Friday, October 04, 2013

Swedish Mauser

A gun post is way overdue here. It's been way too long. So to fix that, here's a review of the Swedish Mauser M1938 (Type I), sometimes referred to as an M96/38.
This rifle started out in life as a Model 1896 infantry rifle made at the Carl Gustafs stads Gevärsfaktori (Carl Gustavs State Rifle Factory) in Eskilstuna, Sweden. This particular one first saw the light of a cold Swedish day on 1899 per it's receiver stamping.
The Swedes adopted this pretty cutting-edge rifle (for that time period) to replace the single-shot Remington rolling block rifles that their military had been using. Production of this new five-shot rifle only started in Sweden in 1898, so this rifle of mine is one of the first ones made. It originally would have had at 29.1" barrel but a bit before World War Two, the Swedes jumped on the "short rifle" bandwagon along with about everyone else and they introduced a shorter version better suited to all-around use by their modernizing forces which now included mechanized units which would find the older longer rifles unduly cumbersome. The new short rifle was known as the Model 1938, and while many of those were factory-made as new, many more, including mine, were manufactured by taking older M96 rifles and cutting the barrels down 5.5". They were then nearly identical to the new-production M38 rifles (known now as the Type II), except for the fact that most of the older ones retained their straight bolts while the new-production rifles came from the factory with curved, or "turn-down" bolts.

Mine has the old straight bolt, and as a left-handed shooter, I prefer this as it's a bit quicker and easier for me to grab reaching across the rifle from the left side.
Stock disk.

The swedes were obsessive about barrel condition, and each rifle's barrel measurements were tracked and recorded on a stock disk like this one. Each disk is divided into three sections. The large section deals with the rifle's measured bore diameter. Mine still reads at 6.51, or "no wear". The small section indicates condition, with "1" indicating minimal rust, pitting or darkening. The third section is supposed to indicate "hold over" for the then-newer 6.5mm 140gr. round, but it was not always marked, and mine was not.
More detailed information can be found here or here or here. Per this disk, this rifle's bore is great.

The rifles also have nice elevation-adjustable rear sights, which, typical for rifles of that era, only start at 300M. But a couple of pieces of tape under the sight can raise the rear just enough to give you a nice 100M zero, and that's what I'll be working on next time I take it out.
I had it out last week just for a trial, and that 6.5 is both pleasant to shoot and pretty consistent. Now I just have to work on moving the point of impact to where I want it with a bit of tape under the rear and just a touch of windage drift to the front post. Once done, I'll have another 100M tack-driver that'll come in handy for both recreation and second-tier defensive work if need be. (Think "Katrina" style disaster and the need to arm reliable friends and neighbors.) Come that day, I have no doubts as to this rifle's ability to fill the gap.


  1. Dang, very nice! A beautiful marriage of wood and steel with a long history.

  2. Hey Murphy

    I gotta take my 6.5 mauser out for a spin...I wish I had kept the origional stock, but I gave it away back in the mid 80's like a dork. Mine is a 1901 long barrel. Where do you find the ammo for it? I have checked several places online and found none.

  3. @ MrGaribaldi: Prvi Partisan makes cheap and decent 6.5 ammo now. Anyone who sells it will have it periodically as they do production runs every few months. Check with AIM Surplus, Natchez Shooters Supply or any of the other usual suspect on-line ammo sellers. Or just do a Google search of "6.5 ammo sale Prvi" and I suspect that you'll find plenty. If everyone's out, check back every couple of weeks. The ammo people will make it as long as we keep buying it!

  4. One of my favorite rifles,I have an M38 made in 1943 by Husqvarna with Privi it shoots very well but with my favorite hand load its a tack driver i would not want to sell it.Had a 1916 long one but found it a bit cumbersome the M38 is just perfect.