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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
.275 member


Reged: 08/08/15
Posts: 99
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
.275 member


Reged: 08/08/15
Posts: 99
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: 27
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
.275 member


Reged: 08/08/15
Posts: 99
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: 123
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: 1458
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: 17919
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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