Mod Mauser 1897


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bobnob
June 4, 2011, 10:36 PM
G'day Folks, I have a technical question.

I have a sporterised old Mauser action. The markings on the left side of the receiver say MOD MAUSER 1897. It is stamped Berlin. Further forward on the receiver are the letters OVS and the serial number.

The very little I have been able to learn about this is that it was one of a number sent to Orange Free State (OVS) around the turn of the last century.

This rifle has been fully sporterised, with a heavy barrel in .308 Winchester. Its scoped and shoots really accurately. It was my father's and I have been using it since 1983 - when I was a kid.

My question is, as this would appear to me to be a pre-98 Mauser, is it suitable to be used with the 308 Win? I know it sounds like a dumb question given I've shot thousands of factory and handloads through it but who knows how far away a blow-up is?

I ask also because I was considering rechambering it down the track to 8x57, which I imagine was the original chambering, and I would intend to load it up with full house (not excessive) handloads if that's the case.

Thanks,
Bob

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Robert
June 4, 2011, 10:51 PM
To my knowledge there was no 1897 model made by Mauser. There was the 1895, 1896 and then the 1898. The 1895 was chambered in 7mm Mauser and sent to the Boers in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. I think, not certain that some 1896 models may have made it to the Boers. 1897 is most likely the manufacture date rather than the model. So if I had to through a dart at the idea wall, based on the OSV, I would say it is a Model 1895.

Now I have no idea as to the ability to shoot .308. Have a smith do a check for any stretching.

Some pics would be awesome.

SlamFire1
June 4, 2011, 11:17 PM
My question is, as this would appear to me to be a pre-98 Mauser, is it suitable to be used with the 308 Win? I know it sounds like a dumb question given I've shot thousands of factory and handloads through it but who knows how far away a blow-up is?

I ask also because I was considering rechambering it down the track to 8x57, which I imagine was the original chambering, and I would intend to load it up with full house (not excessive) handloads if that's the case.

Your OVS 7 mm Mauser was never designed or built with the cartridge loadings that you have been using in the action. Your action is most likely a M1895.

I upset people all the time when I tell them of the primitive state of metallurgy in the 1890’s and the primitive process controls. Metals of the period always are reported to have slag and impurities in excess of today’s cheap steels. The steels used in those rifles were plain carbon steels, stuff that today is used for rebar. Modern actions are made of alloy steels that provide at least two times the ultimate strength for the same lug size.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=7220686&postcount=7

The M98 action is a much safer action even when made of these early steels because of the safety features that Paul Mauser designed into that action. The gas handling and inner collar of the M98 really protect the shooter and get the most out of those old materials. Pre 98 actions handle gas poorly when things go wrong. They don't have the inner collar. Old actions also fail in a brittle fashion. When they go they frag.

I would never recommend barreling one of these actions in a high intensity cartridge like a 308 Win. Commercial loads are what, 65,000 psia? An 8mm Mauser would have been a better choice because pressures are held in the 40 K psia range. The original cartridge, the 7 mm Mauser is still an excellent cartridge even if held to original pressures.

I know you are looking for “Go” or “No Go” advice, I cannot tell you your rifle is safe or unsafe. You can have the receiver seats examined if you rebarrel. If there is lug set back you must not use that receiver. It is possible that your rifle was made from a cleaner batch of steel, maybe got one of the better heat treatments, but then, without sectioning the metal for a metallurgical analysis, we won’t know that. And your receiver would be ruined.

Look, these old receivers have their risks. Just like vintage cars, planes, tools.

If you want a higher intensity cartridge, why not get a nice modern rifle? Like a M70, Savage M110, or a Remington M700.

bobnob
June 5, 2011, 12:08 AM
From a non technician's perspective I cannot see any wear or signs of stress. Perhaps that's not a great indicator though. For it's age the action, bolt etc seems to be in good shape, though aged.

I have used mainly moderately loaded handloads through it in years gone by, though in the last 8 years it has had more factory stuff through it.

So to preserve the rifle, what do you recommend? Lighter-than-normal 308 handloads, for example 165 grainers loaded to about 2600fps. Would that be safe?

Robert
June 5, 2011, 12:48 AM
You will not be able to tell if something is out of spec with the naked eye. Have it gone through by a good gun smith and see what he says.

SlamFire1
June 5, 2011, 10:31 AM
So to preserve the rifle, what do you recommend? Lighter-than-normal 308 handloads, for example 165 grainers loaded to about 2600fps. Would that be safe?

I have shot tens of thousands of rounds of 168 SMK/Noslers/Hornday 41.5 grains IMR 4895 LC CCI #34 in my M1a's. Those clock about 2600-2625 out of a M1a. I am current shooting out to 300 yards 168's with 41.0 grs IMR 4895.

You will find that the 308 will shoot outstandingly well with a 168 and 39 grs IMR 4895. This load is just at 2450 fps in a bolt rifle. Won't shoot worth a flip in a M1a though.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Targets/200-11XPRFM70413XXX.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Targets/M70Win200-14X168Nosler39.jpg

So yes, reducing your loads so that they are below 50 K psia would be a good thing for an older action. You would be close to the pressures that the rifle was designed for.

If you ever see something like this, stop shooting the rifle!

This is a modern FN action in 264 Win Mag. Someone put a little too much powder in the case.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Blowups/CommericalFNMauserboltlugs264Win-1.jpg

bobnob
June 6, 2011, 02:04 AM
Holy Krapp!

Thanks old mate. I might give the factory loads I have left away and stick with some mild handloads. If it were not for the sentimental value I might well have traded it by now anyway, though its a lovely old rifle and many thousands of feral animals and culled kangaroos have departed via it's use.

Its been a great gun, time for it to move over and only come out on special occasions with lighter than factory ammo I'd say.

One of my boys will end up with it so it has to last.

Thanks again.

- Bob

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