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Thread: OK, I've run as far as I can

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    OK, I've run as far as I can

    Does anyone here have advice on modifying the rails on small ring mausers for .308 class cartridges? I've done my giggling and various forum's due diligence but find not. I spent the day hacking away on a Turk '93 in the mill. It's a trash action so I got more and more aggressive as the day got long. What gets me is no matter what I did the butt end of the .308 dunks down making feed less than 50% Tried every follower I had including a Type I Carcano. Things were best with a '96 but still way too erratic. I wish I had one of those '93-95 conversions to look at. I thought I had a bee-line with the Turk because it was modified for 8x57 - no joy.

  2. #2
    When making the minor modifications I have had to do to get a few 98 mausers to feed Ackley cartridges and a 416 Taylor, I started with mocking up the modification in reverse: If I thought the rails needed widening, I temporarily narrowed the box inside w/ pieces of refridgerator magnets (the old advertisements from pizza shops, etc.). if I thought the follower needed to have the angle of the upright widened, I raised the floor w/ tape. If you think the box needs a filler, that's easy too, but you need a sacrificial follower.
    Helped me straighten out the ideas and '...measure twice, cut once...'.
    The rails have several features and angles that perform different functions, so roll the action upside down and get a good look in there at what the features do before planning out the work.
    The Kuhnhausen "...Shop Manual"book is also very valuable.
    Also, It seems that L & R don't always need the same degree of modification.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    On my Mauser 1916 in.308 and the one I had years ago.
    The magazine follower was shortened on the front.
    Leaving a gap so the follower could walk a little bit and allow the cartridge to feed better.
    The magazine box also had a spacer installed that was about 1/4 to 5/16 thick to take up the extra space from the shorter cartridge.
    I had to remove the spacer and reinstall a full size follower to convert one of the rifles to 8 x 57

  4. #4
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copperlake View Post
    Does anyone here have advice on modifying the rails on small ring mausers for .308 class cartridges? I've done my giggling and various forum's due diligence but find not. I spent the day hacking away on a Turk '93 in the mill.

    FWIW, 1893-1895 SR Mausers are not suitable for commercial .308 ammo...….. 1898 SR Mausers are OK.

    The 1893-95 SR Mausers that the Spanish converted to .308 NATO were NOT shot with standard .308 rounds - the Spanish gov't provided reduced power loads for their troops.

    Note that gunsmiths DON'T convert 1893-95 SR Mausers to .308.

    Barrel makers DON'T advertise .308 as a conversion chambering for 1893-95 SR Mausers, only for rounds like the 6.5x55, 7x57, and .257 Roberts - all older, lower pressure rounds.

    The 1893-95's make a nice little rifle if you intend to handload reduced pressure ammo, but there are plenty of reports of cracked locking lugs after extended shooting of Milsurp 7.62 Nato and or commercially loaded .308


    Anyhow, make your choices & take your chances...…………

    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy Texas Gun's Avatar
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    8x57 is a good round love my Mauser

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Valuable information in what Pietro said. If your conversion is ultimately successful you should download the .308 rounds.

    One thought: The original '93 actions had a bolt with a flat on the bottom where the bolt pushed against the cartridge. The '95 had a round face bolt which pushes against the cartridge head just a bit farther down. Otherwise, the two rifles are very similar, and the bolts are interchangeable. You might try returning to the original magazine follower and using a '95 bolt.

    DG

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I agree with Pietro that the 93 & 95s are not totally safe to use the .308.
    The one I kept just for my collection and do shoot it only with cast loads.
    The one I built into a 8mm also is intended for shooting Cast loads.
    I used a barrel from a small ring barreled Turk Mauser to make the conversion.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks all for the tips. After I wrote this plea and working some more, I came to the conclusion that a spacer was the next step because if I placed the carts exactly in the right place it worked. What was happening is the aft part of the cart would tip downwards if they were all the way back. In my madness, I made the opening too wide and now a stock follower allows the last round to just pop out thus the '96 follower which actually, was kinder all through the process. I had the action in and out of the mill like eight times using a ball-nosed 3/16" end mill for the cuts. I have three junk 1916's with which to perfect this.

    A little more to the story: I have three Mexican SR 98's, one I barreled in .243, another and in .308 and the third will be .358 or .338 FED. I have two Husqvarna '96 actions made in 1943 that are gonna be any one of those calibers. Then, there are the seven Gustaf '96's waiting around for something?

    Thanks for the strength concern but I'm hep to all that's been said re: action strength and have blown three SRings for my own curiosity and grasp of the subject. I have some conclusions about all of that, but am here for this particular process of which I know nothing!

    As a side note: I have five '94 Brazilians made by FN that have the hardest (tested with a file) lug seats that I have ever encountered in any military Mauser. I also have two made by lowe that are as soft as any 1916 Oviedo.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy todd9.3x57's Avatar
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    hey!!!!!! quit knocking my 1916 Oviedo!!!!!!!

    i have one chambered in 6.5x55 and the other will be 257 bob. (i know about +P ammo).
    used to be 444ttd

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy 405grain's Avatar
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    The only time that I've seen a recommendation to use a ball end mill in a milling machine to alter feed rails was in an article about modifying M1917 and P1914 Enfields to feed cartridges like 416 Rigby or 505 Gibbs. On the Mauser's that I've done work on the feed rails, that work was done with jewelers files and small abrasive stones. It is paramount that you understand what each feature of the feed rails, the feed ramp, and the follower are intended to do. These components were designed not only to do a specific series of tasks, but almost always to preform these tasks for a specific cartridge. The feeding mechanism may preform excellently with other cartridges that are of a similar shape and size, but not always. When conversion to a cartridge that has different sized features, or a different length, feeding difficulties may arise.

    It seems that there are no cut and dried follow the dots instructions on how to modify feeding rails. The information is elusive and needs to be searched for. The goal of setting up a Mauser rifle to feed properly is to make each cartridge try to align itself along the axis on the bore, to have the bullet already entering the breech of the chamber before the base of the cartridge is released, and as soon as the base is released for it to rise up onto the bolt face and seat under the extractor. These modifications are done slowly and carefully by making small modifications and feeding dummy rounds through the action to gauge the effects of those modifications.

    In very general terms, think of the feed lips as if this were a single stack magazine. If the tip of the bullet is veering too much to the right side of the chamber opening, removing a SMALL amount of material from the left feed lip in the area where the cartridge shoulder is contacting it just before the tip of the bullet inters the chamber will move the bullet tip to the left. If the bullet tip is too far to the left, then removing material from the right feed lip near the point of shoulder contact will move it to the right. Now you have to consider how this will work in a double stack magazine so that you can make the proper adjustments for feeding from each side of the feed lips. The shorter a cartridge is (relative to the cartridge that the rifle was designed to feed) the steeper angle it will feed from the magazine. If the tip of the bullet is aiming too high and strikes the upper edge of the chamber the angle of the feed ramp on the receiver may need to be reduced. Caution is advised here because the feed ramp is also the back of the lower bolt lug recess, and you don't want to remove too much material.

    These guidelines are so basic as to be practically useless, as there is so much that needs to be understood before attempting to modify the feeding system. You'll need to know about how the cartridges stack inside the magazine (both at the base and at the shoulder). You'll need to understand how the follower works. Close inspection of the feed rails shows how they were matched to the cartridge that the receiver was designed for. You'll need to understand where and how to widen the feed lips (and when not to). You'll also need to consider either adding a spacer at the rear of the magazine well, or lengthening the magazine as the case requires.

