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Thread: Commercial FN Mauser Actions - My Take

  1. #1
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    Default Commercial FN Mauser Actions - My Take

    A couple of days a go I offered a (perhaps overly detailed) answer to a post on the gunboards Military Mauser Forum. The question posed concerned the differences, if any, between FN military and commercial actions. I later wished that I had started a new thread because of the better exposure to additional information and criticism available from the various gunboards experts. Therefore I offer it here.

    FN “Commercial” Action/Rifle Production Changes I cannot speak directly to the various FN military mauser products. In respect of FN sporting rifle and component action production, perhaps the following information may be useful in answering the original question posed.

    First two areas of concurrence with prior posts. I agree fully that prewar FN actions designated for sporting purposes appear mechanically and structurally identical to their military counterparts. I also agree that the basic quality of all FN actions appear the same regardless how employed. Final finish even within sporting actions often differed based upon the various sporting manufacturers that employed them in rifle building. Second, although I have no metallurgy expertise I would be quite surprised if the steel utilized was not the same for both military and sporting actions. In respect of barrels, I suspect that the use of chrome vanadium steel in FN barrels were exclusive to their sporting rifle. I assume FN military mauser products used good quality carbon steel as it seems unlikely that CV steel would have been required by military clients.

    The following are highlights of FN commercial post WWII action production changes as they increasingly departed in features from their military brethren. .

    1. Introduction in 1946 of a sporting model action. Principal modification of the military action limited to bolt handle redesign. This introduced the sweeping low scope bolt configuration that would become a signature element of the commercial line.

    2. Approximately1948, significant modifications consisting of: elimination of the ‘thumb cut’ to facilitate a strengthened solid left receiver wall, elimination of elevated receiver bridge and clip loading recess, low scope safety more often incorporated on models designated for the U.S. market. “Chrome Vanadium Steel” barrel markings routinely appeared.

    3. Approximately 1950, engineering modification of the so-called ‘full C’ inner receiver ring. The inner ring against which the barrel abuts was altered from a single cut necessary to accommodate the long mauser extractor, to include a second non functional cut. The modification was made for production simplification. Technically the receiver strength was slightly compromised. The practical effect was nil. It is my belief that this change was all FN mauser action production, sporting and military.

    4. Early nineteen fifties: A transitioning period during which receivers were routinely tapped for telescopic sight mounts and corresponding low scope safeties always supplied. The FN logo atop the receiver ring was slowly phased out.

    5. Mid nineteen fifties. Introduction of the FN Mauser “Supreme” action which incorporated a redesigned cocking piece housing and side safety lever. Their standard FN mauser action continued also to be offered for some years as a less expensive alternative..

    This constituted the principal market wide course of FN mauser product development of their long extractor mauser action. One caveat in interpreting production changes. The ‘newest’ of these rifles are now fortyish years old. Manufacturer component substitutions, special orders, repairs and customizations may be erroneously misinterpreted as standard product-wide production features.

    Throughout production, these FN mauser military and commercial actions stood second to none in their markets.

  2. #2
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    HI Iskra,

    The best way to follow the FN M/98 from a "full military" configuration to a "real sporter" action is to have a close look at the HVA (Husqvarna) 640 series.

    From 1946 to somewhere in 1947, they used, as you said, the military action, standard "C-type" with thumb notch and charger clip lips on the rear bridge.
    1947 saw an intermediate form of the "sporter" action; they removed the charger clip bridge lips (but they kept the "hump") and made the action "solid wall". This action was still a "C-type".
    Then, in 1948, the "H-type" appeared; it shows the hump, ont he rear brige and the "solid wall" with still a wing type safety.
    All the above had the standard floorplate, not the "improved" ones.
    Late 1948 to early 1949, the 'hump" of the rear bridge was removed, and in the same period the rear bridge was d&t for a receiver sight and the new floortplate with the modified catch (and hinge) and a low scope safety was used. Just after that came the D&T for the standard Weaver type bases.

    You can find some of these variations on different posts in the Civilian Swedish forum. I am by now working on a database with pictures of the different types used by HVA.
    Coagula / Solve

    Baribal; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baribal

  3. #3
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    Default In Re FN Mauser Actions

    Hi Baribal,

    Thanks very much for your input. I believe that we are basically on the same page as to the chronology of the FN sporting action. Please do note that I characterized my discussion as “highlights” specifically to avoid any impression that it was intended as comprehensive treatment of the subject. There were indeed certain additional and relatively obscure transitional and model variations which I did not try to discuss. Also, my information was offered only in the context of a ‘work in progress’.

    I DO genuinely appreciate your valuable insights. I take exception only to a couple of small details as you present them (and isn’t that what makes collecting interesting). First, my 1948 dated FN literature states that the elevated push button release and detachable floor plate were being introduced in that year. I believe that only substantially later the hinged floor plate became available from the factory. I also believe that it was into the early fifties before the FNs were routinely drilled & tapped for scopes. Supporting both these propositions, I offer a pix of my 257 Roberts, 1951 barrel dated FN rifle which is undrilled and bears the push button floor plate feature. (I have a second FN model in exactly the same configuration and so dated, except in 30-06.)

    I certainly appreciate your expertise regarding FN rifles and absolutely yield the floor to you regarding Husqvarna rifles. I understand that Husqvarna rifles year of production can be ascertained by reference to their serial numbers. I assume that based on this information you propose to extrapolate from features found in their FN mauser actions. While I believe that a comparison may be useful where better information does not exist, there are reasons why such may not be entirely valid. Husqvarna probably purchased FN actions in quantity for subsequent build out. To that extent, their action features may be static for the duration of such inventory. Second, because of differing price points and target market(s), Husqvarna may have specified action features unique to their perceived needs. Conversely, FN may have declined to provide product that would place Husqvarna in direct competition. Further, both manufacturers apparently produced differing model details catering to the European and American markets.

    I really look forward to your Database Project. I’m sure it could greatly expand my knowledge.

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    perhaps someone can chime in or answer my other OP, on a related subject/question:

    I have a KODIAK MODEL 98 bolt action rifle- made by Kodiak Arms, Conn, USA- it appears to be an early FN commercial action circa 1946-47 by my best guess, or a previous military FN action made for a military K98 or M98 rifle (??) It is chambered in .243 Winchester.

    It has the stripper clip slots in the bridge and the thumb slot in side receiver rail. Comparing it to my K98 "BCD" action, I can use either bolt in each gun and both will work and cycle. The FN action appears to have a more polished bolt.

    question- how does this FN action compare to an original German Mauser 98 action, in steel/metallurgy ? better, same, or not as good ?

    #2- the left side of receiver I can just barely make out "de Guerre" with the rest of the address ground off- apparently Kodiak ground off the original FN markings when they made these guns ?

    I have found a short concise history of Kodiak stating they built what they called a base-line "Model 98" with wooden stock on a military action. This must be it. There were upscale models as well with better stocks, recoil pads, magnum actions, etc. I can post that later if anyone is interested.

    but what I'd really like to know is the VINTAGE of this action. How do I find out for sure ? If I remove the stock from the action, will there be markings ? The rear trigger guard screws are jammed so I could not take it apart, and the gun was 'glas bedded quite professionally, so I don't really want to disturb the bedding.

    BTW this Kodiak rifle appears to be very high finish quality, equal to any Remington 700, Winchester 70 , Savage 110, Ruger 77. The only complaint I'd have is the usual Mauser design bolt slop when bolt it pulled back all the way.

    it does have a low-wing safety to clear a scope, and bent down bolt handle

    I have read where FN was contracted between wars to make Mauser rifles for the German army, and made parts for Mauser rifles during the war after Belgium was overrun by the Nazis. I'd like to know just what vintage this rifle action is originally.

    It's also documented in the de Haas bolt action rifle book, that Mauser "Peerless" actions made by FN were being sold just prior to WWII, then re-appeared just after WWII imported by Firearms International.

    which one is this one ? any help appreciated.

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    here's pictures of what I believe is an early FN action in a Kodiak rifle. My main question being, what vintage- preWWII or postWWII ? Also what "model" is this considered to be, an "FN 400" ?? or ??

    first pic shows what's left of the FN address on left side rail ahead of thumb notch

    second pic shows underside of bolt- marked "RM" or "RM1"

    third pic shows right side receiver ring- what remains of a stamping that may have been the Belgian proof marks ?

    other pictures of action in gun

    overall a very nicely finished rifle

    another question arises- is this action CHROME VANADIAN STEEL ? The bolt does appear to be brighter than the bolt in my 1943 K98 BCD action, in my other custom sporter gun

  6. #6
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    Default In re Kodiak mauser

    Hi locknloadnow
    Congratulations on your rifle. I have reviewed the photos that you provided. I am not familiar with the Kodiak rifle brand in the context of your mauser. For a variety of reasons, I believe the action has military origins. I hope that you will pardon that my responses that follow are framed interpretively rather than literally.

    Whether it was a prewar military action or sporting action really has little consequence. The consensus seems to be that they were the same except perhaps in final finish. The early postwar commercial action, as I described above, had a distinctive low scope swept design. If you will look at my photos, the bolt handle can be seen to be quite different from yours. Your bolt also differs from the prewar FN action design and certainly appears to have been a post porduction modification. Perhaps some of the gunboards military mauser experts could help you further identify more specifically the action client nation of origin.

