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View Full Version : Firing .308 Winchester in the Spanish Mauser


Gator_Weiss
January 2, 2010, 06:23 PM
For a total of $59.00 I have acquired a Spanish Mauser carbine (1916 action) with a spruce stock, in .308 CETME. As most of us C&R enthusiasts already would know, the .308 CETME case is pretty well interchangeable with the .308 Winchester case (or 7.62x51 N).

.308 CETME original milspec loadings are somewhat lower pressure than .308W. Not radically so. It is similar in pressure to 7mm Mauser loadings. Maybe similar to some 30-40 Krag "warmer" loadings.

Research indicates that some of these rifles in a controlled lab environment were tested all the way to destruction, and they withstood massive amounts of pressure, far, far, far, beyond anything in the .308W class.

It is important to note that the 1916 action IS NOT a '98 action. The 1916 has dual opposed forward locking lugs that are very beefy (and nothing else!). It cocks on closing with a fairly stiff spring. The nature of the action indicates that escaping gas is free to run the length of the bolt channel into the face of the shooter upon case failure or obstruction in the barrel. It does not have the "flange effect" or the gas escape program present on the '98. It has none of the extras that the '98 action employs in case of case failures to deal with the escaping gases.

Using moderate hand loadings with same / similar pressures on paper to the 7mm mauser loads, this rifle is fairly accurate. This was surprising to me. At 100 yards, from a steady rest, I got a 3-shot group that I could cover with a 1/2 dollar coin. At 200, it spread out on paper considerably, but I attribute that spread mostly to my deteriorating eyesight. I am no longer a young man, and I am a little bit embarassed by my 200 yard paper groupings lately. On a side note, I will say that I was able to wack gallon jugs of water at the 200 yard line while sitting at a bench with a bean bag under the rifle, with five single shots for five jugs. Did I center the jugs when I connected??? Well, no, not really. Sort of. But I was able to hit the damn things.

I am not using a scope here. The iron sights on the rifle are a tiny rear notch and a barleycorn shaped and sharp "pointed" front sight. They are actually pretty fair sights for the type of shooting I was doing. Easy to bring to bear quickly, and easy to sight at distant objects, owing to the sharp point at the top of the front sight.

The bore of this rifle shows some good handling by the Spanish military and police over the years. I am not finding any pitting, except for very few "dots" just a hair north of the chamber.

The soft-wood spruce stock is light as a feather. I can only wonder if that is why they chose spruce. Or perhaps there was a shortage of hardwood at some point in history. The metal was in overall pretty good condition, with 90 percent or more of it's original finish intact. When I pulled the stock off to get into some serious inspection and cleaning, I noted that the mating of the action to the stock was a very utilitarian affair. I regarded it as somewhat crude compared to that of the '98 Mauser.

The trigger has some creep to it, but releases at a fairly easy pressure. Not bad for a hunter or a plinker piece, and I think I will leave this trigger it as it is. It works well enough.

The safety catch is the good old "swing it over or stand it up" "switch" that we have all come to know on the '98 rifle. On the Spanish, it is a little stiff, but it engages solidly.

The magazine might be somewhat sensitive, and I dont know why. I will have to look into that. I had a little trouble chambering one or two rounds. Mostly it worked "OK" but it needs a little investigating.

The rifle balances fairly well for a "snap shot." It is fairly short overall. An excellent "truck gun" so to say. Should be no problem to knock down a deer or a coyote at a moderate distance using these open sights.

THE QUESTION IS:

Is it a good idea to shoot 7.62x51(N) or .308 Winchester loadings in this rifle? I found one bit of research that says it is OK to do, and I found another that says it is not safe to do so, because the "expert" felt that the lugs on the bolt might be too "soft" in temper for those hotter loadings.

Does anyone on here have any extensive experience with this model of Mauser?

Tamara
January 2, 2010, 06:37 PM
Is it a good idea to shoot 7.62x51(N) or .308 Winchester loadings in this rifle? I found one bit of research that says it is OK to do, and I found another that says it is not safe to do so, because the "expert" felt that the lugs on the bolt lugs might be "soft."

