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Shooting & Reloading - Mausers, Big Bores and others >> Mauser Discussion Forum

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Tentman
.300 member


Reged: 13/06/10
Posts: 126
Loc: Southland, New Zealand
Butter smooth Mauser actions
      #312572 - 18/02/18 11:37 AM

Hello Folks

Every once in a while one will pick up a Mauser and working the bolt is a revelation, it is butter smooth throughout its whole cycle (when compared with other Mauser rifles).

Easily the best one I've ever handled was a Husky built on the usual FN action, it just flowed from uncocked to bolt open to closed and cocked again, and like a mug I never bought it. It was literally as nice to cycle as the best Mannlicher I've tried. None of the top custom rifles I've had the pleasure of handling over the years were in the same league. I have four Oberndorf original sporting rifles and none of them are what I'd call butter smooth either (and don't go to talking about the inherent "bolt slop" that the 98 design has, this is entirely different to that).

I just read an article on finishing (materials/hardening etc) the blocks of falling block rifles over on the ASSRA forum and the thinking that goes into making a block that is strong and smooth - its to do with finish and hardening.

It got me thinking about the Mausers I hunt with and why they vary - but most importantly how to improve them. I have read that the timing of the cocking cycle Mauser action is critical, and the relative hardness of the receiver and bolt parts.

Does anybody know of a treatise or shop manual (or anything authoritative really) etc on the fine tuning of the Mauser action?? I have several of the common Mauser books but none of them really discuss this sort of work.

--------------------
Southland, New Zealand


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FlatTop45
.275 member


Reged: 31/05/16
Posts: 63
Loc: South Texas, U.S.A.
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: Tentman]
      #312592 - 18/02/18 08:47 PM

Sometimes, the planets align and everything goes just right and an almost perfect rifle comes off the regular production line. That is the legend of the Winchester "One of a Thousand" rifles. (Anyone out there ever seen "Winchester '73" with Jimmy Stewart?) If you unaware of them, the Winchester "One of a Thousand" and lesser known "One of One Hundred" rifles were fancy to super-fancy factory customs based on the Model 1873 and 1876 lever actions. The story goes that the company discovered that about one out of every thousand barrels or so from normal production was much more accurate than the rest. It was these supposedly super-accurate barrels that became the basis for those custom rifles. I've never handled one, but from the photos I've seen, these rifles were tastefully engraved with extra-fancy and beautifully checkered stocks. In fact, you could even order them with set triggers if you wanted to! In 1875, a standard Model 1873 sold for $27 and a "One of a Thousand" sold for $100! (Why is it there's never a time machine around when you need one?!!)

When I'm in the market for a new (or at least new to me) gun, I almost never buy the first one I see that fits the bill (as in maker, caliber, configuration, etc.). I always try to find just the right one that really speaks to me. Maybe I'm indecisive, or maybe I'm just a picky bastard at heart, but with all this fondling of various firearms over the years, I have noticed that sometimes, right out of the box, one just feels better and fits better than any of the others. And it doesn't matter that it's one of several dozen, brand-new, exactly-configured examples of a particular model, one just seems to really stand out. So when I've finally found that one (if I'm lucky enough to find it), that's the one I buy. (By the way, I've found the same thing applies to clothes and shoes too!)

So, maybe, just maybe, there is something to the idea of the "planets aligning" on a particular day to produce that one special rifle, pistol or shotgun....

I for one sure hope so!


J


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Dogfish858
.300 member


Reged: 08/08/15
Posts: 118
Loc: Western Canada
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: FlatTop45]
      #312944 - 24/02/18 02:43 AM

A question dear to my heart.

The three best actions I've handled were a Brazilian 08, a Greek Steyr, and a Zella-Mehlis 98.

The Brazilian felt like it was carved from axle grease. Now I have also handled 08s that felt like a usual Turkish k-mart special.

I suspect that it has to do with a very precisely skilled cycle of hardening, alloy, and polish relative to tolerance. Ie there would be the precise carbon (or other lubricating metals) level of the alloy, a precise hardening time and temp (depth of carburation), then a precise quality of polishing (ie dry vs oiled stoning; dry stoning gives higher polish at the same grit). Then polishing at a grit chosen that is enough to be slick but not so slick that it binds. All revolving around specific tolerances.

So for instance measuring the race with pin gauges instead of inside micrometers, using a specific hardening temp and time according to a known alloy. Incidentally it seems like the one constant among best actions is Sveedish steel and milled construction.

My speculations anyway.

