July 2, 2014, 11:02 AM
I recently accuired a what is said to be a "German Mauser" from the guy i bought it from. Its a project gun so that is why it looks like bare metal. I took some pictures of some markings i found on it if anyone could help me out. Thanks in advance!

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July 2, 2014, 11:31 AM
Looks like a small ring '93 Spanish to me without better photos showing the action itself.


July 2, 2014, 12:47 PM
I believe your right. How safe is this to shoot?

July 2, 2014, 01:57 PM
Hard to say how safe it is without better pictures of the whole action & bolt.

The forth picture of the bottom of the barrel looks like there is a huge semi-circular chunk missing out of the left side of the barrel over the chamber area.

(Not talking about the pitting directly on the bottom of the barrel in front of the proof marks)

Is there?
If there is, it is not safe to shoot.


July 2, 2014, 02:05 PM
Definetly aint the prettiest gun right now. Here are some better pictures to hopefully clear things up.


July 2, 2014, 02:11 PM
What the heck am I looking at here?

Sure looks like white background fabric showing under it where that part of the barrel chamber area should be covering it??


Jim K
July 2, 2014, 02:16 PM
Some of those markings look like those seen on Chinese made Mauser 98's.

If that rifle did originate in China, there might be some questions about the metallurgy and overall quality.


July 2, 2014, 02:18 PM
There is a better picture of the bottom of the chamber/reciever.

July 2, 2014, 02:19 PM
The bolt shows its a spanish 93 (flat bottom bolt). It doesnt have much else to go by.

July 2, 2014, 02:19 PM
With the small-ring receiver and "OT" serial # prefix it's probably a Spanish M1916 Mauser that has been converted to 7.62NATO.

July 2, 2014, 02:24 PM
Okay. Is the flat bottom bolt on the m1916s as well?

July 4, 2014, 02:28 AM
@ Barker2444
How in the world can you ask if something is safe to shoot, by showing us pictures.
There might be obvious flaws that can be observed, and commented on by others.
But there are just so many other factors that have to be considered to determine if a rifle is safe.
I think the Question should have been, " Does this rifle LOOK in good enough shape, for me to spend the money taking it to a Professional to get Properly inspected ? "

In my opinion, the answer would be " YES "
But that is a conditional Yes, based on how much money you intend on spending on a $150.00 rifle to make it into a rifle worth $175.00.
I have the tools, and the skills to do my own work.
So to me it is mostly my time I put into it.
But to pay someone to get it into Good Shooting condition, it could break the bank.
Historic Value is almost Nill, unless it is in perfect original condition and all matching parts.
Even then it is only worth $300 to $400 dollars at best

July 4, 2014, 07:14 AM
Barker, Welcome to the forums.
"Safe to shoot" is really not for any of us to be able to judge over the internet.
And although there is no way of knowing the level of your diagnostic knowledge or experience concerning firearms, you show good sense asking questions
rather than just loading it up and yanking the trigger to see what happens.;)

Couple of things based on what I've read.
If the rifle is in .30 caliber? You never said.
The rifle looks like it might be one of the re-bores vs. a new barrel.

That might call for the use of an actual headspace gauge rather than the poor mans method before shooting.

Even if the headspace checks out, I would not recommend a diet of 7.62/.308 factory ammo.
The 93 is really designed for lower pressure ammo and I'm not aware of any reduced power factory .308 ammo.

In short, the gun, if it is in .308 caliber, is a reloaders proposition (it would be to me anyway).

If it were mine and I was determined to make it a shooter.
Slug the barrel for diameter, either buy a mold or some pre-cast bullets,
put 22 - 24 grs. of 5744 behind the bullet seated to the lands or as long as the magazine allows and just enjoy it as a plinker.
It will have plenty of power even with those lead bullets.

You could also work up .308 loads using jacketed bullets up to and slightly above .30-30 ballistics.


July 5, 2014, 12:34 PM
@Lags What else do you expect me to do? Throw in some .308 ammo and yank off some shots? I may be 16 and not be an experianced gunsmith like yourself but im not a complete idiot. I think turning to the forums was probably the second best thing i could have done besides getting it checked out.
@JT Thanks for the input. I believe it is a rebore. I know for a fact it is .308 caliber. I could probably have my local gunsmith check the head spacing; Ive just got into gun smithing in the past two years and have little experiance under my belt.

July 5, 2014, 12:36 PM

I went with the all black matte Duracoat and a few polished parts here and there. I though they went together nicely. What do you guys think?

