Several of the rifles shot very close to MOA, and the Peruvian M1935 7.65 — which looked quite rough but sported a superb bore — actually delivered a 7⁄8-inch group at just over 100 yards. The 7mm long rifles also performed exceptionally, especially the two M1935 Brazilian Mausers, one of which was the proverbial gnat’s eyelash below the Peruvian gun in on-target performance.
The Chilean Steyr M1912 was not far behind. Even the ugly M1954 Brazilian — as rough a rifle as I’ve ever seen and dared to fire, but sporting a pristine bore and perfect head-space even by commercial standards — performed right up to the standards of my National Match M1 in 30-06. The Yugoslavian PrviPartizan 7mm 175-grain loading shot to point of aim in the Brazilian M1935 at 300 yards, but with the sights set for 100 meters. The trajectory suggested high velocity and excellent power, but I determined — since there were no signs of high pressure — chronographing was unnecessary.
The little Argentine M1909 carbines — one an Argentine-built DGFM, the other a DWM from Germany — delivered 1½-inch groups at 100 yards. Those are five-shot groups. I fired three rounds of Norma’s excellent softpoints per gun and did a little better.
Again, as noted early on, these were best groups. No Model 98 sight is quite discriminatory enough to deliver this sort of accuracy anyway, except from a rest, and even then, eyesight limitations and the hard realities of real shooting don’t allow the shooter to do that consistently. But the potential is there. I’ve lately been recommending B-Square’s long eye relief scope setups because they don’t demand anything be drilled or ground up, and the military Mausers thus retain their collector’s value. Also, the stripper loading capability is maintained, and the bolt handles need not be modified.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the tradeoff equation with high-powered rifles. That is, the little 6½- to 7½-pound carbines are light and handy, but the Mauser buttplate is downright abusive, and short barrels generate serious muzzleblast.
The 29-inch barreled long rifles are cumbersome, but sweet to shoot and easy to balance, even over long sessions. The 22- to 24-inch barreled guns, as one might expect, are about midway between the two. Military ammo in 7mm and 8mm is loaded stiffer and shoots better than most American commercial ammo; in fact, I recommend RWS or Norma factory loads in 7.92×57JS (8mm) or handloads. American 8mm is so underloaded that European publications list it as a whole different caliber.
Paul Mauser died in 1914. But you can bet on it: Come 2014, his last major rifle design will be alive, well, and living almost everywhere.
Resources for Mauser Collectors