I have an FR-8 myself.

This is what I've synthesized from everything I've read on the FR-7, FR-8, and Guardia Civil rifles:

While the barrels on both the FR-7 and FR-8 come from CETME-C rifles, which are designed for the more powerful 7.62x51 rather than the 7.62 CETME like the CETME-B, as you note, the FR-7 and Guardia Civil 1916s suffer the added complication of using the small-ring Mauser action.

The general consensus seems to be that the small-ring action, especially the allegedly "softer" Oviedo-built guns, are not a good mix with modern .308 Win hunting ammo.

While I know folks who have successfully used the stuff in theirs and still have two eyes and ten fingers, I probably wouldn't, myself. If I did, I'd keep a close eye on the headspace.

In my own FR-8, I'll use military-loaded 7.62x51, but I have stayed away from commercial hunting ammo.

PetahW
January 2, 2010, 08:50 PM
FWIW, there is no such thing as a "1916 action" on a Mauser - Spanish Mauser's are M93's (1893 actions).

Military Mausers:

*M91 - German/Austrian
*M93 - Spanish
*M94 - Swedish
*M95 - Chilean
*M96 - Swedish
*M98 - Germany & several dozen other countries.

I won't fire a .308 Win or 7.62NATO load, or any other commercial round based on that case (.243/etc), or one with those operating pressures, in any pre-98 Mauser.

.

Tamara
January 2, 2010, 09:12 PM
FWIW, there is no such thing as a "1916 action" on a Mauser - Spanish Mauser's are M93's (1893 actions).

No, but Spanish-made short rifles on the '93 action are referred to as "1916s".

Jimro
January 3, 2010, 02:05 AM
The issue isn't really action strength it is gas handling.

The safety issue is that if there is a total case failure the gasses will shoot back into the shooters face.

The soft steel will develop excessive headspace as the lugs set back in the reciever, and that can cause case ruptures as the brass stretches further and further during firing.

So if you monitor your headspace and use good ammo that isn't likely to fail on you (low pressure reloads or new ammo) then you are unlikely to kill yourself. However you wouldn't catch me letting anyone in my family shoot a small ring Mauser with anything but low pressure ammo (7x57 or 6.5x55 for example).

Jimro

kilimanjaro
January 3, 2010, 04:42 PM
There are two kinds of ammo that can be safely fired in the Spanish rifles :

1.) genuine surplus CETME loads (for rifle).
2.) handloaded .308 to a lower pressure.

The reason is not the steel in the action, that's pretty good, but the lack of a safety gas port to vent the gases when things go wrong. You can probably shoot for the next 20 years without a problem, but just one round is the one that will blind, maim, or kill you if a case ruptures or you plug the barrel. I don't worry about plugged barrels, being careful about that, but a ruptured case is not uncommon, especially if using surplus, or handloads if you use it too many times or forget to weigh your loads or some other such blunder. One day something is going to get by your checks and inspections and the safety vent is going to be what gets you home in time for dinner.

Flipper 56
January 3, 2010, 09:56 PM
Is it a good idea to shoot 7.62x51(N) or .308 Winchester loadings in this rifle? I found one bit of research that says it is OK to do, and I found another that says it is not safe to do so, because the "expert" felt that the lugs on the bolt might be too "soft" in temper for those hotter loadings.

I have an unmarked 1916 marked Samco 308 W on the underside by the muzzle. Using 308 and 7.62 x 51 will stretch the receiver until you are unable to cycle bolt. I download 308s to 300 Savage pressures and the rifle is effective and a pleasure to shoot. The best source of info is

http://www.geocities.com/fritz125541/Spanmauhome

Double J
January 3, 2010, 11:48 PM
I too have a couple of the guns from Samco. Barrel is marked .308 WIN. So far there have been no signs of stress from factory .308 ammo. No feed problems or any other failures of any kind. Biggest complaint I have is the sights.