July 5, 2014, 04:29 PM
@ Barker2444
Yes, we all have to start somewhere.
But there is plenty of information out there, and I recomend Books over the internet.
I look at secondhand book and thrift stores and buy up books on Gunsmithing.
A lot are outdated, but they also cover in detail some of the Old School Tricks Of the Trades.
You can get the books for a song, and make a collection for future refferance.
But you are wise to seek help on the forums from persons more experienced than yourself, and I still do the same.
But learn what you need to know, and view advice from unknown people ( including myself ) with a grain of salt. ( on the Net, we are all Experts. )
But there are many that will help you and guide you thru the steps to get done what you need to do on your guns.
Remember, Safety, and Function First.
The Looks like Bluing and painting should be the LAST things you want to do on your project.
It is the same as if you bought a car to restore, that didn't have a motor.
You don't spend what little time and money on putting a fancy set of tires and rims on the car, so it can sit for the next two years while you save up enough money to buy the engine.
It will Look Cool sitting in the driveway, but you cant drive it, and the tires will be dry rotted before you get to drive the car.
I have probably offended you, but I am really trying to Help You, and keep you from making the same mistakes that so many of us do when we first get started.

July 5, 2014, 06:12 PM

Frank de Haas's book "Bolt Action Rifles" is a great place to start with information on your Mauser. Both the Third and Fourth Editions are available on Amazon and well worth a look.

July 5, 2014, 06:24 PM
@ Bannockburn.
That is one of the books I found at a thrift store Years ago, and it is very informative. I recomend it also.
I also have the book " The Mauser- Bolt Actions By Jerry Kuhnhausen.
It is the Shop Manual for all styles of mausers, and gives the most technical information that I have found.

Jim K
July 5, 2014, 09:18 PM
If the rifle began as 7x57 (which it would if it is Spanish), making it into a .308 would require either a new barrel or a chamber sleeve since a .308 Winchester reamer won't clean up a 7x57 chamber. While many 7x57 rifles, mainly Chilean, were altered with a chamber sleeve, I don't like the idea on general principles.


July 5, 2014, 09:22 PM
I don't like the idea of a .308 Win chambered 93/95 Mauser.

No matter how it got that way!


July 5, 2014, 10:05 PM

I bought the de Haas book to figure out how to work on a Japanese Type 38 carbine that I had many years ago. A very good resource for most everything bolt action.

Getting back to the question at hand Frank de Haas wrote that a conversion cartridge for the '93 Mauser should have less than 45000 PSI breech pressure and possess something along the lines of a .30-06 case head size. His choices for conversion included: .257 Roberts, .300 Savage, .35 Remington, 6.5X55mm., and 7.65 Mauser. As for the .308, he felt that the '93 Mauser had "marginal strength and safety" for that cartridge.

July 5, 2014, 10:53 PM
@ Bannockburn
The headspace on one of my .308 Spanish 1916's kept walking, so I made it into an 8mm with a barrel off an old Turkish Mauser.
No more headspacing issues with the lower pressure cartridge.

Jim K
July 7, 2014, 11:30 AM
Unless a barrel change is needed, why "convert" a 7x57 to anything else? For that matter, what is wrong with installing a new barrel in the same caliber? That cartridge is an excellent one for any reasonable hunting or shooting need and with good bullets is as accurate as any of the cartridges mentioned. Further, the anemic factory loads can be improved a lot without exceeding the design limitations of the rifles.

When 7.62x51 surplus ammo was available by the ton, converting rifles to that caliber made sense. But with those days gone, keeping 7x57 seems to be a better idea.


July 7, 2014, 02:40 PM
When 7.62x51 surplus ammo was available by the ton, converting rifles to that caliber made sense.

Cheap ammo is not a logical reason to put a 60K PSI round into a 40K PSI receiver...

If the rifle was converted from 7mm Mauser to 7,62 CETME it will chamber and fire 7.62x51NATO and .308WIN. If it doesn't frag the shooters face with a total KABOOM, it just might blind the shooter with gasses from a ruptured case head from poor headspace; which will get setback over time. it's all good...til it ain't!

July 8, 2014, 07:04 PM
These actions were built by the Spanish and have a poor reputation. It is my opinion that the 308 Win cartridge is operating at pressures that the action was not designed, or built, to handle.

Hardly any data exists for Spanish rifles, more exists for German. References indicate that period German rifles were proofed at pressures lower than the standard operating pressure of the 308 Win.

Rifle Magazine Issue 159 May 1995 Dear Editor pg 10

Ludwig Olsen :

Mauser 98 actions produced by Mauser and DWM were proofed with two loads that produced approximately 1000 atmosphere greater pressure than normal factory rounds. That procedure was in accordance with the 1891 German proof law. Proof pressure for the Mauser 98 in 7 X57 was 4,050 atmospheres (57, 591 psi). Pressure of the normal 7 X 57 factory load with 11.2 gram bullet was given in Mauser’s 1908 patent boot as 3,050 atmosphere, or 43, 371 pounds.

While many Mausers in the 1908 Brazilian category will likely endure pressures considerably in excess of the 4,050 atmospheres proof loads, there might be some setback of the receiver locking shoulder with such high pressures

Kunhausen shows similar numbers in his book : “The Mauser Bolt Actions, A Shop Manual”

Rifle & Carbine 98: M98 Firearms of the German Army from 1898 to 1918 Dieter

Page 103. M98 Mauser service rifles underwent a 2 round proof at 4,000 atm gas pressure, 1 atm = 14.6 psi, 4000 atm = 58, 784 psia.

Gun Digest 1975 has an excellent article, “A History of Proof Marks, Gun Proof in German” by Lee Kennett.

“The problem of smokeless proof was posed in a dramatic way by the Model 1888 and it commercial derivates. In this particular case a solution was sought in the decree of 23 July 1893. This provided that such rifles be proved with a government smokeless powder known as the “4,000 atmosphere powder”, proof pressure was 4,000 metric atmospheres or 58,000 psia.

The 4000 atmosphere proof was standardized for the 1893 and continued after 1911. The article indicates it was also applied to the 1898.

Unless someone can produce credible data as to the design limits used by Paul Mauser, I am going to state that it is reasonable that the action was designed to support cartridges of 43, 371 psia with a case head diameter of 0.470”. I have no reason to believe that later German service rifle ammunition was of significantly higher pressure as that would have had back compatibility issues with stores of obsolete 8mm rifles.

As I said before, Spanish Mausers have a poor reputation, primarily due to inferior metals and soft receivers:

Excessive Headspace in M1916 Mauser

Thats funny Maj. Dad, I knew a correctional officer in the late '80s, who had one of them in what was supposed to be .308. This guy loved that rifle like it was a 1930s model 70. He talked about it constantly, shot it every time he went to the range and even bought an expensive case to haul it around in. I was always leery of a 1893 action chambered in .308. I was told that the Guardia Mauser was chambered for a very similar Spanish round, and not the NATO 7.62x51, and that this Spanish round was loaded to lower pressures. I do not know if this is true, maybe someone on the board does? I will say, that the rifle is handy, and nice looking.

Oceans - It is true, as I found out today, sadly.

I've had my 1916 Spanish Guardia Mauser from Samco for about 20 years now. Took it deer hunting every year until last year, when I heard about the same thing you did. I shot .308 rounds out of it.

Finally got the headspace checked by a gunsmith, and - well, the bolt locked EASILY on "no-go". And we're talking like butter. I snapped the firing pin and will have it hanging on the wall of my office soon.

Soft rerceivers

I bought a 93 Spanish Mauser that had been rebarreled To .257 Roberts. The bolt had been ruined by Bubba trying to make it cock on opening. I bought it for a song and got a another bolt from Springfield Sporters and had a smith set the headspace and turn down the handle. Within only about 20 rounds of factory ammunition the brass started to show signs of excessive pressure... the bolt had already set back that much. I finally sold the gun less the receiver for about half what I had in it.

Not all of the 93's are like that and there is no way to know what Bubba had subjected that receiver to before he put on the .257 barrel.

I recommend...
that you honorably retire the rifle.
My experience with the Spanish '93-type actions is that they are not suitable for rebarreling to any modern cartridge at all.
They are all soft (many years ago, I watched an old gunsmith squash one in simply tightening his action wrench onto it. When he noticed that the barrel shank wouldn't thread back into the action, and realized why, he simply took the receiver out of the wrench, laid it on his bench and smacked it with a big brass hammer until he could screw the barrel back in).
With pressures higher than about 40 KPSI (virtually all modern CF rifle cartridges), the locking lugs will set-back into their seats very quickly, increasing headspace until the bolt becomes hard to open and case heads separate. Several years ago, a customer (and friend) decided he'd like to make up a 7.62x39 rifle on just such a '93 Spanish action. I couldn't talk him out of it, so made and fitted a barrel for him. In shooting about 200 rounds of Wolf ammunition, it battered itself into just the state I described above.
Just my recommendation, but not based on hearsay.
PRD1 - mhb - Mike This page is worth examining for an idea of the risks of these old receivers:

1895 Chilean Mauser

July 9, 2014, 02:57 PM
What else do you expect me to do?

Take it to a gunsmith for an inspection by a knowledgable expert on what is and isn't safet to shoot.

Jim Watson
July 10, 2014, 04:07 PM
Where do you find these knowledgeable expert gunsmiths to inspect and approve your second hand guns? We don't have them, checking out a surplus or other used gun is left as an exercise for the student. But they sure seem common on the internet.

July 10, 2014, 05:03 PM
Where do you find these knowledgeable expert gunsmiths to inspect and approve your second hand guns?

I meet the real expert gunsmiths at the National Matches, or big Regionals. If they are not at my end of the line, I ask the good shooters around me, "who built your rifle?", and that will provide me enough information to find the gunsmith.

None of the ones I found are within eight hours driving distance. They are real scarce.

July 11, 2014, 08:22 AM
We have a local Gander Mtn. the "gunsmith" there, I wouldn't trust him to push a patch down the barrel let alone check out a gun!

Jim K
July 11, 2014, 03:34 PM
The gunsmiths at the National Matches are likely very expert when it comes to building and working on rifles for those matches, but I have to wonder if they would be qualified to assess old surplus Mausers.


July 13, 2014, 09:46 AM
You could always get one of the Rhinelander conversion kits and make a .45 ACP out of it. Pressures would be a lot lower with the pistol round.

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