I got it in my head a couple months back that I wanted a Mauser. I went to a few gunstores and they all wanted around $400 to $600 for one. Nope. All had bent bolt handles, too, and I wanted a straight one, being a lefty and all.
So I saw this thing in my favorite gunstore. Said "Amberg 88" or some danged thing on it. It had been sitting there for the better part of the year.
The gunstore owner said he wanted to see it gone, and he'd make me a deal. It had rust in the bore but looked OK overall.
I called up a friend who knows some about these things, told me some of what to check for. I told the gunstore owner that I'd have to come back for it after doing some research as I didn't know if it would be a wall hanger or a shooter, though I do like a project.
He told me that I know how he dislikes old milsurps. I know... too much research to find their value. He also knows how I like a project and to make an offer. I told him I didn't feel right doing so because I'd likely insult him.
He said he was thinking 50 bucks.
Not to pass up a deal, I came back with "How about 25?"
"Sold!" says I. $37.50 out the door.
I got it home and pulled it apart. One dent, very little surface rust -- just one spot on what appeared to be a hood on the barrel. The barrel was pristine under that hood. I had been afraid maybe it was rusted through.
Happily, it was not.
I was pushing what looked like mud out of the barrel, and after liberal amounts of Fluid Film and bore brushes wrapped in steel wool, it started to shine.
Not the best bore I've ever seen, but far from the worst. I've seen worse bores on Mosin-Nagants shoot well.
Here are some pics:
With shooting, the bore is cleaning up. It shines now and there are only a couple dark spots in it that look like rust.
I'm still trying to decide for certain whether it's indeed redone for 0.323" bullets. It does have the "S" mark which means the chamber and leade were redone but the barrel was left as-was. Supposedly it can take either ammo, and I'm getting a little over an inch at 50 yards and 0.318" bullets.
It's showing low pressure signs, though, and the neck is blowing way up when I fire. I'm overworking my shells' necks. This coming week I'll try some 0.323" bullets lightly loaded in it -- they are on order. (As I'm given to understand, gas erosion was a problem with the 0.318" bullets and the 0.323" bullets were made to seal better. Dangerous to shoot in unmodified, non-"S" chambers).
This rifle originally saw action in a Bavarian reserve regiment before being shipped to Turkey for WWI (and you know it had 0.323" ammo shot through it there!).
This is, in my opinion, almost the perfect rifle. The sights are precise and the barrel (mine is reenforced) is floated for all intents and purposes by using that sleeve.
I would really only change the bolt. The lugs are a bit weak, and really should have a third. It's already been modified to 88/05 standards.
It kicks hard, in prone. I'm not willing to put a recoil pad on it, though, as length-of-pull is perfect for me. Might end up investing in a P.A.S.T. pad as I have a bruised collarbone after five shots prone with 200grn bullets. I'm not a recoil wuss and do this regularly with the Mosin-Nagant, but this rifle is a bit lighter!
The tall Mauser sight blank from Brownell's worked perfectly, and now it shoots POA.
So, you-all reckon I made out OK for $37.50?