“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Cheapest Mausers Out There

 It's no secret I'm a Mauser lover.  First, there are many, many different versions to collect. I have huge books dedicated to nothing but identifying the Mauser you have in your hand or are thinking about buying.

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.



20 comments:

  1. My FiL was a Mauser lover. He had like well I don't know how many of them but he had them in all the different calibers as well. I know he had at least one Argentine isn't that like 8.5 mm or something like that? Sadly the wife's brother cleaned em all out and sold em to supply his habit. I snatched up the reloading stuff and that was about it but I also got all his load data notes which is how I knew just what calibers and firearms he had. Pissed the wife's brother off to no end when I told her he was lying through his teeth when he tried to hand her 500 bucks and told her it was her share of the firearm sales. He didn't know I had 17 serial numbers in just Mausers along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh ya it was 7.65 mm for the Argentine wasn't it?

      Delete
    2. We had a similar event in my family. My grandpa died, and my no good cousins down there took his guns, including a first generation Colt SAA. They sold everything, when that Colt at least should have remained in the family.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, the Argentine Mausers chambered 7.65X53. I early on made a decision not to buy a rifle I wasn't going to shoot. The 7mm and the 7.65 mm guns were out there, but the ammo wasn't. I often wish I hadn't made that choice, because the South and Central American guns are really some of the nicest Mausers, and the Argentine guns got little actual use and could be had in unissued condition back in the 80's very reasonably. Alas, so many guns, so little time!

      Delete
  2. Those Turkish Mausers look elegent, although my favourite bolt action rifle is the Lee Enfield I could be persuaded to add a Turk to my collection. Years ago the market in Australia had a heap of really cheap Israeli Mausers in 7.62, they were in pretty good condition and were all ex Nazi rifles with all the eagles etc. over punched. Mind you it kicked like a mule and I ended up trading it for an old shotgun, another mistake in hindsight.

    Also I remember a lot of South American Mausers as well in 7.62, I think they were from Brazil and they had cool looking muzzle brakes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Turkish Mausers were a good deal. I have one Israeli Mauser in my collection, converted from 8mm Mauser to .308 in Israel. It's a Kar98.

      I could be wrong, but I bet you are thinking of Spanish FR8 rifles. They were originally the Spanish Model 1916 Mauser. The Spanish converted them to .308. Some of them were made into what was called the FR8 version, which had a muzzle break. The Spanish 1916's, converted to .308, were another of those instances when everyone predicted doom and gloom , saying the chamber could not stand the additional stress of the .308 load. Yet I never met or talked to anyone who actually saw one burst, or even knew a person who said they had other than five or six stories down the ladder. Having said that, I was afraid they might blow up too, so I never bought one.

      Delete
    2. I'm sure you are right Harry, Mauser's are not my field, I do remember they had a most impressive crest machined into the top of the receiver.

      Back when I used to shoot military rifles my club found an importer who was bringing in Spanish 7.62 ammo, it was quite good quality and came in 200 round bricks covered in thick plastic which made them even more popular. I am sure that there are plenty of these bricks buried all over Sydney! Our club was only small but we sold huge quantities of this ammo to all of the other clubs, my garage never used to have less than 10,000 rounds of the stuff at any time, strictly verboten under firearms legislation in NSW!!

      Delete
    3. You did right to stash it away when you could. Bricks are a good way to buy ammo for long term storage. As long as your storage space is climate controlled the ammo will stay good forever.

      Delete
  3. thanks for ragnar update.
    deb h.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's been up and around this morning. He found enough energy to turn over my desk side wicker waste basket and pull out the papers, so maybe he is starting to feel more his old self.

      Delete
  4. Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    On the previous post I mention "Snousers rymes with Mousers" (as in Scnouser the dog breed. I know, it ain't spelled right)

    You see, I influenced you and you wrote on Mousers.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The good weather is here as well, spent all weekend on outside projects. Need some storage time as well, but I'm wait for a rainy day.
    I've never had a really old firearm (don't think black powder replicas count), I suppose I've always preferred the newer stuff for some reason. Everyone who has an older rifle really loves them, so they were definitely built to last.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, today the modern rifles are built to be cheap. Things like sleeved barrels, plastic stocks. I suppose it's more utilitarian, but I think a gun should be a thing of beauty as well. The old guns were built by craftsmen, especially those from the pre World War I period. Walnut stocks, beautiful bluing, and much handwork in their construction.

      Delete
  6. I'm glad he's feeling better now, I'm sure he needs rest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think he will be ok unless something else suddenly arises. With ferrets every day involves "what next?"

      Delete
  7. I really miss the early 1990's, the inexpensive Euro surplus was out of this world. I could not afford to pick many, but two of my favorites are the Swede 38 short rifle (6.5) and Spanish FR8 (7.62 NATO) bolt guns. The Swede for its surperb manufacture, the FR8 for its 'ranch rifle' practicality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the Swedish Mausers, both the long gun an the shorter Model 1938. I bought several of each when they were cheap and available. I never bought an FR8 , though now I wish I had. I can remember when Samco was selling them for under $100.00 in very good condition.

      Delete
  8. Glad to see you up and about. Looks like have a lot on your plate now that the nice weather is rolling in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a lot to do here that has been hanging fire until nice weather. But it's not nearly so difficult to work when it's warm and breezy. Especially during this last winter, it was just too cold to do much more than essential outside work.

      Delete