View Full Version : Help id'ing a Mauser and a new barrel

January 20, 2009, 04:16 PM
I've got an old Mauser I received as a gift when I lived in Europe loooong ago, and have recently begun getting it back into working order.

Everything looks to be in sound shape except for the barrel, which was cross-drilled and filled with lead (probably as a decommissioning after WWII?). I had a gun smith remove the barrel from the receiver.

I'd like to replace the barrel and am hoping someone can point me in the right direction as my knowledge about these kinds of guns is limited at best.

It's got the serial number F124XX stamped on almost all parts - the barrel had some additional information stamped: 111B, 8x571S, & 39E7.

The receiver also has a fairly elaborate shield amid leaves with what looks like a small banner underneath as part of the design. Beneath that is stamped 1941 (build year?)

The manufacturer is stamped on the side of the receiver: "Mauser-Werke A.G. Oberndorf a.N." and there are numerous stampings of the eagle above the swastika.

James K
January 21, 2009, 12:21 AM
Brownells has new barrels, pre-threaded for the Mauser, but I am not sure they have them in 8mm, so converting to .308 might be a good bet. Or you might be able to find a take-off barrel but good ones are scarce.

That Mauser marking was used after 1922, so that serves to date the rifle somewhat. If you could provide pictures, especially of the receiver crest, that would help.

It started out as a commercial Mauser, probably made for a nation other than Germany. This is indicated by the commercial marking and the crest. The civilian caliber marking was probably applied later. At some point, it must have been taken over by the German army, hence the WaA acceptance stamps.

The barrel might not be original anyway. The "39E7" sounds like a Czech marking, so the barrel could be from a VZ-24.

All in all, that rifle sounds like a history book as much as a firearm.


January 21, 2009, 01:33 AM
I got the rifle at a flea market in Brussels when I lived there in the early 80's... I didn't think much about it until I got into shooting again.

The barrel has the same serial # stamped into it as all the other major parts, so maybe it was original - with the newer stampings coming after the fact? At any rate, the original barrel is a paperweight with all the holes drilled through it and lead filling its insides.

Regarding the receiver, I tried taking some pictures, but I don't have a camera that can take any close-ups so the crest just comes out as a messy blur. Hopefully I'll get a family member to help me out with some legible photos soon.

Like I said, I know very little about these kinds of guns - but I'd like to get it up and firing again if only for an occasional round...

I tried a used barrel from Numrich (e-gunparts.com) that was 8mm from the same era, but the barrel sleeve and threads were off by about 3/4 of a rotation to fit and align properly...

What goes into converting the Mauser into a .308? Is it as simple as seating a new barrel or does it get into altering the bolt/firing pin/etc?

January 21, 2009, 06:11 PM
Bulldog: The barrel from Numrich can be made to work. Facing the action and then seating the barrel with a barrel vice and action wrench will take care of it. Now comes the obligatory warning about checking the headspace.
As far as the 308, no changes to the action are needed.(Might polish the feed rails and ramp though) Same procedure as installing the barrel you have if you buy a short chambered 308 barrel.

James K
January 21, 2009, 10:17 PM
The new barrel will be short chambered, meaning you will need a chambering reamer to set the final headspace.


January 22, 2009, 12:07 PM
The barrel from Numrich can be made to work...
The gunsmith I took it to said he'd need to either re-thread the (Numrich) barrel or remove part of the barrel sleeve or a small part of the receiver or some such business so he could get the barrel to rotate that last 3/4 of a rotation. He didn't seem to keen on it even being a possibility so I sent the barrel back to Numrich. Maybe I need a better gunsmith :confused:

From the discussion, it sounds like I'm probably getting in over my head - chambering reamers, resetting headspaces... I was hoping for a somewhat inexpensive endeavor of just getting this rifle up and shooting again, whether it's in 308 or 8mm or whatever - the caliber doesn't really matter to me.

Any suggestions on where to get a barrel (in whatever caliber) mated up to my receiver for a reasonable price for this project that's just going to be a once-in-a-while plinker for fun? I'm in Phx AZ if you have any recommendations in the area for the smithing.

Thanks to both Jim & Sadsack for your help so far!

January 22, 2009, 01:55 PM
The gunsmith I took it to said he'd need to either re-thread the (Numrich) barrel or remove part of the barrel sleeve or a small part of the receiver or some such business so he could get the barrel to rotate that last 3/4 of a rotation. He didn't seem to keen on it even being a possibility so I sent the barrel back to Numrich. Maybe I need a better gunsmith

He would have had to lathe down the barrel where it butts against the receiver enough to get it to line up. No threading is involved. Then he'd have to face off the rear of the chamber to correct length and then ream the chamber. No big deal. Not many barrels are going to screw right in and be right. Even if the barrel screwed in and lined up it would still more often than not have to be head spaced which involves lathe work.

