology. Every 'edge' is needed for LR accuracy. The Mauser '98 is a fine action for a custom build provided needed accurcy of the build doesn't exceed 600yds., or so. The Mauser rifles are prevalent throughout the world as they've been used world wide since it's development. Here, in the U.S. , it's getting harder to find a '98 that's not a rusty piece of junk and worth building on.
     
  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    At one time the 98 Mauser was the most used action in the United States because of availability
    and cost.

    The Mausers have never been a precision built action and with the newer action the fit and finish is just better.

    "But" If you look at an action for what it does, the only time that precision is a must is when it is in battery and holding a cartridge in the chamber in perfict alignment. It has other functions but when accuracy is the primary goal the action and bolt must be true and square to the bore and the other shortcomings wont have an adverse effect.

    I have owned Mausers with .025 + clearance between the bolt and the raceway in the action that would bind with the bolt all the way out and had to be lifted up to close the bolt, but because of the good chamber, head space and trueness of the action would shoot below 1 MOA at 1000 yards.

    The Mausers are not as slick and streamlined as the newer actions are, but to some they are still
    great looking and they "WILL" shoot with the best designer actions if set up correctly IMO.

    I personally like the new clean lines of some actions, But if I didn't have a choice and was told a 98 was the only action I could use, I would not hesitate to build a long range rifle on it.

    The only downside that I know of with the 98 Mausers are some of the late war rifles were not proof tested and the metallurgy was not up to standards. They were also designed for 55,000 CUP pressures and todays long range rifles use high pressure cartridges (65.000 PSI) and with large case heads The loading of the bolt and action are at the limits of the 98.

    Most dangerous game cartridges run pressures of less than 50,000 PSIs and the 98s are still very popular
    and safe.

    Just my opinion for what its worth.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  4. fmsniper

    fmsniper Well-Known Member

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    I have built 3 long range rifles on commercial Mauser actions, I am selling one right now that shoots .25 MOA, I true the actions and lap the lugs, My 7mm Rem Mag shoots 168 Berger VLDS vantastic

    [​IMG]

    300WM on Commercial Mauser action
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I have owned several Mauser action rifles over the years and have been able to achieve comparable accuracy to my Remington styled actions. While I have not set one up as a LR rig for shooting over 500 yards, it would be very feasible, and has been done. I think the reason with the lack of popularity is the aforementioned age, and the sloppiness/roughness of many of the available actions, both old as well as the later Eastern European versions. They can be smoothed up with some work. The refined actions used on the English customs like H&H are priced very high. Much like the Winchester Model 70 actions, the bedding process requires more work, and whether you believe it's hype or reality, the recessed case head support of the Remington design has earned a reputation of providing better case head support to handle the high pressure loads used for long range. There are lots of accessories, and are easy work for a gunsmith. The simplicity, and fewer components lend them to high reliability at a low cost. While purely subjective, and a product of my age, I personally find the Mauser and Model 70(pre64) actions, far more appealing in design, function, and aesthetics. All of my elegant, wood stocked, sporters have Mauser or pre 64 actions on them, and would never have considered a Remington styled action. While I have certainly seen Mauser styled actions shoot exceptionally well at long range, my serious long range rifles have Remington styled actions for the reasons mentioned. They are very specialized rifles with one purpose in mind, absolute long range accuracy. IMO
     
  6. SaskShooter

    SaskShooter Well-Known Member

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    As has been said here already, what matters is a good, precise lock up. If the action is true, and bedded into a good stock, all your accuracy is going to come from the barrel and ammunition.

    If you have it trued or lapped and a good trigger/firing pin (check out Blitzschnell or Speedlock pins) on it, screw on a GOOD quality barrel and knock down that Oryx!

    One thing some folks do talk about, although there's no way to prove it hurts accuracy, is the controlled round feed. Because the bottom of the bolt face is cut out so the cartridge can slide up through it from the mag, some people say accuracy will suffer because it's not as concentric as actions like an M700 where the bolt face totally encloses the case head. Nonetheless, the 1/4 MOA Mausers out there disagree with that statement.


    I'm currently putting together a sporter build on a 96 Mauser action. I just have to drill/tap and bed it before I take it out for accuracy testing. If enough people here bug me about it, I might even get it finished today...
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  7. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    I doubt it makes financial sense. You can buy a Savage target accutrigger action for $455 and put a $350 match barrel on it + a $200-400 stock and have a guaranteed fractional MOA shooting rig, that accepts current one piece scope bases.

    Why would you invest time and money in a 60-70 year old action that was made in time of crisis with imperfect metallurgy / heat treatment / and machining for which the accessories are now becoming scarce and expensive (forged bolt, low profile safety, replacement parts like extractor etc). I also doubt that you will get a Mauser trigger even close to a target accutrigger or any of the other aftermarket triggers for the other brands (Timney, Jewel etc).

    The mausers that are available in the US currently are the Yugoslavian M24 or M48 series. Price for a rifle = $280. But by the time you have paid the gunsmith to make something of it, you could easily have bought a stiller or other custom action for $950 and the stiller will always be worth more than a Mauser.

    Here, Mausers are built by people who have all their own machining resources at home and do all the work themselves. And generally they bought a pile of the K98's when they were about $50-60 each, not $600+ that is asked for them now.