    I believe that all of the FN model 98 actions were manufactured from carbon steel. I am not a metallurgist in any sense, but it would seem highly unlikely that chrome vanadium steel would have been utilized for a production rifle action. I believe that this species of alloy steel may have been associated with better wear characteristics in respect of rifle bore environments. Certain other alloys have been employed for rifle actions with highly satisfactory results. However, may I suggest that for your purposes, perhaps the real question is the quality of steel in your rifle action. For many decades, carbon steel was historically the material of choice for rifle production. I believe that substantially all general production mauser actions, sporting and military, which are today so highly revered are of this material. In practical terms and within the accepted range of compositions, the quality of the steel is generally more important than the actual formula. In good quality carbon steel formulation, carbon content and impurities were carefully controlled. Proper heat treatment further refined the steel structure to produce a balance of strength factors. You seek a metallurgy comparison between FN (actions) and their German military mauser counterparts. Such includes huge production numbers from a large group of German firms over a substantial ‘era’. Such might be the subject matter of a (rather boring) book. By way of answer, I would simply say that some firms including FN had a reputation built on quality firearm products and it seems reasonable to conclude that the carbon steels and heat treatment utilized were among the best reasonably available.

    In conclusion, I offer the following general opinion. The military Model 98 Mauser action has probably been the basis of more custom sporting rifle production than any other action. This recognizes not only a huge availability but also the basic quality and durability of these actions. Certainly manufacture quality does vary, but today information exists to easily identify worthy candidates. These military actions have been the basis for some of the finest and most beautiful custom rifles. Conversely, even the so called ‘bubbas’ have fielded economical sporters where otherwise shooting sports might have been denied to some. Given basically good actions, even from ‘clunkers’ the possibilities of nice and capable rifles exist. The decline of their adoption today does not reflect greatly superior contemporary ‘field rifle’ products so much as ‘collectability factors’ or the labor costs involved in a competent conversion.

    This largely exhausts the body of knowledge that I possess in respect of your questions. I would only add: Go forth and enjoy your rifle!

  7. #7
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    Just for the fun of it and some may be interested to see an FN-specimen once more.
    This rifle was believed to be of the interbellum (deceased owner/bearer's nephew thought so, but wasn't 100% sure). I suppose now that it's an "after WWII rifle".
    C-type receiver, 9,3x62 caliber, stecher trigger, improved magazine bottom plate (not hinged), "Chrome Vanadium steel" on barrel, sn 702 on receiver and barrel at the right side.
    The rifle came back, in a hurry, with his owner (railroad official) from the Congo to Belgium after the bloody upraising that followed soon after their independence in the early sixthies.
    The "C + star + number" on the stock indicates that it was permitted under that number in the (formerly Belgian) Congo. Nice to now for collectors (which I'm not). Note that there is a thumb notch in the wood but not in the receiver. The hump is there but the gutter for inserting the ammo strips isn't filed out and can't accept them. I always liked this rifle, maybe the readers too.
    Last edited by Big commander; 06-13-2009 at 06:24 AM. Reason: Typo

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    BIG COMMANDER: a C-style breech with solid left side rail, is the best of both worlds in strength for a Mauser action- those are the 2 weak spots- that one is a keeper, I would not sell it if I was you- are you sure it's C-type and not H-type ?

    IKSTRA- thanks for reply- one thing I noticed, this Kodiak rifle has a flat rear bridge on it where the rear scope mount bolts on- there is no "hump" on the rear bridge, and comparing the rear bridge on the Kodiak, to the BCD Mauser, the Kodiak rear bridge is lower- so much so, that is requires a thicker spaced rear scope mount to be level with the front scope mount- does this help in dating it ? if you notice Big Commander's gun has a hump on the rear bridge, mine does not

    I merely want to date the gun to know what I have. I'd hate to sell it, only to find out it was actually a better action than the BCD I have already, even if marginally better. I'm also a dedicated student of history and want to "know the facts" on stuff I own. These Mausers are much like blackpowder pistols in this respect- they can be addicting and you can't just own one- after a while, you will buy more. As a kid I'd peruse dad's American Rifleman mags and old Gun Digests and all this talk of "custom Mauser sporters", I just had to build one- so I built the BCD. I stumbled upon the Kodiak by accident.

    the custom Mausers have way more character than a store-bought Walmart bolt action gun, that's for sure.

    here's a picture of the rear bridge on the Kodiak, notice how flat it is- noticeably flatter than the German BCD rear bridge, which leads me to believe it was made for scopes and use as a commercial sporting rifle
    Last edited by locknloadnow; 06-13-2009 at 07:23 AM.

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    I believe that Baribal hit the nail with post #2, and after re-reading his post, I can piece this together. The Kodiak action is a hybrid mix/match of parts, my addendums to his post in bold:

    Quote Originally Posted by Baribal View Post
    From 1946 to somewhere in 1947, they used, as you said, the military action, standard "C-type" with thumb notch and charger clip lips on the rear bridge.
    THIS "MAY" BE THE KODIAK ACTION, LATER MODIFIED BY KODIAK BY MACHINING OFF THE REAR BRIDGE HUMP-IT HAS NO HUMP, BUT STILL HAS THE CHARGER CLIP LIPS AND THUMB NOTCH

    1947 saw an intermediate form of the "sporter" action; they removed the charger clip bridge lips (but they kept the "hump") and made the action "solid wall". This action was still a "C-type".
    THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE ONE BIG COMMANDER HAS, 1947 TYPE

    Then, in 1948, the "H-type" appeared; it shows the hump, ont he rear brige and the "solid wall" with still a wing type safety.
    All the above had the standard floorplate, not the "improved" ones.

    Late 1948 to early 1949, the 'hump" of the rear bridge was removed, and in the same period the rear bridge was d&t for a receiver sight and the new floorplate with the modified catch (and hinge) and a low scope safety was used. Just after that came the D&T for the standard Weaver type bases.
    THE LAST DESIGN 1948-49 ALSO SHARES THE TYPE OF REAR BRIDGE MY KODIAK HAS-HUMP REMOVED WITH LOW SCOPE SAFETY, BUT THE KODIAK HAS THE EARLY NON-HINGED FLOORPLATE. FLOORPLATE/TRIGGER GUARD COULD BE EASILY CHANGED FROM ONE ACTION TO ANOTHER, BEING PART OF THE REMOVEABLE TRIGGER GUARD. AND PERHAPS THE HUMP ON REAR BRIDGE MAY HAVE BEEN MACHINED OFF BY KODIAK WHEN THEY "RECONDITIONED" THE ACTION FOR SPORTER USE.
    Last edited by locknloadnow; 06-13-2009 at 07:36 AM.

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    Default Big commander / locknloadnow

    Big commander
    Thanks for the post on the very nice 'interim model'. My early postwar commercial mode in the 3xx serial range exhibits all the prewar action charactistics except for incorporating the low swept bolt handle. It is useful to know that by the 7xx range, the solid left wall had been instituted on the way to eliminating the clip recess and raised bridge area entirely. By the 18xx serial range, the synthesis was complete with the 'modern' appearing bridge but retaining the full "C" ring to at least the mid four thousand serial range.
    Should you be interested in parting with your specimen, I would be interested depending on how dear it is to you! In any case, a grateful thanks for the photos. I have taken the liberty of adding them to my small photo library for future reference.

    ///

    locknloadnow

    I understand your enthusiasm and thirst for specific knowledge concerning your rifles. Sometimes sufficient markings have been removed from these military conversions (or arsenal refurbishment) to preclude precise identification. Such is not an uncommon frustration. However, convinced that your rifle action is military based, I leave further pronouncement to the military mauser experts. Since you were able to substitute bolts in your rifles, you have also established that the FN action is “standard” length as opposed to some FN military actions which were made in shorter length. (Incidentally, never fire either rifle with the substituted bolt unless a gunsmith has checked the resulting headspace of the substitution and approved shooting it.) Good luck in discovering more about the lineage of your rifle, but perhaps you may just have to live with a partial mystery.

    Regarding the receiver bridge area of your rifle, please view the photos* I have provided below. They are of a sporting rifle produced by the Walther firm of Germany circa early nineteen sixties. This model utilized ‘remanufactured’ German military mauser 98 actions. Allegedly Walther carefully selected only good quality actions for recycling into nice quality sporting rifles. All original markings were removed and Walther applied their own serial numbering. You will notice the bridge area. The configuration is the result of the raised (hump) portion having been milled or ground down to match the lower level and contour. This was a somewhat common practice in trying to conform the military action to contemporary notions of ‘sporting rifle’ appearance. However, the residual clip recess provides a distinctive and telling clue to the military origins. I have never seen or heard of any original sporting model mauser produced in such a configuration. The fact that the large and reputable Walther firm (as well as other similar firms) bestowed their name on rifles based on such surplus actions is something of a testament to the fact that there were some very good quality military actions available. Perhaps the Kodiak firm used such a quality selection process or perhaps you just ‘won the luck of the draw’ in getting a desirable action. The fact that you have identified your rifle as FN action based establishes a quality pedigree.

    (* What may appear as a strange appendage to the Walther rifle action area is in fact an effective cross-bolt safety. To my knowledge, this rifle constituted Walther’s only venture into a recycled component and the safety is a signature element of this particular model.)


