The Making of Young Shooters

If you want to get young people involved in the shooting sports, you’ve got to give them opportunity. They must have a chance to participate and that participation needs to be fun, enjoyable and provide the youngsters a sense of ownership and accomplishment.

That’s why I’m always looking for ways to keep my kids involved in the shooting sports. And having them get their hands dirty really makes an impact.
That impact will start soon as the boys will get to tear into a pair of old Chilean Mausers and create guns of their own by sporterizing these ageless beauties.

A gun collector friend of mine was apparently helping someone liquidate a collection of old Mausers and these two lonely guns made him think of me. With their dinged stocks and broken cleaning rods they looked a little rough on the outside, but were solid and true on the inside. The clincher was they didn’t have matching serial numbers on any of the parts; that’s a death sentence for a collectible Mauser. If the stock is stamped with 2234 and the magazine plate reads 4153 and the action offers up yet another number, such a Mauser is apparently destined for the perils of sporterization.

Which works for me, because I am not a gun collector, but a gun accumulator. And I never want the Mauser collectors of the world to start coiling up a new rope if they hear that I “went to work” on a pristine specimen with matching serial numbers.

Both rifles are Model 1895, small-ring guns. One is a carbine, the other a short rifle.  The carbine suffered through the Chilean rechambering operation and now accepts a .308 round. But I’m not so sure I want to shoot .308 rounds through it. More on that in a minute. The short rifle retains the original 7×57 chambering, but appears to have  gone through a complete refinishing of the metal parts. Everything from the bayonet mount to the safety lever is wearing a deep bright blue; even the bolt face.

I’m thinking the 7×57 short rifle will stay a 7×57 short rifle and the boys and I will work on some simple drop-in parts changes to create a nice little deer gun.  We can get a new trigger, safety, bolt shroud and scope mounts. We’ll  change the angle of the bolt handle and maybe get a new stock.  We haven’t decided if we want to try to sporterize the old military stock or go with something new. In the end, we should be able to create a nice serviceable piece of hardware we can be proud of.

The carbine will get a little bit more attention. Being chambered in . 308 concerns me. I’ve been doing some research and the old Model 95 action, even though this one appears sound, might not be my first choice for a round producing that much pressure. Then there is the manner in which the Chileans rechambered the carbines. It appears as though the 7×57 chamber was bored out and a .308 chamber insert was soldered into place. Who knows the quality of that job? Then there is the matter of hot gasses possibly eating away at the solder joint at the front of the chamber. As much as I like the .308 round, I’m not going to risk it. This action is getting a new barrel.

What I have found is a nifty little kit that will let me, with the help of a skilled gunsmith friend, attach a 7.62×39 barrel to this action. The kit includes a new magazine follower and spacer block.Once that is in place we can think about similar add-ons as mentioned above, swapping out a ghost-ring sight for the scope mounts and we will have a sweet little deer carbine for the woods.

But most important is that my kids get to do as much of the work as they are able. I want their fingerprints all over both of these project guns.

I’ll keep you posted.

Good Shooting,