98 mauser in .458WinMag?


March 2, 2009, 10:47 PM
I was looking at the classifieds in an Oregon newspaper earlier, and there's a dude with a mauser 98 that's been rebarreled in .458WM :uhoh:for $450. It's about a 4 hour roundtrip for me to the town where he lives, so I haven't looked at it yet, but he told me the barrel's about 28", has a walnut stock, express sights, and the conversion was done by a well known gunsmith in California. (He can't remember the name of the gunsmith though). He told me he's more of a collector than a shooter, but that he's put about 10 rounds through it. He also said the rounds he shot weren't full power loads though.

I know mausers are the greatest thing sliced cheese, yadda, yadda, but is that safe? I know .30-06 and other mainstream hunting calibers are common mauser conversions, but going from 8mm to .458 sounds unsafe to me. So is a mauser converted to .458 even safe to shoot, and not just with reduced loads, but with Hornady factory ammo for instance? Hornady .458 is pretty much the cheapest ammo in that caliber, plus it's the most powerful, and supposedly isn't high pressure either, due to proprietary powder or something.
(If I got this, I don't plan on shooting it enough to invest in dies, and I'm not interested in reduced loads either. I could buy a .45-70 for that. The hornady factory ammo is the only ammo I'm interested in shooting in it).

I know lots of new dangerous game guns are being based off the mauser action, but they're not using actions that were made in WW1/2. So, assuming an old mauser action is strong enough for that caliber, what would be the main things to check to insure it's safe to shoot with modern ammo?

This gun has been advertised close to two weeks now in one of the bigger towns in Oregon, so the fact that no one has bought it yet for $450 kind of makes me wonder too.

I don't need a .458, but I've been wanting something massively powerful for awhile, and I'm cheap and poor and don't want to spend much money on something that might make me cry and wimper like a little school girl after one shot. I've also been looking at ruger no.1, and some of the lower end bolt action remingtons in .375 and .458 as well. I could probably get either brand new or gently used for $600-$800 from what I've seen, which is still considerably more than this mauser, but I don't want a bastardized milsurp that's unsafe to shoot either, regardless of how cheap it is. So, would I be better off just saving my pennies for a more modern factory gun, or is the mauser a reasonable (and SAFE) deal?

Assuming this gun weighs 8-10 pounds, how would the recoil compare to a 3.5" 12ga?


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March 3, 2009, 01:48 AM
First off, a .458 doesn't require a magnum length action and yes it would have to be rebarreled, not just a reamed out 8mm. Mauser made 9mm rifles on that action too--which are in the 'dangerous game' range.

Have a look in person. If that gunsmith was worth his salt it's been rebarreled too.

March 3, 2009, 02:03 AM
be careful. the fact that he said it was smithed by some great well known smith but he cant remember his name. ya right. I dont by that at all. id just save my money. trust me getting burned is the worst. it aint worth the risk. just my 2 cents

jim in Anchorage
March 3, 2009, 02:41 AM
28" 458? Varmint rifle? A Mauser will handle a 458 with ease.Recoil is not the same as pressure,and as far as the action is concerned,its still shooting a 8MM.

March 3, 2009, 03:35 AM
the mauser action is strong enough to cope with the calibre choice. and the old prewar oberdorf (german) and FN actions are about as good as it gets. Don't think this is a guarantee though. the best thing to do is go and look, take some headspace gauges with you.

If it has a decent barrel it might be a good rifle. remember some great rifle makers use military mauser actions. Rigby, holland and holland, me and david lloyd to name a few. The older actions are best. try to avoid a late ww2 german one though.


March 3, 2009, 08:36 AM
Countless Model 98s have been rebuilt into 458s. The 458 WM is the same length as the 30-06 and only requires opening the rails a bit for the fatter cartridge.

I can't comment on the quality of the work without even seeing the gun. If they guy has been shooting the gun without problem then it's likely at least safe.

Given the cost of 458 ammo and your admitted cheapness I can't imagine why you wouldn't plan to reload for this rifle.

March 3, 2009, 11:22 AM
If you are poor and will cry and whimper about recoil dont bother with a .458. No worry abut a 98 Mauser action however.

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