    I understand your enthusiasm and thirst for specific knowledge concerning your rifles. Sometimes sufficient markings have been removed from these military conversions (or arsenal refurbishment) to preclude precise identification. Such is not an uncommon frustration. However, convinced that your rifle action is military based, I leave further pronouncement to the military mauser experts. Since you were able to substitute bolts in your rifles, you have also established that the FN action is “standard” length as opposed to some FN military actions which were made in shorter length. (Incidentally, never fire either rifle with the substituted bolt unless a gunsmith has checked the resulting headspace of the substitution and approved shooting it.) Good luck in discovering more about the lineage of your rifle, but perhaps you may just have to live with a partial mystery.

    Regarding the receiver bridge area of your rifle, please view the photos* I have provided below. They are of a sporting rifle produced by the Walther firm of Germany circa early nineteen sixties. This model utilized ‘remanufactured’ German military mauser 98 actions. Allegedly Walther carefully selected only good quality actions for recycling into nice quality sporting rifles. All original markings were removed and Walther applied their own serial numbering. You will notice the bridge area. The configuration is the result of the raised (hump) portion having been milled or ground down to match the lower level and contour. This was a somewhat common practice in trying to conform the military action to contemporary notions of ‘sporting rifle’ appearance. However, the residual clip recess provides a distinctive and telling clue to the military origins. I have never seen or heard of any original sporting model mauser produced in such a configuration. The fact that the large and reputable Walther firm (as well as other similar firms) bestowed their name on rifles based on such surplus actions is something of a testament to the fact that there were some very good quality military actions available. Perhaps the Kodiak firm used such a quality selection process or perhaps you just ‘won the luck of the draw’ in getting a desirable action. The fact that you have identified your rifle as FN action based establishes a quality pedigree.

    (* What may appear as a strange appendage to the Walther rifle action area is in fact an effective cross-bolt safety. To my knowledge, this rifle constituted Walther’s only venture into a recycled component and the safety configuration is a signature element of this particular model.)

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    thanks Ikstra, very interesting, that looks very, very much like this action.

    looking closely at what's left of the date code the Kodiak, there may be remnants of a "4" and a "7"- perhaps this was a date stamped 1947 FN commercial action, i.e. identical to a military action but with a bent down bolt handle and flat rear bridge ? who machined the bridge flat we'll never know for sure, but I now have proof that FN made them that way in 1950- and perhaps this Kodiak rear bridge was machined flat by FN to begin with.

    I have looked around and found other FN Sporter actions with flat rear bridge, as early as 1950 date stampings, they were listed on Gunbroker recently- see auction link and pics below- notice nonhinged early model floorplate, flat rear bridge, dated 1950

    this one sold for $455, action only
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=130044544

    a certain individual had a number of them for sale recently on the net, and later discounted them down to $365 each

    if these also were "C" type actions, I'd consider them the "ultimate" FN Mauser action- least number of holes in them, would dictate the strongest IMHO

    we are talking a thing of value here to some- obviously the FN Mauser action values are heating up a bit
    Last edited by locknloadnow; 06-23-2009 at 05:36 AM.

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    We recently acquired an F.N. sporter in 7x57 serial no. 240xx dated 1952 that is identical to the above action. Including the &#@%$*& floorplate release.

    Appears that they (F.N.) phased out thumb cuts, stripper slot, hump etc. over several years in the late '40's.
    Last edited by 67L36Driver; 06-13-2009 at 08:04 PM.
    Delta co. 1st Bn 8th Inf. 1969.
    Plei Trap Valley Duck and Dodge Club.

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    Default Thanks to all!


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    Quote Originally Posted by iskra View Post
    true- it appears by 1950, the transformation was complete from milsurp to commercial sporter action, if one anted up and paid to have a new action made by FN- you got one without charger clip slot/thumb notch, with a flat rear bridge

    but no doubt, FN still stocked and sold milsurps in stock for decades after WWII, into the 1960's- having worked in manufacturing myself for many years, old stock sits around the plant for a long, long time

    allow me to digress/speculate: FN didn't throw away anything, much like Colt who converted cap/ball pistols to cartridge for 20 years after the Civil War, likewise FN used up/sold every single milsurp Mauser action they had, if they could find a buyer, for decades after WWII.

    Put youself in FN's shoes post-WWII, a custom rifle maker approaches for a quantity of actions- the reply would be "well we could make you new ones without thumb cuts or charger clip lips for THIS price, but we have this mountain of WWI-prewar-WWII milsurp actions at THIS discounted price, available to ship today, if you want them...you can even wade through the piles, mine the gold, and leave the rest..."

    selling the milsurps post-WWII was a quick way to get the company and market rolling again- and they apparently continued to stock/sell milsurps, in addition to new factory made commercial actions without thumb notch/charger slots, side by side for approx. 20 years after WWII

    those milsurp actions could be from anything FN ever made, i.e. 22/24/30/35 rifles/carbines, German K98 made during occupation, or even pre/post WWI vintage actions- once they are turned/polished .010" all around, all pits/markings removed, it's basically a new looking action

    i.e. FN rode that milsurp gravy train until it derailed :D nothing wrong with that.:cool:

    it's always better to sell from stock if possible- quick money and clear the stock, zero additional production costs- an added boon being: actions made at depression 1930's labor/wage/overhead costs, then sold during the post-WWII boom years, would yield staggering profits/markup

    like holding on to a penny stock for 25 years, until it goes up to $10/share

    I did notice, the receiver ring on FN actions has sharper edges than a genuine German receiver ring- didja notice that ?

    now, where can I get a "C" action without thumb notch/charger guide slots, for $100 or less ?? :D
    Last edited by locknloadnow; 06-14-2009 at 08:12 AM.

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    to peel another leaf from this onion- continued research has turned up that FN military actions were stamped with the reigning Belgian king's initial inside a circle in various places- the markings on this Kodiak are ground/polished off above the stock line, but underneath it has very small capital "A" stamps inside small circles in a few places.

    Looking up the list of Belgian kings during the relevant time period, I found this:

    King Leopold I
    Reigned 1831-1865

    King Leopold II
    Reigned 1865-1909

    King Albert I
    Reigned 1909-1934


    King Leopold III
    Reigned 1934-1951; abdicated
    (his brother Charles was regent 1944-1950)

    King Baudouin
    Reigned 1951-1993


    if what I found is true and relevant, that would date this Kodiak/FN action in the 1909-1934 time period

    Kodiak Arms is listed as being in business from 1959 to 1973. This would suggest they used a much older modified FN military type action- but there's no proof it was obtained directly from FN.

    possibilities are:

    1. The action is an original 1940's vintage reconditioned by FN with bolt handle already turned down and rear bridge hump removed, per FN's pre-war "Peerless" and post-war 1946-47 offerings- OR

    2. Kodiak may have obtained quantities of milsurp rifles/actions from other sources, to strip the actions and recondition themselves here in the states. The action could have been pulled from any FN Mauser model 22/24/30 rifle or carbine, or even from a vintage WWI era weapon.

    But I'm pret-ty darn sure, this is a vintage pre-WWII, pre-1935 military action now- or at least the receiver is.

    Anyone got an FN milsurp stamped with an "L" or "B" ??
    Last edited by locknloadnow; 06-14-2009 at 09:33 AM.

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    From what I've been gathering over the years (from my picture / S/N database), it seems that FN supplied quite up-to-date products to his resellers / OEMs / distributors.
    HVA was for sure one of them, until the '50s when they started to play around with their "Improved Mauser" cross-over 1600/1640 (introduced in 1953). Funilly, Sako got the FN line in 1952, even later getting the Supreme and Magnum lines almost same time as their commercial issue from FN.


    locknloadnow,
    The chronology we gave above only fits the commercial action lines from FN, the military actions still being made in the meantime.
    The military actions kept the charger clip lips and even the hump. But just like after each war, a big amount of ex-military actions were made availlable to the "refurbishers", Kodiak being one of them, while they also used fresh commercial actions.
    Some companies like Heym (see early '50s example below) made reworked M/98. Voere is still doing so with reworked ex-mil M/98 (series 2165 / 2155). Some were / are of very high quality, though.
    You may have a real tough time trying to determine the exact provenance of your Kodiak 98, unless you find the "ABL" marking.
    The M/1950, chambered for the 30-06, shows the Crown/B (King Beaudoin) marking above the ABL 1950 (for Armée Belge - Belgish Leger - 1950).
    Last edited by Baribal; 06-16-2009 at 09:24 PM.
    Coagula / Solve

