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Thread: Mauser action strength?

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    Default Mauser action strength?

    Just wondering if anyone out there knows the low down on the strength of mauser actions. I've seen/heard talk about how they can break or crack easily, because of the heat treating process they undergo but I have yet to see a mauser that has cracked or broken. Has anyone here ever had that problem? From what else I know is that the Mauser action is of superior design and copied by many manufacturers. I was planning on grabbing one of mine and putting a scope on it butI'm somewhat hesitant about it now that I've read about the reports of how they can break.

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    I have never heard of or known of one to break or blow up upon firing. Traditionally, they have been rated as one of the strongest available, especially the M98. I have read that the small ring Mausers;i.e., the 93, 95, and 96 are not as strong, however, I have never heard of one of them giving way either. The late Jack O'Conner had many custom rifles built on the M98 action with some very high intensity cartridges and never reported a problem. Some factory cartridges have been purposely loaded "down" below their potential because of suposedly some Mauser actions not being able to withstand higher pressures. I think that the handloader who loads a grain or two under the reported maximum loads will not have a problem. I find that I generally get the best accuracy from 2 to 3 grains under maximum anyway. If any doubts about your Mauser action, take it to a reputable gunsmith to get his approval before firing it.
    7x57guy

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    As far as I know just drilling holes for a scope wouldn't break the receiver, unless somebody drilled the chamber or something.

    If you alter one of your Mausers please post on here to see if it's worth leaving original or not. You could probably find a lightly sporterized one to use for cheap, or get a rear-sight-replacement scope rail.

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    All Mausers designs made in the West are more than adequately strong for their original chamberings. Some Chinese models made in lesser facilities are suspect, however.

    Pre-98s chambered in 7x57 and 7.65x54 are well suited to these moderate pressure (around 45k CUP) rounds. The 98 action can handle as much pressure as any cartridge can provide, but there are incidents of locking lug setback with hot or excessive hand loads. Receivers manufactured after 1920 tend to be less prone to this, but it shouldn't be a problem in the first place with normal loads (i.e. full house, but not overloaded).

    Beware of rechambered/converted examples, as not all of these were done to satisfactory standards. Some, such as the Turkish 1893, converted to 8x57, can be shot safely (while respecting the action's 45k CUP range, as well as the inferior gas venting of the 1893 design), while others such as the 1895 Chilean, converted to 7.62x51, are much less trustworthy. This is an area where a little bit of research can make quite a difference.
    http://dutchman.rebooty.com/1895Chile.html

    Be advised: altering an original Mauser in any irreversible way will destroy its collectors' value (which tends to be much higher than the value of any sporter).
    It would be advisable to work on an already-sportered action or to at least identify (pictures would be best) what you have so that we can give you an idea of its value.
    Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Quote Originally Posted by stg 44 View Post
    All Mausers designs made in the West are more than adequately strong for their original chamberings. Some Chinese models made in lesser facilities are suspect, however.

    Pre-98s chambered in 7x57 and 7.65x54 are well suited to these moderate pressure (around 45k CUP) rounds. The 98 action can handle as much pressure as any cartridge can provide, but there are incidents of locking lug setback with hot or excessive hand loads. Receivers manufactured after 1920 tend to be less prone to this, but it shouldn't be a problem in the first place with normal loads (i.e. full house, but not overloaded).

    Beware of rechambered/converted examples, as not all of these were done to satisfactory standards. Some, such as the Turkish 1893, converted to 8x57, can be shot safely (while respecting the action's 45k CUP range, as well as the inferior gas venting of the 1893 design), while others such as the 1895 Chilean, converted to 7.62x51, are much less trustworthy. This is an area where a little bit of research can make quite a difference.
    http://dutchman.rebooty.com/1895Chile.html

    Be advised: altering an original Mauser in any irreversible way will destroy its collectors' value (which tends to be much higher than the value of any sporter).
    It would be advisable to work on an already-sportered action or to at least identify (pictures would be best) what you have so that we can give you an idea of its value.


