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can anyone tell me about this Mauser S/42 WWII carbine?

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by shaidarharan, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. shaidarharan

    shaidarharan New Member

    Thanks to Dr. Rob's sticky, I've sent an email to Bonham's. I'm also interested in hearing what you knowledgeable members have to share about this gun.

    This gun was in my great grandfather's basement and he didn't remember the details about it other than he brought it back to the US from Germany during WWII.

    From what I can tell, the left side has the BUG and an N with crowns, SN 113797, the metal parts have 3797 or 97 on them, and Mauser-Werke A G Oberndorf A N. The right side has S/42 on the adjustment sight. Cart size 8.15 x 46.

    Pictures attatched.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    You have what is known as a "Serviceman's Rifle."
    8.15x46R was the long time standard German centerfire target caliber, most often seen in falling block Scheutzen rifles. But they made some up on bolt actions so you could target shoot with a rifle stocked and sighted like a military Mauser.

    GGrandpa's rifle LOOKS like an issue Mauser, even down to the bayonet lug, but it is a single shot with finer adjusting sights, and in the 8.15 target shooter's caliber. The "BUG" stamps are German commercial proof marks, this is not a Wermacht army issue rifle. GGrandpa probably picked it as a souvenir from the great numbers of sporting guns confiscated from Germans during the Occupation.

    The s/42 mark is unusual, Mauser did not start using that until after Germany was already at war and I am surprised to see a commercial target rifle built that late. But they were still winning at the time.

    A google search on Servicemans Rifle 8.15 got me a number of pictures, discussions, and sales site listings.

    It looks in nice condition. Good catch.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    The OP says the S/42 is on ths sight; I suspect that part was replaced at some point with a military part.

  4. waidmann

    waidmann Well-Known Member

    If you intend to shoot it I suggest you slug the bore. Mine is a .318. I know 7.9 doesn't equal 8.15, which it is marked. I was able to purchase a supply of hulls formed from .32-40 brass and dies from an auction site. I've been shooting .321 lead cast bullets with good results.

    Have fun!
  5. shaidarharan

    shaidarharan New Member

    @ waidmann: thanks. I looked up a guide on slugging and found this one. Does this seem a good way to do it? I have the materials.

    I also read a little bit about breechseating, but it sounds like an intensive process.

    Question: what do you mauser fans do/recommend for cleaning? My rifle is a bit dirty from the strap's outer layer deteriorating a bit and the canvas bag shedding.

    Also,here is what Bonham's said "Dear Mr. Moy,
    You have a very nice Mauser 98k rifle. The BUG proofs are German commercial proofs and as there do not seem to be any military proofs and there is no slot in the stock for the sling, this is a commercial and not a military rifle. Usually these guns, when seen are from the early 1930s and will have a date above the Mauser banner. As yours does not but has an s/42 marking on the sight I will presume that it dates to 1937 or perhaps sometime thereafter. S/42 was the Mauser code for 1937 and is seen on Mausers and Mauser-made lugers made after that date. The condition seems to be excellent with nearly all the blue finish remaining and the stock in excellent condition and I would think the gun is worth some $1500-2500. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
    James Ferrell
    Specialist, Arms & Armor Dept."

    Thanks to that and Watson for a better idea of what I've got.
  6. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    With all due respect, Mr. Ferrell is full of it. A K.98k rifle is by definition a military rifle and none had commercial proofs or a Mauser banner. There was a Mauser Standard Modell, the commercial rifle that is almost the same as the K.98k, but that is not one of those, either.

    The rifle shown does not even have a magazine, indicating it is a single shot rifle, and has a straight bolt, not the bent bolt of the K.98k. And of course no K.98ks were made in 8.15, only in the millitary 7.9.

    In brief, Jim Watson is correct and Mr. Ferrell is wrong.

  7. shaidarharan

    shaidarharan New Member

    The serviceman's rifle 8.15 seems spot on, with some turned up in google not having date stamps either.

    But it is a bent bolt, just the one picture has the bolt pulled back to show the bottom of it. In this picture you can see it is the bent style: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/13/p6062601.jpg/

    Thanks Keenan.
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Breech seating is a pain in the... breech. I bet a serviceman's rifle will shoot fixed ammo ok.

    8.15x46R was one of the few instances of handloading in Europe, but done very simply with a minimum of tools. You could buy bullets in a choice of weights and diameters to suit your barrel and powder charges done up in little nitrated paper or silk increments so you didn't have to weigh or measure.
  9. waidmann

    waidmann Well-Known Member

    With respect to all, pull the action out of the stock and view what is marked on the underside of the barrel as well. My Wehrmann's Gewehr is apparrently a rebarreled Gew.98 with the arsenal markings polished off the action, the aforementioned BUG and stylized Nitro in script. The caliber, date of manufacture are on the underside but no manufacturer.
    As far slugging I keep a box off lead balls and bullets when needed I somewhat flatten one to increase the diameter.
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    But this one does not have a thumb notch in the left reciever wall for clip loading or a magazine floorplate, or any sign on the stock that it ever had one. I believe this to be a factory job, not a conversion.
  11. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    The pictured rifle is certainly just what Jim says. The sight leaf goes only to 300 meters (the K.98 is 1900m), the rear sight has windage adjustment, the bolt release is different, etc.