    Baribal; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baribal

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    Because I realize that you folks are "collectors" and sometimes an unknown stamp makes you go wild. IMHO, there is nothing wrong with that, bearing in mind that I was a collector once when things could be found on a daily basis in a cellar, in an attic ... never forget to look in the attic of older houses were the roof tiles encounter a supporting wall . At least in Europe! The proof ... one of these days I'll present a "1st Jäger on horse diploma" that was discovered by a young acquaintance in the attic of the house he rents. This will be on John P. Sheehan WWI board, the sad thing is that some water damage will be seen ... this water damage happened only six months ago (after a century of perfect conservation).
    Realizing that I'm drifting away ... may I present another detail of the "Congo-rifle" you saw pictures of in one of the preceeding posts?
    I don't do this for my own "glory" but for you and your archives. The 9,3x62 FN rifle was purchased at "Schraff's" in the "rue Royale" in the centre of Brussels (very near to the Congress column were the unknown soldier of WWI is burried). Those guns were handed out to Belgian railroad officials ... in order to be able to provide fresh meat to the rail road workers in the Congo jungle before 1960. I like a gun because of its quality, not because of its history (yes, you may curse me for this statement!).
    So, I added one more detailphoto of the "Schraff stamp" and may let you know this firm still exists under the name "Binet".
    BTW, the butt plate, in bakelite, bears the logo of FN but I didn't take a picture of that.
    Baribal made an interesting statement about the Heym firm. This reknowned German firm "reconditioned" a lot of K98k's in the sixthies an seventhies in the caliber 8x60, they were sold as "Mausers de la douane" (Custom's Mausers). They used and transformed original military wooden stocks (mine was walnut but most were beech). The reblueing was perfect and their product was first class. One could call this intervention "'Bubbaed", but history is always written afterwards.
    Anybody may use any photo of mine, for whatever means ... even in his bestseller "gun book", knowledge is so much more important as some small pocket money!
    To conclude: yes, the receiver of the rifle is a "C"-type (only one cut-out for the extractor). And no, I will not sell this rifle but promised it to a dear (and so much younger) friend that appreciates it ... just hoping that I may enjoy it myself for many years to come.
    Last edited by Big commander; 06-17-2009 at 06:11 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribal View Post
    locknloadnow,
    The chronology we gave above only fits the commercial action lines from FN, the military actions still being made in the meantime.
    The military actions kept the charger clip lips and even the hump. But just like after each war, a big amount of ex-military actions were made availlable to the "refurbishers", Kodiak being one of them, while they also used fresh commercial actions.
    Some companies like Heym (see early '50s example below) made reworked M/98. Voere is still doing so with reworked ex-mil M/98 (series 2165 / 2155). Some were / are of very high quality, though.
    You may have a real tough time trying to determine the exact provenance of your Kodiak 98, unless you find the "ABL" marking.
    The M/1950, chambered for the 30-06, shows the Crown/B (King Beaudoin) marking above the ABL 1950 (for Armée Belge - Belgish Leger - 1950).

    My intuition agrees with Ikstra on the source of these actions- basically the jist of his posts were, if it has a thumb notch and charger clip guides, it's a milsurp that's been reconditioned- that would appear to be correct. If it walks/talks/flies like a duck, it's most likely a duck.

    I firmly believe this action is nothing more than a 1920-30's milsurp that was reconditioned at some point, either by FN or by Kodiak. All research suggests the early 1946-47 era FN "commercial" actions were nothing more than milsurps from previous eras, with bent down bolt handles. Kodiak did not go into business until 1959, by then FN was making true "commercial" actions with no charger clip slots, and no thumb notch- it could not have been a "recently" made FN action in Kodiak's case, during the late 1950's, because the milsurp configuration had already been superceded by at least 10 years at FN. It would have to be an old stock action, and here's the kicker, Kodiak could have just bought a large volume of milsurp rifles for the $20/each price they used to sell at then, from any importer, and stripped this action out of it. It very well may not have been a direct FN to Kodiak sale on the action- considering the millions of Mausers made, I'd wager it was just a milsurp take-off.

    The research also suggests the initial salvaging/reconditioning of milsurp actions, most likely for price reasons and to clear wartime stockpiles. The "new" commercial actions would have to cost more. Also, the historical accounts are not always correct, and one must read between the lines- because they state that Kodiak built their rifles on the "FN 400" action- that appears incorrect.

    This is not an FN 400 action, it's a milsurp with a bent down bolt handle and flat rear bridge. It actually matches the description of a pre-WWII "Peerless" action, but when sold post-WWII by FN, it just wasn't called a "Peerless" anymore.

    I'm not a true collector, I'm a target shooter and hunter. While looking at blackpowder cap/ball pistols, the seller had a few rifles he was parting with as well, and I ended up with this Kodiak. The 243 is not a particularly attractive caliber to me- it's a great varmint caliber, what it was originally designed for- and can double as a deer round in open country- but it's a mediocre brush/woods cartridge. Having 223, 22-250, 7mm-08, 6mm Remington, and 250 Savage already, I have no special need for yet another in 243- so I had considered a rebore/rebarrel of the Kodiak to one of the 25-26-27-28 calibers. Considering the history of the rifle, that would be like tearing down an ancient pyramid to put up a condo- it's best off in the hands of a collector who appreciates it for what it is. This one fetched $500 and is going to a good home.

  19. #19
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    Big Commander

    The one FN you have there is the kind of piece I am always seeking for, really, and I like to bring them back to life by using them; the 9.3X62 caliber is certainly my favourite one wich I use for moose (Orignal) and black bear hunting. I have quite a few rifles in that caliber and the vintage ones are not all that common in Canada.
    Anyways, this particular rifle is really interesting and is a true history artifact that should be preciously kept (sure you'll do so!).
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    locknloadnow

    As far as I understand it, Kodiak used ex-military AND brand new actions (FN-made) for their production. They were packaging / assembling rifles for Colt under the Jefferson and Kodiak tradenames. They made both the Colt 57 and the Coltsman rifles wich used the Supreme and later the Sako actions.

    In 1967, Kodiak rifles were listed as follow;
    98 Brush Carbine (20" bbl, cal. .243, .308 & 30-06) .............. 89.95 $
    99 Deluxe Brush Carbine .................................................. 99.95 $
    99 Deluxe Magnun .................................................. ...... 114.95 $
    Standard calibers; 22-250, 243, 6mm, 270, 280, 7X57, 284, 308, 30-06 and 358.
    Magnum calibers being; 264 Win, 7mm RM, 300 W, 308 NM, 338 Win, 350 Rem and 358 NM.
    Model 100 Deluxe Rifle (24" barrel)..................................... 99.95 $
    Model 100M Deluxe Rifle (magnum) .................................. 114.95 $
    101 Ultra Grade Rifle .................................................. ... 124.95 $
    101M (Magnum) .................................................. ......... 139.95 $
    Heavy 24 " barrels;
    M102 Ultra Varmint Rifle ................................................. 132.95 $
    M102M (Magnum) .................................................. ....... 147.95 $

    If you compare this pricing to any other rifle made of brand new commercial FN Supreme actions, one can deduct most were based on refurbed M/98. A Supreme bare action cost was 75.85 $ for a std and 87.95 $ for magnum in 1967.
    As an example; the Musketeer Rifle was selling for 145.00 $ in std calibers, 160.00 $ for Magnum cal, and 205.00 $ for the Deluxe grade, while H&R Ultra Bolt Action Rifle was selling for 199.50 $.
    Last edited by Baribal; 06-17-2009 at 11:31 AM.
    Coagula / Solve

    Baribal; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baribal

  20. #20
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    I don't believe all the Kodiak rifles were milsurp actions, I've found evidence of them using the "FN 400" action, which is not milsurp- and suspect that the milsurp actions used by Kodiak in the 1960's were very old ones indeed- not new production. Having worked in manufacturing for many years, it would make no sense to do the added machining to make the milsurp actions new, i.e. cutting the thumb notch and charger guides, which takes more time- to then sell them for less anyway. It would be a procedure the factory would gladly stop doing, because it's a win-win for them- less machining time, and more value for the action. They started machining the "H" type breech for that very reason, to make machining operations easier, even though it marginally weakened the action. My intuition says if Kodiak was using milsurp actions in the 1960's, they were most likely older milsurp FN actions from the 1920-30-40's that were still in stock, or acquired/refurbed. Military firearms technology and warfare conditions in the early 1960's had progressed to the point that even the "good" automatic American firearms of the WWII era, i.e. Garand, Carbine, Thompson, grease-gun, were obsolete for Viet Nam- it would make even less sense for FN to continue making milsurp type Mauser actions based on an 1898 design during the 1960's- who would they sell a military M98 action to for military purposes ? The military would certainly not want them, and the hunters/shooters preferred a solid side wall/no charger guide. There was a market for milsurp actions, because they were war surplus from decades prior and were easily obtainable and cheap- they didn't have to be manufactured from scratch.

    To make an analogy, it would be like American arms makers still forging/machining Springfields, M-1 Garands, M-1 Carbines, and Thompsons during the 1960's- when the official military firearm was already the M-16. They just wouldn't do it, the manufacturing capacity was direly needed for the modern firearms of the era, not the obsolete ones.

