Just-finished Mauser Project

browningbbr

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It's been about 2 years since I've had any time to spend on AH. Since then, I have hunted in Tanzania, retired, got my latest trophies mounted, built a new trophy room and re-started building rifles.

Now that I have some time to spend reading and contributing to AH, I thought that I would start with my most recent project - "Sporterizing" an early 1900's Mauser 98. (I hope that I attached the pictures correctly!)

Here's the details:

STOCK
- English walnut
- Rosewood forearm tip and grip cap with maple spacers
- Concealed crossbolt behind the recoil lug
- 5 inch long, 5/16ths inch diameter drill stock rod epoxy-set in wrist
- 6 inch long, 5/16th inch diameter drill stock rod epoxy-set in forearm
- Pillar-bedded front and rear action screws
- Full length epoxy bedding of action
- Full length epoxy bedding of barrel
- 14 coats of hand-rubbed Waterlox tung oil
- Checkering by Sherry Abraham at Custom Checkering

ACTION / BOLT / TRIGGER
- 90 degree bolt handle
- Complete "blueprinting" of action:
* Receiver face squared to long axis of bolt
* Bolt face re-cut parallel to receiver face
* Bolt lugs lapped to 90 percent contact surface
* Head spaced to "tight" end of range
- Model 70 style 3-position safety
- Tubb "speedlock" firing pin and firing pin spring
- Timney sportsman 2-4 lb adjustable trigger

BARREL / SCOPE / BASES & RINGS
- E.R. Shaw barrel
- Chambered / head spaced to 8x57mm Mauser
- Talley bases and medium height rings
- Rings hand-lapped to 80 percent bearing area
- 3.5-10x40 Leupold VX-III rifle scope

SLING
- Custom sling by Debbie Johns (Custom Leathersmith)
* Blesbok hide insert (from 2009 safari in RSA)

BLUING / POLISHING
- All bluing and polishing by Jerry & Co at East Coast Bluing
* Includes barrel, action, bolt handle, bottom metal, rings & bases

How long did it take? Let's just say I don't watch a lot of television.

I'm leaving very soon for a week in the Boundary Waters Canoe area with my wife, kids and kids' spouses. When I get back, I'll dig out the pictures and post a trip report from my 2013 hunt as well as pictures of new trophy room.

- browningbbr

PS: It's good to be back.

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James.Grage

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Very nice work on your rifle...

How does it shoot?
 

gillettehunter

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Beautifully done. Work of art. I hate to have rifles that nice- I don't want to hunt with them and take a chance on scratching them. I have one from Dakota arms with a great walnut stock. Only times I've used it is in Africa. Still a great rifle. Yours should be fun to shoot and very effective on game. Nice Job. Bruce
 

browningbbr

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Still in break-in mode (shoot 1 round -clean-shoot 1 round -clean) for 9 more shots, then I go to shoot 3 rounds - clean, etc.

So far, grouping is about 1.5 inches at 100 yards. After break-in, I'll test different bullets, powders, spacing off the lands, etc. I think I'll be able to "tune it in" just fine.
 

browningbbr

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Thanks. I build them to use, so scratches just come with the territory. I starting doing hand-rubbed oil a long time ago - it's the only finish that you can repair.
 

Rob404

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Nice choice of wood and I'm Envious
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Beautiful!
 

sestoppelman

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I only wonder why on such a lot of nice, costly work done did you go with a Shaw bbl? Quality on their bbls. is hit or miss. It may shoot better as you go or it may never. I had a Shaw bbl once and it shot an honest 1.5 MOA but no better. I have a friend who had an 8mm Shaw bbl that shot about the same. He wore that one out and just had it rebbl'd by Shaw again and so far its shooting way better than the first one. It would not have cost much more to go with a Shilen or Douglas. Nice work though.
 

Von Gruff

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That is a gorgeous stick of wood you have used even if the style is different to what I might choose for myself.
 

browningbbr

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Sestoppleman - Good point on the barrel. Shaw is not known to be great, but one of my shooting buddies has had good results with Shaw on 2 rifles. I wanted to give Shaw a try. It's a long story....

