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Mauser vs Enfield...Which Military Surplus Rifle

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mrh477, Jul 25, 2015.

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  1. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

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    So many good choices, and the fun part is...trying them all.
    Currently, I'm enjoying a Yugo capture Mauser Kar 98k. I found it 2 years ago on gunbroker. When the Yugoslavs rebuilt it, they made it look like a new rifle.
    I paid $225 for it. The only downside is that the previous owner installed a receiver sight, cutting out the stock to accommodate it.
    I have a couple spam cans of Romanian 8mm for range fun.

    While it wasn't used in war, the Swiss k31 is one of the nicest manual repeaters ever made. I think a lot of people who don't buy them now will regret it in the future.
     
  2. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    Ive had a few different Mausers and I liked them all!
    Ive had a few different Enfields and I liked them all, too!

    The accuracy to be had out of them is really going to depend on the condition. These things are old and most of them were not treated gently.
    Overall though, I think the mauser lends itself to greater accuracy potential.
    But the 10 round magazine and fast fast action of the Enfield really has a lot going for it.

    But then....I inherited a near mint condition K31. It sets the bar pretty high! The fit & finish, fast action (once you're used to it) and accuracy will not be matched by a run of the mill mauser or enfield, IMO. Those swiss really do know how to put together a battlefield implement (which could be one of the reasons they never had to deploy it)

    Lay your hands on a K31 while you can! The mausers and enfields (and mosins) are still easier to come by.
     
  3. HankB

    HankB Member

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    If you shop around, you should be able to find a No. 4 Mk. 2 Enfield in unissued condition for under $600 - there are still some floating around that came from either an Irish contract or an RAF contract and after test firing, they were packed away and never used. Many have "blond" wood and make for good looking rifles.

    There is very little good .303 British milsurp ammo any more - the last I know of was Greek "HXP" and was sold by Cheaper Than Dirt about a year ago; more recently they were selling grade "B" ammo, which looked corroded even in their own pictures.

    There are some Yugoslavian Mausers in good condition showing up at reasonable prices (<$400) but I believe at least some of these are built on an action a little bit shorter than the German standard. Still fine for 8x57.

    Mosins are going up in price, too . . . mine cost me under $100, but has some pitting in the bore. Completely functional, though, and the price was right. But it's NOT the rifle a nice Enfield or Mauser is. (On the other hand, being made in 1939, there's an excellent chance it accounted for one or more Nazis during WWII, so that's a plus.)

    Speaking of milsurps . . . you DO have a Garand, don't you? If not, check out the CMP.
     
  4. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    Actually, P14s and M1917 are a bit of both; Mausers and Enfields....

    They use the Mauser front locking lugs, the Mauser extractor, Mauser Ejector and Mauser trigger, but the Enfield striker and safety design...
     
  5. Ash

    Ash Member

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    Not really. The cock on closing was also used by Mauser prior to the Gew 98 and, unlike the SMLE, the P14 or M1917 did not feature a cocking knob that allowed the firer to retract the striker in the event of a misfire. The M1917 and P13/14's operate much the same as Spanish, Turkish, and Swedish Mauser variants, among many others.

    While we're at it, the safety, while a lever-type as in the SMLE, is located on the opposite side of the action on the P14 and M1917.

    So, when you really get down to it, the M1917 and Pattern 13/14 rifles were Mausers with Enfield-type safeties and Enfield type pistol grips.
     
  6. champ0608

    champ0608 Member

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    My favorite rifles have always been surplus bolt guns. You can't really go wrong with any of the major players. They are great general purpose rifles. Hunting, target shooting, collecting, etc. They're robust, reliable, fun, and while they may not be ARs, they pack plenty of firepower.

    In my opinion the best deal to be found out there is the M48 Yugo Mauser. This a large ring 98 style, 8mm Mauser. They can be found in great, never issued condition for 200-300 bucks. They're handy, wicked accurate, and handsome. They also have little to no "historic" value that lends to the stigma of sporterizing; if that's your thing you can turn them into really beautiful sporting rifles.

    I also love the Enfields. My favorite is the No 4 MkI* that has a simple flip style peep sight. Accurate, robust, and lots of firepower.

