The Vaunted Mauser Action


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prezbucky
July 10, 2010, 06:46 PM
I've read that Mauser (and Mauser-clone) bolt actions are smooth as butter. This has put a few questions in my mind which I'd like to put before those in the know:

1) Is the Mauser-type bolt action the best, or is it overhyped?
2) How can you tell if the bolt action rifle in front of you has a Mauser-type action (assuming the rifle is not made by Mauser...)?
3) Would you pay $100 more for a rifle with a Mauser-type bolt action than one that had, say, an Enfield-type action?

Thanks!

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brian923
July 10, 2010, 07:20 PM
You tell me. Pretty much all rifle actions share at least one mauser design. Many share multiple desings. The mauser 98 action is a great action, and can handle most cartridges know to date.

KodiakBeer
July 10, 2010, 07:38 PM
The Mauser action is indeed the smoothest and it also has a controlled round feed that means you could (if you wanted or needed to) chamber a round with the rifle upside down or while running, etc.

Most people would say that an Enfield action is faster...

Either action is better (smoother, faster) than that of a modern sporting rifle.

gunnie
July 10, 2010, 07:49 PM
..."Pretty much all rifle actions share at least one mauser design."...

yeppir!

questions...

1) Is the Mauser-type bolt action the best, or is it overhyped?

best for what? many actions are more "slick" to operate, especially short degree throw bolt designs. many more inherently accurate. most modern bolts have better lock times. the "controlled round feed" has a slight edge in reliability. also extraction of problematic cases, if true to the "long" + "wide" extractor.

2) How can you tell if the bolt action rifle in front of you has a Mauser-type action (assuming the rifle is not made by Mauser...)?

best bet, go to a gun show and check out a WWII FN mfgd milsurp. notice opposed locking lugs and third safety lug. rotating extractor. vented bolt and reciever. these, the prime mauser traits.


3) Would you pay $100 more for a rifle with a Mauser-type bolt action than one that had, say, an Enfield-type action?

yes, as a dangerous game rifle.

gunnie

menacingsquirrel
July 10, 2010, 07:49 PM
The mauser action is very reliable in terms of feeding as stated above. This is the reason many dangerous game hunters prefer this action. For accuracy, other actions such as the remington 700 are better. It all depends on what you are looking for in a rifle.

Hatterasguy
July 10, 2010, 08:00 PM
Its pretty good, but I think the Swiss straight pulls are faster and smoother.

gunnie
July 10, 2010, 08:06 PM
but are they "bolt" actions?

gunnie

Maverick223
July 10, 2010, 08:40 PM
IMO the mauser action, its commercial derivatives, and the subsequent designs that it spawned are outstanding actions. They have proven to be some of the most reliable, robust, efficient, and smoothest designs ever used in a bolt action firearm. While I own and have previously owned several bolt action rifles that were not derived from the Mauser (or had underwent enough design changes to be considered exclusive of that title), I would not, and do not, own a bolt action rifle to be used for dangerous game that was a severe departure from the original Mauser design. It is the standard by which all others are judged and continually fall short (in other words: Remington 700s need not apply for this position :p). For other hunting uses I still find it to be a exceptional choice, but not a prerequisite. For target shooting it can often be detrimental due to the claw that forbids closing a round not fed via the magazine (without being relieved for this purpose), hunting is where it really shines.

To spice things up a bit, here is a photo of my favorite Mauser (Whitworth Express .375H&H) as well as my most recent Mauser acquisition (Parker Hale 6mmRem.):

http://i642.photobucket.com/albums/uu141/Maverick223_album/IMG_4596.jpg

http://i642.photobucket.com/albums/uu141/Maverick223_album/IMG_5796.jpg

:)

351 WINCHESTER
July 10, 2010, 09:16 PM
I have mausers and I have enfields. The enfields are way smoother and faster than my mausers. The enfields are not as strong. Accuracy nod goes for the mauser.

Oceans
July 10, 2010, 09:35 PM
Well now, let us see. For smoothness, I would suspect that the Krag- Jorgensen action would would rate higher on the list for smoothness than the standard Mauser action. For strength the Mauser ranks very high as an action(at least the '98 Mauser), but there are still stronger, the Rem 700 action would be one such example. For reliability, the Mauser is right up there at the top of bolt actions no doubt. You could do a hell of a lot worse then choosing an older military Mauser action to build upon. If you are dead set on a Mauser action, I would suggest to you, that you purchase a modern Winchester Model 70. There you get an updated Mauser action, in a fine sporting rifle, with a good stock meant for scoping use. You will get two solid lugs on the bolt vs. a split lug, the ability to feed cartridges straight into the chamber vs. having to put one in the magazine first. I myself like Remington 700s, but that is a personal preference. The Winchester 70 stays closer to the original '98 design.

prezbucky
July 10, 2010, 09:48 PM
Thanks guys.