I've used Shilen (match select) on most of the other rifles that I've done. Recently, I've tried other barrels just to see what the results would be. The Mauser I did in 6mm Remington got a Douglas XX stainless in number 7 contour. (I'll post a pic when I get time.) The .375 H&H built on a Montana Rifle Co. action got a McGowan hand-lapped barrel.

I've shot a lot of bullet / powder / seating depth combinations through the 375 and the grouping is just "OK". Averaging about 1.5 inches with the load it likes best. (270 gn Barnes TSX pushed by RL15.) The 6mm is still an unknown. I've only run 5 bullets through it for break in. Many more to fire before working up a load.

Results with the Shilen barrels have been very good when I found the right combination of components, but each one shows a very wide range of groups based on the bullet, powder, seating depth, shoulder bump back at sizing and powder quantity. The .300 Win Mag, 7mm Rem Mag and 7x57 Mauser barrels all group sub MOA with their "favorite" load. I'm a little unhappy with the fact that they (seem) to be limited to one premium bullet / bullet weight. (So far, for hunting bullets, I've pretty much limited myself to Barnes TSX, Nosler Partition or Swift A-Frames.)

With the new trophy room, I built a new bench in the utility room that adjoins it. Later this year, I'll have time to work on loads and rifle tuning. I also have a 1909 Argentine Mauser in the vault - still thinking about what caliber to barrel it in.

PS: The work was not too costly. Other than the bluing and checkering, I did the rest myself. Doing the work is easily as much fun as having the rifle.
 

AZDAVE

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NICE WORK! Wondering why you full length glass bedded the barrel vs free floating the barrel?

(I have a 1909 in the safe that is most likely going to turn into a 470 Capstick) I look forward to seeing your new projects
 

enysse

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Good to have you back, can't wait for the hunt report(y)(y)(y)(y), and beautiful rifle of coarse.
 

sestoppelman

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Well I hope its a good shooter for you, it might just be. I have only had one Shilen and its super good, but it is a .308 hvy, so it really should be. Had a few Douglas and all are excellent. I wouldn't personally go Shaw again but that's not to say they don't put a good barrel out, at least some times. Good luck!
 

enysse

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Not a bad caliber either, I was looking at the pad on the gun and said to myself I sure hope it's not a pounder on the shoulder.
 

browningbbr

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AZDAVE: I've had good luck and bad luck with full-length bedding. Ditto for free floating. My rationale was simple - it's easy to free float by sanding back the bedding material if full length bedding does not work. (Learned a neat trick for this several years ago.) Conversely, it's a major pain in the butt to bed a barrel without getting bedding material on the fully finished stock. I elected (again) to start with a full-length bedding job.

enysse: I'm shooting 170gn soft points. So far, it has not been a recoil problem. On the other hand, I still shoot my .300 Win Mag, .375 H&H and .416 Rigby just for fun. So by comparison, the 8x57 seems pretty light.

sestoppelman: Thanks for the wishes of good luck.

sorry about the late responses - just got back from 6 days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with my wife, 3 kids and kids' spouses/significant others. If you have not been there recently, it's still beautiful and unspoiled....
 

browningbbr

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Update: I finally got time this week to finish the barrel break in and to test some loads this week. With neck sized cases and 170gn Speer soft points seated 0.020" off the lands, the rifle grouped <1" at 100 yards. I'm pretty happy with that. I've got some Barnes TSX that I'll try next, but with groups like this, success is pretty much assured.

Before you say it: Yes, it was way too long getting back to this project!
 

CAustin

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But you got back to it! Glad it shoots so well.
 

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Just came across this thread on your build, nice job and good looking rifle. I have long been a fan of the 8X57 and IMHO the 160gr TTSX is one of the best bullets for this caliber. My youngest son has taken all manner of plains game with this combo including kudu, zebra and wilderbeest.
 

browningbbr

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dchamp - glad to hear that. I'm planning to use it for white tails on my property. For some time, I've wanted to use a caliber with less "oomph" than my .300WM - too much meat damage regardless of bullet placement.
 

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