I have been giving a lot of thought to making my 1898 Mauser my main go-to gun. The 98 Mauser has the ultimate bolt action. There has never been a better one and probably never will. All current bolt actions are based on the Mauser, A number of well known military rifles are based on the Mauser such as America’s 1903 Springfield and 1917 Enfield, Britain’s 1914 Enfield and Japan’s 1899 Arisaka. All of these are tried and proven designs. There is no way you could go wrong with one of these.
My Mauser is in the original 8MMX57 caliber. This was Germany’s caliber for two World Wars. Because of the poor workmanship of Mauser copies made in numerous countries such as China, Iran, Spain and others, American companies down load this caliber to 30-30 specs, a real weeny compared to European loadings! With European loadings this caliber approaches the 30-06! It is quite powerful!
The main problem is finding ammo. I found a lot of low cost surplus ammo on the J&Gsales.com web site and purchased a large amount. You cannot use it for hunting but it will suffice for defense work. After all, it was made for military use. It is corrosive which demands that you clean your gun as quickly as possible after you shoot it. Windex is good to clean your bore after using corrosive primer ammo. I also-as soon as I can-pour boiling water down the bore to clean some of the corrosive salts. So far, this has worked very well.
Another thing I like: there are very few parts in this rifle. All of the parts are available at this time ([url=http://www.sarcoinc.com.) I plan to buy a few spare parts such as a firing pin, ejector, and all of the various springs used in this rifle. These are the parts that generally fail, if any. This should keep it going as long as I live.
No, it’s not a semi-auto, but I believe that I could give a good account of myself with this rifle. It can easily (with European ammo) reach out to 500 yards. That’s quite a stretch for the 7,62X39 (AK, SKS, etc) and the 5.56-.223 (AR, Mini-14, etc.)
The more I study this rifle, the better it looks to me. The modifications that a previous owner did are those that I would have done. He had the follower milled so that you can close the bolt on an empty chamber. He installed a receiver (peep) sight on it. He cut down some of the excess wood. I like the simplicity of it. The bolt has very few parts. And, at this time there are ample replacement parts available. I wish I had another one (one is none and two is one-I know, you've all heard it!!). I wish it was in .308 instead of 8MM. The caliber is OK but ammo is hard to find. I think I have enough surplus ammo to do me, but, I would like to have more.
I think that-if you can afford it-you should all consider adding a Mauser to your collection.