Second, they are "never fail" weapons that are sturdy and pack a punch. They can break, but it's rare and it's usually just a matter of replacing a firing pin, or a spring in the feed system, something minor. Once upon a time, Mauser ammo was really cheap, if you stuck to the 8mm Mauser versions, which I did. There are a lot of 7mm Mausers out there, primarily guns that were contracted for by Central and South American countries. Argentina even made up it's own round and had contract rifles built chambered for that. I haven't bought any of those, trying to focus my collecting on the 8mm versions.
8mm Mauser is available commercially, there's plenty of brass available for it, and there is still some Romanian and Czech surplus on the market. For a brief period Turkish 8mm surplus, in bandoleers, in cans, in the wooden case was available, 1400 rounds to a wooden case, and you can bet old watashiwa stocked up on that stuff. Yes, indeed.
The Turks had thousands of Model 1903 Mausers built for themselves by Ludwig Lowe of Germany , and later, during a rebuilding program in the 1930's and early 1940's, these guns were converted to 8mm Mauser. In the late 1990's they were dirt cheap. Great shooters, in great condition, but according to the mores of collectors in those days, not collectible because they had been "altered."
The 1903 was an improved and simplified version of the famous Gewehr 1898. How could you go wrong?
There's another good thing about Turkish Mausers. The Turks were very adamant about taking care of the weapons. Good rifles cost money, and the Turks didn't have an abundance of it. When they paid cash for something, be it a tank or a radio or a rifle, they took care of it. I can remember working on Turkish bases, and seeing huge motor pool lots filled with immaculately maintained World War II era Jeeps, trucks and weapons carriers they got from us. I mean, show room floor condition. I also saw these Mausers, particularly at Air Force bases, in the hands of the sentries. So the Turks bought them in 1903, and they were still in use with second line units in the early 1980's! How's that for being frugal? All of my Turkish Mausers are in very good to excellent condition. When I was buying them, I invariably paid the "hand pick" fee and I got my money's worth.
I spent some time rearranging in a couple of the store rooms and out in the shop. When the good weather comes, it's time to get everything squared away. Over the long, dreary winter supplies and equipment tend to get stacked where there is space, but I get it right when the weather lightens up.
There's still more to do, but I have plenty of time to do it.
Ragnar is still spending all his time sleeping. My wife says people do that after a major surgery. He is eating and drinking though, so I'm hoping he will regain his energy.
|Ragnar in happier times.|