    They would, on the other hand, do some light machining/refurb to doll up an old military actions for commercial use, being the actions were already decades old and in hand- which is basically what FN and Kodiak was doing, for a niche market.

    here:

    http://www.gunsandammomag.com/cs/Sat...D1%26size%3D50

    Kodiak Rifle
    Q: I have a rifle I cannot identify. It is a bolt-action in .30-06 with a walnut stock, 20-inch barrel, serial number 159XX. It's marked "Kodiak, North Haven, Conn." I'm looking forward to anything you can tell me, including value. --R.L., Sedalia, MO
    A: The Kodiak Manufacturing Co. of North Haven, CT, built bolt-action sporting rifles circa 1963-1968. Kodiak first offered the Model 158 Deluxe built on imported F.N. Model 400 actions chambered in .243 Win., .270 Win., .30-06 or .308 Norma Mag. caliber.
    Next came the Model 98 Brush Carbine, M-99 Deluxe Brush Carbine, M-100 Deluxe Rifle, M-100M (Magnum) Deluxe Rifle, M-101 Ultra Grade Rifle and M-102 Ultra Varmint Rifle (with heavy barrel and no sights), all built on imported Mauser 98 actions in both standard and magnum calibers.
    Standard models came with a Monte Carlo-style checkered walnut stock and forearm with pistol grip, while Deluxe models featured a Monte Carlo-style checkered stock and forearm with select walnut roll-over cheek piece and pistol-grip cap. While these rifles might be considered rare, their collectibility to date has been minimal, with most standard rifles and carbines selling in the $275 to $450 range. Deluxe or magnum-caliber models will bring a 15 to 40 percent premium, depending on condition.
    Kodiak also manufactured the first .22 Mag. rimfire semiauto rifle (Model 260) and a slide-action shotgun (Model 458).







    The COLT guns made by Kodiak and Jefferson appear to be of a higher value, most likely due to the Colt trademark name- but I seriously doubted they were milsurp actions, considering the relatively HIGH prices I found on this website below- but anything is possible- it just doesn't seem logical a milsurp recond'd action would go for more than a pre-'64 Model 70, or a Model 71 lever, does it ? It didn't make sense to me either, and looking up the values in the Blue Book, showed a $495 value for the Coltsman rifle, in 100% condition. Either there's something super-rare about these guns below, or someone is far off with their values high/low- I rest easy seeing the Blue Book at $495, meaning I didn't give this Kodiak away too cheaply. The buyer has 6 Kodiaks already, and stated he paid $275-$375 range for them- which seems a little on the low side.


    http://www.pmulcahy.com/bolt-action_...ba_spr_b-c.htm


    Colt Coltsman Sporting Rifle (Mauser-Pattern)
    Notes: Designed by Colt, these were built by Jefferson Manufacturing and Kodiak Manufacturing between 1957 and 1961. The used a plain stock, and only about 5000 were built. The standard rifle had a 22-inch barrel, but the Deluxe version had a 24-inch barrel. There is also a Custom version with a Monte Carlo stock and cheekpiece (identical to the standard rifle for game purposes).
    Weapon
    Ammunition
    Weight
    Magazines
    Price
    Coltsman (Mauser-Pattern)
    .30-06 Springfield
    3.18 kg
    5 Internal
    $1708
    Coltsman (Mauser-Pattern)
    .300 H&H Magnum
    3.31 kg
    5 Internal
    $2367
    Coltsman Deluxe (Mauser-Pattern)
    .30-06 Springfield
    3.2 kg
    5 Internal
    $1728
    Coltsman Deluxe (Mauser-Pattern)
    .300 H&H Magnum
    3.5 kg
    5 Internal
    $2428




    Last edited by locknloadnow; 06-17-2009 at 03:38 PM.

  21. #21
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    The question arises in my mind, when did FN begin making the Mauser 98 actions under license ? It appears that FN had been making the M98 for Belgian military right from the get go, since the design was first invented. By 1910 FN had already printed their own Mauser 98 manual- the possibility exists that any FN "milsurp" 98 action, could be from any previous era or decade, i.e. from pre-WWI to post-WWII, a period spanning about 45 years or more.

    The manual is now available on Ebay in reprint and is low priced and looks interesting.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/FN-Mauser-1898-R...3286.m20.l1116


    The original FN company was started by wealthy financiers to produce Mauser pattern rifles for the Belgian military, and when the return was not sufficient, they started making export/hunting rifles as well.


    FN


    http://www.handgunsmag.com/featured_...ning_hi_power/

    FN was created in 1889 by a consortium of Belgian financiers to manufacture Mauser rifles under license for the military of that country. Ironically, Ludwig Lowe of Germany helped the Belgians set up the machinery and factory. Lowe is best known for his involvement in the development of the Luger pistol.

    The Mauser rifle production did not provide the profit margin anticipated by FN's backers so the company began to look for other products to manufacture to increase profits. FN began producing sporting rifles, shotguns and bicycles.

    These did not take full advantage of the company's production capacity. During the late 1890s FN came in contact with John M. Browning. At the time, Browning was working with Winchester but was dissatisfied with that company over the manufacture of one of his shotgun designs.

    FN showed great interest in the shotgun and also a pocket pistol that Browning had designed. The company began production of the latter, completing the first pistol in 1899. The pistol was a success, and it began an association that was to last until Browning's death in 1926.

  22. #22
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    Default interesting...

    I found this while doing research online, found it an interesting read:

    http://www.snipercountry.com/HotTips/Mauser_Actions.htm

    Reference Mauser actions. The miscellanious military actions found at the gun show are
    just that - a mixed collection of parts. The better Mausers are post-war FN, Schulz and
    Larsen, and Parker Hale. When building for the commercial market, the company wasn't
    constricted to the military design specs including a thumb cut in the left wall for stripper
    clips.
    For a while single shot Mausers were competitive in the benchrest game. Therefore,
    if there is a choice, stay away from military Mausers.

    CE (Terry) Warner
    serving Cpl, ex 2Lt and ex Sgt Canadian Forces
    Terry Warner <[email protected]>
    Canada - Sunday, October 04, 1998 at 13:02:44 (EDT)

    Mauser Actions...ahh the memories...
    Well guys, I'll put it this way. Been there. Done that. Won't do it again!
    Why? Money. By the time you are done having the bolt reshaped to clear the scope (and
    getting the scope bases aligned is a job in itself), having a new match grade barrel added
    with match chamber and target crown, having the receiver tapped for scope bases, truing
    the receiver, finding a quality stock of tactical proportions, replacing the trigger with a
    quality unit, and refinishing the whole shebang, you will be far enough into debt to have
    BOUGHT a top quality over the counter rifle that will be more accurate, have a stronger
    action, and shoot more consistently!
    Whew! I lost my breath just typing that! Seriously, while I LOVE the 98 action for what it
    is, it has too many cut outs to be stiff enough for this sort of thing.
    In its day it was king.
    But that day is over. There are better, tougher, and stiffer actions on the market today
    that require NO extra smithing other than truing.
    You can buy a Savage 110FP for under
    $400 and you can buy a 700VS for around $500. Why pay over $800+++ for a modified
    Mauser unless you are simply into custom hunting rifles? You see, that $75 deal at the
    show will cost you the price of a REAL tactical rifle, if done right, just to shoot on par with
    an over the counter rig.
    While the M98 action is very strong, particularly in comparison to the rifles of its ERA
    there are a few points to consider:
    Controlled round feeding weakens the action by
    requiring a large cut in the receiver. The Thumb notch weakens the action and will be more suseptable to bedding stress. The large magazine cut out weakens the action. The
    Bolt face with controlled round feeding is not ideal in terms of total action strength. And just to piss some of you off and get things going: controlled round feeding is a waste of

    time. To recap: It is unecessary and WEAKENS THE ACTION.
    In short, for the money, there are FAR better and modern actions to build a long range
    tactical rifle upon today. Leave the Mauser 98 actions for top quality custom hunting rifles
    that seldom need to shoot beyond normal hunting ranges. Pick a stiff action with minimal
    holes in it.
    Strong words? yeah, sorry guys! I lost it there. I am just thinking about the several $1000s
    of dollars I have wasted over the years trying to turn sow's ears into gold. You see, I
    LOVE Mausers...
    Scott <[email protected]>
    USA - Monday, October 05, 1998 at 13:46:23 (EDT)


    Steve: I didn’t say the Mauser action couldn’t shoot! My WWII era FN with a very heavy Douglas bull barrel shot M852 into .5" on a regular basis. BUT, it cost twice as much to
    create as an off the shelf rifle. Had I just bit the bullet with a new factory rifle at the start,
    I could have had the same performance for a lot less cash and hassle. Also, you really do
    need to think about barrel support with the 98 action. I could watch the bending forces
    when ever I removed an action screw! This was due to the very heavy barrel and the
    finger grove in the receiver.
    Like I said, I love Mausers! But it took me a long time to
    realize they are best left in their original condition as collector pieces, or modified for
    highly custom and personalized light to medium weight hunting rigs. OR building very
    inexpensive open sighted hunting rifles.
    In short, building a tactical rifle from scratch with an "affordable" Mauser action is NOT a
    way to save money! There are simply much better actions to do this on.
    Scott <[email protected]>
    USA - Tuesday, October 06, 1998 at 13:25:12 (EDT)

  23. #23
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    Default Again Thanks!

    Hi Baribal, Nice to hear from you! I have no basis to disagree with your observation that FN would probably have immediately made available their latest models for general purchase. The question might be whether, based on existing stock on hand at any give point, Husqvarna or other volume purchasers may have been positioned to immediately take advantage of ‘updated’ FN offerings. Conversely, FN might have also have offered advantageous pricing to move out ‘earlier’ stock. It has always seemed ironic to me that FN chose to offer their actions in a manner to foster substantial direct competition. Of the large rifle manufacturers, in this marketing strategy they seem somewhat unique.
    Regarding Sako, my personal impression is that it was something of a ‘sophisticated maverick’ regarding its FN based rifles. Sophisticated in its triggers offered and a maverick in terms of introducing its line with the inclusion of the 300 and 375 H&H chamberings. The 1952 Gun Digest reflects Sakos available in these chamberings! .It’s my belief that FN was fundamentally opposed the adaptation of their actions to these long cartridges. This being due to the amount of metal that had to be removed from the lower receiver bolt locking area to accommodate them. This also despite the fact that Weatherby chose to offer their even hotter chamberings in them.
    Thanks as always for your thoughts.

