Small Ring Mauser Action build.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Thisisyourcaptin, Jun 4, 2022.

  1. Thisisyourcaptin

    Thisisyourcaptin Member

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    I was gifted a 96 mauser action. Just the action. No trigger or bottom metal or extractor.

    I’m looking to build a sporter hunting gun for hogs, deer, elk if I can. I have a larger ring mauser and a rem 700 both in 35 Whelen. So I’m covered there.

    What caliber would you build yours in if you could? My big requirement is that no hand loading. Needs to be off the shelf. I don’t have time to hand load.

    my understanding was that the small rings need to be built carefully that they can not handle the power house loads like 30-06 or such. Not sure if that’s true or what.
     
  2. MosinT53Hunter

    MosinT53Hunter Member

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    You could go with 7.62x39.

    I had an 96 Spanish Mauser small ring converted over to that. My...um...clone, I guess of a FR7.62x39.
    I don't know, I just like it.
     
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  3. Thisisyourcaptin

    Thisisyourcaptin Member

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    inhave never messed with 7.62-39. Is there good ammo for it? What is it good for as far as hunting?
     
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  4. MosinT53Hunter

    MosinT53Hunter Member

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    Quite a wide variety of different bullets. I know of other guys taking their SKS's hog hunting, and Ruger has made a bolt action in this caliber. Mine, I've only taken it to the range.
    Just be cautious of surplus ammo. Some are corrosive, so just word of the wise.
     
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  5. stillquietvoice
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    stillquietvoice Contributing Member

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    Might try 7mm mauser, or 6.5 sweede, 257 Robert's all low pressure cartridges. They are a little more expensive to buy ammunition for as well as a little harder to find but those are available in several factory loadings and vintage calibers for a vintage action.
     
  6. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    If possible, .45 acp would be my choice. Not much needed on the end of the action. Barrel may be a hard one. I would try to make the rest. Otherwise, 7-08 would be my choice.
     
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  7. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    My caliber of choice for small rings is .257 Roberts. If you don’t hand load, I’d do 6.5x55, because the only commercial .257 loads I can find are +p and I don’t want to use +p .257 loads in some of my small ring guns. 6.5x55 lower pressure loads are pretty easy to find.

    What was it originally chambered in? Some of the feed rails are a little different than others.
     
  8. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Main if not only user of the 1896 was Sweden, 6.5x55.
    Building out a rifle on that action will be a major and expensive project.
     
  10. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    I'd stick with the 6.5x55 case, others that are thinner my not feed or hold on the magazine.
     
  11. Alaskan Ironworker

    Alaskan Ironworker Member

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    Yes 6.5x55 is the obvious choice. Great cartridge and your action was literally designed for it specifically. Not hard to find ammo either at least where i’m from.
     
  12. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    The above mentioned .257, 6.5 and 7 would be the easiest to procure ammo for and require no bolt face or magazine work. .300 Savage would also be a very cool and interesting loading. Factory ammo is limited, but available. This round really out punches it's weight class.

    Of all those, I think the 7x57 is the most practical and Elk capable. The .300 Sav will take elk, but it's a bit handicapped with the 180 grain bullets you'd want to use.
     
  13. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    .308. And if the action "won't take it" then forget the project.
     
  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Price the cost of a custom gun before you get too deep into this. It is easy to spend more than $1500 and end up with a rifle with a resale value less than $500.00

    I get to meet interesting people at Regionals, and between relays got to talk to an individual who works for a failure analysis firm, specifically one that is contracted to investigate product liability cases. Since we were all active in the match, had a limited amount of time to pump the individual for information.

    He had been contracted to investigate an incident involving a German made, Turkish owned, GEW 1888. The rifle was a rare one, because it had the original 0.318" barrel. When the Germans changed the bullet diameter of their 8 mm round to 0.323, they went through their inventory and aggressively removed the barrels from the old 0.318" barrels, and put on new barrels. The buyer of the GEW 1888 of course had no idea of any of this, and did not slug the barrel (who would?) fired 8mm Mauser ammunition, which had the 0.323 bullet, and the lugs sheared. The bolt went through the shooter's jaw, and through his shoulder. The shooter was of course suing, because the rifle had been sold as being chambered in 8mm Mauser.

    The point of this is, those small ring Mausers, and many older Mausers, will blow out their bolts as they don't have safety lugs. That, plus the uncertainty of the metallurgy of the things, means, you are better off buying a new rifle, chambered in the cartridge of your choice, for around $400. New rifles will have better gas protection, will be several times stronger, just due to improved materials. And of course, cost less.

    If you really have to have that small ring rebarreled, have the action re heat treated, that will be about $300 and die penetrate tested for cracks. Do the cracks first. Re heat treatment should re case hard the surface and hopefully do something on latent cracks inside the action. It won't remove the residual elements that make the steel weaker than modern plan carbon steels. That crap stays in there. Incidentally, the cheapest Chinese nuts and bolts you buy in the hardware store, are made of cleaner steels than those historic actions.
     
  15. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    7x57 would be my first choice, especially if you can find a bargain barrel. .308 WIN/7.62 NATO also works well, since many Latin American small rings were rechambered for this -- that cartridge runs a bit higher pressure, so suitability depends on maker and condition.

    The .45 ACP conversion would be my own choice:
    https://www.troupsystems.com/product/mauser-45-acp-small-ring-military-kit-with-qpq/

    As Slamfire warns, this kind of project can become a money pit in a hurry so unless you have deep pockets I recommend sourcing components in advance and doing as much work yourself as you can. I don't know if they're still doing Mauser re-heat treatment, but I last had an action processed by Blanchards in the 1990s:
    https://www.bmproc.com/heat-treating
     
  16. Mauser fan

    Mauser fan Member

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    Nothing wrong with 7x57. I completely agree with what Dave and Slamfire have said. Post a picture of the action so we can see what kind condition its in pitting below the wood line, rust cracks, condition of the threads etc...
     
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  17. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    7.62x51 and .308 Winchester are both higher pressure than original chamberings and the wrong length to work with many feed rails. If there are any cartridges listed on this thread that I’d expressly avoid, it would be those.
     
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  18. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    Husqvarna made many 3006 rifles from 96 Swede actions.
     
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  19. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Ford, Chevrolet, and Chrysler made a lot of cars without safety belts, or front brakes! They don't any more, safety standards are different today. Is Husky still making rifles on old military actions?

    by the time I get these pictures, the story has been separated from the event. However, a small ring Mauser, the gas vent hole is consistent with a Swedish small ring.

    njji9Yz.jpg

    u5bBeGs.jpg

    LNtB9Ma.jpg

    fbO4Jm2.jpg

    What we can tell is, new barrel, altered bolt handle, drilled and tapped for rings, new stock, glass bedded. Someone put a lot of money into this rifle.

    Now understand, the Swedes built their rifles for a 43,000 psia cartridge. That was the service pressure. A higher pressure cartridge could, and probably did, set the receiver seats back. That blown ring, with the case still in the chamber, I am going to claim that is very good evidence of a blown case head. I wonder if the turned down bolt handle, with the stock inlet, is why the bolt stayed in the receiver. Or whether it was just luck.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2022
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  20. BobABQ

    BobABQ Member

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    I admit that I do not really have any experience building a rifle but I would sure be leery about trying to build one off of a stripped vintage receiver. You don't know the history of that receiver; it may be cracked or otherwise damaged and not know it. I suggest taking a look at your budget and either buy something higher end or look into a custom rifle built on a new modern receiver.
     
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  21. gunmechanic

    gunmechanic Member

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    Some one got hurt or scared wen that went off !
     
  22. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The OP says he does not have time to handload a less common mild period cartridge, so where is he to find the time to scrounge and assemble parts?
    Or does he plan to turn it over to a gunsmith for $$/hr?
     
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  23. Mauser fan

    Mauser fan Member

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    Slamfire that rifle tells one heck of a story just by the pictures and like you have pointed out there is some information missing. I'm very curious to know what it was chambered for after it was sporterized. I have run into some swedes for sale at gun shows where the owner selling them have no idea what the chambering is or they have unwittingly mis-identified the rifle as a swede when in-fact they have an 1893 or 1895 chilean, spaniard or turk for example. Most of the time a seller is grateful when someone tells them what they really have.

    Another very important fact that you have brought up is pressure. When I first started hand loading I became keenly aware of the differences in the published load data using the different units of measurement. PSI and CUP are what I've found to be the most commonly used. That being said this is the single most important fact that smiths whether professional or hobbyist like myself need to take into serious consideration when choosing a chambering. I'll freely admit it took me some deep research to become educated enough to know and understand the difference between the two units of measurement. Now that I do understand the differences I can keep myself out of dangerous territory.

    People need to understand this when building these old war horses. They will not in most cases handle modern commercial loads and pressures. With all of that said if they are in good shape they are very safe to build sporters on just understand the limitations of the action of your choosing and more importantly your limitations when creating your build.

    Here are some examples of what is not safe to use. IMG_0432.jpg IMG_0433.jpg IMG_0434.jpg

    The one that is cracked was cracked as a result of someone cross threading the barrel into the receiver. The other is severely pitted and someone started de milling it.
     

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  24. Mauser fan

    Mauser fan Member

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    I had a friend of mine ask me why I don't pitch them out? The biggest reason is for education and they are mine. I told him.
     
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  25. Thisisyourcaptin

    Thisisyourcaptin Member

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    nope. Hardly have time to shoot too. Have a kid now and that’s more fun. I get about two-three hours a week for working on gun projects. My last mauser build took two years. Was a small ring KAR in 8mm. But it came as a barrel and action already matted. This small ring build would prob take me another 2 years. Not worried about costs as I never sell my own builds. I like them to much to let go of.

    I am almost thinking of something smaller in pressure.
    Maybe 300 blk out subsonics. It’s right around the 6.5 sweed and east to find. But not intrested in more power anymore. I do have a large ring in 35 Whelen. That’s enough thump for me.


    deff not 308. It’s neat and all. But I have a 30-06. They are close enough thump that I’d never take advantage of one over the other. 45 ACP is nice……….and I’m building already with a large ring. Stated before I new I was getting this one.

    I’ll do that. Worst comes to worst I use it for practicing on and make a very nice paper weight out of.
     
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