View Full Version : mauser model 88 needs headspaced...where to go???

April 27, 2009, 09:04 PM
I also have a mauser model 88 that my old man gave me when I was younger, but i have been told it needs headspaced only problem is I can't find anyone with the ability to headspace it for me...I was wondering if anyone knew of a gunsmith that could help me out with this problem preferebly in ohio...but any capable of doing this will help

Jim Watson
April 28, 2009, 12:18 PM
What do you mean by "needs headspaced"?

Do you want the headspace measured?
Do you know it is excessive and want it corrected?

Dr. Strangelove
April 28, 2009, 12:19 PM
I am wondering why any competent gunsmith would be unable to head-space this rifle for you. How do you know it needs head-spaced if you haven't been able to find a competent gunsmith?

April 28, 2009, 01:58 PM
well i guess i had it a little wrong...Its a commission 88 i was always told mauser 88...that was changed to what was called the s barrel. The gun was supposedly made in the 1880's but is stamped on the new barrel shroud danzig 1891. It is a 2 piece bolt it has the bolt and bolt face, a while back the bolt face was lost so my father bought a new one and had it measured by a gunsmith and he told us that is was off, but that he didn't have the ability to headspace this particular gun due to its type. He said the barrel would have to be turned...I hope this helps answer your questions. If you need to know anything else let me know if it helps i can provide pictures.


Dr. Strangelove
April 28, 2009, 05:24 PM
Ah! Thanks for the clarification. Yes, you do need to seek a gunsmith. Any competent gunsmith should be able to do this for you, it's not a very hard job. It's just a matter of having the proper proper tools. Do a Google search on "Gunsmith Ohio" and you will see several results, or ask around at your local gunshop who they have work on guns or who who may build custom guns in your area. When you call, explain that you have replaced the bolt and need the headspace adjusted.

I would suggest not saying "the barrel needs turned" as this implies reshaping the barrel on a lathe.

This hits on one of my pet peeves, folks calling themselves gunsmiths who do little more than mount scopes and bed stocks.

April 28, 2009, 06:14 PM
awesome thanks I will search around and see what I can find i know my local "Gunsmith" :barf: says he cant do it but un-surprisingly enough thats what he has said about everything I have ever taken to him other than minor shotgun work...i appreciate your time and I will let you know what I find out.

Jim Watson
April 28, 2009, 06:45 PM
The '88 has an outer heat shield metal sleeve around the barrel, unlike later military bolt actions guns that just had wood handguards as part of the stock work. That will make it tough to set the barrel back a turn.

There is a lot of discussion of the '88 at
You might be able to get some advice there.

April 28, 2009, 06:51 PM
The 88 Commission rifle has a barrel shroud. The actual barrel is quite thin. What the gunsmith meant was to put the barrel in a lathe and face off the breach end to decrease the headspace. And then re install the barrel. The barrel has to be shortened enough to correct the headspace. The sights are carried on the shroud.

Dr. Strangelove
April 29, 2009, 01:02 PM
for the bad info yesterday. I assumed the 88 was similar to a 98K, which could have been adjusted by any gunsmith. I am reminded what happens when we assume....:o

April 29, 2009, 02:33 PM
With this rifle it is best to slug the barrel to find out the actual diameter. The 88 was setup to use a .318 bullet. It would be a fun gun shooting lead bullets and light powder charges.

April 29, 2009, 03:28 PM
before I always used 8mm ammo out of it, it was converted from a .318 to a .323 I believe if thats makes a diference at all?

April 29, 2009, 06:25 PM
When you have the headspace corrected by a gunsmith, have him slug the barrel just to be safe.

April 29, 2009, 08:33 PM
when i find a gunsmith that says he is able to do it I will be sure to have him slug it to be on the safe side I appreciate everyones help...

April 29, 2009, 08:59 PM
A friend gave me a Gew. 88...... It had been Bubba'd- heat shield removed (no back sight), barrel hacked off to 18 1/2"...... on firing, primers backed out of the pockets (excessive headspace)........ but the Bubba'D stock sure was purty.......

Fred Ragle of Omaha Gun and Machine fixed it for me. It was not cheap, or easy or quick. But it is fixed. Fred is not the most punctual guy, but he said he could do it for X amount of dollars, and when it turned out to be harder than he thought it was going to be, he figured it out and got it done at the agreed upon price, even if it did take a bit longer than he had planned.

BTW, firing that thing after dark is a hoot, what with the short barrel and loads developed for longer ones...... a rifle and flamethrower all in one!

James K
April 30, 2009, 03:21 PM
The Commission rifle would use the same headspace gauges as any other 8x57 rifle, including the Yugo M48 and K.98k.

Those were pretty well made and I have seen several with replacement bolt heads that headspaced fine. So have the headspace checked and make sure you need work done before doing anything.

If the receiver is marked "S", you should be able to fire any 8x57 load with no problem, but considering the gun's age, I would stick to US commercial ammo or equivalent handloads.

The story is complex but the only thing done to those rifles to let them fire the "S" bullet was running in a chamber reamer to expand the chamber neck. They didn't rebarrel or re-bore them, the larger bullet apparently gave no problem at all.


April 30, 2009, 11:21 PM
just an update talked to some guys on a forum devoted to 88's and they talked me into just firing the rifle and seeing how it did they said they were military surplus made strong enough to take it if the headspace is off a bit...shot 5 rounds out of the gun, with the old pull the trigger with a string method lol and gun opperated perfectly.

Jim Watson
May 1, 2009, 07:32 AM
I thought that might be the case, many Internet Experts worry too much about headspace in a military surplus rifle to be fired with military surplus ammunition. If the headspace is just a little roomy for wartime ammunition in a hot dirty gun, it will likely do ok as you have seen. A gun with battered bolt lugs or action recesses from long use can cause trouble but these rifles did not go to war, they were obsolete by WW I and were mostly used by support troops and over age reservists.

If you are a handloader you can take care to not set the shoulders back on brass that has been fireformed to the chamber and have no excess headspace on the next firing.

May 10, 2009, 01:29 PM
my thought on the 88 is it would be a simple job as the barrel could be faced
and then reamed.there is nothing on the barrel criticale to take a few thousands off as the barrel projects from the shroud.I am not sure about the extactor if there is a cut for it. there are hundreds floating around right now
being rebuilt.I have two.one I fired.:rolleyes::eek: