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Old 12-10-2012, 02:48 PM
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M96 Mauser Project


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Hi everyone. It's been a long time since I last posted, but now I've come both for help, and to let you guys have a little fun!

I don't trust my current deer rifle so I'm building on off of a Model 1896 Swedish Mauser. I purchased one a couple years ago, but it's just too nice to take into the field, so I just bought another as the basis of my project.

The fun part is I don't know what I all am going to do with this rifle so this is going to be an interactive project. I'm open to suggestions and comments as I document my progress. If you aren't able to do your own project you can live vicariously through me as I do mine! You can suggest ANYTHING and I'll consider it. I need help though since I've never built a project gun so I need help walking through the steps.

- - PROJECT START - -
December 10th, 2012

Ok, here's what I got:





And here's what I'm going for:

- a deer rifle for trudging through bluffs etc
- thus, going for a shorter "scout" type rifle that's easy to handle
- bolt handle is straight and will stay that way
- barrel will not be replaced unless absolutely needed, but will be cut down
- will get scoped with low mag high eye relief scope where the ladder sight currently sits
- will be replacing the stock with (hopefully) a home-built stock. I will try a couple prototypes first. . .
- rifle needs to be ready for deer season 2013 when it will get me my first deer


The first thing I am going to do is get the gun inspected. Next, it'll get cleaned all up and torn down. I'll start searching for stock options. That's what I'm doing for the first step. Am I on the right track?

Thanks for the help. It's good to be back.


- - PROJECT UPDATE - -
December 31 2012

On Boxing day, I went to Alberta to visit a good friend of mine who is a big gun nut. We both tore into this rifle and talked about what I could do with it. I found out the ring that holds the upper hand guard in place at the back is just a punched ring that slips on the front of the receiver. That's off now. We had great fun chatting about this rifle. With his help (and yours), I've made some decisions:

I've decided on a Richards Microfit dual-grip thumbhole stock. http://www.rifle-stocks.com/dualgripthumbhole.htm
This seems to be the best of both worlds since I don't normally find a regular grip comfortable, but I have little experience with thumbhole stocks. I'm going to get it in black walnut (without the rosewood tip and cap that It comes with). I'm going to have them leave extra wood in front of the floor plate so I can make a "ramped" forearm grip. Again, the usual flat forearm is not comfortable and I got the idea from my SKS which has a "ramped" extended floor plate that I usually grip instead of the forearm. This stock will take a lot of work to get functional (they won't do the barrel steps into the barrel channel I assume) but it will be awesome when it's done!

The scope I've decided to get is a Burris Scout 2.75x http://www.burrisoptics.com/special1.html#2x
It has the low zoom that I want, the eye relief I need and is right in the budget I'm looking at. Plus it has the "forever warranty". I love Leupold's warranty but this seems to be the same, so I don't feel limited to Leupold.

The barrel will be cut down to 22"

Next step is the scope mount and rings. The link I have below shows a base that uses weaver style rings. Is there a better style of ring to go with? I have 3 options for this mount: 1. Buy the one from the link if it's still available, 2. design and machine a mount similar to the one in the link, or 3. modify a purchased mount to fit in the ladder sight mount of the rifle. I don't want to finish the stock until I have this mount nailed down.

Another Question to throw around: what cheap/cost effective options do I have to finish the metal pieces? Reblueing is an option, but what about painting or enamel?

- - PROJECT UPDATE - -
April 30 2013

The scope and stock were ordered at the beginning of January. I just got off the phone with Richard's Microfit and they informed my my order was cancelled. They claimed it was because they "can't ship inletted stocks internationally". True or not, I was never contacted about this, even after I update my billing information on March 4th. I called them today and was told the news. I had to wait 3 months to be told this! I'm not impressed. I guess this means I'll have to make my own stock after all.

Also the scope I ordered at the same time is still not in, and I'm thinking I'm out my $100 deposit. I'll have to look into the scope and see where that's at. The designer of the scope mount in the link I've posted got back to me and is sending me several components, so time will tell if that will work out.

