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I recently had the opportunity to take my grandfather's WW2 Kar98k to the range and put a few rounds through it and I love the design of the rifle and the cartridge. I do own a shotgun, but I have never owned a rifle for any purpose before. I have been kicking around the idea of buying one of the cheap Yugoslavian or Czech rifles with a good bore and sporterizing it, but I have a few questions;

1. Is this heresy? I assume because I can get a yugo for as low as 190 that people aren't going to start giving me lip at the range for taking it apart. I'll probably still do it, but opinions are nice.

2. Is it worth buying something in 8mm Mauser? The ammo can be hard to find I know, grandpappy re-sizes once fired 30.06 cartridges, and it's labor intensive and comes out to still be pretty costly. I am willing to reload and resize if I can be enticed. What other large rounds with similar ballistics are there which are cheaper per round, and can I get a rifle in that for anywhere near as cheap?

3. Could a rifle bought for $200-290 be used for hunting/ tapped for a scope? I know that in concept it can, but is it worth it? Or should I wait a few years until I have more money to spend?
 

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First of all, welcome to Shooters Forum, and to the world of rifles! :)

There was a time when sporterizing a former military rifle was an inexpensive way to build a good deer rifle. These days, the value of the remaining rifles of that era has gone up enough, along with the cost of converting them, that it's really better to leave them as-is and buy a modern bolt-action rifle.

In terms of other "large rounds with similar ballistics", you need look no farther than the 30-'06. These two old rounds provide very similar performance, but the '06 ammo and components for reloading are generally cheaper and more readily available.

I'm not going to suggest you can get into a good quality rifle and scope for under $300, but you won't be able to convert an older rifle for anywhere near that price, either. I'd suggest shooting grandpa's gun once in a while until you can afford to buy a newer rifle. In fact, you might consider looking into a used bolt-action 22 rimfire...every rifleman should have one of those in his gun closet. :)
 
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The 8mm aka 7.92X57 Mauser is one of the cartridge "All Time Greats" tho it is generally more familiar in Europe. American ammo for the 8mm are purposely down-loaded to avoid issue with early 8mm rifles(pre-ww1). Sellier and Belot sell excellent hunting ammo for 8mm.
Handloading this round can result in loads tailored to your rifle and uses. If you already load, setting up to load the 8mm is a logical step.
If there are still Yugo rifles available, go for it.. I had several and all were great condition and good, reliable, accurate shooters. I chose to leave them in original shape, some tore them up to make "sporter" rifles, even tho the Yugo receiver is shorter than the German standard size.
Generally speaking it is less expensive to buy a rifle off the rack at Walmart or used at a pawnshop or gunstore, than to build your own from a military surp gun.
 

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Brass and bullets are readily available and so are dies. So have fun and keep the german mauser as is.
 

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There are so many well-built, accurate hunting rifles on the market today for around $300 that converting a military Mauser makes absolutely no economical or practical sense any more. Unless your skill level is up to the job, or you just simply must have a project to do, the best thing to do for a hunting rifle is to grab your wallet and head for Walmart.
 

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Welcome to the Forum

These folks have given good advice. Shoot the Mauser and enjoy it. if you are shooting old military surplus ammo, it may be corrosive and requires more cleaning to preserve to bore.

Shopping the used gun racks makes sense. There are a lot of great bargains waiting to be found. Take care. All the best...
Gil
 

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Bending the bolt handle down, changing the safety, and drilling and tapping for a scope base is probably going to cost more than the gun. However, you can get a forward scope base that goes where the rear sight is for a 'scout' scope and use it like that. Easily your cheapest option.

Or hunt with iron sights, as-issued. Yugo mausers often in good shape (check the bore!) and good quality guns for the money. Look for the 24/47, 48, and 48A models.
 

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Welcome to the Shooter's forum!

Another vote on leaving your grandfather's Mauser as is.
 

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I would search the used gun racks for rifles in your price range. You may even get lucky and find a Mauser that's already been sporterized, I found both of mine that way. If you do buy a Mauser in original configuration and want to sporterize it you don't want to just bend the handle, you want to forge it. Simply heating the handle and bending it won't allow clearance with a scope. Forging costs about $50-$60. The Yugo Mausers are an intermediate length action, not a standard length action BUT cartridges with an OAL of 3.340" will still fit, i.e 300 win mag, 458 win mag, 25-06 and so on. 8x57 cases can be made from 30-06 HOWEVER 2 things will happen. 1- you lose case capacity 2- your rounds won't be as accurate as they would be if they were commercial 8x57 cases. As mentioned sellier and bellot make loaded ammo as well as PPU. 4895 powder works fantastic in the 8mm as well as 3031.
Here is a pic of my latest Mauser, a M1924 Yugo. I picked this one up for $250

 

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Bobby Chombo,Every rifle I own today is a Mauser,either Commerical or Military.I like 1909 Argentinia or VZ 24.But today to take a unmodified Mauser and make a sporter from it,unless you you can do a lot of the work yourself is cost prohibitive.It is hard enough to find someone with the equipement and skill to do the job right.You can leave it as a 8mm,this cartridge is over looked,it is in the 30-06 class.A lot of the rounds on the market is down loaded to make sure they are safe in all of the older rifles.
You will need to have the bolt handle turned down or replaced.You will need to have it drilled for a scope by someone that knows what they are doing.Have the military sights removed.Purchase a new stock.Replace the trigger.You can buy a glass stock or you can buy a laminated one.Wood stocks are nice but require a lot of work and are not as stable and glass and lamininated.You can invest $400 to a $1000 very easy.
Or you can look around for a used Savage or mauser that the work is done for less.
 
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