    ///

    Big commander, Thanks for the additional interesting background surrounding your very nice rifle. You can certainly be proud of it. Actually, I also definitely tend to prefer manufacture design and quality to particular history associated with a firearm. I have never purchased a gun for its history. The fact of some unique historical significance or even an interesting footnote would simply be a nice extra. First and foremost for me, your piece is a rare and interesting transition model. The nice condition also adds to its attractiveness. That is my interest in it. I think it is great that you have future recipient in mind who will appreciate it rather than being just a utility gun or worse, a simple commodity. Thanks again for sharing and for consenting to further sharing your photos. For my part, I have no intention of any commercial application for them.

    ///

    Locknloadnow, May I just respectfully suggest that the desired research should be crafted to drive the results, not the desired results crafted to drive the research. Again good luck in your endeavor!

  24. #24
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    Default

    Hi Iskra,

    This way of marketing always intrigued me, too. It looks like they used HVA to get rid of the "transitional" actions as fast as possible, but my guess is that HVA was selling those too fast and FN had to pass the newer stock to them. Until they found out that HVA was working on it's own "improved actions".
    As for Sako, look how funny it is; Sako adapted their trigger to the FN action, while FN used these same trigger for their own market. Worse, when the decision was took to get over production of the M/98, they started supplying Sako newest actions.... wonder why....
    Coagula / Solve

    Baribal; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baribal

  25. #25
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    Default FN Supreme

    the FN Supreme appears to be the most desireable FN action- rather than the milsurp versions- another interesting viewpoint below- the milsurp is a good second choice IMHO:


    http://www.africansportinggazette.co...s/story18.html

    Reigning Supreme - FN’s great action in increasing demand

    It appears that the appetite for fine rifles, and the demand for good actions upon which to build them, is gaining momentum, rather than the opposite.
    Every fine custom gunmaker I know is backed up, with delivery times for whole rifles measured in years, and even the high-quality components, such as custom scope mounts, taking a year or more for delivery.
    The all-time favourite action upon which to build such a rifle is, of course, the Mauser 98, followed by the pre-’64 Winchester Model 70. Since Winchester officially closed its doors two years ago, demand for pre-’64s (and for actions of similar design made by Winchester after 1993) has gone into orbit. In a gunshop in Craig, Colorado, last year, I saw an extremely ho-hum pre-’64 rifle for sale for $1895, and there was great interest even at that price.
    Similarly, the Mauser 98 market is extremely lively even as supplies of good military actions dwindle and any remaining commercial actions from the Mauser plant at Oberndorf command extraordinary prices. The two most desirable Oberndorf actions, the Kurz (short) and the largest magnum, sell for thousands of dollars.
    No one knows how many military 98s were made altogether. It was definitely in the tens of millions, dwarfing the available pre-’64s by a factor of a hundred, at least.
    Military 98s were made in Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Belgium, among other countries. Under the exacting eye of Mauser engineers, top-quality munitions factories filled government contracts for dozens and dozens of countries. These countries have, in turn, given their names to individual Mauser actions, such as the 1909 Argentine and the Mexican kurz. Military Mausers are now traded like vintage wines.
    Between the millions of military actions and the tiny precious supply of commercial Oberndorfs lies a somewhat neglected area: commercial actions made elsewhere. Some were pretty questionable, such as certain periods from the Zastava plant in Yugoslavia, which produced the Mark X. Some of these were so roughly made as to be unsalvageable for a fine custom rifle, and many gunmakers flatly refuse to work on them.
    Other commercial actions, however, were every bit as good as the German Oberndorfs, DWMs, and Sauers. These include actions made at the Czech Brno plant, and those made at Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre – FN – in Liège, Belgium.
    * * * FN is one of the greatest arms-making companies in the world, renowned for its innovation and the high quality of its products. Although it is primarily a military conglomerate, FN has also made civilian firearms for more than a century.
    When he could not reach a deal with Winchester to produce one of his guns, John Moses Browning took it to Europe and struck a deal with FN. For more than 75 years, FN produced the Browning Superposed shotgun, among other Browning designs. Today, FN owns the Browning company, as well as the Winchester name in gunmaking.
    As a major military contractor, FN filled many government contracts for Mauser 98 rifles, and sold the actions in the white to gunsmiths and small rifle companies. In 1941, when its supply of Oberndorf commercial actions dried up, Stoeger listed an FN action, the ‘Peerless,’ in its catalogue, but none were actually delivered.

    After the war, Firearms International began importing Mauser actions from FN, and there began a line of steadily improving civilian 98s from the plant in Liège. The first ones were military actions pulled off the line, with military safeties and two-stage triggers, and the thumb notch on the left side of the receiver. While the quality was superb, they required considerable alteration to adapt them to a hunting rifle with a scope sight.

    The Peerless gave way to the DeLuxe. In 1957, a new model, the ‘300’ was introduced, and it evolved into the FN Supreme action – the finest Mauser 98 action FN ever produced.
    As the Supreme gained ground, the DeLuxe was dropped, and for the next 15 years FN Supremes were used on a wide range of very fine custom, semi-custom, and production rifles.

    The later FN commercial actions are characterized by a single-stage civilian trigger with sliding safety to the right of the tang, a redesigned bolt shroud without a safety, and elimination of the thumb notch, which made the action stiffer.

    In much later years, even more changes took place, and not necessarily for the better. The traditional Mauser bolt stop was replaced by a more graceful design that lies close to the action; I like it, but others do not.

    The best-known of the commercial rifles based on the FN Supreme is the Browning High Power line from the 1960s. Made in three grades (Safari, Medallion and Midas), the High Power was as pretty a rifle as you would find from any factory. Even the Safari had nice walnut, and the stock design was elegant and subdued. Most distinctive about it was its back-swept bolt handle, with the action polished and completely in the white (unblued). The underside of the bolt knob was milled flat and knurled, a distinguishing feature of the Supreme. This lovely action with its unique appearance became the hallmark of the Browning High Power, and of the FN Supreme generally.

    During this period, the Supreme was also sold as an action or barrelled action. Actions alone had no serial number, the factory assuming the gunsmith would put on a number of his own. This is one way to pinpoint the origins of a Supreme.
    There were different models – a regular length, magnum, and a single-shot intended for target rifles. The magnum was simply the standard action, opened up. Toward the end of the High Power era, Browning began building rifles for smaller calibres on Sako actions, using the Supreme for cartridges from .30-06 to .375 H&H and .458 Winchester.
    Other companies in the U.S. either imported rifles based on Supreme actions, or imported the actions and turned them into rifles. Many of these have the characteristics listed above, and since many have in the meantime been stripped down and turned into complete custom rifles, it is often difficult to determine what the action might have been originally.
    At one time, you could pick up a used Browning High Power for a few hundred dollars, but now it is rare to see one for less than a thousand. Some other Supreme-based rifles, lacking the cachet of the Browning name, sell for much less. I know of gunmakers now who are buying any Supreme they find, action or rifle, just to keep as stock for future custom jobs, the way they stockpiled the best military Mausers in the past.
    Such an action is a good investment, and here’s why: There have been attempts to produce a ‘modern’ commercial 98, and the results have varied. In many cases, the quality has been lacking. In others, corners have been cut to save machining operations; such an action is not a Mauser 98, regardless of advertising claims.
    In instances where a serious effort has been made to replicate the design and quality of an Oberndorf Mauser – the most obvious being the Granite Mountain in the U.S., and the Johanssen in Germany – the price has reflected the effort. A Granite Mountain action today, if you can get on the waiting list, will set you back at least $3,000.
    I expect that in future a rifle with a Granite Mountain action will command a premium price, exactly the way an Oberndorf does today.
    For the rifle-lover on a budget, keeping an eye cocked for any rifle of any calibre based on an FN Supreme action may be, for the time being, the most cost-effective starting point toward a fine custom rifle. The Supreme can be opened up and turned into a .375 H&H or even a .458 Lott, making it an eminently practical choice even for a stopping rifle.
    Frank de Haas, one of the most knowledgeable bolt-action experts of the 20th century, and author of Bolt Action Rifles, stated flatly that “FN actions are made to the usual exacting FN quality, a quality so outstanding that no one should question it.”
    A word of caution, however. There have been attempts to copy the Supreme’s appearance. Interarms Mark X (Yugoslav) rifles of the 1970s had the in-the-white action with the swept-back bolt handle. Recently, an Italian company making investment-casting 98 actions incorporated the flat, knurled bolt knob. So outward appearances can be deceiving.
    Anyone embarking on a search for stray Supremes should get both de Haas’s book, and Mauser Bolt Rifles by Ludwig Olson, and keep them close by when examining a prospective acquisition.
    Last edited by locknloadnow; 06-18-2009 at 06:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iskra View Post
    Conversely, FN might have also have offered advantageous pricing to move out ‘earlier’ stock.
    ///
    Locknloadnow, May I just respectfully suggest that the desired research should be crafted to drive the results, not the desired results crafted to drive the research. Again good luck in your endeavor!


