View Full Version : What can you put on a Small Ring Receiver?

November 20, 2001, 01:04 PM
I recently saw an add for some pre-98 small ring actions that are antiques and not firearms due to their age. I was wondering what they can be built into for a reasonable amount of money ... reasonable amounts of machine time are available ... I'm more curious about parts costs. It looks like triggers are available, what about bolts and barrels and magazine components? Can a 6.5 Swede in reasonable mechanical condition be remounted on this antique frame?


James K
November 20, 2001, 01:38 PM
There are both pre-98 actions (your Swede is one) and small ring 98 actions (small ring, but otherwise a 98 with safety lug, cock on opening, etc.). With the former, I would stick to the original pressure range, which encompasses quite a few cartridges including, of course, the great 6.5x55.

With the latter, you should be able to go to the 8mm/.308 range with no problems, but I would prefer a large ring for anything more powerful. Probably this is just caution, as I have no reason to think the small ring 98 would present any problem.

The only pre-98 small rings that I would be more cautious with are the Spanish made Model 1893 and Model 1916 (including the FR-7); those receivers tend to be soft and I would keep them to low pressure loads in the original 7x57 range.

I don't know what you have in mind for other work. Triggers are available, of course, and so are barrels and low scope safeties. Bolts and magazine parts are not usually available except as replacements from original rifles, so they are the same as the originals. New barrels in other calibers are not cheap, so figure on $120 plus for those.

If you have a 6.5 Swede in good condition, leave it as is.


November 21, 2001, 09:14 AM
Saands, for a "reasonable amount of money" is a pretty good way to go deeply into debt. Listen to Jim on the issue of parts and suitability. There is really not a good way to make a rifle from Mauser parts that will cost less than a store-bought, Wally World Savage, Remington, etc. I have made up several Mausers, for myself and for family members, and I inevitably end up with the price of a good Browning, Winchester, etc. rifle in the finished product. On the OTHER hand, however, each is a completely custom rifle, which I did myself, which shoots better than 98% of the factory rifles on the dealers' shelves, which is chambered in the caliber that I want, which has the custom chacteristics that I want, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum. Now I admit to having no less than 10 Mauser actions, VZ24's and 1909 Argies, in the shop right now, along with one 30-06 barrel and one 257 Roberts barrel, one Fajen English Walnut stock with buttstock bullet trap bought the year before Fajen went under, One Fajen Birch cheepie stock that I bought to use for checkering practice 5 years ago, and one MPI Fiberglass stock. And I am a hobbiest -- not a professional gunsmith. Heed my warning: this can be an expensive addiction!;)

November 21, 2001, 12:00 PM
Thanks for the replies ... I saw that ad for pre-98 $20 small ring receivers and thought I'd at least check it out. I have a Turk 38 (98 large ring with small ring threads) that is slated to get a new barrel ... I found some new Rem700 Takeoffs in 300WM. We can do most of the work ourselves and I work down the street from a hardwood supplier that sells their stock blank seconds and experiments for a song (not a even a good song!). This route, I figure, will only run me the cost of a Savage (not a Browning!) ... so I'm game. The small ring from scratch idea sounds like a financial black hole and I will heed your advice!


November 21, 2001, 12:43 PM

Jim and Clemson are correct. You can build on a small ring and have just about any caliber you want. I am a hobby riflesmith and can tell you one thing pretty firmly: There is no such thing as building a rifle on the cheap! I have built several on a large ring and when everything is tallied up, I could have bought a Remington 700 BDL/PSS (~ $700) when everything was done.

There are tons of barrel makers that can supply you with any caliber you want. If you have access to or know someone with a metal lathe who can help you, buy the barrel blank. It is a good deal cheaper. You will need to have the threads cut and chamber reamed. I was able to do cut the threads myself and rented the proper reamers and saved about $100 per barrel. I had a good gunsmith headspace the barrels and receivers just because this is a safety issue that is best left to an expert. The smith did let me watch and explained what he was doing the last couple of times.

Timney makes a great middle priced trigger for Mausers. They run about $40 from Midway.

You can also save some money by watching Midway for the stock and barrel combo sales that pops up from time to time. These tend to be LR, butI have seen SM offered.

As Clemson said, this is an additive habit. If you are like me, the cost is outweighed by the bragging rights, go for it. My wife thinks it's great because A) she doesn't know what they really cost, B) I built her one in .22-250 that is her pride and joy, and C) It keeps me from playing in the street ;)

I am currently working with a Small Ring that I will turn into a bench gun (6mm PPC). It is a bunch of work, but it is worth it.

One more thing, get a copy of Jerry Khunhausen's book, Bolt Action Mausers. It tells you everything that you will need to build one of these.

Good luck.

November 21, 2001, 03:37 PM
As Clemson said, this is an additive habit. If you are like me, the cost is outweighed by the bragging rights, go for it. My wife thinks it's great because A) she doesn't know what they really cost, B) I built her one in .22-250 that is her pride and joy, and C) It keeps me from playing in the street


I think that you have nailed this one!

A- My wife did ask about the cost ... I let her know that the Turks cost $39, the barrels cost $40, the steel to make the BOSS clone cost $7.50 and the french walnut stock blank cost $23 ... She didn't ask about the special tooling that I had to buy or the fact that adding a new caliber to the gun case would necessitate another set of reloading dies ... and ... that you can't really have a 300WM without a scope ... so she was completely fine with the cost at $110 ;)
B- doesn't yet apply ... at some point it might ... for now, she can appreciate the beauty of the french walnut furniture.
C- This is a big selling point for most of my hobbies!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

James K
November 22, 2001, 12:02 AM

Some outfits are advertising receivers at very low cost. NOTE that they are just that, RECEIVERS. No bolts, sometimes no magazine, trigger guard or floor plate. So be very careful as to what you are ordering.

The idea of a cheap DIY rifle is a delusion. At best, you end up with an expensive custom rifle. At worst, you end up with a piece of junk that is worth a fourth of what you put in it. As to using decent military rifles, this is from the Keenan International Dictionary:

Sporterize v.t. Convert a $700 military rifle into a $200 sporting rifle and spend $500 doing it. See "Bubbaize".


November 23, 2001, 08:03 PM
No bolts, sometimes no magazine, trigger guard or floor plate

Jim ... This was EXACTLY the deal ... that's why I was interested in getting the benefit of your experience. I agree wholeheartedly about not butching a quality mil-surp rifle to make something else. I'm almost afraid to ask, but your opinions seem well grounded, so here goes: In your mind, does taking a shot-out $39 Turk Mauser and making a project out of it come under the "Bubbaize" umbrella noted above? I haven't done it yet, but even when I look at it in a detailed and realistic way, it still seems viable.

Thanks for the input!