gew 98 mauser questions
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  1. #1
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    I've been wanting to do this for a while now, i was thinking of buying an action from sarco, and building an express style rifle.

    As luck would have it i was in local gun shop Tuesday and picked up a sporterized 98. Its a real hack job, stock is pretty bad with an awful recoil pad thats installed upside down. when the stock was shortened and narrowed it looks like they used the smallest barrel band just in front of the rear sight and attached it with 2 small wood screws. also the rear action screw has been re threaded to what looks like 1/4-20.

    the up side is that its all matching, no pitting, and it was only $80.

    i haven't gotten to shoot it yet (its still in 8mm) but hopefully this weekend.

    it is marked
    "Deutsche Waffen Und Munitionsfabriken"
    "Berlin"
    "1917"

    serial is 4560 and on right side of barrel it has a crowned F G W

    It has a few other markings but i don't have my pics with me right now.

    now for my questions

    Do you think it was a good deal?
    As Mauser actions go is this a desirable action to convert, i assume it was manufactured in 1917, how good was the quality in this period?
    what are some good ways to fix the 1/4-20 problem? i have access to mills and a lathe, so i figure i can bush the hole back to original threads, or maybe just make a correct bolt with 1/4-20 threads.

    I'm wanting an African express type rifle, but haven't decided on a caliber yet. I want big bore >.40 cal, I'm not going to shoot elephants though at least not in the near future. i was leaning toward 450 marlin or maybe 458 win mag just to be correct (then i could shoot an elephant if i wanted), but didn't really want to do any thing to the action to make a cartridge fit in it. so what do you suggest

    sorry for the looong post , but there are a LOT of great guys here and i really appreciate the input. Ill post pics of the rifle as soon as i can.

    kind of off topic, but if these were made in low carbon steel and case hardened would it be feasible to build a 0% action from say 1018 with larger lugs, case hardened, for 308 or lower pressure cases. as i ask this I'm drawing one in solid works so i can run cosmos on the bolt thrust numbers, but wanted some input. i know about the safety issues but this 98 has some small lugs on it considering the cartridges that have been chambered in it.

  2. #2
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    With all the work done to this rifle i would have a smith look it over, their may be other things done to the rifle not as apparent.

    The 450 marlin would be the easiest and safest of the two to work with. The bolt face, extractor and follower will have to be modified but if you have access to a mill and lathe you should be able to do it. The 458 win. is in my opinion to large for a std. Mauser, the modifications to the action nessesary to handel that long of a case would weaken it to much, a Mauser Magnum action would handel it with ease.

  3. #3
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    Early DWM actions tended to be a little softer, according to a custom gunsmith guild person who I discuss this with. Mine was a 1908 Brazilian DWM mauser. I rebarreled mine to a 7mm08 and it is a sweet rifle. If you want an express rifle, best to look for a hacked up 1917 Enfield (Remington action is the best to start with,IMO). I bought one for $165 in a pawn shop, and $500-700+ later have a nice 375 H+H express rifle. So net is, if you are going to do the express rifle, start with a firm foundation for the receiver because that will be the least expensive part. It adds up...

    Stock, Rebarrel, reweld bolt, open bolt face, contour receiver, mill magazine for larger cartridges/stacking angle, reweld/contour triggerguard, express sights, barrel mounted swivel, Swing safety (if a mauser, not necessary for enfield), timney trigger, reblue.

    Only labor not mine was the rebarrel and blue, I did all the other work myself.

    John

  4. #4
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    .......I concur with John. I know that many of the early German and contract large ring Mausers had widely varying heat treatments. I have articles by Olsan, DeHaas, Miller, and Col Harrison of the NRA dealing with the issue and several are contradictory. In fact a couple authors contradict themselves as to the adviseability of using them for so called 'High Intensity' cartridges like the 300 Win Mag, & etc.

    Some of these actions have been found with evidence of varying amounts of lug setback in their issue chamberings. I would not build a high performance rifle on an early Mauser, FN or DWM action unless it had been hardness tested and then checked by someone who knew something more then the difference between a large and small ring Mauser. That is, if it was my personal head behind it.

    Rick

  5. #5
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    Have you thought of something like 35 Whelen?

    The .458 was developed in 1956 so it could be used in all the standard actions that GI's had and wanted to go on safari. I've see about 20 or so k98's modified to take .458 however they are a lot newer that yours. My .458 is on a rem 700 action out of the custom shop

  6. #6
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    I have a GEW 98 1917 that I have converted to .375 H&H Mag. It seems to work very well. I have not polished and blued it yet. I mounted a scope and checked it for accuracy. I managed a 11/2 inch group at 100 yds. I Used a synthetic stock so it was very nose heave so I added a pipe with a pound of mercury in the stock hoping to reduce recoil and reduce the nose heavy condition. It weighs 12 lbs. and the recoil is manageable. I started it 2 years ago to use on Cape Buffalo. I had planned to hunt on my 70th birthday but I missed it a little. The GEW 1917 seems to be plenty hard for this caliber. The action was painted and not blued. It is pretty rough and will be hard to polish. It does look nice but is a little heavy. If I don't go to Africa again I will use it on a few wild boars in West Texas. I will cut off the barrel to 22 inches then. I expect to get good service out of this rifle for a while (if I can hold it up).
    Accuracy should be much better for I was a little concerned about recoil and my bench was makeshift and shakey.