In the end, I still have lots of time to get this project done, but I've hit a couple of hicups.

Above question remains: ideas for finishing barrel/action? Enamel, re-blue, etc? Also open to ideas about the stock situation. Maybe I could just cut down the original stock. That might be the better idea than trying to make one.
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Last edited by thegrandenigma; 04-30-2013 at 03:47 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:26 PM
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Hey Matt, good to see you around again.

M96 Swedish Mauser...6.5x55 or is it a 7x57?

Straight bolt, with a scope? That might be tricky.

Have the barrel cut and recrowned by a pro...therein lays your accuracy.

Home-built stock, eh? Well, I admire your ambition. You know they make drop in synthetics? If you make a beautiful stock by hand that fits and your gun shoots good groups with it, the odds are you won't be charging up any bluffs or through alder thickets with it. You'll love that thing way too much to put it through the ringer!

Have the smith turn down the bolt and cut/crown the barrel after it passes inspection. Drop it into a quality synthetic stock and mount a good 2-7x35 on it. Load up with 140gr Partitions and go hunt just about anything in the North Woods. You'll be ready by Valentine's Day. And what a sweetheart it'll be!
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:05 PM
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Hey Broom,

The Swede is 6.5x55mm.

I only hinted at what I was thinking with the scope, but it will work out with the straight bolt handle. Check out this site where I got the idea from: Long Eye Relief Scope Mounts, Gewehr 1898, 1908 Brazilian, 1909 Argentine, 1891 Argentine Mauser, Czech 98/29 Persian, Swedish Mausers 1896, 1895 Chilean Mauser . That's what I meant by using an extended eye relief scope.

You bring up a valid point about not wanting to thrash a nice stock I made myself. We'll see how that turns out, I might just get one of those micro-fit stocks or something. I have been known to bite off more than I can chew, and then whine and complain about it later, so that could happen as well. I just took the gun fully apart and looking at all the detail for the inletting has got me second-guessing myself. I don't have a mill so that would be a lot of nasty chisel work!

Your suggestion would be nice and quick, but I'm rather dead set against bending the bolt handle, and I don't like the feel of some of those cheap synthetic stocks. I'm going to get some cheap stock blanks for practice so we'll see how quickly I get tired of it.

What's the fun of a project if it's easy?
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:16 PM
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I converted a M93 in 7mm for a fellow several years ago just the way you described. The balance was perfect with the scout mount, wish I could have kept it. Using the LER scope, try keeping both eyes open, you won't believe how nice it is to see what's going on. Shoot that way all the time now. Goat
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:14 PM
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Have a couple of the Swede's still in military configuration and wanted to keep them that way while also doing something to help my aging sight. Used the Square B mounts on the rear sight leafs and installed Burris 2.75 LER scope. Works like a charm with the straight bolt handle.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:49 AM
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I wouldn't try to discourage you -- I've gone down this road before, and such a project can be very satisfying. Dollars and cents are not necessarily the most important things to consider. But do keep in mind that there are many choices in ready-made rifles that will accomplish your goal at considerably less cost than you will lay out to do your contemplated project right.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:33 PM
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Yep, I could get a Stevens/Bushnell combo for $400 I'm sure but I'm wanting to do the project. I'm sure it'll go ok. This isn't a money decision. If it was, it would have been a BAD decision. :P

Goatwhiskers, I usually try to shoot with both eyes open anyway. I usually have to squint with my off eye though. I'm not sure if that's a cross-dominance problem or an inexperience with scopes problem but we'll see how I like the LER scope. I've never used one before.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:28 PM
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Years ago, I shortened a Swede, made a Scout-type mount, and put a 2.5X pistol scope and Ramline stock on it. You'll have fun, I promise! It makes a darned nice deer rifle.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:28 PM
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If you change your mind about bending your bolt the is a guy on Ebay that will do it for $65.00 return shipping included-does a really nice job.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:36 PM
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No need for bolt bending when using a scope mounted in the scout position, ahead of the action.

