Sunday, July 15, 2007

Never give up.......

Sometimes we really just like that one old rifle (at least, to us Mil-surp shooters who have been bitten).

There's one that just looks right, or feels right to handle, or looks like it would be so much fun to shoot.

Ever been there? Done that?

For me that list used to be topped by the 1916 Spanish Civil Guardia Mauser.

7x57 or 7.62, I just wanted one. Preferably in 7.62 as the ammunition is SO easy to build.

As fate would have, one was on the used rack at a local gun shop. $189 later it was mine! A beautiful copy with a near perfect bore. Un-bubba'ed and in excellent condition. The only flaws were an electropenciled importers mark that has since...... 'faded'..... away, and a small wood chip missing at the butt plate.

Mine is in 7.62, and yes I am well aware of the discussion regarding
.308 vs 7.6x51 vs 7.62 Cetme. I am also aware of the pressure properties of the small ring Mauser vs the large ring. Frankly, I don't care. I don't expect this rifle will ever see a factory loaded round again. I can make whatever I please to shoot, at whatever pressure I please.

In fact.... that's what saved this rifle from a future as a wall hanger.

My first attempt at a moderate handload showed me patterns rather than groups. Not 1" spreads, but 8" at 50 yards. Not good. Especially not good with what looked like a perfect bore. The next three loads with different bullets at differing velocities were no better. REALLY not good. Groups like that are signs of serious issues.

Exhausting all the normal items, like loose actions screws, I turned at last to something I should have done at the first. I slugged the bore. A soft lead slug pushed through the bore, giving me a perfect reverse example of the bore diameter to measure.

That near pristine 7.62 Mauser bore Mic'ed at .311". All of a sudden the 8" groups made sense. The .308 bullets must have been bouncing down the bore!

My answer....... .312" lead, gas checked, bullets cast for my 7.62x54 Mosins. Loaded over a moderate charge of IMR stick powder, I now have a handy and fun Mauser that shoots 2" groups all day long. Recoil is light and velocity testing shows this would actually be a decent hunting load as well (for someone who can place their shots).

A lot of wall hangers can still be amazingly good shooters. Sometimes it takes a bit of work, but that's rewarding in it's own right.

While I own my share of modern scoped wonders that can put five bullets into a nickle at 100 yards, they aren't nearly as much fun as this simple old Mauser.
It's challenging and enjoyable, and it's MINE.

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