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1891 mauser sporter in 308?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by pat86323, Mar 10, 2010.

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  1. pat86323

    pat86323 Member

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    I have an opportunity to pick up a argentinian mauser that has been sporterized and rechambered to 308 for 100 bucks. It belongs to a buddy of mine and we have shot it quite a bit. The sights are goofy as can be but it shoots a real tight group about a foot high and 4 inches to the right. I absolutely hate the stock on it but i figure it might make a pretty nice project. Have the sights machined off of it, refinish, and find a nice mannlicher stock for it. I feel like its a pretty good deal but does anyone know how difficult it will be to find a stock? Ive looked around a bit and cant find much of anything. I am guessing that having a stock made for it would cost an arm and a leg.
     
  2. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

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    Has this rifle been rechambered or rebarrelled? The 1891 Argy was originally in 7.65x53 Argentine (or Belgium) caliber. The 7.65x53 LOOKS like a .308.
     
  3. pat86323

    pat86323 Member

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    i know the barrel is stamped ".308 caliber" he took it to a gunsmith when we were about 16 and had it looked through. We have since put lots of 308 ammo through it with nothing but good results.
     
  4. Kernel

    Kernel Member

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    The 7.65x53 Argentine is a 56,500 psi cartridge. That's what it is today. Who knows what it was a 120 years ago. The .308 is a 62,000 psi desgin. Just because somebody rebarreled it once-upon-a-time doesn't mean it was a good idea. I’d relegated to wall hanger status, or convert it back to it’s original military chambering and configuration.
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Some pretty knowledgeable people have rated the 1891 Argentine action as safe with calibers generating around 45,000 PSI.
    The .308 runs 62,000.

    Mcfarland said no to re-barreling them to .308, and Frank De Haas said maybe on the later 93 & 95 actions.

    It's not that the action will blow up.
    The problem stems from the lack of the much more advanced gas handling system, and a third safety lug on the later & stronger Mauser 98 to keep the bolt from blowing out of the receiver.

    Just be aware that a pierced primer or case failure is not likely to end well with a 91 action.

    rc
     
  6. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    I think the problem here is how do you tell the OP, that after shooting perhaps hundreds or maybe thousands of 308 rounds through the rifle in question, that the rifle is not safe to shoot with 308 ammo.
    I know that common sense would be to use 7.62x51 NATO rounds as many, but not all, are loaded to around 50,000 psi.

    I know that Richards Microfit stocks shows the '91 Argentine as a choice for inletting and have some stocks in the bargain list. Look around the site to see the options.

    www.rifle-stocks.com/bargain_list.htm




    NCsmitty
     
  7. 545days

    545days Member

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    Read what rcmodel wrote very carefully.

    I agree 100%. It is not likely that the receiver will burst like a bomb. The Model 1891's inability to safely route the gas from a ruptured case or pierced primer is the issue. If you insist on firing it, I advise real-live butt ugly safety glasses, not just prescription glasses or sunglasses.

    I love old guns, and will confess to hunting with a Swede 1896, but for serious range time I want my Mausers to be Model 1898 or newer.
     
  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    pg 142, Mauser Bolt Rifles, Ludwig Olsen

    7.65 mm Mauser Cartridge 154 grain Bullet


    Maximum Pressure 42,600 lbs per square inch

    Remarks: data from FN Co. Catalog.

    These old rifles were made from steels that today are used as rebar. These actions have no margin of strength if something goes wrong, and if they break, they fragment.

    My face and fingers are worth too much to be behind one of these things, especially something rebarreled in a higher intensity cartridge like a 308.

    This is a picture of a Swede M96. A later action, a supposedly safer action, many are 1890's to 1910 vintage. We don't know why it blew up. But we do know that it failed catastrophically and injured the shooter.

    These old guns are riskier to shoot than WWII or later rifles, just due to better metals, better manufacturing processes.


    M96Mauserblownup.jpg
     
  9. desidog

    desidog Member

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    I have a small-ring Spanish Mauser, called an FR-7. I'd recommend reading up on this gun and 7.62 CETME ammunition. The same issues hold true for your setup.

    Basically, before NATO standardized things the Spaniards had a round that was near identical to the .308Win; with the exception of pressure. The 7.62 Cetme is about 40K psi, the 7.62NATO is about 50K psi, and the .308 Win is about 60K psi (in rough numbers).

    While i would NOT shoot .308Win through a (formerly) 7mm Mauser action; I would be tempted to load a 7.62NATO if there were a coyote on the lawn and no other ammo or guns ready. That would be a cold day, in my case, but i digress....

    Both Remington and Federal make low pressure rounds: So I definitely would not relegate this boom-stick to the wall just yet!
    Here a page with comparison, i won't vouch for competitive pricing....but google it up and you'll be there.
    http://www.eabco.com/recoil.html

    So, if the gun looks good, and you like it, 100 bucks is like... going out on two dates with a lady and then deciding you don't like her enough...except in this case you get to keep a nice souvenir that won't itch you!