    Above all however, my favorite surplus bolt gun is the M1903A3. Sarco has them for $595. I know that exceeds your initial price range, but in my opinion, if you could save the extra bucks, you'd have about the best general purpose military bolt action rifle you can buy.
     
  7. mrh477

    mrh477 Member

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    $595 eh? I could probably spring a few extra bucks for that. I just figured I wouldn't touch a 1903 for under $800. Thanks for the tip.
     
  8. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    If you want to shoot your acquisition, go with the No. 4 Enfield. Of the guns that you mentioned, it's the only one with a receiver (peep) sight. Barrel-mounted iron sights are difficult to use for people who do not have good focus accommodation (such as most older people).

    This applies to the earlier models, such as the Mk. III. The No. 4 has a round-tip buttstock bolt, so it doesn't matter in what order you take off the wood. However, be sure to tap the forend off the receiver end first (do not pry it from the front end) or else you'll mess up the "draws" area.

    In my experience, most of the lower-priced No. 4's that you find have dried-out, cracked, and/or repaired wood. Replacement wood is available, but this is not a simple drop-in operation. Fitting Enfield wood is something of an art.
     
  9. desidog

    desidog Member

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    As you're figuring out reading this thread, there are a lot of good options out there. You'll have to try them all out!

    I recommend applying for a 03FFL; the best $30 you can spend.... You'll be glad you did when the UPS man brings all these goodies to your door and you're not paying transfer fees at the LGS.
     
  10. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The M1916s are NOT in 7.62 NATO. They are in 7.62 CTME, which is dimensionally identical to the 7.62 NATO but loaded to much lower pressure. Firing 7.62 NATO or commercial .308 Winchester in an M1916 is not recommended.
     
  11. pbtohiglo

    pbtohiglo Member

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    I have both an Ishapore Enfield (indian made enfield in 7.62 nato) and a rebarreled 7.62 98k. They are good friends, go everywhere together, stay in the same case, share ammo... everything! It's great to see how we can move beyond conflicts :p

    ok seriously, I love them both, but the sights on the Enfield are easier for me to see. but tbh, I feel like the mauser is a bit better grouping rifle
     
  12. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith Member

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    I personally feel that everyone needs a Mosin-Nagant and a Mauser 98 (or derivative).

    I do not feel that everyone needs a Lee-Enfield. The rear bolt lugs are an inferior design, and the action is not as strong -- it doesn't have to be, though.

    Josh
     
  13. mrh477

    mrh477 Member

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    All this information! Thanks everyone, honestly I appreciate all the insights. After reading these all and giving it some thought, and looking at my options I've narrowed it down. One of these days I'll probably have a small collection but for now one is enough. There's a place in town that currently has a few Mausers in 7x57mm and 6.5mm Swedish including a Brazilian M1908, a Spanish M1916, and a couple Gustaf's. I like what I've read about both those calibers so it'll likely be one of those. If none of those rifles turn out to be a good fit after seeing them in person I'll probably order a 1903 Springfield from Sarco. Hard to argue with that price.

    Thanks!
     
  14. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    As for the large number of #4/mk 1 Enfields which have 2-groove bores, most modern .303 ammo Seems to have BT bullets. In some 2-groove Enfields they tumble into 100-yd targets.

    But other owners of such Savage and Longbranch (plus certain English rifles) say that the rifles do well with boattail bullets. I learned the hard way and sold the Longbranch, which had good rifling. Maybe it was the rifling in the chamber or the muzzle which caused long gashes in the target.
     
  15. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    I'm going to throw in here and recommend a K31, too. Get 'em while you can.

    There's nothing cooler than pulling off the metal buttplate and finding the tag with the name of the original trooper it was issued to.

    "I know which soldier this rifle was issued to" is ... well, it's a feeling quite unlike anything else you'll get when buying a military surplus rifle.

    As far as inherent accuracy there are few bolt action surplus rifles that come even remotely close to a well maintained K31 and surplus GP11 ammo.

    As far as the other guns, I own a few but haven't shot them nearly as much.

    I've got a Spanish Mauser in 7x57 - it's a fun gun to shoot, but REALLY long. Not really something I'd want to lug around all day on a hunt. 7x57 is easy to load for, and supplies are still everywhere - not really in too high of demand. (A year ago I bought a dusty pile of boxes at a local pawn shop - 1,000 Sierra match projectiles the pawn shop owner had got at an estate sale, for a ridiculously stupid low price.)

    The opposite end of that spectrum is the Mosin M44. It's a comparatively diminutive gun to the 7x57 Mauser, but it's kind of brutal to shoot. Feel free to be manly and say "that don't bother me!" like I did with heavy hitting rifles for the last 20 years, but you might end up with a ruined strong side shoulder that needs surgery for your trouble, like me...

    (Yes, I'm recommending a recoil pad on all of these...)

    The Enfield is a neat gun but it's getting a little pricier to load for, and safe surplus ammo is pretty much gone for good. Also as mentioned above they aren't all as friendly with your brass. (Neck sizing goes a long way, for that, though)

    Another one not mentioned yet, if you can find one that hasn't been bubba'd to death, in that price range you are looking for is a 1898 Krag. Great history behind them, and you will NEVER EVER work a smoother bolt action in your life, period. As far as shooting goes, mine remains unfired - been meaning to rectify that but it's been a safe queen so far. (I do like caressing it from time to time....:evil:)

    Keep your eye out for a good '03 springfield, though. I picked mine up 2 1/2 years ago at a local pawn shop for $500 (if I recall properly) and it's in excellent condition. It's a low serial # receiver so I won't shoot it, but the thing is beautiful. I've been looking for one with a higher serial # I can shoot full power loads through. (Yes, I know, mine has probably been through at least two wars and SHOULD be just fine, but ... there's that whole heat treating thing, and I sort of like the way my face is arranged)

    Edit to add: One final warning - buying old guns is dangerously addictive! Before you know it you'll have a whole pile of the things to hoard over! You might be better off buying a modern gun without any history or story behind it that you can just throw in a dark corner and forget about in between outings!
     
  16. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    By the way, in regard to No. 4 Enfields, the North American-made ones (Savage and Long Branch) are nicer than the ones from the three English factories. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Savage and Long Branch were so far away from the actual fighting (bombing) that they could afford to take their time and do it right. Just look at the markings -- the English guns are electro-penciled rather than roll-stamped. (On the other hand, English walnut is better than some of the substitute woods used in the North American production. American walnut apparently went to Garand production.)
     
  17. 25-5
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    25-5 Contributing Member

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    I went for the Enfield Rifle No.4 Mk2 (1949). If you want WWII I would suggest the MK1. I like the ten round mag and the .303. Easy to reload for. Also the fact that it is an Allied vs Axis firearm.
    Privi Partisan is good ammo to start with and reload.
     
  18. Skogtroll

    Skogtroll Member

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    MAUSER FOR RELOADING SAFETY!

    Of all actions mentioned any Mauser made at the Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken or Mauser-Werke Oberndorf Waffensysteme GmbH will have an exceptionally strong action with two sturdy lugs on the bolt face for a solid action interface that can take near twice normal chamber pressures for any caliber it is chambered in. In regard to Swedes, an M38 by Husqvarna Vapnefabrik would be the ideal due to better steel in the receivers than the Carl Gustav rifles.

    Finn M39 if you want to shoot steel cased ammo and forego ammunition assembly.

    Enfields are good fast shooters when you learn to do the mad minute, but small ring Mausers like a Swede can do the same thing. Only difference being a 5 round magazine.

    I happen to favor Swedish and Finnish rifles and the history of the Winter War, fought by Finland and Swedish Volunteer corps comprised of volunteers from Scandinavian, Baltic, and a few Continental nations that had opposition to the USSR.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn3nXTrs-8g
     
  19. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    It's been said;

    Mauser for sporting.

    Enfield for fighting.

    Springfield for accuracy.

    Of all the cartridges you mentioned I believe the 6.5x55 will be your best bet. After that 7x57. Never was a huge fan of 303.

    My vote for actions would be M38.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
  20. mrh477

    mrh477 Member

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    Well I went today and checked out a bunch of old military rifles that a local shop just got in. All came from a single collector who was only collecting for historical value--don't think he shot any of them often if ever. In 7x57mm (what I've decided on) he had a Brazilian M1908, a Spanish M1916, a Chilean M1895, and a Chilean M1895 short rifle.