     
  8. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal Member

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    Members I really appreciate the kind replies. The reason for posting this inquiry is to see if the effort to use a Mauser 98 action will be spend in fruitless results, since the requirements to a long range set- up will not be achieve using an old technology action as a Mauser 98. It looks like and examples were provided in the above mentioned posts of successful builds on Mauser 98 actions for long range rifles.

    FM Sniper, thank you for uploading photos of excellent rifles being build by you, it really serves as an example to use the Mauser 98 actions for a long range rifle build.

    I would really appreciate it if I may pm you in regards to preparing a Mauser 98 action before engaging this action for a long range rifle build. I presume all the lapping/polishing procedures need to be done beforehand. I do have a 8 mmrifle Obendorf action that is exceptionally smooth and may be a candidate for such a long range hunting rifle like a .338 Norma Magnum or a .300 Norma Magnum for heavy bodied Antelope like Eland/Gemsbok and Blue wildebeest out to 400 meters and gong shooting out to 1000 meters.

    I only have access to Mauser 98 actions to build a long range rifle, maybe buying a Savage/Howa or other donner rifle from a shop , discard the barrel and stock and use the action for such a build...will be another possibility.

    As mentioned before it really is difficult to ship items from Brownells/Midway USA and other shops to South Africa since there are embargoes in place to prevent items like rifle barrels, scopes and rifle parts to be ship to my country.

    These shops can encounter hefty fines when shipping some of these items to South Africa. This then is another aspect to take into consideration regarding availability of good quality rifle parts for a decent long range rifle build.

    So I do have to make the components I get to work for me , although I am hampered by this situation.

    Thank you kindly again for your replies it is really much appreciated. I really would like to have more input on this subject, it really gives me more insight regarding my options on a first long range hunting/target rifle build...the wheel has been invented already, no need to invent it again,....

    Regards

    Gert
     
  9. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    Gert, as a former South African, are you saying that importation of rifles from the US is now prohibited ? Surely you mean that you cannot import as an individual ? I assume that any licensed dealer still has ways and means ? Do gun stores no longer sell Savage or Remington rifles ?

    Honestly, you would be better served by trying to find a Savage 112 or a Long action Remington. It is getting very difficult to find spares for Mausers now. I would not want to work with a rifle that I could not get spare parts for.

    Could you not work from a Musgrave rifle ? Musgrave rifle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It is my understanding that the company makes a Mauser clone of modern materials and manufacturing techniques. They also make barrels. Some of my family members living in the Eastern Free State own custom Musgrave rifles that they seem very satisfied with.
     
  10. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    You are in a similar situation to me . I have built a few Mauser 98's and my latest is a long range gun on an alloy rail stock. It's early days yet but accuracy is looking good and first few shots go into tight small groups.
    I am still leaning how to drive it but it seems just as accurate as my Sako's so far. The stock has a whole lot to do with accuracy and when you bolt the Mauser 98 into a very rigid stock it shoots way better . There is no doubt a custom action is way better . Give it a go if you can't get anything else .
    A Barnard custom action would be good , contact this guy in SA , Chris Kruger of Armtec Synthetic Stocks [email protected]
    Phone: 2783 531 5860
     
  11. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal Member

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    Wetcliffe101/Bullet bumper

    Westcliffe101, yes you are correct, it seems for me to buy/ship items into South Africa is definitely problematic, if it is allowed from some dealers abroad there are permits/paperwork that need to be completed, and the importing duties is around $150 (R1500) for a barrel the price on a barrel is then $450 (R4500). So it is possible to get hold of a barrel from specific companies in America.

    When importing a rifle stock from Boyd` s we are, limited to an amount of $100 per stock, so it is difficult to get American companies to ship to South Africa. Regularly when surfing the webpages of Brownells/Midway/Amazon the indication regarding a specific item is indicated as "not to be ship to South Africa.

    Looking at the whole picture it makes it difficult for us in South Africa to get worthwhile items for a functional rifle build........

    At the bright side of this scenario it sharpens my skills to source and find items for such a rifle build:):)

    Bullet bumper, thank you kindly for the info, I will contact this person ,Barnard actions.

    While encountering difficulty to get a decent action , thoughts of milling my own action starting to surface , it is definitely worthwhile to look into this possibility. I have the means to case harden metal/steel since I have access to a furnace. It would be nice if I am successful in such a venture.....

    All I need now is for a person to tell me I would not be able to do something like that......then I will for sure start with such a project.....

    Gert
     
  12. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    Unless you're an experienced 'heat treater' I wouldn't be case hardening actions that I'm going to put meer inches from my face. Machining the lug ways is a problem, unless you have a shaper or EDM sitting in the shop. Making a rifle action, from raw steel, should never be trivialized.
     
  13. Rem700

    Rem700 Well-Known Member

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    I went through the thoughts of just using Mauser because the cost was cheaper. But one factor is that the cost of modernizing a K98 to update it would put it at nearly the same price as a modern action plus the risk of getting a weak action, made buying modern action a better choice...IMO
     
  14. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal Member

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    Thank you again for the replies, I will then go the route by buying a donor rifle and use the action, it will be the most recent technology, and maybe cheaper option as well. I will make use of your guys again to guide me through the building process ...

    Kind Regards and many thanks.

    Gert Odendaal