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Best surplus Mauser 98 for a custom rifle?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Kestrel, Mar 12, 2003.

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  1. Kestrel

    Kestrel Member

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    Which models are considered the best quality? Are any of the currently available high enough quality to have a custom rifle built?

    Also, would a rifle based on one of these bas as good or better than say, a CZ550?

    Thanks for any help,
    Steve
     
  2. dude

    dude Member

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    there are a bunch of Styer 98 Mausers out there on the market that were arsenal re-barreled to NATO 7.62X51 back in the 50s. I have one, it ran me $175 and it shoots great.

    My gunsmith has a bunch of them he bought to make custom rifles out of.
     
  3. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Member

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    Steve,

    I did some research on this topic with an eye towards building a custom varmint rifle.

    What I discovered is that you will get somthing north of $700 into your rifle and $1000 is real easy to get to. If you are extraordinarily resourceful you may do this for somthing south of $700 but you will have to be lucky and good to get a great result.

    The quality of the rifle you build will depend on the components but will largely depend on the competence of your smith.

    That being said go here:

    http://www.setel.com/~maxwells/mausercentral/

    And let your homework begin!

    I decided to just buy a new gun and tweak it as time passed. I could purchase two or three new varmint rifles for the cost of a custom built mauser.
     
  4. Kestrel

    Kestrel Member

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    dude,

    Are these Steyr Mausers high quality? Have they been recently released onto the market? How can I know one when I see it? (Is it marked "Steyr"?)

    Thanks again,
    Steve
     
  5. critter

    critter Member

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    Yeah, but it is such a FUN project and you get EXACTLY what you want! DO IT! I have 4 done on Model 98's and love them.

    Best ones to use:
    1909 Argentine-now hard to find (read expensive)
    Czech VZ-24's are really good, late made model 98's that can be had for real cheap (like with actions in good shape for 50-140 bucks)
    K98's are good but EXPENSIVE unless you find a Yugo or Russian refurb in bad shape with a good action.
    Yogo model 48's are a little shorter in the action than standard which can cause trouble finding suitable accessories (stocks for instance).
    Some Israeli mausers are ok if you can find one not beat all to heck. Careful as they used all kinds so pick a 'standard' one if you use one of these.
    Turk mauser 98's sometimes have a different barrle thread so take care if you try one of these.

    My suggestion is to look for the VZ 24. They are top notch quality and cheap. Also they are perfectly standard mauser 98's so barrels, stocks, triggers, scope mounts, etc are all easy to find that will fit.

    Be aware that 30-06 case head size will probably work famously with no change to the bolt face or feed rails. Examples are .308, .270, 25-06, .35 Whelen, etc.

    Again, good luck with a fun project.
     
  6. dude

    dude Member

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    they are clearly marked WAFFENFABRIK STYER AUSTRIA on the left side of the reciever with a NATO overstamp under the crest and MODELO 1912 designating the re-barreling

    Quality wause they are like any other surplus Mauser.......it can me hit or miss. I can easily take clays at 100 yards with mine but she will not win any beauty contests. Hell, for $175 that's good enough for me.
     
  7. critter

    critter Member

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    Steve, I have 2 of those dude mentioned. They are known as 'Steyr model 12/61'. Made by Steyr and sent to Chili. Rebarreled in '61 to 7.62 Nato. They will say Steyr on them and have the 7.62 stamped on the receiver ring. A great many of them were available earlier so they can be found occasionally. I paid $125 and $150 for mine. They are in good shape mechanically with little finish and the stocks dinged up a lot but not structurally harmed.

    Also, some of the 12/61's were cut off barrels with a new one soldered to the stub and others were rebarreled completely. Inspect carefully if you find one.
     
  8. swingset

    swingset Member

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    I agree!!!

    Go ahead and cut up a piece of history for your own enjoyment. Future generations will be so pleased you decided to cut up a piece of military history instead of just buying a new gun, or project building from a new receiver.

    It's your money, it's your gun, and it's a free country....but it's still cutting up something meaningful and irreplaceable when there are perfectly good new components for the same money.