  7. #7
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    If you want to build a Maserati sports car, you don't start out with a Volkswagen Beatle.

    The gun is junk, you already said that.

    So basically you got took.

    You can by a like new Model 98 for about $125!

    Why would you want to start out with nothing and work your way up?

    There are people that have already done what you plan on doing, and will tell you that they spend thousands of dollars doing it.

    In the end the gun was still only worth about $250!

    It would be a waste of your time and money to put anything into that piece of junk and your best bet would be to take it back and see if you could get your money back.

  8. #8
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    everyones entitled to thier opinion, but a 450 marlin is no maserati. also the action is in great shape. thanks all for your input. im thinking i can get through this for under $400 including gun, everything ecxept barrel and stock ill be doing and in the end i might not have what others would think would be worth the trouble but it will be mine.

    still looking at different calibers though.

  9. #9
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    bert01
    If your happy that's all that's important, its you that's using it. I got plenty of ugly guns even a 6x264 that has a 2x6 for a stock, it shots 2inch groups at 500 yds. gets plenty of laughs at the range when I pull it out of its gunny sack and set it up. But most quite laughing after I shoot.
    good luck on the build.

  10. #10
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    something in .35 would be interesting I'm sure but since you want +.40 cal and are working with a standard length action consider the following

    .400 Brown whelen (.30/06 case unecked GREAT on all NA game from what I have read)
    .411 JDJ
    .416 Howell
    .416 Taylor
    .416 winchester Express
    .416-338 (might be a touch to long)
    .430 JDJ
    .458X2"
    .460 Van Horn
    .450 Alaskan


    I would heavily suggest something in the .35 range like the .35 whelen. Its a 30/06 case blown out to .35 cal and it would be a easy conversion.

    .375 whelen improved might also be good game. as well as the .400 Brown whelen. I have extensive info on most of the above.

  11. #11
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    How about the new .375 Ruger?

  12. #12
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    That looks like its the same as the .375 whelen improved just using harder to find brass

  13. #13
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    really leaning toward 416 taylor, and handloading it. plus ershaw cahambers for it. thats who i was planing on getting barrel from.

  14. #14
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    Sounds good. Let us know how it turns out.

  15. #15
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    Reading this post, prompted me to ask this question Why a wartime Mauser?

    The way I see it, you have a rifle that was produced 60 + years ago, during wartime when factories are being bombed and supplies are in short supply. Probable slave labor (if I were forced to work in a Nazi rifle factory, I would be delighted if that rifle exploded in some Nazi’s face).

    Then who knows what that rifle has gone thru in the 60+ years since it was produced, kicked around by a German private in WWII, given to another country to be kicked around by a another private.

    I know that a lot of custom rifles have been built on surplus Mausers, but I can think of a lot of better actions to use as the chassis of a custom rifle.

  16. #16
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    got a chance to do some shooting this past weekend. spent cases looked good, headspace was good, and i could get 1 inch out of it at 50 yards with the irons. probably could have done better with my normal bench, i was shooting off of a cardboard box. im going to put a trigger on it first and maybe a cheap stock so that i can use it at the appleseed in sept (read cheap ammo).

    why a wartime mauser? the biggest reason is probably because its been done thousands of times before (not that that makes it the best choice), and it apeals to me to take something with that kind of history and make something out of it. now before anyone gets thier panties in a wad, as i said earlier it has already been sporterized ruining any historical value.
    finally with a 8 month old boy and a stay at home wife i couldnt afford anything else.

    in a perfect world we'd all be biulding off of emiper actions or the like, but who wants all the work done for them?

  17. #17
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    Well put

  18. #18
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    My favorite rifle is built on a old mauser rifle and you sound like you are where I was when I build it,strechin every dollar. I built mine in 30-06 because someone gave me 300 rnds of amo.Hows that for a reason.It dosent matter what its gonna be worth you probably will never sell it. Enjoy clint

  19. #19
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    Well Said! My first "custom" guns were made from scrounged parts and pieces. By the way, your 1917 vintage rifle is 90 years young, and the 1898 mauser action the FATHER of ALL modern bolt actions. It was built by Germans for the Kaiser during WW1 while Hitler was really a corporal. It bore is probably oversize and has some erosion and corrosion at the throat of the chamber. Recommend rebarrelling with hands on guidance from or by someone who has done it before. Check thoroughly for lug setback. Stay with a reasonable rimless round, .30-06, .270, 7X57 (one of my favorites!) , etc. I live in SC, too, and the Grizzlys are way west of here! Remember, your kids & grandkids will want to shoot that Old Gun one day! Quality will last a lot longer than big. Good Luck!

  20. #20
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    i had thought of having a matched pair one big and one in 7x57 or 06. need to get going on the first one though.


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