View Full Version : Mauser Gunsmithing

June 9, 2001, 08:26 PM
I've got a Spanish FR-8 Mauser that I'd like to bend the bolt handle and add a recoil pad. Anyone know how I can do that myself? Tools and Techniques?

June 9, 2001, 11:40 PM
Tools are a bolt bending block set, and a heat sink ( Both available from Brownell's at:

Adding a recoil pad calls for a small power sander, and some heavy tape to protect the stock.

To bend a bolt handle at home is possible if you have an oxy torch, the bending blocks, the heat sink and a large vise. Since it's possible to ruin a bolt in short order, best leave this to a 'smith, there's more to it than it looks.

To fit a recoil pad: Tape the sides of the stock so it will be protected. Attach the recoil pad, and use a small power sander to sand the sides down close to the stock. You have to match the contoures of the stock all the way around. In order not to alter the original stock, you could add a slip-on pad.

George Stringer
June 10, 2001, 09:58 AM
Dorsai, if you are planning on doing more down the line then the equipment investment may be worth it but if you're only doing one and don't already have the tools, you will be much better off money-wise to have the work done by a smith. Forging a bolt handle and installing the pad would run you about $80 in my shop and I think I'm about average. Tools: bolt bending blocks $30 (Midway), oxy-propane gas kit would run about $40 to $60 in a hardware store. If you don't already have them you will also need files or a dremel tool to clean up the bolt handle, at least a power drill with a disc sanding attachment for the recoil pad and a bench vise. George

Joe Portale
June 10, 2001, 10:46 AM

I am not sure that bending the bolt handle is the way to go. For the work and investment you could be better off replacing the handle with one already swept back. I have built several Mausers and getting ready for my fifth. (Be careful, the rebuilding of Mausers is very habit forming). I bought all the doo-dads to bend handles. I did one only to find that the steel became brittle. It broke off during testing of the action when it was given a stout slap. A retired gunsmith who gets me out of trouble when I mess up and he said that he never bent handles. He would only replace them. The welding is a little more involved, but you end up with a stronger product.

George is very right in his comments about spending the money for jigs and fixtures. If you are only going to do one or two rifles, it doesn't really pay. You can pick up a nice handle for short money and have someone weld it on for you. You can even tell the 'smith that you want to clean it up yourself and save more money.

Good luck with which ever direction you go.


June 10, 2001, 05:00 PM
Thanks for the advice guys, keep it coming. I thought about replacing the bolt since numbers don't match anyway. The limited research I've done suggests I can get a K98 bolt for about $40, condition unknown. I'd have to make some calls. I tried the bolt from my Kar98k and it was a perfect fit, though headspace would be a question. For you gunsmiths...if I picked up another bolt, I can get go/no-go/field gauges, but if the headspace is off, what do you do? have to rechamber if it is short and set the barrel back if it is long? I shudder to think of the expense on that option!

Joe Portale
June 10, 2001, 08:26 PM
Headspacing costs between $55 and $75 in these parts. A way to shave some time is if the bolts can be picked up locally where you can try them first. A fast and dirty method, which IS NOT the correct method. But it will give you an idea of where you stand is:

Chamber a round in the rifle. Does it close? Yes=good, No=bad

Remove the cartridge and place a piece of masking tape on the head (primer end) of the cartidge. Does the bolt close?

Yes=Good No=Bad

Place another piece of tape on the head of the cartridge and close the bolt. Does the bolt close?

Yes=Bad No=Good.

This by no means replaces a set of head spacing guages. It will save you some time if you are picking through a box of bolts at some gunshop.

If you go the mail order route, check with the place your buying from to see about thier return policy.