Mauser time...


June 4, 2003, 05:51 PM
Okay, I have decided to buy myself a Mauser, of the 98 actcion flavor. Had a 95 once and never got used that 'cock on closing' thing...

Anyway, I want to use the thing for hunting. I'm going to drill and tap it for scope mounts for sure, and I'm thinking about converting it to another caliber. Has anyone ever done this before? How much does a gunsmith normally charge to chage a mauser barrel? What are some good calibers to convert to?

My plan is to end up with 2 rifles sooner or latter (probably latter cause of my budget, I'm a student), on for Deer sized or smaller game and one for anything bigger than Deer. I'm not sure what I want this Mauser to be yet, but here is what I'm thinking:

Option #1: Leave the original barrel on there, assuming it shoots with some degree of accuracry. From what I know about the 8mm Mauser (8X57) round, it sould make a good 'universal' hunting round, good for deer or elk, just about anything but bear. Sort of like .30-06. Have any of you hunted with this caliber? Would you recomend this option?

Option #2: Make it a Deer gun. I'm thinking if I re-barrel it with this in mind I want to make it a .25-06, but I'm still open to sujestions on the caliber. Any ideas?

Option #3: Make it an Elk gun. I'm thinking .35 Whelen, or maybe .338-06, but I'm not sure about the .338-06 cause even though I reload, I'd like to avoid wildcat calibers. Again, I'm open to sujestions.

It will probably be a couple of months before I buy the gun. I have a few bills I need to pay first, so right now I'm just in the planning stage. I am farily new to the world of the Mauser, and bolt actions in general (up till now I've always hunted with my Winchester model 94 .30-30, a pre-64 even :) ). But I've only hunted deer, and only hunted in the brush where a scope is more of a hassle than an asset. This is no longer the case, as I'm planning a hunting trip to north east Oregon next year, where long shots are much more likely. I'll also be hunting Elk. The model 94 isn't the ideal rifle for this kinda hunting, so I started looking into bolt actions. I noticed that I can get an Un-issued mauser for under $200.00, but a new Ruger, Winchester, or Remington is gonna cost me at least twice that. I think that even if I re-barrel a Mauser, it will still work out to be cheaper, and the gun will have a bit more 'character'...

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June 4, 2003, 06:28 PM
Well, not to discourage a custom project but one other alternative would be one of the sporterized Mausers such as in the following auctions. They are available in several standard calibers. You might also want to check out and search for 'custom mauser' Many folks selling off projects.

One thing to keep in mind with many mausers is the bolt may have to be modified and the safety modified for use with a scope and they can still have kinda... well... difficult triggers.

If you are leaning towards your second option, the bottom auction should really be right up your alley. I've been looking at that gun for a couple months now and really wish someone would buy it. :p

June 4, 2003, 06:31 PM
And by the way, the .338-06 is no longer a wildcat... it was adopted by A-Square about three years ago. Doesn't make the ammo any more widely available though... :uhoh:

I don't have much experience with either chambering but from what I've read, I think they're both pretty much handloaders cartridges. If you do handload, there's a larger selection of .338 bullets than .358. Barnes makes the X-Bullets in 180, 200 and 250 Gr for the .358 and 160, 175, 185, 200, 210 and 225 Gr in .338.

Personally, I think a nice custom Mauser rifle in .338-06 would make a very versatile and classy rifle. And with all those bullet weights to chose from and the ability to load to lower veocities... you could stick with just X Bullets and still run the gammut of almost all large game in North America but you'll probably never, ever find even a single box of loaded ammo on a shelf so be sure you take all you'll need. ;)

June 4, 2003, 07:21 PM

While I absolutely love Mausers and can identify with being a starving student, sporterizing one just really doesn't make economic sense if you're out to save money. Rebarrelling, drilling and tapping, altering the bolt handle to clear a scope, and changing the safety to clear a scope will run AT LEAST $200 from a decent but unknown smith. Hire a good or even a top-notch smith and you can more than double that figure, easy. That's assuming you rebarrel to a caliber that will feed properly without altering the feed rails. And assuming the smith doesn't butcher your gun, which DOES happen. And then you've still got the military stock, and a halfway-Bubbadized rifle that's worth the same $150 as all the thousands of other halfway-Bubbadized Mausers collecting dust on the used racks of every gunshop in America. Like I said, it just doesn't make economic sense, IMHO.

The only way a custom Mauser makes sense, at least to me, is if you can (A) do all or nearly all of the work yourself or (B) shell out the bucks to get a REALLY good gunsmith to do a full-custom, high-grade rifle that you'll happily and proudly use for the rest of your life and pass down to your children or grandchildren. (A) takes hundreds of hours of time and lots of skill; (B) takes what my gunsmith calls "cubic dollars."

Think about it; how many halfway-sporterized Mausers have ever made you think to yourself, "hey, great lookin' gun?"

I'd urge you to consider a new CZ 550 American. It'll set you back $450 complete with scope rings and be totally ready for sporting use right out of the box. It's a direct descendant of the 98 Mauser with all of the Mauser features. It also won't be a total money pit like a halfway sporterized Mauser.

It is, of course, your business how you spend your money. I'd just suggest that you really think it through, do your homework, and consider the TOTAL cost of the project, not just that appealingly low milsurp price. And if you *do* decide to sporterize one, be VERY careful in choosing a 'smith. There are already way too many horror stories about butchered guns.


June 4, 2003, 07:22 PM
The most exiting caliber I have seen in a Mauser in a long time is a semi wildcat called a .458-2"
Its a .458 case cut down to... 2" :)
It feeds ordinary .458 bullets, and it is also used with a 700grain lead bullet.
The gun I have here is fitted with a integral supressor, and the sound it makes is like a powerfull air gun! :D
Not a long range caliber, but a very nice one for both big and small game.

June 4, 2003, 07:47 PM
I plan to do most the work myself, with some help from my Dad and Grandfather (Dad can drill and tap, Grandpa is good with stocks...). The only thing I really need the smith for is the barrel, and possibly altering the bolt so it will clear a scope. I might not need to worry about that if I use tall scope rings. I'm also thinking about altering it so that the bolt doesn't lock open on the last shot, but that can wait as it has no effect on how the gun shoots.

As far as the cost goes, I may end up sticking with the 8mm Barrel, so I'd save a bunch since I'd do all the work myself. The only cost, aside from the rifle, will be a scope. I'm thinking about getting a Bushnell 3-9X40 Banner wide angle scope. I've got one on my .22 WMR target rifle, and have been pretty happy with it. And it's fairly cheap for a higher end scope... I'd guess I could do the whole project for under $300.00 if I stick with the original barrel...

June 4, 2003, 11:36 PM
I've done some 'customizing' on a Mauser too, so I think I have some idea about what you're getting into.

First: The 8X57 will kill anything on this continent-- ANYTHING!! You can rebarrel (that word doesn't look right) to any of a variety of calibers but you'll have a hard time coming up with one that'll kill more game. I have a Turk '98 that I rebarreled to .308 and, while it's a tack-driver, it won't kill an elk any more dead than the 8mm would have.

Second: No matter how you cut it, it's going to cost you a bunch of money. Sure, you can pay less by doing some of the work yourself, but you're still going to pay out money that you wouldn't if you left it as an 8mm.

Third: It's your gun and your money, do with them as you wish. I got a helluva deal on my .308 and I'm glad I made the conversion, but I could have spent the same money and bought a new Savage. Still, knowing what I do now, if I had it to do over again, I'd do it all over again. It was fun and it was instructional too.

June 5, 2003, 01:28 AM
8mm seems to make deer and such dead. I have never has any experiance there but many peope say it works just fine. So I don't think it's really worth it.

I might be biased though, I don't believe in Bubbaizing anything. ;)

Byron Quick
June 5, 2003, 05:47 PM
I think that if you haunt the auction sites, pawnshops, and gun stores that you might be surprised what you come upon.

I bought a Parker-Hale built on a Mauser 98 action with a Burris scope for $450. Chambered in 7mm Magnum.

Others have gotten as good a rifle cheaper.

June 5, 2003, 06:26 PM
Oldfart is right about the 8mm mauser being up to the task. Others are right about the cost-IF you can not do a lot of the work.

I love 98's too! I have them in 8mm and rebarreled ones in 25-06, 30-06, .308, .270 win, 35 Whelen. Hardly any problems at all as all have the same 8mm case head size and even the feed rails need no mods to feed right.

Czech VZ-24's are GOOD guns to begin your conversion with. MANY are available so most of them are not 'collectable'. Good slick actions, good heat treatment, etc. Can be found CHEAP! They are the 'standard' length Mauser 98 action (some like the Yugo Model 24's are 'intermediate action length' and aftermarket parts are NOT so readily avialable). Turks are a crap shoot as are many Isrieli's so take care with them.

Good luck and have fun-it is a great project.

June 5, 2003, 07:09 PM
Between sporterizing and leaving it intact. There are some very good scout mounts for the '98 out there. There are also a wide array of aftermarket Mauser stocks. I'd suggest getting a VZ-24 or similar Mauser, installing a scout mount, putting a 2x scout scope on it, and putting the whole thing it in an aftermarket stock. The end result will be very different, but extremely fast and lethal. I'd also suggest leaving the straight bolt. IMHO, once you master the straight bolt, it can be quite a bit faster than the bent.

June 5, 2003, 09:01 PM
Cosmo, for his benefit as well as mine, give us the brand name of a GOOD scout mount for the '98 (maybe one that fits in the rear sight slot). I have heard that there are some that are NOT very stable and would like to have a good one but one that would not require rifle modification. Thanks.

June 5, 2003, 10:28 PM
Here are 2 VZ-24’s that I customized. They are both .308 because that is the only reamer and gauges that I own. The first one is just to show off but the second one was done very inexpensively, arround $200 with me doing all the work. Note: I have machinist training; you will probably want to find a good smith to ream the chamber for you. Here is a website that has a lot of Mauser parts and barreled acitions in .308 already. gunsnstuff (

June 6, 2003, 02:37 AM
Darrell on Parallax's boards probably makes the best, but so far he hasn't released one for the '98.

I tried a B-Square with my 91/30 and hated it. It came loose every other shot.

These guys are supposed to be good:

There's also the Mojo sight system. It works very well for shots inside of 200 meters or so.

If you're willing to do smithing, Ashley (of ghost ring fame) makes a very solid scout mount.

June 6, 2003, 03:01 AM
Wanted to clear something up: I'm not going to get a strait bolt Mauser. I've already got a fine strait bolt rifle (a Nagant, got it Un-issued, it looks and shoots great!). The problem with the bent bolt Mausers is that sometimes the bolt isn't bent enough to clear the scope. Simple solution: Cut it off, and weld it back on upside-down. Sounds funny, but if it's done right, it doesn't look too bad, and it works great. My dad had a Spanish Mauser sportarized (spelling?) and had this done to the bolt.

June 6, 2003, 09:28 AM
What I found is that the straight bolt is the easiest to use with a scope. If a bent bolt clears the scope it is still hard to grasp. With a straight bolt you can bend the knob closer to the bolt. This ensures that the bolt will clear the scope and gives you more to grab. You will end up removing some of the stock to be able to shut the blot all the way. I had done this to the second gun, in the picture in the previous post. This worked well. I did end up removing the bolt knob altogether and soldering a different one on just because it looked cooler. A buddy of mine cut part way through the bolt with a dremil, heated it up and bent it, and then filled the rest in with weld. This worked well and gave a little more to grab, in theory anyway I did not notice a big difference.

I have never seen the bolt welded on upside-down. I would love to see that.

June 6, 2003, 09:57 AM
Modifying the stock on a Mauser shouldn't cost too much (esp. if you're doing most of the work). Even shortening & recrowning the barrel is fairly inexpensive work for most gunsmiths.

Where the real cost comes in is in converting calibers. Not only do you have to rechamber, but you may have to modify the bolt faces & magazine components. Costs can get crazy then...:what:

Fortunately, 8mm is a wonderful "universal" cartridge that will take any game in the USA & most in the rest of the world. And ammo isn't difficult to find. I'd stay with it. My "big game" rifle is a sporterized .303 SMLE that will take just about any game I need it to, and I'm planning to get another in the same caliber for a "truck gun".

Let us know how the project goes...

June 6, 2003, 02:47 PM
"I have never seen the bolt welded on upside-down. I would love to see that"

I'll ask my dad about borrowing his digital camera so maybe I can post a pic of how it turned out...

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