Until the Winchester 70 was mentioned I figured that I'd go to a gun show and look for an old Mauser 8mm.

On the other hand... the possibility of finding an old Mauser "steal" at a gun show is probably, well... an example of why the gun show is an opportunity to find good models at exceptional prices.

Further research is very obviously necessary on my part.

prezbucky
July 10, 2010, 10:05 PM
Well I just did a little research on the Mauser M98... and apparently they start at like $2000-$3000 for the real thing.

So if I'm buying an actual Mauser in the near future, it'll be used.

But it sounds like my questions have been answered:

Yes, the Mauser action is damn good, but it isn't necessarily the best, depending on use. I don't plan on doing any tiger hunting, so I figure a Mosin Nagant or Remington 700 will do.

Maverick223
July 10, 2010, 10:06 PM
For strength the Mauser ranks very high as an action(at least the '98 Mauser), but there are still stronger, the Rem 700 action would be one such example.I beg to differ. The Mauser has both better safety features and is a stronger action design (exclusive of metallurgy as scores of Mausers have been designed with varying degrees of metallurgical quality, the best certainly rival the Remingtons, whilst the worst certainly do not).

Well I just did a little research on the Mauser M98... and apparently they start at like $2000-$3000 for the real thing.That is just for a Mauser branded rifle, there are many more that are just as deserving of the Mauser title, but simply do not carry the hallmark. They range from mil. surps., to low end commercial copies, to the very best commercial reproductions (including those under the Mauser brand name). I purchased the Parker Hale pictured above for $200.00USD (used, from a dealer), about a month back.

:)

Jim Watson
July 10, 2010, 10:24 PM
go to a gun show and look for an old Mauser 8mm.

There was a hillarious article in one of the gunzines some years ago describing the military Mauser as the gunsmith's full employment program. Some people like shooting army surplus, some want something nicer. If you want to go from the first group to the second, it is going to cost you.

Any bolt action rifle with protruding dual locking lugs can be considered to have Mauser ancestry. The 1903 Springfield, 1913, 1914, and 1917 Enfields are first generation descendants, Winchester 54 and 70 are second generation, maybe a Remington 700 is third. Older Sakos and current Howas actually go back to some pre-98 Mauser design elements. Not all Mausers have big claw extractors.

prezbucky
July 10, 2010, 10:29 PM
Ahh. (head spinning)

So five good bolt-action rifle choices (among many others I'm sure) are:

- Parker Hale
- Mauser and derivatives (those that claim the Mauser action)
-Rem 700
- Winchester 70 (maybe among the derivatives, but a major player, so I'll give it its own slot here)
- Enfield and derivatives.

Those have been mentioned in this thread. Throw in Ruger, Browning, Savage (and more...) bolt actions, and -- damn. So many flavors of ice cream and maybe I need to taste each one to figure out what's best for me.

jkingrph
July 10, 2010, 10:30 PM
but are they "bolt" actions?

gunnie

In refeence to the Swiss straight pulls, yes they are definetly bolt actions. As you pull the operating handle straight back it operates in a cam shaped cut out and rotates the bolt to unlock it before it begins to move back. There is some similarity in the M-1 rifle & Carbine as well as the AR-25 in the mechanics of the motion, the semi autos being operated by high pressure gas, the Swiss by hand action.

Hatterasguy
July 10, 2010, 10:33 PM
but are they "bolt" actions?

gunnie


Yes, the only difference is that on the straight pull design the bolt rotates itself into battery on its own, you only need to do one motion with your hand. On a Mauser action you have to rotate it.

Its kinda like an M14 type action.

Maverick223
July 10, 2010, 10:47 PM
So five good bolt-action rifle choices (among many others I'm sure) are:

- Parker Hale
- Mauser and derivatives (those that claim the Mauser action)
-Rem 700
- Winchester 70 (maybe among the derivatives, but a major player, so I'll give it its own slot here)
- Enfield and derivatives.