    Ikstra, why certainly- per my earlier posts, you'll see we're on the same page, in regards to your statement "moving out earlier stock". I can only develop a viewpoint based on what information and documentation that can actually be found, either actual rifles or printed statements from reputable sources. A good dose of common sense goes a long way to deciphering some of these issues, and one must "read between the lines"- as there are so many different issues involved:

    Fact- an FN commercial action was an upscale imported item, and something to be shown off, not hidden. In the Kodiak rifle's case, the FN barrel address is partially ground off, along with all the receiver ring markings. Which begs the question, who in their right mind would take a grinder or rough emery cloth to an expensive/imported/name brand/new FN commercial action, to remove the FN name ? Answer- no one with any common sense. Again, it takes time/labor to remove it, that costs money.

    That leads to the next question, then why did they grind it off ?

    Answer: Because it was a milsurp action to begin with, already marked as such, and most likely pulled from a rifle- i.e. M24/30 Venezuelan FN or M1935 Peruvian FN, etc. Kodiak making hunting rifles, would not want a South American country's coat of arms on their guns, it would turn away buyers, and detract from the fine bluing and stock.

    If indeed is was a true dyed-in-the-wool FN Commercial action, Kodiak would proudly display that fact, by not grinding off the FN action address. Kodiak made most of their rifles during the 1960's, and by then the charger guides/thumb notch had all but disappeared on FN actions- they were now producing commercial actions, not military actions.

    one example being this rifle below- stating "FN Action-Made in Belgium" in fancy scroll writing- solid left rail, no charger guides. Imagine someone grinding off the FN markings on this gun.

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=130944786


    The Kodiak, on the other hand, has the "remnants" of a military style receiver address on the side rail, half ground off. It certainly was not a new commercial FN action, when they made the gun during the 1960's. To make an analogy, it would be like taking a grinder to the hood ornament and side badge, of a new Cadillac. Makes no sense for Kodiak to grind off an FN address, unless it was a milsurp and they wanted to obliterate the markings of that history. The charger guides and thumb notch concur it was a milsurp. FN would certainly not grind their own name off the receiver- so the question becomes "why".


    There were milsurps that were obvious cobble jobs into "sporters" in the early 1950's, one example being this gun, has the Crown/B marking, stepped barrel, dated 1952. It's obviously a milsurp, especially with the stepped barrel, charger guides, thumb notch. Another major indicator- the bolt, although turned down, is not turned down enough to require a clearance notch in the stock- ala the original German K98 design. Everything about this gun says "milsurp" to me. (my German BCD custom is the same way). The dating on the action proves to me, they were making new milsurp type actions as late as 1952. Again, I can only go by what can actually be found.

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=131606236


    Now another kicker- the bolt handle on the Kodiak, is turned down enough to require a notch in the stock for clearance- extra attention was paid to the bolt handle, to get it down far enough, to clear a low scope mount during cycling- a major issue with an M98 milsurp is converted to a sporter. The stock and bluing work on the Kodiak is impeccable, why the ground off FN address ? It makes no sense to grind on an action for a rifle this nice, unless of course it said/showed something one didn't want to display. Extra care obviously was put into the bolt handle position, and bolt notch in stock. see pics.
    Last edited by locknloadnow; 06-18-2009 at 09:49 AM.

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    interesting sidenote, that would also apply to FN actions made with charger slots/thumb notches- why did so many M48 Yugo Mausers go directly into storage when new ?? Reason- demand for military Mausers dwindled significantly during 1950's, in favor of automatics- intuition told me this even before I read it, knowing the military progression of firearms from the WWI-WWII-Korean War-Viet Nam eras went to semi-auto/select fire capable weapons.

    The same fate would hold true for FN 98 milsurp type actions- it would be senseless to continue making actions with thumb notches/charger clips into the late 1950's-early 1960's, by that time, no country wanted them for defense/wartime use- there was no market. They were obsolete and outclassed by that time, for military purposes.


    http://carteach0.blogspot.com/2009/0...easonable.html



    There are a fair number of M48 rifles that were built in the mid 1950’s and went into storage at once, the market for bolt action battle rifles having shriveled. While the rifle was excellent, the world's military no longer wanted Mauser's. They wanted semi and full auto rifles with large magazines. The rifle shown here seems to be one of those 1950 builds, with a very late serial number and no signs of wear at all. It appeared unfired when purchased, but that soon changed.
    Last edited by locknloadnow; 06-18-2009 at 10:02 AM.

  28. #28
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    Default Kodiak was one of many to use milsurps.

    In my opinion the Kodiak shown in the pictures was built on a refurbished military action and it was probably totally coincidental that the action used was originaly made by FN. I have never seen anything that left the FN plant with half a word ground off and half left showing. The Husqvarna rifles built with FN actions are wonderfully well finished as were the original FN sporters. Rifles like the J.C. Higgins (Sears) Model 50 that used the FN deluxe also showed excellent metal finish. FN still built small numbers of military or police type rifles in the early 1950's but it was no doubt clear that military contracts for 98's were never going back to the Pre-WWII scale. The small sales to Husqvarna (compared to military contracts) must have been very attractive to FN after the war. The Firearms International and Browning sales would have been attractive also and alltogether worth re-engineering the action design for scope use. Heym started using Yugoslav made commercial actions in the mid-1950's- apparently it was cheaper to buy those than to polish out the markings on military actions, forge the bolt for scope, etc. Heym was in the low end market in the mid 1950's, recovering from the war. The wing safety used on the Kodiak was seen on a variety of "batched" sporting conversions offered for sale in the late 1950's- through 1960's. It was not used by FN (the FN Deluxe safety required a notch in the bolt sleeve) and was no doubt added when the bolt was altered for scope use and the bridge modified, drilled and tapped.

  29. #29
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    Default Kodiak was one of many to use milsurps.

    In my opinion the Kodiak shown in the pictures was built on a refurbished military action and it was probably totally coincidental that the action used was originaly made by FN. I have never seen anything that left the FN plant with half a word ground off and half left showing. The Husqvarna rifles built with FN actions are wonderfully well finished as were the original FN sporters. Rifles like the J.C. Higgins (Sears) Model 50 that used the FN deluxe also showed excellent metal finish. FN still built small numbers of military or police type rifles in the early 1950's but it was no doubt clear that military contracts for 98's were never going back to the Pre-WWII scale. The small sales to Husqvarna (compared to military contracts) must have been very attractive to FN after the war. The Firearms International and Browning sales would have been attractive also and alltogether worth re-engineering the action design for scope use. Heym started using Yugoslav made commercial actions in the mid-1950's- apparently it was cheaper to buy those than to polish out the markings on military actions, forge the bolt for scope, etc. Heym was in the low end market in the mid 1950's, recovering from the war. The wing safety used on the Kodiak was seen on a variety of "batched" sporting conversions offered for sale in the late 1950's- through 1960's. It was not used by FN (the FN Deluxe safety required a notch in the bolt sleeve) and was no doubt added when the bolt was altered for scope use and the bridge modified, drilled and tapped.

  30. #30
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    Default Action on Big Commander's FN- best ever.

    I'd argue that this was the high point of FN commercial Mauser production- C collar, no thumb cut, peace time manufacture with good steel and bolt sleeve safety. The original Mauser plant made some like this also. The trigger safeties are convenient but simply aren't as secure as a bolt sleeve safety although I find the one on the FN Deluxe action easy to rub off if I am carrying with a sling over the right shoulder. The solid receiver in the thumb cut area is stiffer but this does remove a point of gas release from the left lug race. The H collar after 1948 is no worse than most other actions but does represent a lost point of superiority that Paul Mauser thought important. I wonder how many of the Congo railway rifles were left behind and what they look like now?

    P.S. sorry for the previous double post- I had to reconnect the modem and the computer gremlin got in.

  31. #31
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    Default FN Deluxe

    I just purchased a n FN Deluxe in 30/06. I thought tha t I would share it with you. This discussion has been very interesting. One cannot learn too much.I would consider my rifle to be in 85to 90% condition with some finnish wear in a couple of spots. The receiver is of the H type and has on thumb cut or stripped guides. The shrouyd is the military style with a low scope safety. The floor plate has the extended release button. The bolt is flattened and checkered on the back side, and is swept back. This rifle has an after market recoil pad, that I would like to restore to original. The barrel is stepped but not like the military barrrel. The serial no. is in the150xx range. Is there a serial no. production reference that will date my rifle? I'm thinking 1950 or later. pic following I hope.

  32. #32
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    1896swede:
    Just below the wood line on the right side of the reciever you may find a year of manufacture. Ours has F.N. in an oval and 1952. S.N. in the 24XXX range.
    Delta co. 1st Bn 8th Inf. 1969.
    Plei Trap Valley Duck and Dodge Club.

