I just was given a sporter Mauser. All indications is that it's a Spanish 1916. The only marking is the circle cross stamp on the bottom of the trigger guard and matching serial numbers and a few stamps on the bottom of the receiver that I can't find any references for.
First off, it's a 7x57 chamber and it doesn't shoot at all. I spent three days running patches and brushes down the bore and removed somewhere around 8 pounds of crap and still going.
However the only rounds I can find locally are the 140 gain Remington PSP's. I've tested in twice with different scopes at 25 yards and am getting, at best, a four inch pattern. If my math is right, that's around 16 MOA.
I've seen posted on various internet sites that this chamber is best suited for a bullet in the 173 grain range. So first question - does anyone have a guess on how much difference a 173 grain round will make?
I'm willing to put some money into the rifle, I like the way it feels and looks, but not sure it's worth it. What's your feeling on whether a new barrel is worth the cost and what kind of accuracy could be expected from a rifle of this class?
From what data I have found the original M1893/M196 small ring rifles in 7mm Mauser had a service bullet of 173 grains that only went 2100 fps in a 29 inch barrel.
Now I am going to tell you that the best thing to do is not sink any money into this rifle. Since it was free, you are not out any money on it, and that is a good thing.
Spanish Mauser rifles as a class have a poor reputation and it is deserved. You just have to spend time looking to find that these old actions, and they are very old, were built in a period of primitive and non existent process controls, were made of out plain carbon steels that today, are so cheap and low grade that they are used for rebar. Rifle receivers today are made of alloy steels which have a much higher yeild and tensile strength. Spanish mausers are among the worst built of early mausers.
So, lets say you rebarrel it. Your reloads would have to stay within 19th century pressures and velocities because you run the real risk of receiver seat set back.
You can better spend your money on something new, something that you can push a 7mm or whatever, to modern velocities and pressures.
Excessive Headspace in M1916 Mauser
Originally Posted by Oceans
Thats funny Maj. Dad, I knew a correctional officer in the late '80s, who had one of them in what was supposed to be .308. This guy loved that rifle like it was a 1930s model 70. He talked about it constantly, shot it every time he went to the range and even bought an expensive case to haul it around in. I was always leery of a 1893 action chambered in .308. I was told that the Guardia Mauser was chambered for a very similar Spanish round, and not the NATO 7.62x51, and that this Spanish round was loaded to lower pressures. I do not know if this is true, maybe someone on the board does? I will say, that the rifle is handy, and nice looking.
Oceans - It is true, as I found out today, sadly.
I've had my 1916 Spanish Guardia Mauser from Samco for about 20 years now. Took it deer hunting every year until last year, when I heard about the same thing you did. I shot .308 rounds out of it.
Finally got the headspace checked by a gunsmith, and - well, the bolt locked EASILY on "no-go". And we're talking like butter. I snapped the firing pin and will have it hanging on the wall of my office soon.
that you honorably retire the rifle.
My experience with the Spanish '93-type actions is that they are not suitable for rebarreling to any modern cartridge at all.
They are all soft (many years ago, I watched an old gunsmith squash one in simply tightening his action wrench onto it. When he noticed that the barrel shank wouldn't thread back into the action, and realized why, he simply took the receiver out of the wrench, laid it on his bench and smacked it with a big brass hammer until he could screw the barrel back in).
With pressures higher than about 40 KPSI (virtually all modern CF rifle cartridges), the locking lugs will set-back into their seats very quickly, increasing headspace until the bolt becomes hard to open and case heads separate. Several years ago, a customer (and friend) decided he'd like to make up a 7.62x39 rifle on just such a '93 Spanish action. I couldn't talk him out of it, so made and fitted a barrel for him. In shooting about 200 rounds of Wolf ammunition, it battered itself into just the state I described above.
Just my recommendation, but not based on hearsay.
PRD1 - mhb - Mike
Interesting thread on old mausers: