Big Bore cartridges built on the standard length Mauser 98 action

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Bos Javanicus, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. Bos Javanicus

    Bos Javanicus AH Senior Member

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    I have always had a bit of a thing about Big Bores (above .400) built on standard length 98 actions. Mainly because it can be done and it is also a damn site cheaper using an FN 98 action than it is finding, then buying a magnum length action.
    I think the most popular Big Bore cartridge ever built on a standard length action was the .404 Jeffery followed very closely by the .416 Rigby, both of these being fantastic calibers. Other calibers on the 98 standard length action were the .500 Jeffery, .458 in Mag, .425 Westley Richards the 11.2x72 Schuler would of been a good candidate too. My favorite the .416 Taylor, which is a potent little round and one I might build for myself after I finish the other multitude of rifles in line before it.
    What other plus .400 calibers were popular choices for the standard length Mauser 98 action that you know of? Also to try and kick a discussion along, what advantages were there in using these actions? I can think of a couple.
     

  2. Wyatt Smith

    Wyatt Smith AH Veteran

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    I’m not sure but I think the 416 Rigby requires a magnum Mauser action, due to the long C.O.L. And large diameter. I believe that @Shawn.54 is building a 404 on a military Mauser though.
     

  3. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    I built a 416 Taylor last year on a military mauser action.

    For me the advantage(s) were.. Modifications to the bolt and the action were very limited.. and very simple.. a non-gunsmith can DIY the action mod.. all it takes is opening up the rails just a tiny bit.. after that, all I had to do was open up the bolt face (had a gunsmith do that for me) a bit, and I was in business.. 416 T feeds perfectly from the standard magazine, with no modifications needed to the fed ramp, no need to open up the front and the back of the action itself like you have to do with longer cartridges like 404 Jeff, etc..

    By going with the 416 T, my "big bore" build really was no different than the other M98 builds I have done in the past (270, 35 Whelen, 30-06, etc).. the process was familiar to me.. and after market components like triggers, stocks, safeties, etc.. are all readily available.. The same tools I needed for my mid bore mausers (action wrench, action jig, etc..) work.. so no investment needed there either..
     

  4. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    The reason why August Schuler made his Model 34 rifle ( chambered in 11.2 × 72 Schuler ) on a standard Mauser 98 action was purely cost related. The Magnum Mauser action was much more expensive . The standard Mauser 98 action was very cheap , as it could be salvaged from ex army issue rifles or army surplus rifles. What August Schuler did was simply create a brass plate to make a Magazine extension to allow the rifle to hold 3 rounds of 11.2 × 72 . This however had a serious drawback . The factory Ammunition for the 11.2 × 72 Schuler ALL had extremely deep seated bullets in order to make the COL ( cartridge over all length ) short enough to fit the standard Mauser 98 action . This caused a compromise in Case Capacity. The lack of case capacity ( capable of holding only 85 grains of German flake powder ) , along with the German Cupro Nickel thinly jacketted round nose solids , caused penetration issues on thick skinned game . Alll this combined with the outbreak of world war ii in 1939 spelt the end for the 11.2 × 72 Schuler.
    Regarding the .425 Westley Richards , it should be borne in mind that , at the time the cartridge was created , only John Rigby and Co. Had rights to the Magnum Mauser action ( being Mauser's agents ) . So what the other English makers did was use Salvaged Standard Mauser 98 actions to save costs. This was an economic issue.
    Harry Selby Used to own a .416 Rigby which was build on a standard Mauser 98 action . If l were to Speculate , it would probably be a post war piece . Again , done to save costs.
    The .458 Winchester Magnum was America's Answer to the .450 Nitro Express. They wanted to make an Affordable bolt action alternative to a .450 Nitro Express Double rifle. The standard action was , in all probability , a reason borne out of necessity to keep the costs low. And today, the .458 WINCHESTER MAGNUM suffers because of it ( case capacity issues preventing the use of 500 grain Monolithic meplat brass Solids in the gun ) .
    It is my belief that the use of standard actions for .400 and .500 calibers is purely economic.
    Now , the exact opposite can also be a very dangerous problem. Take the Factory BRNO ZKK - 602 in .458 WINCHESTER MAGNUM as an example. I LOVE the BRNO ZKK - 602. But the .458 Winchester Magnum was simply too short to use in the spacious ZKK-602 action. This would end up causing feeding issues invariably. The guns recoil would cause soft nose bullets to slide around and hit the gun's internal parts , causing the bullets to deform and cause feeding problems. With Meplat solids ( be it full metal jacket or Monolithic ) , feeding problems also existed . Even with full metal jacket round nosed solids , there were feeding problems due to the .458 Winchester Magnum rounds sliding around in the huge BRNO ZKK - 602 action. This was because of the crimp on the bullets getting damaged when the cartridges would slide around in the Magazine due to recoil.
    A very experienced gentleman on these forums , named " Pondoro " who is an elephant hunter faced a life threatening problem when using a BRNO ZKK - 602 in .458 Winchester Magnum. Due to the .458 Winchester Magnum cartridges sliding around in the receiver of the BRNO ZKK - 602 , recoil from one of his shots at an elephant , actually caused one of the .458 Winchester Magnum 500 grain solid rounds in his magazine to go off ! This ended up destroying a huge part of his gun , but what's more scary is that he could have gotten hurt or lost his life. Luckily , he got away unscathed.
    PS : There is one other cartridge with a rebated rim :) . The .423 Mauser or 10.75 × 68 mm , firing a 347 grain bullet . It was also designed to fit a standard Mauser 98 action , and so suffers from case capacity issues . Also the original German solid bullets for it , had very thin cupro nickel jackets which made them poor performers on big game .
     

