March 19, 2006, 01:39 PM
Last week I was given what I was told is a sporterized 95 Mauser as my first centerfire rifle. It is rebarreled in .243 Win., the bolt handle is modified to accept a scope and came with a mounted older Bushnell Sportview 3x-9x,32 scope. The barrel is stamped with 243. I don't see anything around the scope mount that looks like part of a crest but there is what looks like a + inside of a circle.
It seems to shoot ok but have no centerfire rifle experience to compare it to. 110 yards is far as I can stretch my personal outdoor range.
I've never handled any other Mauser or centerfire rifle but to me when the bolt is back it seems loose and wobbly until a round is fully chambered at which point the bolt feels welded tight.
Here are a few not so great quality pics of the bolt. The bolt face looks eroded and the extracter ring looks worn. Is this a dangerous condition in this type of rifle chambered for .243 Winchester?
March 19, 2006, 02:43 PM
Kind of hard to inspect a gun over the internet, I suggest you take it to a qualified smith. Expect to pay a few dollars, but the peace of mind can be worth it.
March 19, 2006, 03:17 PM
IIRC, the flat on the bottom of the bolt is a distinguishing feature of the Spanish Mauser, as is the Maltese cross in a circle, a common mark on Spanish Mausers.
The bolt-slop when open is normal for a Mauser. The corrosion on the bolt face was probably due to corrosive primers. Not much you can do about it now - though a good gunsmith could clean it up a bit, it's hardly worth the money. From what I know, in and of itself, that is not a danger unless the erosion of the firing pin hole is very advanced, but I am leery of shooting these small rings with modern high-pressure ammunition like .243, .22-250, and the various other rebarrelings I see. The pre-1898 actions are pretty weak to be shooting modern rounds, especially the Spanish-made actions. That includes shooting .308 in the great number of rebored 1916's floating around.
There are two bad things about this. First, continuous use of these rounds with the much higher bolt thrust than the original chamberings is likely over time to cause lug setback to increasingly excessive headspace. Second, high-pressure rounds have been known to stretch the receiver rings of these older, weaker actions when fired and cause the barrel to fly out of the action. This seems to be rare, but the risk is still there.
(I know many will poo-poo the weakness of the pre-'98 actions and say they have ones which work just fine: Yes, many will work just fine for a long time, but why take the risk that yours will be the one to suffer lug setback or have a barrel fly out of the receiver ring? There are plenty of good actions built to take modern rounds.)
Best thing to do, IMO, is to handload to lower pressures. Alternatively, Midway was selling Adams & Bennet barrels for the small-ring Mausers in 7x57, 6.5x55, and .257 Roberts for $90. I just checked, and they are now out of these, but you might be able to pick up a similar barrel somewhere. You'd still have to have a gunsmith chamber and fit the barrel and blue it (unlesss you have the tools and the know-how to do it yourself, of course). You'd never get your money out of this, but if you liked the rifle and did not like to handload, it might be reasonable.
Regardless of what you choose to do, the advice to have a gun you have qualms about inspected by a competent gunsmith is good.
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