The only thing I'd do, before taking that puppy venison shopping, is to have the headspace checked/corrected, the barrel shortened to druthers & crowned, and a Burris or Leupold Scout scope mounted in a B-Square mount which replaces the military rear barrel sight.


I'd "maybe" thin down & refinish the stock, but since it'll get knocked around in the woods anyway, it looks plenty good to go, as-is.



.
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Last edited by Rangr44; 12-11-2012 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:01 PM
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Nice! Going to be quite a project. Love the 6.5x55 myself. It's my deer rifle. Sporterized Kimber model actually. I like reloading for it. Your options? I'm just a self made gunsmith without a machine shop.
If you have any friends in the machine shop ordeal, you can chop and re-do your bolt handle, get your receiver drilled and tapped, and mount a scope. Maybe even cut the barrel and re-crown.
Have fun with it!
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:46 PM
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Read your thread and joined this forum just to offer an opinion. If your m96 is all matching your may regret sporterizing it. Not an hour ago i was looking at one I worked on some 15+ years ago. Rifle cost $70 shipped back then. I spent about $ 150 back then on smithing and parts and would be lucky to break even right now. Unmodified M96s are worth $350 + and going up. Modified ones are worth far less than the parts. Yours may have an elm stock which is a premium. Just my .02 but really wish i hadn't messed with mine.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:40 AM
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Rangr44, the very first thing I'm going to do is get that rifle checked out. The last thing I need is to blow myself up trying to shoot a deer. :S I'm really considering your advice on leaving the stock on this rifle. The more I think about it the less I want to try to get that action to fit another piece of wood.

Ram rod, I work at a machine shop, but unfortunately we work on things usually measured in tons. They don't have the experience working on rifles, and I wouldn't trust them to anyway. It's going to get sent to a local gunsmith.

Vintovka, welcome to the forum! It's a great place. You'll like it.

I have a good friend who is a purist. When I told him my plans to sporterize a milsurp rifle (more likely "bubba" actually ) he was greatly disappointed. That said the metal in this rifle in in great shape but the stock has seen better days. It's still in one piece, but needs a little help. I have another rifle that is in 95% shape. That is going to be my "museum piece" and it will be worth money in the future I'm sure. I bought this "new" rifle specifically to chop up.

I appreciate your concern and am actually flattered that you joined the forum just to comment on this, but this build is going to go ahead. And I found out it technically isn't numbers matching: the upper hand guard is stamped a different number. Everything else matches though.

I promise I will try to sporterize it in the most tactful way I can.

Edit: While you guys are reading, what's your opinion on a barrel length I should go to. It's at 28 right now. I was thinking of going all the way down to 20". Thoughts?
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Last edited by thegrandenigma; 12-16-2012 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 12-16-2012, 02:05 PM
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Sort of short and loss of velocity. 24" to 26" would be better, IMHO.
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:23 PM
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I might add that we shortened two of the barrels to 24' and one to 22" respectively and recrowned both on a precison lathe. The accuracy wasn't spectacular in either and glass bedding, shims, screw torquing and free floating didn't help. Range of ammo was tried from Norma to milsurp to handloads and while ok for deer they shot no better than the unmodified one we used as a control. I even tried recontouring one barrel but never had chance or interest to test it. I would use a one piece base like a redfield over the 2 piece weaver. Was always curious about privi-partisan but have lost interest in 6.5x55 due to cost as compared to 8mm. Sold the stock on the unfinshed one and will try my luck with the barreled and action on GB soon.
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Ram rod, I work at a machine shop, but unfortunately we work on things usually measured in tons. They don't have the experience working on rifles, and I wouldn't trust them to anyway. It's going to get sent to a local gunsmith.
I hear ya. Our shop is pretty much the same except most of the guys are rather talented with their equipment, and most if not all are hunters or firearm experts. I figure most of them do their own projects on company time with state of the art equipment. Kinda the way it is here in Arkansas.....stuck at work when you should be out in the woods. Blood dripping out of the tailgate on your truck at 7am Monday morning is like gathering everyone around coffee and donuts at the office. There is plenty of experience around here. My bad for thinking that might be the case everywhere.
Barrel length and twist rate relate to projectile weight and accuracy. Usually there's a medium or average for average loads. Go more or less than the average and?
The 6.5x55 is a good long range shooter, and it's average ballistics for the caliber and bullet weight keep it from totally disappearing on the American continent. Not sure if I've said it before.....but IMO the 6.5x55 is the best reason there's no good reason for the .270. Chop it to your liking, but you can never expect more than what's reasonable. It's a give and take ordeal with ballistics. Ballistics have a very close relationship with math.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:08 PM
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lol, I should qualify that previous statement before my machinist friend (whom I work with and is in fact a member here) reads it.