    When I posted here about the strength of my Chinese Mauser, the results, from some very experienced and expert Chinese Mauser collectors were very favorable. It seems that the poor quality of Chinese Mausers is largely a myth probably brought on by the thinking caused by prejudice that all Chinese products are of sub-standard quality. The truth is that many of the Chinese Mausers were mistreated, not cleaned or well cared for, and went through many years of use and abuse brought on by almost constant use in civil and national war. On the contrary, the quality and strength of these rifles was as good as any other Mauser. If any were to fail or "blow up" they would have done so by now. As long as the rifle is free from rust and pitting (as mine is) it should be perfectly safe to fire. One should still have it checked by a decent g'smith before firing as one should any older gun.
    7x57guy

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    Thanks for the input guys, much appreciated! I'll post some pics soon of what I was planning on scoping. I'm having trouble choosing from two right now, one is a mixmaster RC Kar98k with a refinished stock (not refinished by me) and the other is a Turk K.Kale M38. Both are equally good shooters, coming in at around 1.5 MOA @ 100yds. The action on the Turk is unbelievably smooth, I mean it really takes the saying "hot knife through butter" to a whole new level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7x57guy View Post
    When I posted here about the strength of my Chinese Mauser, the results, from some very experienced and expert Chinese Mauser collectors were very favorable. It seems that the poor quality of Chinese Mausers is largely a myth probably brought on by the thinking caused by prejudice that all Chinese products are of sub-standard quality. The truth is that many of the Chinese Mausers were mistreated, not cleaned or well cared for, and went through many years of use and abuse brought on by almost constant use in civil and national war. On the contrary, the quality and strength of these rifles was as good as any other Mauser. If any were to fail or "blow up" they would have done so by now. As long as the rifle is free from rust and pitting (as mine is) it should be perfectly safe to fire. One should still have it checked by a decent g'smith before firing as one should any older gun.
    7x57guy
    7x57guy,

    I was providing a broad overview of actions to beware of and research before utilizing, not condemning all Chinese Mausers. Hence my "made in lesser facilities" caveat.

    The Chiang Kai-shek type Mausers, produced at national arsenals, are good, solid rifles. Others, produced at the local level, vary from suspect to truly shoddy. Ronbo6 posted an illuminating comment on these rifles in your earlier post.

    Chinese products are what they are- they tend to do their jobs well and be robust, but to assert as you have that their quality is "as good as any other Mauser" is patently false. Of course, FN and Oberndorf rifles sold to them are of superb quality. However, natively produced rifles were made in a third world country in the throes of war. Check out a near-mint contract Mauser (or Imperial service rifle) made at Oberndorf (M1871, M71/84, 1896 Swede, Kar/Gewehr 98, 1935 Chileno, 1909 Peruvian, some 1908 Brazilians, etc), DWM/Loewe (1891 & 1909 Argentine, 1908 Brazilian, 1895 Chileno, etc), Steyr (1912 Chilean primarily), BRNO (98/29 Persian, nicer Vz24s), or FN (most commonly seen is the Venezuelan 24/30, but others are around) if you want to see the pinnacle of quality in a Mauser rifle.

    The CKS is a respectable bolt action battle rifle, but it doesn't even come close to the quality of these other arms, even when found in nice shape.

    Also, keep in mind that many low-number 03 Springfields were shot to the point of being re-barreled, despite every single one of them being questionable (though not necessarily faulty). The fact that significant numbers of Chinese Mausers have shown up in worn out shape is not rational proof that "if any were to fail or 'blow up' they would have done so by now." That said, the vast majority of rifles made locally (as opposed to the CKS types) that are severely worn does highlight the inferior, fast-wearing nature of their steel.

    twoneactual,

    If both are still in military configuration (apart from the refinished stock, which may not be that much of a killer on a RC), the k98k is worth much more than the Turk 38, and also has better prospects for its value appreciating. I would urge you to consider a no-alteration scoping method to preserve the rifle's value, but they're your rifles.

    By the way, 1.5 MOA is good shooting with open sighted Mausers!
    Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Mauser have a safety factor of close to 3 so they wont break. Even the pre 98' 2 lug mausers wont break, but they do have relatively poor gas venting and shielding so a blown case or primer may send gas and debris into your face. (ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION!) The mausers are so strong I shot a 96 Swede extensively, then had a bolt lug fall out when cycling it, broken off by an old fatigue crack. The one remaining lug held the bolt in place with no apparent problems. In retrospect I should have made up a proof load and seen what happened. I wouldn't be surprised if it passed proof with the one lug.