--------------------
But what about you? he asked. Who do you say I am?


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Dogfish858
.300 member


Reged: 08/08/15
Posts: 118
Loc: Western Canada
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: Dogfish858]
      #312945 - 24/02/18 02:47 AM

...I also would guess that there's a precise correlation between bolt and race hardness.

--------------------
But what about you? he asked. Who do you say I am?


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redoak
.224 member


Reged: 07/02/13
Posts: 28
Loc: Michigan
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions *DELETED* [Re: Dogfish858]
      #312946 - 24/02/18 02:53 AM

Post deleted by redoak

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FlatTop45
.275 member


Reged: 31/05/16
Posts: 63
Loc: South Texas, U.S.A.
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: redoak]
      #312960 - 24/02/18 05:26 AM

Funny you should mention the Brazilian '08 Dogfish. When speaking pf custom Mauser conversions, the Argentine '09 is the one I see most often mentioned as being the best for customization, but you hardly see anything about the Brazilian 1908 Mauser. Back in college, one of my best friends wanted to build a custom "Sendero Rifle" for deer hunting in South Texas and asked for my help choosing components, etc. In South Texas, we use the word "sendero" to refer to long, cleared lanes that are cut through the thick brush. They are typically laid out in a spoke pattern with a hunting tower blind at it's axis. Since Whitetail deer are creatures of the edges, they tend to travel along these corridors. Most deer that is, but the big old bucks will either cross quickly or will hang out in the brush bordering the sendero. Because of this, you need to pick your shot carefully and those shots tend to be long. So, the "Sendero Rifle" was born. It is a long-barreled, super-accurate rifle with a high powered scope chambered in a flat-shooting caliber. The barrels are usually of the heavy, varmint contour, 26 to 28 inches long and they look like a cross between a varmint rifle and a sniper rifle. Anyway, we lucked into a Brazilian '08 that had been somewhat sporterized and used it as the foundation to build his dream rifle. It turned out beautiful and was a "one-hole" rifle from the start. To this day it is his go to gun and he has used it exclusively for whitetails, feral hog, mule deer, elk, coyotes and God knows what else over the past 25 plus years. Even now, that action is still one of the slickest I have ever handled. It's strange that you don't hear about the '08s being used for custom rifles very often.



J

Edited by FlatTop45 (24/02/18 06:29 PM)


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Dogfish858
.300 member


Reged: 08/08/15
Posts: 118
Loc: Western Canada
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: FlatTop45]
      #313030 - 25/02/18 02:54 AM

I was thinking about it and realized I've gotten the same finish in tooling from a light oil fine lapping compound. I suspect it could be accomplished by sizing a bolt to the race then lapping it in with a lead lap set on a rod.

My above post could be an example of being very obvious but there's this concept of smithing that guns come together by magic. So if I was going to make a buttered Mauser, I'd first start with a well hardened receiver made from Swedish steel then would cycle through my box of bolts until I found a very close fit. Then I'd make a lap of either lead or jb weld on a mandrel, using rouge or rottenstone mixed with a light oil, then feed the lap in and out at a high rpm. I'd finish with a light 3m pad. Too shiny in the bore and it wouldn't hold oil.

In the end it's not a rifle, it's a tube of heat-treated lower carbon higher chrome steel with broached channels. That's how I'd make it slick, myself. The best bet would be to start with an under sized bore and lap it to size.

--------------------
But what about you? he asked. Who do you say I am?

Edited by Dogfish858 (25/02/18 03:01 AM)


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CarlsenHighway
.300 member


Reged: 19/03/09
Posts: 129
Loc: Port Chalmers, New Zealand
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: FlatTop45]
      #315785 - 28/04/18 11:33 PM

Quote:

Sometimes, the planets align and everything goes just right and an almost perfect rifle comes off the regular production line. That is the legend of the Winchester "One of a Thousand" rifles. (Anyone out there ever seen "Winchester '73" with Jimmy Stewart?) If you unaware of them, the Winchester "One of a Thousand" and lesser known "One of One Hundred" rifles were fancy to super-fancy factory customs based on the Model 1873 and 1876 lever actions. The story goes that the company discovered that about one out of every thousand barrels or so from normal production was much more accurate than the rest. It was these supposedly super-accurate barrels that became the basis for those custom rifles. I've never handled one, but from the photos I've seen, these rifles were tastefully engraved with extra-fancy and beautifully checkered stocks. In fact, you could even order them with set triggers if you wanted to! In 1875, a standard Model 1873 sold for $27 and a "One of a Thousand" sold for $100! (Why is it there's never a time machine around when you need one?!!)