    Hi, Waidmann,

    The OP's rifle was made by Mauser as a new rifle. But some of those "serviceman's" rifles (Wehrmannsgewehr) were built using WWI surplus rifle receivers and other parts by various gunsmiths and gunmaker's guilds.

    One point to always keep in mind about German rifles in the interwar period is that post-WWI Germany was on the rocks. The country was not in rubble like it was in 1945, but the economy was wrecked and much of the population was hungry, starved by the Allies to force the government to sign the Versailles treaty. But they had rifles. Boy, did they have rifles. The army wasn't demobilized, it simply dissolved itself and went home. With its rifles. So the country did not have enough food, but they were up to their rear ends in rifles. They sporterized them for American occupation forces; they sporterized them for sale in the US and around the world; they made shotguns out of them; they made target rifles out of them; and so on. And some were thinking of training for the next go-round. Hence the "serviceman's rifle", not a 7.9 caliber Gew. 98 (banned to all but the small army) but a "target" rifle that happened to look like a military rifle but in a traditional sporting rifle caliber. Of course if anyone shooting such a rifle happened to learn the rudiments of marksmanship and so could step into uniform as an army instructor, that was pure coincidence.

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  12. waidmann

    waidmann Well-Known Member

    Hi Jim, agreed it is OEM. The Versailles Treaty yielded double dated Lugers (retroed back to .30), the 8X60 re-chambering and of course more of the Wehrmann's in greater numbers, glider clubs etc. etc.

    The Wehrmann offered economic entry into the local clubs far cheaper than the scheutzens also found in 8.15X46R in a mild caliber suited to population dense Deutchland. One also sees a handful of stalking rifles in this anemic offering.

    I am still betting there is info to include the mo./yr. of manufacture hiding under the barrel. Or, not.
  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    "One also sees a handful of stalking rifles in this anemic offering."

    I have seen single shot stalking rifles and what was called the "forester's rifle" a very plain bolt action sporter style. Roe deer aren't very big and .32-40 ballistics are ample.
  14. shaidarharan

    shaidarharan New Member

    thank you so much Jim and Jim. This is all a most interesting read. Next time I've got the mauser I'll clean it and can perhaps furnish more information, like the bottom or hidden sections of components. It will be a few months before I can drive up to my grandparents and bring the gun back, unless I have it shipped. I worry about shipping, because I wouldn't want insurance money, but rather have the gun undamaged or not lost.
  15. waidmann

    waidmann Well-Known Member

    Stalking Rifles

    Jim, I recognize they were made in the various .22 classes as well. I gave my Dad a Husqvarna SS in .32 WCF. My experience is that these "gentleman's walkabouts" were far more likely to be used on fox, hare, geese (on the ground) and especially domestic felines etc.
    I won't say no one shot a Roe with a lightweight but generally the medium sized cartridges were employed on the Hochsitz.

    Enjoy bantering with you!
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I am not well up on European hunting traditions.
    I was told that the "forester's rifle" was commonly used to eliminate deer with malformed racks so as to not use up resources needed by trophy bucks for the upper crust.

    I have also seen nice light rifles in 5.6x52R and 6.35x52R (.22 Savage High Power and .25-35 Winchester) brought back as war loot from The Occupation. At least they take US cartridges. I wonder why they got popular overseas when there were all manner of home market rounds.
  17. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    A largely overlooked facet of "gundom" is the US export market. Even today, S&W, Ruger, Winchester (FN) and Remington do a large export business. The Remington 870 is very popular in Europe.

    I remember some years back walking into a major sporting goods store in Frankfurt and seeing a big green and gold banner across the back wall: "DIE BESTE RANDFEUERPATRONEN - REMINGTON."

  18. Vaarok

    Vaarok Well-Known Member

    I'd just like to point out that S/42 is a code for Mauser Orberndorf, not a marking indicating 1942 production. Inter-war era upgrades of Gew98 long rifles to a tangent rear sight were also marked S/42 on the sight base, because Mauser Oberndorf did the conversion work.

    Not a WW2 rifle, an inter-war rifle.
  19. waidmann

    waidmann Well-Known Member

    Jim W. and friends, a revier (concession) is run by the leaseholders, monitored by the forestery department. Some go afield armed year-round and do shoot the lesser of twin fawns, various pests etc. The shooting of bucks judged inferior is undertaken before the rut. The better bucks are reserved until later if at all. In the spring barren doe may be shot in some cases. Hare shoots may have the social status of our dove huints. Some places Trachten (costume) is expected other not. Autos and pumps are generally frowned upon. They are a world unto themselves. They generally are not prejudiced against American calibers but wonder why we re-invent their's e.g. .280 Remington vs. 7X64 and 7X65R.
  20. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    We wonder why they do not admit the natural superiority of a bullet .2 mm smaller, in the .270 WCF.

    (Yes, I know about the Chinese Mauser.)

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