    The typical "failure" mode in an overload for a mauser is to blow the barrel forward at least a couple threads. Bolt interior parts, the magazine bottom, and even the stock may get damaged by gas but the bolt body and receiver will stay locked and intact.

    I'd guess the stories you heard of them cracking from heat treating are garbled retellings of the low number 03 Springfield heat treat problems - which only started happening when ammunition had quality control problems during WWI, or a few old cases of the very unwise reheat treatment of sporting Mauser conversions to harden them. Old time gunsmiths had a fetish about receiver hardness, but most mauser receivers were only heat treated enough to normalize them, and then are surface case hardened. This leaves the steel core soft enough to absorb an overload pressure by expanding instead of shattering. This safety feature is wrecked by heat treating, and I've heard of the side rails cracking when a heat treated receiver was dropped on the floor.

    But after extensive use, or if poorly made, the surface hardening in the lug recesses may be lost and you may get lug setback from hot loads, the problem with a few Spanish mausers and probably the Chinese ones too. Otherwise, assuming normal care and use, a large ring mauser is the safest bolt action in the world.
    I swear by Jupiter Optimus Maximus .... in the army of the consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and for 10 miles around it I will not steal anything worth more than a sestertius in any one day.

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    I modified a Brazilian VZ24 to 7mmRemMag by opening the bolt face, extractor, and feed lips.

    7mmRemMag 180 gr VLD moly 70 gr Re17 108 kpsi primer fell out, bolt had to be pounded out.

    The bolt body behind the lugs increased in outside diameter a few thousands.
    The receiver bolt abutments decreased in inside diameter a few thousands.
    I put valve grind compound on these spots and worked the bolt until the rifle was working again.
    I then shot a deer and an antelope with the rifle in 2011.

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    Mauser actions have mated up to some of

    the most powerful cartridges ever developed .

    They are not known for lack of strength or an

    insufficiency of durability .



    FIVESHOT

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post


    I modified a Brazilian VZ24 to 7mmRemMag by opening the bolt face, extractor, and feed lips.

    7mmRemMag 180 gr VLD moly 70 gr Re17 108 kpsi primer fell out, bolt had to be pounded out.

    The bolt body behind the lugs increased in outside diameter a few thousands.
    The receiver bolt abutments decreased in inside diameter a few thousands.
    I put valve grind compound on these spots and worked the bolt until the rifle was working again.
    I then shot a deer and an antelope with the rifle in 2011.
    You loaded that one too hot, per your usual custom. The measureable change in dimensions would probably have meant it would have failed proof if it had been submitted with that load.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    Thanks again for the comments guys! Looks like I'll be fine, from other research I've been doing, it looks like one just has to be cautious when handloading rounds for Mausers, using correct powder, not overcharging etc, pretty much just as with any other firearm, but as of right now I don't handload anyway. Honestly, what happened was I was looking for options and examples of scoped Mausers, and I somehow came across pics and stories of actions failing or being too soft and then people ragging on the integrity of the Mauser action. This just started to make me question the Mauser, which I had never even considered doing before because all I had heard were good things about it. I am probably going to have my M38 scoped, simply because it is a nice shooter already, and I have no other scoped rifles. I have heard that Turk receivers are of questionable integrity, but have also heard they are just fine and that lots of people use them to build a sporter off of. I'm an engineering student at Drexel, and would love to take my action down to our NDT labs so I could run some phased-array on it to REALLY check it out, but it may be more work than its worth.

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    This brass was fired in a 1938 Turkish Mauser that I rebarreled to 243.
    That rifle is ok.

    I have another ~ (50) 1903 Turkish Mausers that I have have run many of them very hot with primer falling out.
    One of them, however, lost an extractor as a secondary failure, when a Berdan primer case head on Portuguese brass, split in half.
    It is one of those welded bolts you can see in my avatar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post


    This brass was fired in a 1938 Turkish Mauser that I rebarreled to 243.
    That rifle is ok.