When I'm in the market for a new (or at least new to me) gun, I almost never buy the first one I see that fits the bill (as in maker, caliber, configuration, etc.). I always try to find just the right one that really speaks to me. Maybe I'm indecisive, or maybe I'm just a picky bastard at heart, but with all this fondling of various firearms over the years, I have noticed that sometimes, right out of the box, one just feels better and fits better than any of the others. And it doesn't matter that it's one of several dozen, brand-new, exactly-configured examples of a particular model, one just seems to really stand out. So when I've finally found that one (if I'm lucky enough to find it), that's the one I buy. (By the way, I've found the same thing applies to clothes and shoes too!)

So, maybe, just maybe, there is something to the idea of the "planets aligning" on a particular day to produce that one special rifle, pistol or shotgun....

I for one sure hope so!


J




The Winchester 1 of 1000 deluxe rifles were an interesting marketing ploy, but the actual rifles, from what I have read, often did not live up to their reputation, and customers at the time complained about it, considering their cost.
The general complaint was that the rifles did not seem to be any different from standard rifles, other than being engraved and having checkered and nicely figured stockwood, and all too often they did not shoot very well, which belied the whole claim of them being handpicked specially for their performance.
The company quietly dropped the concept to stop the complaints in the sporting journals of the time, so it sort of back fired on them.

It is the movie with Jimmy Stewart that has kept that failed 19th century marketing tactic in the shooting worlds consciousness.

Anyway, just by the way.

--------------------
If you carry a cat home by the tail you will receive information valuable to you for the rest of your life.
Mark Twain


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szihn
.400 member


Reged: 24/06/07
Posts: 1509
Loc: Wind River Valley, Wyoming
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: CarlsenHighway]
      #315789 - 29/04/18 12:14 AM

It's mostly (if not all) a matter of hardness of the ways in the receiver and the internal surface polish.

I say so because I have hand polished and then case-hardened a few late war 98s that were rough and had some degree of binding to them, and when I was done they are as glassy and slick as any high grade Mauser sporter I ever felt, including those that come from some of the more prestigious English gun-houses.

The ones that are "slick" are those that were well polished insider the receivers and then carburized.

Edited by szihn (29/04/18 12:14 AM)


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Daryl_S
.577 member


Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 18180
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: szihn]
      #315793 - 29/04/18 12:33 AM

The primary extraction cam surface is one area that will sometimes show softness in Mauser actions & cause draggy/hard bolt lift.

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


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MagnumHunter
.275 member


Reged: 06/07/04
Posts: 53
Loc: North Carolina, USA
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: Daryl_S]
      #318496 - 28/07/18 09:32 AM

Although not a Mauser per se....I have a Winchester Model 70 Safari Classic in .375 that is one of those "special" rifles. The bolt feels, and oddly enough, sounds, like it is moving on ball bearings. Incredibly smooth and slick. Next to it in the gun room is a Safari Express in .458 that in theory, should be exactly like the .375 but is not. Its pretty smooth, but not near the same. Very odd.
Mausers do of course benefit from polishing the action and you can feel the difference once you do one.


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Carpetsahib
.333 member


Reged: 29/04/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Western NC
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: Dogfish858]
      #318502 - 28/07/18 10:53 AM

Quote:


In the end it's not a rifle, it's a tube of heat-treated lower carbon higher chrome steel with broached channels. That's how I'd make it slick, myself. The best bet would be to start with an under sized bore and lap it to size.


My shooting pardner has a FN Model 1951 Luxembourg rifle that had an undersized bore. It measured around .298", with a .306" groove diameter. We decided to lap it out, or die trying. We cast lap after lap and sent them through the bore several thousand times. We ended up it a .300 bore and a .308 groove. The rifle shot superlatively afterwards.

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cordite
.333 member


Reged: 29/01/07
Posts: 315
Loc: NW Montana
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: Carpetsahib]
      #318528 - 29/07/18 03:21 AM

I have an old 98 husky that is as smooth as any of my mannlichers. Don't know if it was always like that or got that way through many many years of use.

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CarlsenHighway
.300 member


Reged: 19/03/09
Posts: 129
Loc: Port Chalmers, New Zealand
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: cordite]
      #318639 - 31/07/18 07:04 AM

I have a G33/40 Custom that is exceptionally smooth and slick for a Mauser action.