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    67l36driver,
    I took the action out of the stock and there is no date. Also the trigger is like the military trigger but without the double hump. There is an "A" stamped on the bottom of the action along with the number 1197. There is an "A" stamped on the bottom of the tang also. The action is drilled and taped for a reciever sight. The scope mount and Weaver 4x were added after I purchased ther rifle. Thoughts and opinions are welcome.
    Thanks,
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by lcmunn View Post
    In my opinion the Kodiak shown in the pictures was built on a refurbished military action and it was probably totally coincidental that the action used was originaly made by FN. I have never seen anything that left the FN plant with half a word ground off and half left showing. The Husqvarna rifles built with FN actions are wonderfully well finished as were the original FN sporters. Rifles like the J.C. Higgins (Sears) Model 50 that used the FN deluxe also showed excellent metal finish. FN still built small numbers of military or police type rifles in the early 1950's but it was no doubt clear that military contracts for 98's were never going back to the Pre-WWII scale. The small sales to Husqvarna (compared to military contracts) must have been very attractive to FN after the war. The Firearms International and Browning sales would have been attractive also and alltogether worth re-engineering the action design for scope use. Heym started using Yugoslav made commercial actions in the mid-1950's- apparently it was cheaper to buy those than to polish out the markings on military actions, forge the bolt for scope, etc. Heym was in the low end market in the mid 1950's, recovering from the war. The wing safety used on the Kodiak was seen on a variety of "batched" sporting conversions offered for sale in the late 1950's- through 1960's. It was not used by FN (the FN Deluxe safety required a notch in the bolt sleeve) and was no doubt added when the bolt was altered for scope use and the bridge modified, drilled and tapped.

    thanks much, very helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lcmunn View Post
    I'd argue that this was the high point of FN commercial Mauser production- C collar, no thumb cut, peace time manufacture with good steel and bolt sleeve safety. The original Mauser plant made some like this also. The trigger safeties are convenient but simply aren't as secure as a bolt sleeve safety although I find the one on the FN Deluxe action easy to rub off if I am carrying with a sling over the right shoulder. The solid receiver in the thumb cut area is stiffer but this does remove a point of gas release from the left lug race. The H collar after 1948 is no worse than most other actions but does represent a lost point of superiority that Paul Mauser thought important. I wonder how many of the Congo railway rifles were left behind and what they look like now?

    P.S. sorry for the previous double post- I had to reconnect the modem and the computer gremlin got in.

    again, thanks much ! My thoughts exactly on the high point of FN action

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1896swede View Post
    I just purchased a n FN Deluxe in 30/06. I thought tha t I would share it with you. This discussion has been very interesting. One cannot learn too much.I would consider my rifle to be in 85to 90% condition with some finnish wear in a couple of spots. The receiver is of the H type and has on thumb cut or stripped guides. The shrouyd is the military style with a low scope safety. The floor plate has the extended release button. The bolt is flattened and checkered on the back side, and is swept back. This rifle has an after market recoil pad, that I would like to restore to original. The barrel is stepped but not like the military barrrel. The serial no. is in the150xx range. Is there a serial no. production reference that will date my rifle? I'm thinking 1950 or later. pic following I hope.

    nice rifle

    the crown over the letter "B" means your rifle was made from 1951 or later- I believe that stands for King Baudouin of Belgium, who ruled from 1951 to 1993.

    The other 3 letters under a crown, and the PV are Belgian proof marks.
    Last edited by locknloadnow; 06-23-2009 at 05:19 AM.

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    Thanks locknloadnow, This is an interesting discussion. I wanted to share my information with all of you. Feel free to use this information and pics if they will help in any way.
    Bob

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    Thumbs up i have a early 98 FN Parker Hale, late 1950'S to 63.

    thumb cut receiver, but no charger cut, black blue high
    polish.:D 22 inch barrel sights on both models.,
    on left side receiver in Safari de luxe' $124.95/ENG. $73.50 adj. trigger / double set offered. low scope we safety on back of bolt.
    BARREL HAS PARKER HALE IN 308. this gun is VERY ACCURATE. :cool:
    mine had Sile's stamped stock with snable.

    found only one ad in one book .
    Braxtons GUIDE FOREIGN FIREARMS COPY RIGHT 1963.
    page 233-224 great book has many good mausers based guns in it 288 pages. HVS- FN-FRANCONIA-FRANCOTTE-TRYOL -BSA-MANNLICKER-KRICO-COGSWELL-BRNO-FERLACH-DECHUINIGG-HEYM-SHULTZ LARSON-WALTER-HEMMERLI-MERKEL ETC.

    i had a hand pick $400 very hard walnut AA + blank from kentucky put on it in the same style, but fitted to me. knock your eyes out.
    they also made just a standard no snabel SAFARI $109.95/ Eng.$66.00 .all were drilled taped for scope no adj. trigger on this one. came with leather slings.
    , Cal's 243,270,306,308,308 Norma, not advertised but Ive seen 7x57 for sale. most went to Canada seen them on sale there no where else.. IN US -INTERNATIONAL GUNS INC, 67 WARBURTON AV. NY. :cool:<>< DK
    GOD<><SAVE THE CONSTITUTION / STATES RIGHTS><>NRA

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    Default Santa Barbara actions on Parker Hales

    Some, at least, of the Parker Hale rifles were made on Spanish Santa Barbara actions. These were also used by smaller manufacturers in the US after the supply of military 98 actions started to dry up. I remember these as being described as "rough but serviceable" compared to the FN's. The Yugoslav actions that Heym used on the western Field contract rifles was derived from the Model 1924/ 48 type intermediate length with enclosed bolt head. The later Mark X was a straight FN clone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1896swede View Post
    Thanks locknloadnow, This is an interesting discussion. I wanted to share my information with all of you. Feel free to use this information and pics if they will help in any way.
    Bob


    yes, it's interesting, half the fun is deciphering where the gun came from It's amazing even the gun shops don't know what they really have.

    I was at a gun store on Friday, looking at milsurp Mausers. What he told me was a Swedish Mauser, was actually a K.Kale Turkish. And what he told me was an Argentine, was actually an FN-made Peruvian. I bought the Peruvian FN for only $140, with tax/transfer it was $156. What a buy! It's in a rough looking Pachmyer synthetic stock, but what amazes me is, the quality of the barrel/action is better than anything that Walmart has for $500 and up brand new.

    I predict these Mausers are going to come back into vogue in a big way sometime in the future, when the average shooter/hunter/gun buff realizes just how good they are, for the price. IMHO any German/FN-made M98 pattern is worth hoarding if the price is right. How can one go wrong for $150 ? A Savage 110 push feed for $500 just doesn't have the same character.

  41. #41
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    Default FN Mausers

    A gunshop in my area has a Colt Mauser in .243 Winchester, its
    been there for awhile. I like FNs myself, and once owned a factory
    sporter in .250-3000 several years ago. At one time Ive been told
    FN actions sold very well and were all the rage in the gunsmithing
    trade.

  42. #42
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    Thumbs up not Santa barbara actions on early ones

    on the safaris, FN exclusively, later Spanish<><dk
    GOD<><SAVE THE CONSTITUTION / STATES RIGHTS><>NRA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jericho View Post
    A gunshop in my area has a Colt Mauser in .243 Winchester, its
    been there for awhile. I like FNs myself, and once owned a factory
    sporter in .250-3000 several years ago. At one time Ive been told
    FN actions sold very well and were all the rage in the gunsmithing
    trade.

    that caliber commands a premium in any rifle, be it Remington, Winchester, Ruger, etc., or milsurp sporter. It's hard to find anything chambered in 250 Savage, for less than $500 anywhere- there was a Ruger M77 for $300 in the local paper and it was gone in 1/2 a day- and another was a single shot break open T/C barrel for $300, and that was barrel only- I anted up last winter and bought a Ruger M77 w/20" barrel for $540 OTD because I got tired of waiting for a deal. If I could find a 22" barreled gun, I'd trade over to it. I was dead set on a Savage model 99 but just can't seem to find a deal on one.
    Last edited by locknloadnow; 06-23-2009 at 08:24 PM.

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    Default Re 1896swede's FN

    I've had a chance to catch up only a bit on the later posts here. (I echo the general observation that there certainly is a lot to learn from the community of posts!)

    Naturally, like a four year old, I'm attracted first to color photos. So I'd just like to contribute a couple of comments for swede1896. First, congrats on your nice FN. My guesstimate is that it was manufactured in the 1952-53 period. The 10,000 to 11,500 serial range (approximately) were produced in 1951 per barrel dating which appeared on some (but curiously not all) FN sporting rifles made in that year. (See exemplary rifle photo from this range) By 1950, FN production was ramping up a bit, but I think it unlikely that they were producing more than a couple of thousand rifles per year at the very most. In some subsequent years I believe that they produced substantially less. Also, in all probability their sporting work filled in between the larger military contracts. (Recall that the FN 49 semi auto rifle production was also ramping up then.) In those times they seem to have geared sporting production to orders. That is, they did not likely warehouse large sporting rifle inventories against which orders were periodically filled. Also of course, only complete FN branded rifles were accounted in the FN serial range. This meant that substantial numbers of actions to be sold were accounted in production figures but not captured in serialization. You also reference the flattened and checkered underside of the bolt ball on your rifle. This was something of a unique identifier for their sporting action whereas FN based Husqvarna rifles likely specified an unaltered full ball pattern.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iskra View Post
    You also reference the flattened and checkered underside of the bolt ball on your rifle. This was something of a unique identifier for their sporting action whereas FN based Husqvarna rifles likely specified an unaltered full ball pattern.


    interesting, the Peruvian 1935 Mondelo sporter I recently acquired, has a flat/checkered underside on bolt, i.e. someone either changed the bolt handle, or changed the entire bolt.

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