    Also, if you start reloading you can tune some nice soft rounds so there'll be no issue.
     
  10. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

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    What is the point? They are almost twins.

    Except for that pressure thing:rolleyes:Side by side comparison of the 7.65 Argentine and
    the 7.62x51 NATO cartridges
    Specification 7.65 Argentine 7.62x51 NATO
    Bullet Diameter .313 .308
    Neck Diameter .338 .338
    Shoulder Diameter .429 .447
    Base Diameter .468 .466
    Rim Thickness .470 .470
    Case Length 2.09 2.01
    Cartridge Length 2.95 2.75
    Velocity 2710 2750
    Energy 2530 2520
     
  11. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    I have seen pictures of blown-up Remington 700s, AR-15s and Ruger 77s. Does than mean that they are all unsafe to shoot? :rolleyes:
     
  12. Murphys Law

    Murphys Law Member

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    I wouldn't buy that rifle except as Kernel said, to hang it on a wall. There were two Argentine Mauser loadings. The 1891 used a heavy long round nose bullet. The 1895 was a stronger action designed for the then new spitzer type bullets starting to appear. The 1895 version is the one thats rated to 56,000 psi. When Argentina contracted with Mauser for an upgraded rifle they wanted the newer spitzer type bullets (higher pressure) but also wanted to be able to use up their stores of the older low pressure round nosed cartridges. I really don't know if its going to blow up, but, is it worth the risk?
     
  13. CaptainCrossman

    CaptainCrossman Member

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    old thread but good question, as I just bought an 1891 myself

    to give an 1891 an extra margin of safety, add a gas port to it

    adding a gas port to a gun is not hard to do at all, just drill into the case head area of the chamber on each side of the gun, like is done with an SMLE, Jap 99 or Jap 38. I see reference to de Haas in this thread, he was a very skilled, intelligent, knowledgeable gunsmith and writer/author- if you read his "bolt action rifles" book, you'll see that he recommended a gas port drilled into the chamber of many other guns, even the Mauser 98- which doesn't even have a gas port per se, even though it is so strong. It's one of those things like car/home insurance, you hope you never need to use it, but if you do it better be able to do the job. The Jap type 38 had 2 holes drilled into the top of the chamber to relieve gas pressure- take the Mauser 1891 to any machine shop, have them put it on a bridgeport, and drill (2) 1/8" holes into the chamber for gas relief. If anything does go wrong, it will direct the gases out and to the side, rather than blow the gun apart.

    FWIW, I have (3) SMLE's and while firing reloads I bought at a gun show from a somewhat dubious vendor, when I tried to eject the shells, at least 6 of the case heads ripped right off and the shell stayed in the chamber- the shell then came out easily with a bore cleaning brush, but I never even knew is happened when firing the cartridges- why ? Because the SMLE has a HUGE gas port hole in the left side, and a smaller one in the right side, none of the gases came backwards at me.

    The above recommendation for the original 7.65 x 53 chambering.

    no, I would not rechamber it to 308, some of the factory 308 loadings are really hot loads anymore.

    the steel in an 1891 is good quality, it's just that it only has 2 locking lugs instead of 3, if the front lugs break off, the bolt is going to hit the shooter in the face and maim/disfigure or worse
     
  14. W L Johnson

    W L Johnson Member

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    It's amazing this myth keeps going.
    7.62x51 (7.62 NATO) is 60,200 psi. The 50,000 number is CUP (copper units of pressure), it keeps getting changed to psi. 7.62x51 and .308 pressure was tested by two different methods, but the two rounds are interchangeable.

    edit: By the way, 7.62 NATO chambers are proofed to 75,000 psi.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  15. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    If you buy it have it magnafluxed and inspected for cracks, the bolt locking lugs specifically. I shoot a '91 a lot but I load it at the level originally intended, great gun. I first loaded 7.65X53 in 308 cases because I did not have any original cases. The 308 cases are 51MM long, only 2MM short, they grow in only 2 firings at moderate pressure levels.
    BE SAFE!!!!!!
     
  16. desidog

    desidog Member

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    While we've covered this topic before WL, i took a little cell-phone footage last Wednesday. I don't have any pressure gauges, or know how to use them if i did...but report, flash, and recoil are all things i can compare. Guys started to look down the line when they heard the .308 and saw the fireball.

    Saiga .308 w/ 16" bbl. Federal 168gr FMJ .308Win:
    [​IMG]

    South African 7.62 NATO:
    [​IMG]

    Notice the muzzle-flash in the first, compared to the gray gas/particles in the second.
    Now compare case volumes...yup about 2 grains different.

    I conclude that they are not the same. But if it's your face over a two-lug Mauser action, do as you please...I like to read about the Darwin Awards, and not get mentioned in them.
     
  17. husker

    husker Member

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    This Thread reminds me of the MASH episode i watched as a kid. & they had to work on a solder that took a bolt to the face. Ive always wondered what rifle it was in that episode?
     
