Sporterizing Mausers

They’re bygone days now because you can buy a quality and accurate rifle like a Mossberg or Savage for a few hundred bucks, but it used to be that if you wanted a good rifle on the cheap, you would build one from a surplus Mauser. I was fortunate to catch the tail end of that era. Actions were plentiful and inexpensive, Brownell’s had any modification part you could think of, Fajen had semi-inletted stocks and Midway offered short-chambered barrels you could thread in at home and finish ream by hand using a rented chamber reamer.

A lot of Mauser sporterizing stuff is still available from those sources, but actions are harder to come by and not so cheap. These days, sporterizing a Mauser isn’t so much about saving a few bucks, but instead about having a “guy” project to work on—though women can sporterize a Mauser equally well.

 

 

Scott Mayer

www.tacticaltshirts.com

www.john1911.com

“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

 

Scott Mayer

Scott Mayer

Writer at John1911
Mayer began his outdoor industry career in 1993 on the NRA Technical Staff where he became American Rifleman magazine first Shooting Editor. Mayer left NRA and entered the business end of publishing in 2003 as Advertising Account Executive for Safari Club International SAFARI Magazine and Safari Times newspaper. In 2006, Mayer was named Publisher of Shooting Times magazine where he was also tasked with launching and leading Personal Defense TV, the first television show of its kind.

In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.
Scott Mayer

Latest posts by Scott Mayer (see all)

  • Freeze

    Scott, I envy you. I to recall the era you are referring to but at that time in my life I was a super hard core Milsurp snob and the idea of sporterizing or “Bubbaing” a milsurp rifle was sacrilegious. Looking back, I wish I would have been less of a delta bravo and just put together some really nice kick ass rifles. Good for you and shame on me.

  • Scott Mayer

    Thanks, Freeze, but you’re correct not to ass up a good milsurp. None of these were good.

  • Mikial

    Mausers are great guns, and the old military action just keeps on working forever. I had a sporterized model that had been chambered for 30-06 years ago, but traded it for something else at some point just before heading out on active duty. I have no doubt someone is still hunting mullies with it today.

  • Brennen Munro

    I love seeing these old rifles getting a new life as a “sport” rifle. I have an old .303 Einfield that I have hunted with, it is still in it’s war time dress, but it shoots so well that I have been worried that changing anything with it would change that. We all hear stories about that one mil-surp rifle that shoots like a target rifle and I did end up with a quality shooter! I will not win Camp Perry with it, but I would have no issue taking it to field for any game animal in North America. It is also so ugly that it is beautiful to me.

    Munro

    • Don’t you dare chop up that 303.

      Marky

      • Brennen Munro

        I wouldn’t think of chopping that rifle! I am lucky in that it is an early WW2 Lithgow model, made when the steel was still of good quality, and the pride of the workmanship is most obvious. Like I said, it shoots better that most mil-surp rifles, and has an action that slides like oiled glass. This rifle will go either to my son, or to my daughter. Don’t worry about this .303, it is safe from the saw!

        Munro

  • MickeyG

    Got a 1941 Model 98 8mm, with all matching part #s and the German markings that an uncle brought home from War2, sporterized the original stock, added a Lyman peep sight, that is so accurate, it is one of my favorite weapons to shoot. I wish I knew how to send a picture(s)as he did a really clean job of it.

    • Do you know how to send pics in e-mail from your phone?

      Marky

      • MickeyG

        Unfortunately I do not. My cell phone just gets and receives calls, which basically all I need, sorry. I’m just a dumb ole Marine !

  • Conner

    We all know ‘back in the day’ milsurp imports were like Chevy three speeds on the colume. Everybody had em and wanted a four speed on the floor. Of course today it is sacrilegious to damage the history these articles of our wars carry with them. As collector and a gunsmith I can tell you this has brought on many a dilemma. Without going into that, I will say I have seen, held and worked on some of most beautiful

    • Hi, Connor. Sorry I I am late in seeing this. We have been busy with project and Scott was in Africa and is just now getting back to normal.

      You are correct. Back in the day, getting donor rifles was not a problem. A few months back while passing through a small town in the Blue Ridge mountains, I walked into a gun shop that probably had 80% sporter-ized rifles from back in the day.

      I plan on going back and taking my time in the racks when my schedule permits.

      Marky

  • Daniel, God is my judge

    This may be a little off-topic, but my stepson ended up with a 1917 30-06 Eddystone that was sporterized and belonged to his great-uncle who hunted mulies, elk and killed a moose with it. I believe the Eddystone was designed after the Mauser action with some modifications. Over the years I’ve seen some really good sporterized Mausers, and some really poor jobs. This Eddystone has a Lyman peep sight, beautiful walnut stock, the blueing is excellent and the workmanship shows. His great aunt sold it to him for $175 many years ago. Even though there is a family connection, I told him this rifle was a keeper and if he ever felt the need to sell it I wanted to buy it, even though I no longer hunt and really have no use for it.

    • I would like to see a pic of that rifle.

      Marky

      • Daniel, God is my judge

        I’ll have to get together with my stepson and get a photo, it may take a little time. How would I send the e-mail to you?

        • Sorry I missed this: tacticaltshirts AT gmail DOT com

          Hopefully you see I spelled out the address so the spam bots wouldn’t harvest it.

          Marky

  • Conner

    Guys I have to clarify something I mentioned in my post. I mentioned that while deciding to customize a milsurp or not to, one thing to look for was to see if an amateurs attempt to sporter the rifle had damaged it enough to move foreword on the project. Poor choice of words on my part. I apologize. My intent was never meant to discourage anyone new to smithing, or to make them think firearms’ are intimidating to work on. Those of us who smith professionally or as a serious hobby or for simple fun know that one of the biggest fears when we first start is tearing apart those first firearms and having the ability to put them back together correctly and safely. It will come in time but you have to dissemble them first. We also know that their are never enough good gunsmiths. What is that that Reid Cofield says………until next time, Happy gunsmithing!