    Sorry, I'm a C&R collector and for some reason this gets my craw.
     
  9. dude

    dude Member

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    I suppose you are also one of those folks who get upset with Warbird owners actually flying their old WWII aircraft because they might crash...........shhesh


    Come on down to my favorite gunsmith's shop, he has several 100 old military rifles in prestine condition, but thinks nothing of cutting some of them up to make a fine custom rifle. Why?? because they are cheap and plentiful.
    Do as you wish with your C&R but there are several 100, 000 of these things out there and lots of them will be happily cut up to be useful for someone or other................without any guilt.
     
  10. swingset

    swingset Member

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    Do I get upset at warbirds flying? No. That's enjoying history, a living specimen. I shoot my milsurps with joy.

    Would I be upset if they cut up P-51's and made a different plane out of them? Yes.

    See the difference?

    You will use the argument that there were millions of mausers made...and that's true.

    And, I will counter that 40 years ago you could buy K98k snipers for a song, they were everywhere. You could buy Krags, AG42's, 03 Springfields, all in good condition and cheap.

    What happened? Seen any good cheap Krags lately? People took them for granted, butchered them into sporters and the rifles are gone forever.

    Put it in a scenario that should make some sense. You buy a Model T ford used in 1946. There are plenty still running, tho obsolete. Not really worth that much, tons of them around. You chop it into a bucket roadster, hop it up and make a rod. Cool, and no one begrudges you your right to have fun and make something neat from an old car. Everyone does it.

    But, fast forward to now. What's a good condition, all original Model T worth?

    What's your hot rod worth (assuming it's still around)? Not much.

    You can wizz on history if you want, care not to acknowledge it or even tell yourself that these rifles aren't worth anything, but future generations will curse you the way I curse the fools who cut up Arisaka's & 03 Sprinfields to make lamps & ugly sporters out of.

    Add to this the stupidity of throwing $500 to $1000 into a gun that when completed won't be worth half of that (think I'm wrong? Go to Auction Arms and see what sporters sell for). And what's worse is that you can buy or build a better gun without cutting up a warhorse. I just can't understand the draw of it, unless you're just mean.
     
  11. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    Thats the key...the difference between the intial cost of a surplus action and a modern Winchester or Mauser action is negligible....for the cost of a VZ 24 you can buy the Charles daly action and make a nice sporter for less thatn sporterizing a military...so unless its a total dog, why bother..

    Swing ya wanna puke? I saw a sporterized Arisaka a few months ago...with the mum unground....:barf: Not even the decency to do a ground one!

    WildimlookingforanArisakatooAlaska
     
  12. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

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    I'm kinda on the fence on this one. I gave a friend a Model of 1917 that someone had cut the military stock down to "sporterize" it. That's all that was done to it-everything else is military standard. He's thinking about using the action to build a dangerous game rifle. I think he should find a replacement military stock. I'm going to look at a rifle tonight that has had the same thing done to it but was drilled and tapped for a scope. Apparently the iron sights were removed so the scope could fit between the ears.

    I've a couple of rifles built on the Mauser action but I'm innocent-I bought the rifle after the dirty deed was done:D

    One's a Parker Hale chambered in 7mm Mag. The stock is almost like a Weatherby of a couple of decades ago but thank God they didn't put carvings of acorns on it.

    The other is built on the Argentine 1909 action. .35 Whelen, curly maple stock, custom barrel, Timney trigger. The work was done by Carolina Precision Rifles in Jackson, SC.
     
  13. twoblink

    twoblink Member

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    I walked into the gun store (on my birthday) seeing what to buy for myself; and the guy said, whatcha looking for.. I had always wanted a REAL Mauser, and so I joked, I wanted a Mauser but in 308 (so it has the same diet as my M1A...LOGISTICAL!) well... it happened that morning, someone sold a Mauser'98 that was rebarreled in 308 (GI barrel) and so I picked it up! $215. Beautiful, shoots well (in Runt's hands.. I sucked) and the lockup is very tight. The new barrel only had 2 rounds fired from it (by the smith) before I owned it. Sweet!

    I'm looking for some quality sights for it, and it will probably be the "do it all" rifle.

    The guy even took time to strip and redo the furniture!! New Polyeurathane coat and a cheapy sling too..

    I made out like a bandit...

    I found out, the Barrel, $150, the furniture, $150, the smithing, $100. hehehe...
     
  14. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    swingset, while I understand your attitude, ya gotta face it: One fella's "collectible" is somebody else's "junk". Antique furniture; old coins, cars and guns. That's just people...

    Art
     
  15. Viking6

    Viking6 Member

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    To echo Art and slightly off topic, COL Eliot White Springs, number four ace for US in WWI, was the owner of Springs Mills (Springmaid Sheets) headquartered in Fort Mill, SC. Local legend has it that sometime between the wars, he decided to chop down a Rolls Royce (which Cloud or Ghost, I don't know) to make it into a pickup truck. Legend has it that RR tried to sue him. He just wanted to use a reliable, powerful base for something else. As for milsurps, I prefer that they stay as designed but I can see how others might want to "play" with them.
     
  16. Kestrel

    Kestrel Member

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    So, Alaska and others,

    Are the modern Winchester CRF and CZ 550s better guns than what I would have if I customized an old Mauser?

    Thanks again,
    Steve
     
  17. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    Steve absolutely they are better than the old 98s..in fact I would go out on a limb and say the Chas Dalys or the EAAs are better in terms of metalurgy....

    I would do a custom rifle on a Win 70 myself but thats just me...
     
  18. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    I would say a new receiver would be better than an old 98 for a few different reasons. The new receiver probably won't need a new bolt shroud and safety to clear a scope. It won't need to have its bolt rebent to clear a scope- even 98's with a bent bolt such as k98's will need to be rebent to work with a scope. The new receiver/bolt will probably have a much nicer finish to it- it won't have to be polished to make it look nice.

    A reason that noone yet pointed out for not cutting up an old rifle is that some of these oldies as a whole are much better made than everything but custom rifles themselves. If you were to take a close look at and shoot a 98/29, an M96, or an 1909 Argie and many others, you will find that they are incredibly well made rifles as a whole and have a fit and finish and craftsmanship you will not find in mass produced rifles today. When you cut one of these up to make something else, you have just negated all of the hard work put into the original rifle that makes it valuable. I'm not going to condemn anyone for doing such, but I've seen my share of Krag rifles with homemade scopemounts, cutdown 03's and M1917s, and various other abominations that were made in someone's basement rotting away in pawn and second tier gun shops to know its not a good idea.

    A thing I've been following on sites such as EBAY recently is the cost of '03 stocks in good condition. I've seen good stocks go for over $200 while the most I've seen a cutdown 03 stock sell for was around $20- in most cases the sellers seem to not even be able to give them away.:barf:
     
  19. xtarheel

    xtarheel Member

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    "custom" is unique

    It is very true that you can buy a great rifle from any number of companies for far less than a custom Mauser. For me however, to a large extent, the thrill is in the persuit. Within the next few weeks I will pick up my second "custom" rifle. This one is a Mauser action in 7 X 57. Start to finish, it has been a two year project and will cost close to three grand. Almost impossible to justify on a coat alone basis. But finding the right action, in this case a pristine 1942 DOT (BRNO) action that had never been given a serial number (The BATF confirmed this and issued me one). Picking out just the right walnut blank and taknig numerous trips to the gun maker to have him fit a birch pattern to me (I'm a 6'2" lefty that shoots a right hand bolt), picking out the checkering pattern, metal engraving, etc. Even sending the scope back to Leupold to have a European style reticle that I like
    installed. When it is all over and done with, I'll have a rifle that is truely "mine" and and will have had a lot of enjoyment in it's creation.
     
  20. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    The best Mauser for a custom gun might be one that's already sporterized. They sell for low prices at gun shows and pawn shops, because sporterizing lowers the value (since you're buying, that's a GOOD thing :))

    Some are very well done with new bolt handle welded on, scope-mount holes drilled & tapped, scope-clearing safety. That's a lot of work and parts you don't have to pay for.

    Then you can put your money into the custom parts that really count, barrel, stock, bluing.

    Regards.
     
  21. Clemson

    Clemson Member

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    There is still at least one company that advertises 1909 Argentine barreled actions and guns with cracked stocks. There is really no comparison between the machining and finishing on a DWM Argie and a modern Remchester. The 1909 wins hands down. To my mind there is not a problem with sporterizing a rifle that is already "ruined" for collector value, and these barreled actions and mismatched cracked-stock guns are not going to have any collector's value. I like to see the actions used for sane cartridges. I currently have one in 7x57 and another in .257 Roberts. I have 4 more of these actions in the shop awaiting the "next project." The company with the actions is JLD. www.jldenter.com

    Clemson
     
  22. Lovevixen555

    Lovevixen555 Member

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    Well any Mauser that is in decent shape is fine to build on! First everything we like in modern bolt action rifles we owe to the Mauser 96 and 98 as their fore father's. Even the action I hate most the Remington 700 wouldnot be here today if not for the Military contracts that Remington had makeing Mauser's,Steyaurer(sp) and Mosin's for other countries... THe money Remington made and the experince they gained from these other actions gave them the time, money and many of their so called improvements!

    Right now with the glut of un-issued and lightly used Yugo M48's on the market for cheap I would go with them as a first choice since these where built after the war material shortages. They where made to tolerances that are ever bit as tight as any modern mass produced rifle. The barrels if new in unissed chape will shoot tiny little groups after you free float the barrel and ditch the hand guard. When my Brother inlaw returned from basic training a 10 years ago I handed him my then new M48 as it was issued and with corrosive turkish war surplus ammo. From the prone postion in winds gusting to 25 knot's he shot 1 inch groups with iron sights at 150 yard's. He was trying to time the shot's between the wind guest's but even then it was steady 10 knot winds when steady. That is more then on par with a factory rifle and the 8mm Mauser round will do anything the 30-06 will do so you can use it right out of the box while you save up to customize it!

    http://www.kenfarrell.com/ These are the guys with the best built scope base's and rings for the Mauser actions in my opinion. I have a regular one with no eleavation on it on a VZ24 action and am getting ready to have them do a bolt on a M48 and a 20MOA base on that same rifle in steel. As long as these keep makeing part's for Mauser's I will only use their part's! They are great to do business with!

    Richard's Microfit make 99% inlet stocks for the M48 in all styles from laminated woods to Etra Fancy AAA and Exhibition grade woods etc.... Any saftey system that fits the M98 will fit it as well. The barrel's that fit other Large Ring Measures will fit as well. Farrelle(sp) makes stadard,15,20 and 30 MOA scope base's that are solid one piece units that fit over the chargeing hump with out modification. They also make a neat little bolt handle that they sell for $13 or if you need it installed $47 covers the cost of the handle and instalation. Barrels are not a big deal either. If you do not want something other then what is listed you can get a Lothar Walther contoured,threaded,crowned and deep champered for in crome molly for $219. If you want something not listed which I do you can shop around for a good price. I find that most good gunsmith's prefer that a barrel not be threaded and the really good ones prefer to champer them as well. This greatly lower's the cost of the barrel since contoured blanks are sold rather cheaply even from top companies!

    I will post again latter once I buy something. THe deal is too good to post here right now because someone will snatch it up out from under me!LOL
     
  23. Lovevixen555

    Lovevixen555 Member

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    You know I never mentioned why I like the Mauser 98 and it's clones. First as a tactical rifle you want something that is durable field serviceable and built like a brick out-house. The bottom metal on a M98 is about as tough and rugged as they get why spend big money on a badger ordance bottom metal for a Remington 700 when I can get it for free on a Mauser.The M98 is completly field serviceable I tore my bolt apart and replaced the factory safety the other day in my liveing room while the wife was watching Desperate House Wives. All I needed was two magizines to protect the coffee table no tools at all!Had I wanted to replace the factory spring,fireing pin or filed down the shroud catch pin i could have done it all then. I think I spent 30 seconds takeing it apart 1 minute makeing sure the new part was going to fit and function exactly like the OEM and another 30 seconds putting it back together. I had never taken the bolt apart before either so it is monkey simple! To take a Remington 700 bolt apart you need a speical tool and it is not even as simple and quick as the M78. The trigger on a M98 is uber simple and can easily be replaced inthe field or repaired inthe field if need be. Break a reminton trigger and nothing is going to fix it but a new remington trigger or one like it from Jewel or Timney etc... Dirt plays heck on Remington triggers but does not phase the M98's super simple and robust trigger. The M98 came from the factory with pillar bedding and a rock solid steel cross bolt. Last I checked Remintons do not come fromthe factory with pillar beding. The M98 comes with some of the best Iron sights ever. All I do is open the V notch a bit for my 35 year old eye's. Remington has sucky iron sights on those few rifles that come with them.

    M48 Unissed $99
    Barrell LW Art Series 724 in 6.5X55 $219
    Action and Bolt Blue Printing/Trueing $124
    New bolt welded on and supplied $47
    Barrel Installed $200
    Richards Micro Fit Stock Dual Grip Rollover $164
    Blue action and barrel $48

    Total includeing the price of the Rifle $901

    For $901 you are getting a tactical rifle that will shoot every bit as good as anything built on a Remington 700 action in the field environment that tactical rifle competitions are held or for a Camp Perry High Power Shooter since you do not need to cut a chargeing slot in your action it already has one. Last I checked $1200 was about as cheap as you can find a Rem 700 purpose built tactical rifle with high end barrel. The reason I went with 6.5X55 was because this rifle is for a 10 year old so recoil is an issue but I still wanted great ballistic performance. My rifle is a Rugger Varmint Target with a Krieger barrel in 308 I used what I had laying around and it embarass's many people shooting far more expensive actions and rifles! For Palma,High Power,Tactical and Siloheutte the slower lock time of the Mauser's is not much of a handicap when you look at all the other plus's. Rember if you buy a nice mauser you can hunt with it while you are saveing up of do one thing at a time to it. If we where talking Bench rest then the Mauser could not be competitive in todays arena. Many that have used Mauser's for 1000 yeard match's have posted winning scores or where inthe top 10. Look at Skag's results with a cheap shade tree build up useing low grade cheap part's!!! His 100 yard competition rifle is a Turkish mauser wearing a E.R. Shaw barrel and he did all the machineing himself with home made tooling!
     
  24. woof

    woof Member

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    Kestrel, Consider the possible reasons for such a project:

    1. because it is fun
    2. because you end up with something you can't buy ready-made

    Both are valid reasons. If it is for fun you aren't too worried about the economics because you are buying fun not just a rifle. If it is because you can't get what you want ready-made, then think about what it is you can't get. I for example, would like a CZ 550 with a shorter barrel in .260. Actually what I'd really like is a CZ action between the 527 and the 550 chambered for the whole .308 family and in a compact, lightweight design. They don't make that and won't anytime soon.

    So let's say I have 700 to spend and I'm doing it for the rifle not for fun. Not a good idea to undertake custom on the cheap because you don't know what you will run into. If I were in that situation I would check my gut and either compromise with a CZ 550 in, say, .270, or I would find a way to cough up another 700 to finance a project to do it right.
     
  25. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    Don't forget Mausers, like most other milsurps have EXTREMELY long lock times. THe firing pin travels a mile upon firing. You can pull the trigger, go have a sandwich and come back to fire compared to a modern design like 70's or 700's. It's likely a $500 Tikka will shoot better than your custom.

    I'd at least buy an already sporterized rifle since most of the work is done and you can redoe whatever you don't like. You can sleep better at night too.

    With the way a lot of modern designs function and shoot I don't think much can be gained by sporterizing a Mauser other than cool/unique factor. I'd rather put the money into a Sako, Cooper, Dakota personally. And in many ways the engineering and little things have been thought out better than a milsurp modification IME.
     
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