  18. W L Johnson

    W L Johnson Member

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    You're shooting rounds from two different manufacturers using probably two different powders & primers. No surprise there in the flash difference.

    Here's a little something from Armalite
    Springfield even uses 308 and 7.62x51 interchangeably in their part docs for the M1As
    In the end 7.62x51 was tested with the copper crusher method, 308 with the piezo method, thus the different numbers and it doesn't help that people keep changing cup to psi without converting, 50,000 cup works out to 60,200 psi piezo.

    Oh and by the way nice flash from the 16" saiga, I've got an Armalite 16" AR-10 and I've thinking of trying it without the flash suppressor. I've got a 22" 308 saiga shipping to my FFL today.
    Edit: I see you converted yours.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  19. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Are you sure you are not confusing high quality machining with metallurgy?

    Someone out there is a metallurgist, how about a metallurgical analysis of 1890’s receiver steels?

    What I know from the historical record, is that metals from that period were plain carbon steels and process controls and metallurgy back then were all "eye of knut and toe of frog". I was just rereading "fighting iron" and it is thought that the US Navy was the first to attempt to have steel specifications for the "White Fleet". And that was the 1890's.
     
  20. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    You are absolutely correct, W L Johnson.

    I did some fact checking after your post, and it seems the 7.62x51 is loaded to around 50,000CUP and that roughly equates to 60,000PSI. Not too different from the SAAMI spec of the 308 Win at 62,000PSI.

    None of the small ring pre-98 Mausers are designed for those pressures.

    Handloading to pressures under 50,000PSI is about the only way to reasonably assure some safety when shooting the pre-98 actions.



    NCsmitty
     
  21. W L Johnson

    W L Johnson Member

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    Thanks NCsmitty, glad to know I'm not totally crazy

    Hey Desidog
    I just brought home my newest Saiga and on the receiver it is stamped "308 Win" and right below that "7.62x51"
    Does yours say that? Weird trigger tho.
     
  22. desidog

    desidog Member

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    W L Johnson, you're right on the powders and primers, but the boom and the recoil are not the same either, across the board with various factory .308 and 7.62 surplus loads. 7.62 definitely has different characteristics through the same gun. But to humor you, I've got an FR-8 coming in the mail right now; so i'll do some extensive testing between that, my M1A and my Saiga to verify my current opinion.

    I think that with modern metallurgy, modern rifles like Armalites and Springfields can handle either no problem. Heck, my Saiga does. And yes it is stamped with both .308Win and 7.62x51...but let's remember that 7.62x51 are the metric dimensions for .308 win as well.

    And YES, that Saiga factory trigger sucks farts out of a dead donkey..hence my "restoration." The weight balance was also not at all to my liking. I went with an AKM gas tube, wood handguards, Dinzag retainer for the lower, Tapco G2 trigger group, Tapco OD SAW grip, and a KVAR OD NATO buttstock. Now it rocks. I recommend you restore yours post-haste! But that is for another thread:D.

    ETA: Forgot to mention, also a Tapco piston in there....
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  23. W L Johnson

    W L Johnson Member

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    Never quite have hear it put that way. :uhoh:

    A 98 will take the pressure just fine, but a pre 98, I wouldn't be so sure. The bigger problem even with 98's and newer milsurp's is the head space, there is a slight head space difference between 308 and 7.62x51 that is not an issue if your head space is within specs but if your head space is border line it may become an issue. All milsurp rifles should have their head space checked before firing.
     
  24. desidog

    desidog Member

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    Yeah, I'm a sailor, and can be pretty crude.

    ^Good point on the head space. I have Go/No go gauges; but have been thinking of moving up to something more exact. Any suggestions?

    For the FR-8, (which has a 98 action), I'll be running the 7.62NATO, not .308win in general (and price-point too!), and depending on accuracy, if i take it hunting probably the reduced-recoil .308 loads that tone it down to around a .30-30's performance. I've run a few of them through my FR-7 (pre-98)...although mainly 7.62x25 & MCAce adaptor for killing paper...but depending on how the FR-8 performs, i might sell the FR-7 to make a little more room in the rack. A more serious collector might derive more enjoyment out of it in the long run, and i'm slightly skeptical of the Tok round only meeting up with the lands and grooves ~2" into travel, and they aren't the most accurate.

    ETA: before that happens though, I'm going to make a picture-heavy thread showing the differences in the two actions. Since other folks probably scratch their heads at the same stuff i do...
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  25. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    It should be noted that while the Swede busted up, the bolt held. The risk with the 91 pattern is the bolt would not hold, the lugs would sheer off and the steel shaft would impale the user in the head. That's a lot, lot worse than getting peppered with shrapnel from the stock and receiver.

    Any rifle, even a modern one, can and will have a kaboom from a squib round or other circumstances. The safety comes in how the explosion is handled by the rifle.
     
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