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Old May 18, 2017, 05:25 AM   #1
chasep255
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Thinking of buying a mauser 71/84.

I was in a gun store last week and they had a decent looking mauser 71/84 for sale for $450. From what I can tell the gun looks pretty solid, but is there anything in particular I should look for to tell if it is safe to shoot or not? I am a bit nervous about shooting something this old. I can't find a headspace gauge for the 11mm cartridge which seems like the most obvious thing I would want to check.

The other reason I am hesitant about buying this gun is the availability of ammo. The only commercial ammo I could find for this gun comes from buffalo arms, and it is loaded with black powder.

https://www.buffaloarms.com/43-mause...0-amo43mauserb

I figure that I can start out buying a few boxes of this and then reload the brass (since new brass cost almost as much as loaded ammo.) I have a lot of experience reloading for smokeless cartridges, however I have never tried black powder. I am not sure if I would want to continue loading BP or find a smokeless load. Either way I can not find any published loading info in any manuals for this cartridge. Any advice?

Last edited by chasep255; May 18, 2017 at 06:02 AM.
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Old May 18, 2017, 06:15 AM   #2
mapsjanhere
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The thing to look for in any gun marked 71/84 is that you get a full length stock. The conversion didn't leave a lot of wood around the magazine, and there are a lot of guns with broken and shortened wood around, often sold as 71/84 carbines. Which is a dead giveaway, as true 71 carbines were not converted but stayed single shot.
As a lot of these guns were sold to Canada before WWI Dominion made ammunition for these into the 1950s. Sometimes you can still find old stock of that production.
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Old May 18, 2017, 10:18 AM   #3
chasep255
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The rifle I am considering is full length and not a carbine.
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Old May 18, 2017, 11:24 AM   #4
emcon5
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Quote:
The only commercial ammo I could find for this gun comes from buffalo arms, and it is loaded with black powder.
Sorry, are you saying this is a bad thing? .43 Mauser was a black powder round.
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Old May 18, 2017, 12:26 PM   #5
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I have seen French Gras rifles (11MM BP) that were converted to 8MM Lebel by the French military. Mayb you should look for a French rifle.
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Old May 18, 2017, 08:18 PM   #6
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Good find! I used to own a Mauser 1871, the single-shot precursor to the 71/84 repeater. It is a fun rifle to shoot, but is pretty much a black powder only proposition. The action is not terribly stout, so smokeless powder would probably be a no-no.

Finding cases is not terribly difficult, loaded ammo is virtually non-existent. Loading black powder is not the same as loading smokeless powder, so I suggest reading up on it. Full case of powder, over-powder wad, bullet seated firmly on top of it all, crimped in place.

Bullets of the proper diameter are not easy to find, but they are out there. You need to slug your bore to see if you need .449" or .446" bullets and load appropriately. I used to paper-patch, which can help make up for variations in groove diameter.
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Old May 19, 2017, 03:35 PM   #7
Dufus
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Quote:
Either way I can not find any published loading info in any manuals for this cartridge. Any advice?
Get the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook 4th Edition for load data.

You really don't need a headspace gauge. Just do a chamber cast and you will have all the information that you need. Even more than what a headspace gauge can tell you.
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Old May 20, 2017, 07:13 AM   #8
mapsjanhere
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German sources usually list a 5 g (77 gr) blackpowder charge driving a 25 g (385 gr) bullet.
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Old May 20, 2017, 11:24 PM   #9
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Smokeless powder loads for the .45-70 "trapdoor" Springfield should work OK in that Mauser. They certainly are as strong as the old trapdoor.

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