Just keep in mind that WRT some of the aforementioned there is very little "Mauser" remaining. Whilst nearly all bolt action rifles owe homage to the Mauser action, most are severely departed from the original design (especially the Enfield and Remington 700 that you mention). IMO the lack of a dual bolt lug (plus the additional rear lug), large claw extractor, and hinged rear extractor precludes the rifle from being a "direct descendant" and should be otherwise named. That said, there are many actions that are direct descendants of the original design. The Whitworth (as well as the Mark. X) from Interarms and the Parker Hale (beware that PH produced many other designs as well), both pictured above are such direct descendants, as is the CZ-550 which is still being produced. IMO the Ruger M-77 and the Winchester/FNH Model-70 are still close enough to count as well, but are somewhat differing in their designs.

The new Winchester M-70s are some of the best new bolt action rifles on the market (at any price) IMO. They offer a very smooth action, are very safe, and simply a solid rifle. That would be a good place to start looking, but shoulder as many rifles as you can for a good "fit". This often makes the most difference (as far as equipment anyway) in comfort as well as your ability to shoot the rifle quickly and accurately.

:)

SaxonPig
July 10, 2010, 10:53 PM
I would disagree that the 98 action is the smoothest. It was designed to be a reliable military weapon and as such it has many inherent qualities that work against smoothness of operation. The Krag is much slicker as is the Rem 700.

What the 98 mostly is... is strong and reliable. And beautiful.


http://www.fototime.com/C8E4E840226D84E/standard.jpg


http://www.fototime.com/3AEA8863E2A6F5C/standard.jpg


http://www.fototime.com/19173A2BA269235/standard.jpg

Jim Watson
July 10, 2010, 10:58 PM
A Lee Enfield has no relation to a Mauser. It is based on designs by James Paris Lee first produced in 1879 by Sharps and thereafter by Remington. Used by the US Navy from 1882 until the 6mm Lee Navy by Winchester.

Lee was showing twin lug bolt action box magazine rifles while Mauser was building single shot and tube magazine guns locking up on the root of the bolt handle. Later Remington-Lees even had front locking lugs... which the British took back out for the series ending with the SMLE and No 4.

Redhat
July 10, 2010, 11:10 PM
OP,

The smoothest action I ever felt was a Colt Sauer. Having said that, I have one hunting rifle and it is a CZ550. Prior to that, I had a Remington 700. I can find no real difference in feel between the two when cycling the action. I will say the CZ when unloaded has some drag as the bolt moves over the magazine follower, but in practical terms I see no difference. The real plus with the CZ is the set trigger and the accuracy.

For deer hunting, I think any would be fine, if I was going after dangerous game, I would probably follow the advice of those in the know and go with the controlled round feed of the Mauser design.

I would also add that IMO, accuracy is not just due to the design of the bolt (action) but a lot depends on the barrel and bedding.

prezbucky
July 10, 2010, 11:12 PM
So boiling things down (I have learned a ton in a few hours -- thanks to all), for a starter bolt-action rifle in, say, 30-06 or .308, some pretty good options would be the Winchester 70, Ruger 77, CZ 550 and Remington 700 -- excellent bolt-action rifles at reasonable prices. The Parker Hale... find one with Mauser action maybe further down the line.

Maverick223
July 10, 2010, 11:19 PM
I would exclude the Remington M-700 unless you purchase an older/used one. The new ones have been subject to poor (or spotty at best) QC. OTOH the older ones can be great rifles. The others are all very good rifles, but also consider a Marlin XL-7/XS-7 (a less costly rifle that performs better than many others that cost twice as much), Savage bolt gun (several good ones to choose from), TC Venture/Icon, amongst others. You need to handle them to find the one best for you. You may even discover that a lever gun, slide action, single shot, or semi-automatic rifle is the best for you (though a bolt action is the ubiquitous hunting/target shooting rifle today that doesn't mean it the best choice for everyone).

:)

Cosmoline
July 11, 2010, 02:08 AM
The Mauser 98 pattern has several major advantages. It's rugged, strong, easy to manufacture and reliable. It has lasted a long time and been used outside the military because it's so easy to use for a wide, wide array of rounds. The bolt design permits receiver-mounted scopes and the standard size magazine is plenty big for most cartridges. Unlike the Mosin or Enfield it's not set up to shoot bottlenecked rimmed cartridges. And unlike the Mannlicher-Schoenauer (a much smoother action BTW), it does not have a funky rotary magazine. Nor does it rely on en-bloc clips.

It's not perfect, but it's the easiest to use for the widest range of chamberings out of the generation of smokeless rifles that emerged before WWI.

If you want a Mauser for hunting and such, the CZ 550 uses the basic action and I've never heard complaints about them. Great iron sights, too.