Jim Watson
January 22, 2009, 02:25 PM
Hawg is right. He should not have even considered cutting on the receiver to make a takeoff barrel fit. The barrel shoulder would not have to be lathe turned back very far, 3/4 turn = 1/16" on the 12 tpi Mauser barrel thread.
I would not have thought it would involve the rear sight base which I assume you mean by "sleeve."

Once upon a time, a reputable gunsmith would be sure to have a lathe. Replacement barrels were sold with full length chambers so any headspace adjustment would be made by setting the barrel back a bit. No reamer required, just a headspace gauge.
Nowadays, people want to get in the business for cheap or/and in a small space, so replacement barrels are usually short chambered so headspace is set with a reamer and the lathe is not required.

January 23, 2009, 01:41 PM
I don't think the gunsmith actually mentioned cutting the receiver - that was probably my own lack of knowledge in trying to relay what he was telling me needed to be done - but he made it sound like it was something that was going to be a lot more difficult than everyone here has made it sound (even though I don't quite follow all of it).

I managed to use a magnifying glass w/my camera to get some close up shots of the receiver (sorry about the large photo sizes) - btw - the pitting looks far worse in the photos than it really is:

Crest/Shield http://www.koly.com/mauser/1.jpg
Right side markings http://www.koly.com/mauser/2.jpg
Left side markings http://www.koly.com/mauser/3.jpg
Mfg stamp http://www.koly.com/mauser/4.jpg

I still don't have a good idea of how I should proceed - anyone able to give me the "dummy's guide" version of how I might get this rifle shooting again?

January 23, 2009, 01:47 PM
Get another barrel and find a better gunsmith.

January 23, 2009, 02:48 PM
The crest on the front ring is a Spanish crest. In 1938, after repressing what we call the Spanish Civil War, the Spanish army decided to replace the old Modelo 1916 (Mauser 1893 short rifle) with the 1898 action and bought rifles from FN (M1938), Brno (Vz24) and the 1898 Standard Modell from Mauser. The rifles went to rearm the Spanish army before they started making their own rifles at La Coruna after 1943. It appears you have a Mauser 1898 Standard Modell rifle. Very nice.

I would agree with rebarreling the rifle. You could buy a take-off barrel in 7.92X57mmJS (aka 8X57mm, 8mm Mauser) and replace the demilled barrel, or buy a new military contour barrel and have the sights placed back on the barrel by a qualified gunsmith. As far as the stock and furniture, if it has the military stock, good, otherwise you can find replacement stocks for sale, usually take-offs but some new wood.

January 23, 2009, 03:09 PM
Wow - thanks for the great historical information Scorch! I figured it had some history, but that's more impressive than I expected.

Can anyone recommend a reputable gunsmith in the Phoenix metro area? How much should I expect to pay?

And if I should go ahead and re-order another barrel from Numrich or are there other places to find a decent barrel for under $100?

James K
January 24, 2009, 09:09 PM
That is good information, and correct about the Spanish rifles. But the pictured crest is Portuguese. The story is as interesting, though. During WWII Germany was trying to court Portugal in the (vain) hope that it would become an ally. So the German government allowed Mauser to complete a Portuguese contract for their M937 (1937) rifles. When production shifted over to the K.98k, the contract rifles were made on the K.98k production line, and inspected by the German Waffenamt inspector "655". They were then given a commercial polished-blue finish and marked with the Portuguese seal. Many were delivered, but some were left in Germany until 1944, when they were taken over by the Wehrmacht.


January 26, 2009, 01:53 PM
Sure enough, the crest is the Portuguese coat of arms, and the shield (minus the flourishes) appears on their flag


Mr. Keenan, you are a font of knowledge - thanks for the history!

February 7, 2009, 09:24 PM
gun parts has mauser barrels in 8 mm and should go right on.I just has a 81 swiss barrel fitted,same problem.$25 at local machine shop.stay away from that parts changer.he could have fitted it in 1/2 hr.theres more than one way to head space.but you have to be a reloader to work it. :rolleyes: :eek:
gun parts has argenten barrel good condition $28 or fair 98s for 35.
the arget are in 7.65 x 53 which is not bad I have an argent 1909.and grafs has ammo for $13 for 20 new privi or S&B?

James K
February 7, 2009, 11:28 PM
Just FWIW, at the factory, 98 Mauser barrels were fitted and chambered, then the sights installed and soldered, using the receiver flat as a reference. The inner collar system made the job easy, since there were no "hidden" cuts to be made in the barrel.

The Springfield M1903 and the Enfield Model 1917 were done differently, because the barrel had to be cut for the extractor before installation. The barrels were turned and the threads cut. Then a gauge was run onto the threads and tightened down. The gauge included a chisel which was struck to make what we often call a "witness mark" or a "draw line." That line was then used to set the barrel up so the front sight spline (M1903) or keyway (M1903A3) and the extractor slot could be cut. The sights were then installed. The gauge mentioned above was calibrated to allow for just the right amount of torque to tighten the barrel, so the line can be used as a draw line. (On the M1903, the rear sight covers the draw line but the
"shelf" on the sight base serves the same purpose.)