    I recommend doing a lot of online research regarding modifying the feed rails. The place where these modifications are most crucial are on dangerous game rifles. This type of Mauser rifle is almost always converted into a cartridge that's quite different from the one that the rifle was originally designed for, and because of the nature of the quarry it need to feed with 100% reliability. Very few people need a dangerous game rifle, but the methods used to attain that level of feeding are applicable to any cartridge conversion. As far as my personal gunsmithing advise on the topic, on a scale of one to ten I'd give my level of expertise about a two (maybe two and a half), so search for the information and learn, learn, learn. Here's a good article to start with:
    https://www.africahunting.com/thread...-cz-550.47094/

    Another article on how the cartridges stack in the magazine:
    https://www.africahunting.com/thread...-layout.35015/

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    The usual reason the case ducks down is that the cartridge stack is tight at the shoulder area. 308 and "x57 cases have different body tapers. Make yourself a stack of dummies, super glue them together, and fit the magazine to them. Do this by shimming the rear sides of the magazine until the stack has the same side to side clearance the full distance of the mag. You can try this using masking tape or gluing metal to the sides of the mag. Get a good fit and then assemble the rifle and try it with loose dummies. A lot of times that is all that is necessary. Maybe you won't need to mess with the rails.
    Here is a good site to ask your question. There are several mauser smiths at this site and they have a lot of knowlege.
    http://mausercentral.net/forum/

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy 1006's Avatar
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    I have a 98 FN Commercial that started out as a 257 Roberts. The barrel was shot out. I had it re-barreled to 7mm-08. It already had a spacer in the rear of the mag box, and I have tried to get the 7mm-08 to feed with and without the spacer installed—no success. I have also tried varying the cartridge length with different weight bullets seated at different lengths. It feeds from one side of the box pretty well, but not the other side. I have resisted the idea of removing metal, and have basically begun to believe that my best option is to just shoot it at the range and right it off as a bad idea. I believe that I should have used a Mauser family Cartridge for simplicity—maybe a 7x57.

    As said before, the body taper of the 308 family causes the issues. Most of my research indicated that in order to run a 308 in a Mauser conversion, some vertical metal strips are added to the mag box, just in front of the cartridge shoulder, to hold it to the rear of the box. I have not been able to find any drawings, or pictures to get a better idea of how to do it correctly.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy todd9.3x57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1006 View Post
    I have a 98 FN Commercial that started out as a 257 Roberts. The barrel was shot out. I had it re-barreled to 7mm-08. It already had a spacer in the rear of the mag box, and I have tried to get the 7mm-08 to feed with and without the spacer installed—no success. I have also tried varying the cartridge length with different weight bullets seated at different lengths. It feeds from one side of the box pretty well, but not the other side. I have resisted the idea of removing metal, and have basically begun to believe that my best option is to just shoot it at the range and right it off as a bad idea. I believe that I should have used a Mauser family Cartridge for simplicity—maybe a 7x57.

    As said before, the body taper of the 308 family causes the issues. Most of my research indicated that in order to run a 308 in a Mauser conversion, some vertical metal strips are added to the mag box, just in front of the cartridge shoulder, to hold it to the rear of the box. I have not been able to find any drawings, or pictures to get a better idea of how to do it correctly.


    years ago, i had a FN 98 mauser action that i made into sporter 7x57. the 7 mauser IS the cartridge to measure up to, not the '06. i killed alot of deer with it and now my son has it and kills deer too. nowadays, i have two 7x57: '08 Brazilian and 'Venezuela FN 24/30. i also have a sporterized 98 mauser(1944) in 8x57 and a 95 Chilian action that probably will be either 6.5x57 or 6.5x55 Swede. I have a 1936 Husqvarna m46(94 or 95 mauser) in 9.3x57 that i just love.

    Mauser's family of cartridges should be the one to go to.
    used to be 444ttd

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy 405grain's Avatar
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    Adding vertical metal strips to the inside of the magazine will probably not improve feeding with a Mauser modified to shoot 308 Winchester. The reason that cartridges based on the 308 case sometimes have trouble feeding is mostly because of the wider diameter at the case shoulder than the Mauser cartridges. This, coupled with the shorter length of the cartridge, is the usual suspect in this case. Internal vertical magazine rails have been installed in magazine boxes ahead of the cartridge shoulder on rifles that experience nose tip battering on the bullets because of excess recoil. The vertical strips do not extend to the top of the magazine box, or they would prevent rounds from feeding: they do not hold back a cartridge that has moved up into the feeding position.

