Thursday, March 26, 2015

An oldie but a goodie. Repaired Turk Mauser ready for the range.

Just because there's more to life than machine guns and "gee whiz" suppressed rifles. Smetimes you just want to relax and enjoy a classic.

Here we have the Model of 1903 Mauser that was initially purchased from Mauser, Oberndorf, Germany for Turkey.

About 200,000 Mauser rifles in assorted calibers were acquired by Turkey from various sources between 1903 and 1905, and many, like this one apparently was, were originally chambered for Mauser's then-new 7.65x53 cartridge. It's basically an 1893/95 style Mauser with a few minor changes. These rifles were subsequently converted to 8mm when the Turks finally got smart and standardized all of their various Mausers to one common caliber, and that's why you see the notch cut out of the receiver ring ahead of the bolt. The old 7.65m action was a bit shorter so the cut had to be made to allow the new 8mm round to clear.

Markings here are: T.C., ASFA, Ankara,. "T.C" means "Turkiye Cumhuriyeti", or "Republic of Turkey". "ASFA" and "Ankara" are for "Askari Fabrika Military Factory", which is in the city of Ankara. The 1939 date would have been when it was rebuilt last in Ankara.

Like most Mausers of the era, the rifle is long but graceful and very well-made. The machining and fitting that went into these old rifles, especially the German-produced ones, was such that the rifles would be cost-prohibitive to manufacture today.

This one has a bolt-disassembly tool built into it's stock.

Unlike the Model 1893's more complex ladder rear sight, the Model 1895 and variants thereof have sliding rears, typically calibrated to allow shots out to 2000 meters. (They were pretty optimistic in those days.)

The straight bolt was still the norm though, as opposed to the nearly-universal curved or "turn-down" bolts that we see today on almost every bolt-action rifle made.

Me personally, I like the straight bolts. as a leftie, they are easier for me to grab and operate as I reach across the rifle.

And again, a bayonet lug is visible below the cleaning rod that this rifle still sports.

Now this one was an impulse buy a couple of years ago, and I got it cheap, but it wasn't until I got it home and took it out to the range that I realized that the ejector was broken. The rifle would chamber and shoot cartridges just fine, but then each fired cartridge would just ride the bold back and forth, held fast to the bolt face by the extractor because the ejector that was supposed to flip it off to my right was snapped off.

You know, these old rifles are great, right up until you need spare parts for them. I mean, it's not like I can just call up Mauserwerke and order a new ejector for this century-old relic out of a catalog.

I tried the usual sources for surpus gun parts, Gun Parts Corp. and Sarco, but with no luck, which surprised me, since these guns, though out of production for a long, long time, were never exactly scarce.

I set the gun aside and made it a "project of convenience" and dithered with it every now and again when I was bored. Every now and again, I'd find an ejector somewhere that I thought might work, only to find out after installing it that I was wrong.

I'm actually building up quite a nice collection of old Mauser ejectors.

Part of the problem was that there is also a spring beneath the ejector on these older Mausers, and it took me a while to figure that out and notice that it was also missing from this rifle.

Finally, I found complete ejector box assemblies over at Springfield Sporters and I nabbed one for about $24.00. It arrived today and I quickly installed it.

Ejector box is this rectangular box on the left side of the action. (The part with the screw.) It holds the ejector and ejector spring.

It fit great and it ejects cartridges like a champ. Now all that's left is a range trip so I can sight it in and decide once and for all if it's going to be a keeper or not.

And yes, I bought a spare ejector for an additional five dollars too, because if it broke once...

Turkish Model 1903 specs:

Caliber: 8x57mm Mauser
Overall Length: 49.0 in.
Barrel length: 29.1 in.
Weight: 9.2 lbs
Magazine: Five-round, charger-loaded box
Sights: Inverted V-blade front; rear siding leaf adjustable from 100 to 2,000 meters.


  1. Fantastic! Glad you got it going.

  2. It is good to know the Mauser is working again

  3. Hmmm.... It broke ONCE in a hundred plus years... I'd say that's decent reliability... :-)

  4. I have several different variations of the Turkish mausers and have found them to be good guns. I have one Rebuilt Model 1888 Commission rifle that will not retain the rounds in the magazine. I sent it to a gunsmith up North who had a reputation for being able to fix the old guns but he kept it for six months then sent it back untouched. Said he could not find the necessary parts.