I have great respect for the machinists at my work, but a) most are not into guns, b) I suspect few if any have done any serious work on guns, c) the machines at work are too large to work on guns (although that doesn't seem to stop your co-workers ), and d) the shop does not allow personal projects any more.

I think it would be fun to do machine work on my own guns though! Cheaper too!
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:57 AM
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Speaking of those who have the tools but lack skill or interest would like to liven this forum up with some comments. No meant to offend but to start us thinking. Given the current government is may be time to think about doing all your own smithing at home. Our leader now have the means to limit who can do "gunsmithing" and record all the pertinent information on items being repaired

Most of the paid "professional" gunsmiths i've met recently actuually dislike what they do or discount it in the general terms like any other job.. One guy i know refers to fixing guns as working on "paper clips". Not sure about that either but it puts food on his table and he does fairly well. One true master gunsmith I had the honor to know and learn from was the late HAL Sharon. HE both made his living and loved what he did. Some of you may have known him and he taught at the Lasses Gunsmiths school. The man was an artist.

A day at the lathe with Hal was worth an apprenticeship in a guild.

I think if you really want to test you skills start with properly installing a breechplug in a traditional muzzle loader. Hand chambering a rimmed catridge would be next and ultimately threadind and fitting a mauser type barrel would be next.

what say you?
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:55 PM
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No offense taken. The original post states that I'm open to whatever comments you have. Just don't take offense at any of my replies. Speaking of replies, here's a couple notes:

- I live in Canada. We have different gun laws than you guys, so I'm not going to have to worry about getting tracked through my gunsmith (that I'm aware of anyway).

- Although this thread is under gunsmithing, it was moved there by a moderator. I personally have little interest in gunsmithing. I do like working with wood though so I figure I could take on a stock, but as per above, that decision is yet to be made.

So, in short, I'll be using my local gunsmith. I don't have the skills to do all the work properly myself, and I don't have the time or desire to learn.

Kdub, that was my concern. To me, it's a tradeoff between velocity and mobility (and weight, which factors into mobility also). Would you say 24" is the happy medium between the two? Would 24" have better balance than 20"? This gun is pretty heavy so the more I cut off, IME, the better.
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:00 PM
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As for barrel length and 6.5 x 55 we found the original M94 carbine almost as accurate as the full M96 rifle and easier to handle/carry the field.. Its about 17" or so and ours hsd the barrel extension as required by another stupid law back when. Muzzle blast was tolerable even at the range and not really that loud compared to other carbines.. For a stout deer rifle i think a swept back bolt that is close to the stock is nice especially if you happen to fall on it. One piece scout mount with rear clip guides removed along with the projections on the cocking piece and bolt stop. A long eye relief scope is nice too and some decent swivels that won't break off under stress. These features combined with a low comb mannllicher stock appeal to me as do a low front sight and folding rear just in case. Just thinking.

You could also go nuts with a bullet trap , nieder type butt plate and cap and better side safety/trigger.
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