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Old March 28, 2013, 08:56 PM   #12
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Join Date: May 27, 2007
Posts: 5,075
I agree it is a small ring Mauser and if it is in 308 it has been converted.

The problems with these 308 conversions is that the 308 operates at much higher pressures than original, and I mean pre 1898, 7mm Mauser cartridges. Also the date of your receiver is unknown if the ring stampings have all been ground off.

Ludwig Olsen was a real Mauser expert and described the proof loads for pre WW1 Mauser M98 actions in “Rifle Magazine” Issue 159 May 1995 Dear Editor pg 10

What you notice is even these early M98 mausers were proofed at pressures that are about equal to the normal operating pressures of 308 Winchesters. Constant shooting of full power 308 loads would be a severe strain on an early receiver.

Ludwig Olsen

Mauser 98 actions produced by Mauser and DWM were proofed with two loads that produced approximately 1000 atmosphere greater pressure than normal factory rounds. That procedure was in accordance with the 1891 German proof law. Proof pressure for the Mauser 98 in 7 X57 was 4,050 atmospheres (57, 591 psi). Pressure of the normal 7 X 57 factory load with 11.2 gram bullet was given in Mauser’s 1908 patent boot as 3,050 atmosphere, or 43, 371 pounds.

While many Mausers in the 1908 Brazilian category will likely endure pressures considerably in excess of the 4,050 atmospheres proof loads, there might be some setback of the receiver locking shoulder with such high pressures.

Spanish Mausers gained an unfortunate reputation because enough accounts have surfaced about the inconsistent metallurgy and heat treatment of these actions. It is a gamble when dealing with Spanish Mausers:

Excessive Headspace in M1916 Mauser

Originally Posted by Oceans
Thats funny Maj. Dad, I knew a correctional officer in the late '80s, who had one of them in what was supposed to be .308. This guy loved that rifle like it was a 1930s model 70. He talked about it constantly, shot it every time he went to the range and even bought an expensive case to haul it around in. I was always leery of a 1893 action chambered in .308. I was told that the Guardia Mauser was chambered for a very similar Spanish round, and not the NATO 7.62x51, and that this Spanish round was loaded to lower pressures. I do not know if this is true, maybe someone on the board does? I will say, that the rifle is handy, and nice looking.
Oceans - It is true, as I found out today, sadly.

I've had my 1916 Spanish Guardia Mauser from Samco for about 20 years now. Took it deer hunting every year until last year, when I heard about the same thing you did. I shot .308 rounds out of it.

Finally got the headspace checked by a gunsmith, and - well, the bolt locked EASILY on "no-go". And we're talking like butter. I snapped the firing pin and will have it hanging on the wall of my office soon.

I recommend...
that you honorably retire the rifle.
My experience with the Spanish '93-type actions is that they are not suitable for rebarreling to any modern cartridge at all.
They are all soft (many years ago, I watched an old gunsmith squash one in simply tightening his action wrench onto it. When he noticed that the barrel shank wouldn't thread back into the action, and realized why, he simply took the receiver out of the wrench, laid it on his bench and smacked it with a big brass hammer until he could screw the barrel back in).
With pressures higher than about 40 KPSI (virtually all modern CF rifle cartridges), the locking lugs will set-back into their seats very quickly, increasing headspace until the bolt becomes hard to open and case heads separate. Several years ago, a customer (and friend) decided he'd like to make up a 7.62x39 rifle on just such a '93 Spanish action. I couldn't talk him out of it, so made and fitted a barrel for him. In shooting about 200 rounds of Wolf ammunition, it battered itself into just the state I described above.
Just my recommendation, but not based on hearsay.
PRD1 - mhb - Mike
You need to look at the pictures and thread here

Even the vaunted small ring Swedish actions have issues:

Variation in M96 Swede Actions
Quite a few years ago another fellow and I bought 60 of those Sweedes when they could still be had quite cheap. We decided we were going to do a quick "sporterising" on them and make a fortune. Took the whole pile and bent the bolts, drilled and tapped, cut down stocks, installed Weaver mounts, the whole banana.

Learned a lot on that one, 60 bolts to low forge and polish is one heck of a lot of work for one, not all Sweedes are heat treated the same for another.
Noticed a lot of variation when we started to drill and tap. Some seemed like butter, some hard as glass. Started to put them on the Rockwell machine and it proved out so. Some receivers would not hardly register, some were as high as 42. Bolts also were all over the place.

It didn't seem to make any difference as to year of manufacture, they just varied. Most seemed to follow the standard Mauser heat treat with a case hardening but a few came along that seemed to be hard all through.
Interesting project. I think in the long run if we would have stopped to figure our time we lost our butts. Made no difference, in our minds eye we made one heck of a killing.

I have a Swedish 96 action almost blown in half.

Bolt remained locked and in position, ~ 1 sq in of right sidewall of receiver has been blown completely off, Right rail fractured right in front of rear bridge. Stock was broken in 2.

No overpressure load.. Factory..

Case failed at primer pocket.. (probably a seam in case blank)

Expanding gas has nowhere to go.. The thin wall of early Mauser actions where locking lugs must rotate, is the weak point. A couple gas relief holes (like on modern bolt rifles) Might have saved action...
If you want to shoot your 308 I recommend you reload. Commercial ammunition is operating at pressures that are too close, or exceed, the proof pressures for these actions. I am of the opinion pressures should be 40,000 or less in these antique actions. I have shot thousands of 168’s with 39.0 grs of IMR 4895 in 308 commercial cases. I use this load standing and sitting rapid fire and have cleaned the target many a time. This pushes a bullet around 2500 fps. Based on examinations of loading manuals this is at the lowest end of 308 loads, probably does not exceed 40,000 lbs. David Tubb published a load he used, a 150 grain with 39.0 grains IMR 4064 for 200 yard work, I have shot this, very accurate and very mild in the 308.

I doubt the military barrel will shoot as well as my Krieger, but my recommended load is very accurate. Twenty shots for record in a 100 yard reduced Highpower match, iron sights, prone with a sling.

If I'm not shooting, I'm reloading.

Last edited by Slamfire; March 29, 2013 at 08:31 AM.
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