Dookie
July 11, 2010, 02:25 AM
The Mauser is a superb action, 50 years ago. Because of modern metallurgy and machining a Mauser action is now overtly complicated and outdated, but still very nice. Nearly all modern actions are based, loosely, and many not at all, on the Mauser action, but they are also much stronger, simpler, cheaper to build and more accurate. When was the last time anyone heard of a Mauser action doing anything at all in a competition? A basic Savage or Remington will out shoot most competition grade Mausers.

As for smooth bolt actions, it's butter. But rattly as hell, at least the two examples I had were.

Just like that 68 Chevelle that everyone loves, it may be nice and fun, but a basic Honda Civic is a much better car, just not sexy.

A good modern example of a Mauser knockoff is the Ruger 77 action.

I would love to have a nice Mauser, but I will save my money and buy a Savage/CZ/Remington/Sako and have much better performance than with a built Mauser. Plus, the modern bolts are very smooth.

brandonc
July 11, 2010, 05:38 AM
Refer to my signature.

Maverick223
July 11, 2010, 10:10 AM
A basic Savage or Remington will out shoot most competition grade Mausers.I am pretty sure that there are no "competition grade" Mausers, but just look at the FNH SPRs, which are closely based upon the Mauser action. They can hang in with the best of 'em. In this case it has more to do with tight tolerances and precision manufacturing than it does design. The Mauser action doesn't not typically exhibit this feature, furthermore the usual large clearance between parts aid in reliability, which is a big selling point for the Mauser.

:)

gunnie
July 11, 2010, 10:22 AM
..."And unlike the Mannlicher-Schoenauer (a much smoother action BTW), it does not have a funky rotary magazine."...

the smoothest/slickest/fastest bolt i have ever manipulated was a steyr (manlicher) ssg PII. same had a rotary 5 shot, or column 10 shot magazine option. the rotaries are prefered by most for reliability.

jkingrph,

well by that definition, the UK nuetered version "manually-operated-semiauto" AR15 is a mauser action also?

gunnie

Jim Watson
July 11, 2010, 11:08 AM
look at the FNH SPRs, which are closely based upon the Mauser action.

Well, sort of. They are essentially Winchester Model 70 actions, which I listed as a second generation Mauser derivative, by way of the Springfield.

desidog
July 11, 2010, 11:18 AM
This thread sucks without pictures of bolts & actions. Here's some poor shots i just took of my examples; which are not standard examples, both having been extensively re-worked guns, and the other left-handed. At top, a professionally bubba'd Enfield, Santa Fe Model 1944 from Golden State Arms, (for comparison purposes a No4mk2 with the rear sight bridge ground off along with the stripper guide). It was rusty as anything when i got it, and i hit it with some Laurel Mountain browning solution from a BP project. Middle is a Spanish FR-7, with a small-ring 1893/1916 Mauser action: this type preceded the '98 model, with one less lug on the bolt. And the bottom is a Left Handed Winchester Model 70, so everything is in mirror image.
http://img293.imageshack.us/img293/8359/imgp4124s.jpg
http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/3369/imgp4127s.jpg
http://img243.imageshack.us/img243/8606/imgp4128s.jpg
http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/120/imgp4129s.jpg

Maverick223
July 11, 2010, 12:16 PM
Well, sort of. They are essentially Winchester Model 70 actions, which I listed as a second generation Mauser derivative, by way of the Springfield.True, but I consider the M-70 action to be very close, as most changes are exclusive of the basic action design (most are in the fire control, safety, et cetera), so it is a good pattern for what a Mauser could be made to do if the effort was put into it. A slow lock time is the biggest detriment to the Mauser action, and this too could be (and in some cases has been) improved.

:)

Dookie
July 11, 2010, 01:17 PM
I am pretty sure that there are no "competition grade" Mausers,
I am talking about comp rifles built off Mauser actions.

but just look at the FNH SPRs, which are closely based upon the Mauser action. They can hang in with the best of 'em. That is a rifle I have been wanting.
In this case it has more to do with tight tolerances and precision manufacturing than it does design. The Mauser action doesn't not typically exhibit this feature, furthermore the usual large clearance between parts aid in reliability, which is a big selling point for the Mauser.As is was originally built for battle and not civilian uses they have to be tough and reliable, and because they were to be used hard and put away wet (quite literally in many cases) they had to have somewhat loose tolerances to work in variable circumstances.

It is a superb design, even by today's standards. But it is no longer the best.

Maverick223
July 11, 2010, 01:20 PM
It is a superb design, even by today's standards. But it is no longer the best.Agreed, at least for most tasks (DG being the exception for the reasons you listed above).

:)

KodiakBeer
July 11, 2010, 02:55 PM
None of the modern sporting rifles I own are as smooth and slick as the old sporterized Mauser that I've owned for 35 years. That rifle has a 1939 action.

I suspect there are Mausers and Mausers... A war built Mauser action might be entirely functional, but probably not as slick as an earlier action. Most of those pre-war actions disappeared into the surplus market 40 years ago.

Does it really matter? Probably not. Most sporting rifles built today are good actions. They are not "buttery smooth" out of the box, but they slick up pretty good with use and are strong and safe. I'm more concerned about the trigger, length of pull and general "fit" of the rifle than its action type.

twkremer
July 11, 2010, 08:26 PM
Why no sporting love for the mosin-nagant action? Don't believe I've ever run a smoother action than my original, straight-bolt 91/30. I've even had the opportunity to fire a les bare custom bolt action about a month ago, and it wasn't as smooth as that old fart in the closet.

prezbucky
July 11, 2010, 08:48 PM
thanks for the pics desidog. I noticed that one of those handles is bent while the other two are more or less straight. Does the shape of the handle make much difference?

And re: Mosin Nagant... was that used in war; did it start in war? How is the Mosin Nagant action different from the Mauser and Enfield actions?

Thanks to all. These things are pretty complex.

dirtyjim
July 11, 2010, 09:32 PM
my mannlicher schoenauer 1903 is slicker and faster than my mausers & my lee speed is faster than my mausers but i wouldn't build a 375 h&h or a 500 jeffery on a m-s or a lee enfield.

one of the reasons military mausers work so well is the feed rails and the magazines are cartridge specific & most sporters work well since 90% of the cartridges out there are based on the 8mm & 7mm mauser.

Quote:
A basic Savage or Remington will out shoot most competition grade Mausers.

I am pretty sure that there are no "competition grade" Mausers,

there are competition grade mausers.
voere K98 match rifle (http://www.voere.com/html/match_rifles.html) scroll to bottom of page

the GOL-SNIPER by Gottfried Prechtl golmatic (http://www.golmatic.de/Waffen_EN/GOL-SNIPER_en/gol-sniper_04_en.htm)

the zastava has a pair of mauser match rifles that i hope get importerd real soon.
the zastava-arms M07 7.62 mauser sniper rifle (http://www.zastava-arms.rs/cms/index.php?id=184)

zastava-arms LM 808 sporting rifle (http://www.zastava-arms.rs/cms/index.php?id=250)


the slow lock time on a military mauser can be considerably reduced. the mark x speedlock system works well.

desidog
July 12, 2010, 11:15 AM
I noticed that one of those handles is bent while the other two are more or less straight. Does the shape of the handle make much difference?

All three have some curve, the FR7 has the most bend. When you cycle the bolt on each rifle, the bolt handle is taking a slightly different route to the locked position - this is because the actions were designed with the lock-up happening at slightly different angles. Its not a good or bad thing necessarily, just nuances that evolved due to the overall designs: ie how the system locks up and how many lugs do the locking, etc.

The one that is more or less straight, the (recently made) M70 bolt, actually uses the base of the bolt-handle as a locking point, unlike the other two.

The difference is mainly seen in the side of the stock, and how big a relief cut must be in there for the handle to clear - on the FR-7 the handle goes around the stock, while on the m70 the handle goes through it, relatively speaking.

From a use standpoint, the Fr-7 is the worst (and oldest) design because the bent bolt handle obscures your view while cycling a round.

XxWINxX94
July 12, 2010, 11:20 AM
The mauser is very smooth, reliable and so good that the M1903 Springfield is based off of it. The Enfield is a little different in a few aspects. I, personally like the Enfield better, but the Mauser is probably what made the Bolt-rifle famous.

desidog
July 12, 2010, 11:42 AM
Here are some pictures of the bolt locked - the top is the the FR7, the bottom the Enfield.
http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/9710/imgp4130s.jpg
This is a lefty Montana 99 action (a Winchester Model 70)..but you can see it better since there's a scope in the way on my m70, and this one has weaver bases and no scope.
http://img25.imageshack.us/img25/1959/imgp4131s.jpg

The mauser is very smooth, reliable and so good that the M1903 Springfield is based off of it.

Mauser was in the process of suing the US for ripping off his 1898 design with the 1903, but the war made all German legal claims void in the USA....shady gov't moves happened back then too...definitely patent infringement.

As to Mauser vs. Enfield; if you look at the Boer War as an example, where Mausers in the hands of Boers were pitted against redcoats and SMLE's, i recall that the combatants were generally in favor of the Mauser, which the Boers bought privately, unlike the Brits being issued the Enfields.

/I'm no expert, just an enthusiast.

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