The worst ones were the old Parker Hales, made from Spanish Santa Barbara actions, and many of the Brno 600's. In fact, despite the currant idea of the old Brno rifles (which have made them out to be of top quality despite the fact they were an economy Soviet block import at the time)I don't think I have met a Brno of any era that didn't have a feeding or extraction issue of some kind and that includes the much lauded-ZG47's and Model 21/22's. I decided a long time ago I wasn't wasting my time on Brno's any more.

--------------------
If you carry a cat home by the tail you will receive information valuable to you for the rest of your life.
Mark Twain


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justcurious
.300 member


Reged: 17/03/10
Posts: 218
Loc: Germany
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: CarlsenHighway]
      #318697 - 02/08/18 12:17 AM

@CH
In general I would agree , but with the BRNO ZG 47 and 21/22īs I made the opposite experience.
Those more than 2 dozen specimen in my posession were perfect in cycling and feeding.
One exception a later production ZG47 which was roughly finished in the same manner of the consecutive 600 production line.


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500Boswell
.375 member


Reged: 21/07/06
Posts: 914
Loc: Queensland
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: justcurious]
      #318702 - 02/08/18 08:13 AM

A bloke I knew had an old Voere M 98 270 monte carlo stock, rosewood fore end ,was one of the smoothest 98s I ever tried, told him I would buy it if he ever wanted to sell it ,every time I would tell him that, about one of his guns ,I would ask have you still got it ? Nah sold it !!! hmmmm

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500Boswell
.375 member


Reged: 21/07/06
Posts: 914
Loc: Queensland
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: CarlsenHighway]
      #318703 - 02/08/18 08:16 AM

Same with the BRNOS a 243 ,223 ,458 ,would not feed properly, even when New , had a 7x64 which did feed and sold it [wish I had kept it]

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FrankS
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Reged: 06/10/08
Posts: 106
Loc: New Iberia Louisiana
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: 500Boswell]
      #319998 - 23/09/18 03:41 PM

Have an older Sako 75 Hunter in 30-06 (what else?) that has a really smooth action. My post '64 Winchester model 70 match rifle is also quite smooth. But the best of my mil surp rifles is the Persian 98/29 in 8mm mauser. Frank

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93x64mm
.400 member


Reged: 07/12/11
Posts: 1361
Loc: Nth QLD Australia
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: 500Boswell]
      #320018 - 24/09/18 07:16 AM

Quote:

Same with the BRNOS a 243 ,223 ,458 ,would not feed properly, even when New , had a 7x64 which did feed and sold it [wish I had kept it]




Know you pain Bos!
I had a ZKK 600 in 7x64mm that was really super slick!
If you tilted the action back the bolt would pull a cartridge along with it & eject it.
Did the same thing too, sold it to a mate & he then on sold it..........not doing that again!

I have a ZKK 600 in 270 (with peep)coming very soon, I haven't seen close up's of it yet but if it even comes close to my last one I'm going to be one happy camper.


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PatagonHunter
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Reged: 20/01/06
Posts: 129
Loc: Bariloche, Patagonia Argentina
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: 93x64mm]
      #320036 - 24/09/18 08:41 PM

Hello,

All the Mauser action in my rifles are really smooth. As 93x64 say, tilted the action back, the bolt pull a cartridge along with it and eject it:

Mauser 1935 Argentine contract Mauser-Werke made.
FN 30-06 from the sixties. Marked under the barrel " FN-Akah"

By the way my BRNOs ZKK are also smooth, may be a little less than these Mausers, but very smooth anyway. They are, in that order:

ZKK 600 9,3x62 with peep sight made in 1967
ZKK 601 308W with peep sight made 1977

Feed, extract and eject flawlessly!

I bought the 601 new, in 1978. Back then, I remember very well, the action was somewhat rough no matter it function without any flaw. I polished by hand the rails and the inside where the bolt run and it improves a lot. With the use after a couple of years almost all the roughness disappeared.

The 1967 I bought past year, old but with very little use, is clearly better polished and finished from the factory!! It feeds and eject 5 empty cases...


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ducmarc
.400 member


Reged: 14/07/14
Posts: 1054
Loc: fla
Re: Butter smooth Mauser actions [Re: PatagonHunter]
      #320082 - 26/09/18 10:49 AM

i think its the machining and finish. its not a 98 but i handled a clark 1911 that the old man built . it was the smoothist 1911 i ever handled. i should have bought it. makes my national match feel like it has rocks in it.could also be how different metals act together.

--------------------
'killed by death' Lemmy.. ' boil the dog ' Elvis Manywounds "my best friend is my magnum forty four" hank willams the third.


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