View Full Version : Old Mauser safe to shoot?

September 30, 1999, 09:17 PM
I recently purchased a neat old Mauser (Czech vz-24). It's not a collector by any means but it's a neat piece of history to have. After staring at it for a couple of months... I really, really, really want to shoot it!

The bore is nice and brite and the barrel has plenty of rifleing left. No pitting or visible flaws in the reciever and the bolt locks up tight in battery.

I bought a case of 8mm ammo for it and I've cycled a few rounds through the action out in the pasture. Everything works fine so far. I stopped short of firing it because I got this mental picture of a rifle bolt finding it's way into my head :(. The man who sold it to me guesstimated that it was from the 20's or 30's. My grandpa is from the 20's and I wouldn't subject him to undue pressure, but what about this rifle? Do you guys think it's safe to shoot?

Thanks in advance for any advise you can offer.

James K
September 30, 1999, 09:22 PM
Hi, JJR,

That VZ-24 is one of the best of the Mauser 98 types. Unlike your grandpa (and yours truly) age alone does not weaken a rifle in the slightest. If you have any doubt, have it checked by a gunsmith, or tie it to a tire and pull the trigger with a string for the first shot.

I don't believe there will be the slightest problem in shooting it.


George Stringer
September 30, 1999, 10:40 PM
There probably won't be any problem with shooting it but if it were me I'd spend $20 and have the headspace and overall safety checked before shooting. Awful cheap insurance. George

October 1, 1999, 12:41 AM
yeah have it headspaced for sure, money well spent, Jim I have tried the tree method, its
a SAFE alternative to head spacing, and the
CZ made mausers are the best, my first rifle
that I bought was a CZ-24 wrapped in wax paper and drowned in cosmoline, also had lion crest on ring, paid $50, now I see their
selling for $300, good guns for the money.:}

Paul B.
October 2, 1999, 02:54 PM
JJ. If and when your Mauser is declared safe to shoot, be sure to find out if that case of 8MM ammo is corrosive, or non-corrosive. If it is corrosive, and you don't clean it properly, your nice shiny bore will no longer be nice, bright and shiny.
WW-2 was fought with Garands and corrosive ammo, not to mention tubs of hot boiling water. I believe that when it was possible, the gun was cleaned every day for three days, with the hot water, or a water based GI bore cleaner.
Maybe there is a WW-2 vet who can confirm this for us.
Paul B.

October 2, 1999, 06:34 PM
Thanks guys! My gunsmith gave it the OK this morning and I took it to the range this afternoon. WOW! It was the most fun I've had shooting in a long time. The old girl seemed happy to be brought to back life. I shot the best groups I have ever shot with iron sights on any rifle! I couldn't believe it. I'm going to have to get me some more of these :).


Thanks for the heads up on the ammo thing. The ammo I bought is date-stamped 1931! What is the proper procedure for cleaning up after corrosive ammo? I scrubbed the bore diligently with Hoppe's solvent and then gave her a light coat of oil inside. What more should I do to insure this rifle lives another 100 years? Thanks.

Harley Nolden
October 2, 1999, 06:58 PM
This may give you a little more insite on your CZ Mauser
Other Names: Mauser-Jelen
Model: 98/22 Rifle:
Short Rifles: VZ-24 VZ-33 and Mauser system rifles in 7.9mm
mfg Brno
Year of Mfg: 1923-24
Cal: 7.92X57mm rimless
Length: 49.2" 1,240mm
Weight: 4.22 kg 9.9 lb
Bbl Length: 29.13-740mm
Grooves: RH concentric
Magazine: Internal charger box 5 rounds
M-Velocity: 870m/sec w/std. ball

Guns used by the Czechoslovakian forces were distinguished by a crowned twin tailed Lion of Bohemia W a shield on its breast. They were also marked CSK CSZ for Czechoslovakia and
Czekoslovekia Statni vbrojovky. The export weapons usually bore the marks of Czechoslovakia Zbrojovka, Brno.

Czechoslovakia seized independence from Austria-Hungary at the end of WWI, gaining the nucleus of an effectual arms industry from the Skoda factory and many Austro-Hungarian, German and Russian rifles. A factory was created in Brno to make Mausers, equipped with Austro-Hungarian or German machinery supplied as war reparations.


Paul B.
October 3, 1999, 02:14 PM
JJR. You clean your rifle the same way as for black powder. The corrosive element is a form of salt, similar to table salt.
Hot water and wet patches. Scrub it thoroughly. The military did it for 3 days after firing when possible in WW-2. Clean it as you normally would, using the water as you would Hoppe's #9. Dry the bore thoroughly. Do it again the next day the same way, and once again on the third day. Oil the bore thoroughly after the last cleaning. (Frankly, when I shot that stuff years ago, I only cleaned it one time. I did not know what the military procedure was at that time. I had no problems, even in San Francisco's ocean climate. But every three days is the safest policy. Your choice.
You said the ammo was made in 1931. I would almost bet my life it is corrosive. Probably Berdan primed to, so it is not conveniently reloadable.
One of the main reasons for corrosive priming is storage. They hold up better under adverse conditions. Bet you didn't have too many misfires, if any. Right? Actually, as old as that stuff is, you will probably get a few that fail to go bang. That's to be expected.

I have a friend who has a original 1911 in .45 ACP Belonged to his wife's father, or grandfather, I forget which. According to the serial number, it was made in late 1912 or early 1913. It was totally mint, like it looked unfired. I offered him $1,000 for it,but he wouldn't sell. :(
He had several 20 round boxes of ammo (military stuff) from 1915 thru 1918. WW-1 issue. He fired some of it. Several months later, we passed through the town where he lived and paid a visit. He was heartbroken. That mint .45 was covered with a layer of rust, from "head to toe". It took me about 3 hours to clean it up as best I could, but that pristine pistol now looks as if it had lost the war. He averaged about 5 or 6 misfires per box, for what it is worth.
If for some strange happenstance, that brass is Boxer primed, and is reloadable, be sure to wash it out in hot water too. Otherwise, remaining corrosive material sprayed into the cases will contaminate your barrel just as bad as the primers.
Hope this was of help.
Paul B.

[This message has been edited by Paul B. (edited October 03, 1999).]

October 3, 1999, 02:33 PM
Thanks Paul, I'll start on it this evening (I thought I was finished cleaning blackpowder ;)).

I had 4 misfires out of the 30 rounds I fired (big dimple in primer, but no boom). But even those rounds fired when I hit them a second time. It always amazes me that ammo can stay active for that long of a period of time. My car won't start if I ignore it for more then 2 weeks! Thanks again.

James K
October 4, 1999, 03:59 PM
Paul B.,

A very sad story. I wish I could repeat it for all the idiots who have told me that either 1) they don't know what corrosive primers are and don't care, or 2) they can't be bothered cleaning the gun, or 3) they run a couple of patches with the latest magic gee-whiz bore cleaner and that is enough.