  5. Shawn.54

    Shawn.54 AH Fanatic

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    My action was not a military action but did have a military bolt shroud and safety. My bottom metal is also military I got all my parts for it from a buddy who’s dad and grandfather both worked on Mausers. It’s a frankengun.
    Shawn
     

  6. Wyatt Smith

    Wyatt Smith AH Veteran

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    I was close but it’s still a standard length action right
     
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  7. Shawn.54

    Shawn.54 AH Fanatic

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    Yes standard length 98. $40 at his clean out the shop sale also go a small ring Mexican 98 with hinged floor plate it’s a FN for $40.
    Wish I had picked up a couple more of those.
    Shawn
     

  8. Jeffrey

    Jeffrey AH Veteran

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    416 Ruger is a good choice. So is 458 WinMag and 416 Taylor.

    If you're up for a little surgery, 404Jeff is a classic and practical choice as well.
     

  9. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Elite

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    hoss,
    I am still sceptical about that 458 round that went off in the brno 602 mag.
    there must have been something more than just the rounds being too short for the mag.
    something must have protruded from the back of the mag to indent the primer enough to discharge it.
    or the primer might not have been seated deep enough for some reason to be fully protected by the primer pocket.
    there is more to that storey than meets the eye.
    bruce.
     
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  10. Northwest9

    Northwest9 AH Senior Member

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    thats what i built on an old military mauser action

    TSE barrel, Hogue full alloy bedding block stock, all done and dusted for less than 1400 AUD.

    lot of fun on rabbits
     

  11. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Elite

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    how do you find the tse barrel?
    bruce.
     

  12. Northwest9

    Northwest9 AH Senior Member

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    shoots the 340gn Woodleigh PPSN really well. just under an inch @ 100m centre to centre of holes. 86gn of adi 2209 with Federal Magnum Primer

    400gn woodleigh RNSN slightly larger group, but that could be because its a bit of a handful off the bench
     
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  13. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I use their barrel for 404 and 7x57 and was very pleased with them both.
     
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  14. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    Still scary stuff , Bruce ! The guy could have ended up with a lot worse than a broken gun :( . But your analysis of the problem is rational. Perhaps if you could examine the gun ?
     

  15. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Elite

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    yes hoss that needs nailing down.
    I would not shoot 458s in a long mag like that just in case for obvious reasons, but I would be looking elsewhere too.
    bruce.
     
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  16. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Elite

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    northwest & von gruff,
    thanks for the feedback.
    good to know local products are useful.
    I have a hand lapped 13" twist one in 0.408" groove diameter ready for a long range black powder rifle.
    bruce.
     
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  17. HWL

    HWL AH Fanatic

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    The rim is not rebated, the case is a clean rimless design.

    And the case capacity issues and the old bullets are all gone.

    With todays bullets and powders, the 10,75x68 comes close to the the performance level of the old .404 Rimless load......

    For example...

    DSC01355.JPG
    :whistle:

    HWL
     
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  18. Pondoro

    Pondoro AH Fanatic

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    Bruce, you are correct, it was a imperfection at the top of the magazine...tiny piece of steel protuding that set off the primer..
     
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  19. HWL

    HWL AH Fanatic

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    ...but it did not happened, because anything was wrong with th Brno???

    HWL
     
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  20. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    Thank you for correcting me :) The Ammunition box on the picture... Is it still being manufactured ?
     

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