View Full Version : Case Coloring the Mauser
February 17, 2000, 11:18 AM
I've been thinking about reworking a Model 98 Mauser action for personal use and I was sort of interested in the possibility of getting it color case hardened, minus the bolt. Does anyone have any experience having this done with a bolt action? I know that the Mausers were originally casehardened anyway so is there any reason I shouldn't have this done? Any information would be appreciated.
NRA, Life Member
February 17, 2000, 06:53 PM
George, check me out on this, but AFAIK, Mausers were never case hardened, with or without colors. There are companies who do coloring, but I don't know who does actual color hardening.
February 17, 2000, 11:16 PM
Jim, I beleive you're right. I'm not sure I know how to put this but a lot of Mauser actions like Springfields have a tough surface that can be a real pain to drill through. I think this is where the Case hardened idea comes from. I just d&t'd a 1916 short rifle today that I had to spot anneal before I could drill it.
Alex, there is a method of getting the colors on an action without actually putting it in a furnace. I don't like the idea of re-heat treating actions. They can become brittle. Place the action in a kitchen oven at WARM for 10 or 15 minutes or until it is just a bit too warm to hold comfortably. Then swab perma blue all over it. You'll get a coloring effect similar to the NEF and old H&R shotgun actions.
February 18, 2000, 12:16 AM
Boy, I feel really nervous about disagreeing with the moderator, but all my sources say the Mausers were all case hardened (except possibly the late FN's, the Mk. 10's, and anything later.) Modern alloy steels didn't exist at the time--by casehardening what we would call "mild steel", Mauser created a hard 'slick-acting' surface which added a lot of strength, while retaining a soft, tough inner core that wouldn't shatter.
The case hardening was not as perfectly controlled as it would be today, thus some have a much deeper case than others, leading to the drill and tap problems George mentioned. (For the same reason, Rockwell testing of Mauser recievers can give wildly varying results, yet still be safe.)
As George noted, color-case treating amounts to 're-heat-treating', which most authorities consider a no-no, or 'dubious at best'. I saw a color-cased Mauser awhile back in "Rifle" magazine...a fancy number that, knowing the gun-scribes, probably wouldn't get shot much anyway. If I were to color or re-treat one it would be for nothing hotter than a factory-load 7mm Mauser.
The book you really ought to look at is Jerry Kuhnhausen's "The Mauser Bolt Actions-A Shop Manual" (Brownell's and elsewhere). He does mention a possible re-heat-treater for Mauser actions; if my old note is correct, it's 'Metal Treaters Inc.', of St Paul, @612-646-1316...that's an old scribbled note, so you may have to do some searching.
February 18, 2000, 08:59 AM
DING,DING, DING! Weegee, give yourself a seegar! You are right. I should have looked before I typed. Sometimes I wonder where my brain's at. Thanks, George.
February 18, 2000, 12:14 PM
I guess my thoughts were to shorten the action and turn it into a .22 rimfire. Since shortening will involve welding it would probably be desirable to re-heat treat the action when it's done anyway, though I guess most of the welding heat is concentrated on a non-critical part of the action and being the .22 doesn't have any major pressure to speak of I suppose it's safe enough as is. The color case idea was more or less a whim, sort of a contrast to the rest of my rifles with rust blue finishes. Thank's for all the input, I'll definitely take it all into consideration.
NRA, Life Member
February 18, 2000, 03:37 PM
I've had a wild hair to build a pistol caliber carbine on an old pre 98 action for a while. Something like a 45ACP or 44 mag. Picked up a 93 action (pitted) for $20 from Federal Arms to experiment with. Figured to use pistol mags with a custom mag well. I'm going to shorten the action around the thumb notch. Ought to be fun. Is this something like you had in mind? A small ring would be about right for a "heavy" 22. Maybe Ruger 77/22 mags?
February 22, 2000, 11:23 PM
I guess I had planned to make the action into a single shot. Nothing too fancy, my main interest is in stockworking and I don't have a project at the moment. The idea of a 44 magnum Mauser sounds intriguing however, that would be intersting.
February 23, 2000, 08:14 AM
Glad to see someone else likes to build stocks,that is what started me down this road.I have to do as much of my own metal working as possible in order to keep costs down.Have you ever tried silver maple for stock wood?I salvaged a large log a few years ago.I works like walnut,tough as nails,lighter than most wood,lots of figure,but not quite as stable as I like.If you want to try a piece let me know I will send you one no charge you pay the shipping.I think it would be a good choice for your project.A friend of mine used it on a ultra lite .308 the gun is under 5lbs.I have used it on a 30-30,a 257 rbts.,a 22-250,and I am working on a .338 win mag.Good luck with your project.
February 23, 2000, 12:52 PM
Hi Alex! Whichever way you go, you're going to have a neat project. If you try to build a repeater, just think about using a pistol mag from an existing gun. Maybe a Desert Eagle for 44mag or 1911 for 45. You gould even cut down the mag to fit within the existing stock lines, i.e. not protrude from the bottom. Sort of a permanently attatched mag. Lots of possibilities. Have fun with it.
Ciao for now, Bill
February 23, 2000, 02:10 PM
No, I have never used Silver Maple. I have used Sugar Maple (Rock Maple) and Red Maple. My experiences with maple are mostly with muzzleloading projects, though I did use it once for a nice set of Ruger Blackhawk grips. I have heard that Silver Maple can be soft and brash, but I don't have any experience with it so I can't comment. I would imagine there is some very nice looking Silver Maple gunstocks floating around, however. A friend of mine, who's in the gunstocking guild, showed me a set of Mauser's that he had stocked with maple (now that I think of it they may have been Silver maple) and they made worked up into a fine looking pair of rifles. What kind of gunstocking do you do?
NRA, Life Member
February 24, 2000, 08:24 AM
I for the most part rebarrel and stock mauser bolt guns,but I also have done quite a few shotgun buttstocks and forends including a couple sidelock doubles(quite a chalange).The silver maple I am using came from a tree that grew in a local park.I have clicked around to try to find out more about this species.What I found was that there are several subspecies of silver maple and it has also been crossed with red maple.What my particular tree is I don't have a clue.All I know is that a rich local family set them out by the hundred in the early 1900's and they a not native to Vermont.The good thing is that I salvaged enough quarter sawed blank to last me a long time and these trees are all past there prime so it is not hard to get more.
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