    From looking at all the rifles there, I came to the unfortunate conclusion that the ones with the most historical value (AKA the ones that saw the most use) were the ones in the worst condition. Makes sense, I just didn't think about it before. None of the rifles were clean or had a good bore from what I could tell. Most of them had some light rust or pitting. Whether or not any of this would be a problem I can't say. I'm mainly worried about the bores on all these rifles and I had a tough time telling if they were in adequate condition to make a good shooter. The Spanish rifle in particular had some pretty worn rifling, and pitting on the bolt face as pictured.

    2lctpup.jpg

    The guy at the shop ran a couple patches through the bore and got a lot of the gunk out but not all of it, and the bore still didn't look great. I had a tough time telling what was just copper fouling/powder residue/etc. and what may be pitting but based on the condition of the bolt face I'd guess at least some of it must be pitting due to corrosive ammunition.

    Thoughts on this?

    I suppose if I had to choose between historical value and shootability I'd choose the latter, and thus I may have to pass on these rifles and just wait for something else to pop up.
     
  21. mrh477

    mrh477 Member

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    34zasrd.jpg

    here's a pic of the action, which I thought looked pretty good. Dirty but not too badly pitted and no rust.
     
  22. Billy Shears

    Billy Shears Member

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    Why? I personally feel that people should only own guns they want. I have never felt the desire to own a Mosin Nagant. The only thing they've got going for them is rock bottom prices.

    The rear locking lugs are not inferior, just different. Designs each have their own inherent advantages and disadvantages. What features serve you best depend on what you are trying to achieve. Front locking lugs are better if what you are after is greater strength in order to handle really powerful cartridges and the last drop of accuracy you can wring out of the rifle. Neither of those considerations, however, is really very important at all for a battle rifle meant for general issue to the troops. In that application, the rear locking lugs have their own advantage, namely, they keep the action shorter, which when combined with the shorter bolt turn (60 degrees for the Enfield as opposed to 90 for the Mauser) and ten round magazine, allow a faster rate of fire. For infantry, fire superiority almost always trumps pure accuracy.

    To the author of the OP, don't mind the advice to get a Mosin-Nagant. If your heart is set on a Mauser or Lee-Enfield, you'll never be happy with the Mosin-Nagant. Depending on its condition, it will probably at least equal the German or British rifle for accuracy, but the ergonomics are poor, and it's not nearly as nice a gun to shoot. It's telling that the British and American troops who were sent to Russia as part of the Allied expedition to aid the White forces against the Reds in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution had their own rifles taken from them and replaced with Mosin-Nagants in order to allow them to operate more easily with the White Russian forces. The British and American soldiers who had their own Lee-Enfield and Mauser-derived rifles to compare them to, disliked the Mosin-Nagants very much.
     
  23. Ash

    Ash Member

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    You paint with too broad a brush. A Finnish M39, made by Sako, Valmet, Tikka, or with an FN "B" barrel, is every bit the rifle that any Enfield or Mauser can be, with slick actions, comfortable semi-pistol grip stocks, and fully adjustable sights. It's a Mosin. Heck, a Tikka M91/30 is a superb rifle that will cost considerably less than $500.00 and be cheap to shoot very accurately.

    And if you want a real shooter, try out an M28/76.

    However, I agree that the OP is asking about Mausers and Enfields and I am fine if he sticks to those two actions.
     
  24. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    I am tired of hearing the fable of rear locking lugs being inferior. My Remington 788's will outshoot any of their brethren despite the fact that they were half the price. Stop repeating the crap and deal in reality......
     
  25. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    I like the Mauser K98 plenty. However, I love the Enfield (especially the No4 Mk1).

    The 7.92x57JS was a superior cartridge to the 7.7x56R in term of ballistics. The K98 was superior to the Enfield in terms of action strength. However, the Enfield used detachable box 10 round magazines (as well as being compatible with stripper clips). For whatever reason, I find the Enfield far more desirable.

    I have 2 Mausers and 3 Enfields. Both have their merits, but if I could only keep one, make mine an Enfield. Likewise, my first purchase between the two would be the Enfield.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
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