    I have another ~ (50) 1903 Turkish Mausers that I have have run many of them very hot with primer falling out.
    One of them, however, lost an extractor as a secondary failure, when a Berdan primer case head on Portuguese brass, split in half.
    It is one of those welded bolts you can see in my avatar.
    You load too damp hot, sir. You get away with it because the guns are strong, but you are abusing them and encouraging bad practice.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    load for accuracy..... not velocity....you may be the one hit!
    GOD<><SAVE THE CONSTITUTION / STATES RIGHTS><>NRA

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    Wut DK said +



    FIVESHOT

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    I just do it gather data.

    So people can know how strong Mauser actions are.

    Some people are not even grateful.

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    Clark,
    I am grateful. Thanks for the tests. I praise your endeavors.
    7x57guy

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7x57guy View Post
    Clark,
    I am grateful. Thanks for the tests. I praise your endeavors.
    7x57guy
    Me too, but if I was anywhere near you when you were testing, I'd run for cover.

    BTW, the 1903 Turk was made by Mauser Oberndorf, mostly rebored or rebarrelled in 8x57 with Turkey made barrels. The 1893 Turk is a pre 98 2 lug small ring, also made by mauser, about 90% as strong as the '03 and other 98 types but has very limited gas handling capability.

    Of later Turks some have german or czech receivers, others made in Turkey, but no complaints of strength, except for the 1954 ATF marked rifles. They had a german GEW 98 receiver shortened in front to make a hand guard retainer lip, losing a couple turns of thread. But that strength loss is just theoretical as there are no reports of problems, and all it would do anyway is let the barrel jump forward from a slightly smaller huge overload.

    My only complaints on the Turks have been the horrible care and repair post production on some, and poor wood selection and drying on a few when restocked in Turkey.
    I swear by Jupiter Optimus Maximus .... in the army of the consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and for 10 miles around it I will not steal anything worth more than a sestertius in any one day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    I just do it gather data.

    So people can know how strong Mauser actions are.

    Some people are not even grateful.
    Typical engineer! Load it 'til it breaks. One of my first memories of engineering school was breaking a concrete sample at close to 6000psi (good concrete!)

    If you don't load to failure, how will you know anything about ultimate strength?

    Needless to say, this is not something you attempt under informal conditions. I assume Clark has had some serious lab experience with materials testing.

    Somebody has to do it and best that they are knowledgeable and can do it safely. We can all learn from the results.

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    I started designing switching power supplies as a Boeing engineer in 1980, then smaller companies as an employee, then small companies as a contract engineer, then small companies as a consultant, and then... I was designing custom power supplies for a fixed price as my own company. Other engineers would design a supply, put a number of them in an oven and wait. I would disconnect my protection circuitry and overload. They would blow up with the sound of a firecracker. I would re design the part that blew up, and then overload the supply even higher. When I got done, I would put the protection back in. I could develop a more reliable supply and do it faster than the competition. So as soon as I started reloading 12 years ago, I was trying to blow up guns. My father, chief engineer of the M55, M107, M110, and XM70 gun designs, thought that I was nuts, until I showed him my record keeping.
    I have never had any physical pain from blowing up guns [I know how to hold them], but I have had emotional pain.
    When Elmer Kieth says he blew up so many 45 Colt peacemakers that he lost count, I can imagine how emotionally painful each one must have been.
    Once, when I blew up a Colt Police positive 38 special, bought specifically for destructive testing, my feelings hurt for hours. I had quickly learned to love that revolver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    You load too damp hot, sir. You get away with it because the guns are strong, but you are abusing them and encouraging bad practice.
    Clyde is right ... NEVER you would be allowed to stand or lie down next to me at a shooting range with such material. BTW, I noticed that you probably used 7,62 Nato cases to form them into 243 cases. What I see here is IMHO childs play that can end badly ... to know ... one has to measure ... one can't do that by trial and error in a receiver and bolt of unknown origin and history. I'm not impressed at all. Engineer maybe, but certainly not a "civil engineer" with a lab at his disposal.

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    He sounds pretty civil to me! But I suspect he's more like an Electrical.....

    I have to assume he understands the need for keeping people not involved in the testing safely away from the activity. Anything else would be uncivil....

    It's probably best for the board to frown on this sort of abuse of dangerous items but also to keep in mind that there are probably some board users who are qualified to do destructive testing responsibly. Their contributions should not be discouraged as long as they are made in a way that makes it clear that "you shouldn't try this at home, kids."

    Personally I prefer watching destructive testing from another room on video feed....

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