    Many K98 rifles were used in Israel after WW2. They were rebarreled to 7.62 NATO. I've seen Israeli Mauser followers that have been shortened, so I assume that on some of these rifles a spacer was placed at the back of the magazine well. There was no attempt (that I know of) to modify the feed rails. The feeding on these rifles was pretty much hit or miss; either they fed well or they didn't. At one point I built two 98 Mausers at the same time, both in 308 Winchester. One was a Czech 98-22 that I made into a sporter for my younger brother, and the other was a VZ-24 that I made into a "sniper" variant for myself. The brothers rifle only required marginal fitting for it to feed, but the VZ24 required extensive modification of the magazine, follower and the feed rails to function properly. Mauser's are like that - some will take a cartridge conversion without a hitch and others will be a pain every step of the way.Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    [QUOTE=405grain;5337598]Adding vertical metal strips to the inside of the magazine will probably not improve feeding with a Mauser modified to shoot 308 Winchester. The reason that cartridges based on the 308 case sometimes have trouble feeding is mostly because of the wider diameter at the case shoulder than the Mauser cartridges. This, coupled with the shorter length of the cartridge, is the usual suspect in this case. Internal vertical magazine rails have been installed in magazine boxes ahead of the cartridge shoulder on rifles that experience nose tip battering on the bullets because of excess recoil. The vertical strips do not extend to the top of the magazine box, or they would prevent rounds from feeding: they do not hold back a cartridge that has moved up into the feeding position.

    Many K98 rifles were used in Israel after WW2. They were rebarreled to 7.62 NATO. I've seen Israeli Mauser followers that have been shortened, so I assume that on some of these rifles a spacer was placed at the back of the magazine well. There was no attempt (that I know of) to modify the feed rails. The feeding on these rifles was pretty much hit or miss; either they fed well or they didn't. At one point I built two 98 Mausers at the same time, both in 308 Winchester. One was a Czech 98-22 that I made into a sporter for my younger brother, and the other was a VZ-24 that I made into a "sniper" variant for myself. The brothers rifle only required marginal fitting for it to feed, but the VZ24 required extensive modification of the magazine, follower and the feed rails to function properly. Mauser's are like that - some will take a cartridge conversion without a hitch and others will be a pain every step of the way.

    Well, some of your info makes sense, others not so much. In fact, a simple observation of feed rails shows that in fact a ball-end milling cutter was used to finish. And in fact, using strips of magnetic 'Bail bond now!' adverts has actually helped me understand some things. I come from a mental state that says Mr. Mauser would have figured out how to accomplish this task and it would have been flawless. After putting on my bennie with the propellor on top and discarding my usual brute force way, I'm actually making progress. I've set myself to figure this out in a way that is reproducible. That is very much important to me, my goal. I have time and many worthless actions as subjects. I will get it or not - my current jones.

    One thing you say is the truth; "others will be a pain every step of the way." THAT! is exactly what I'm going through. In very general terms, with the exception of helpful bits, my googling has been more or less worthless. I hope the fruits of my effort are useful. If I crap out, everyone here will know. After today's effort, I'm aware of how unsuitable a stock follower is.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    OK, after realizing my floundering was going nowhere, I sat down with five actions and the cartridges they were designed for in order to study how they functioned. They ALL had one thing in common: That, when a cart was placed in the first position as in loading, (and what would be the last, too in a five rnd mag) the inboard edge of the cart follows a line that closely parallels the centerline of the bore. Also, when that cart is in position the shoulder is level across the guide lips or more correctly, the bolt guide rails. In all cases it's snug as a bug with no wobbles. I hot glued the respective carts to their actions and took some pics and then put them in a CAD program, zoomed in and as best I could, placed a line from rim to shoulder then extended them along their paths. As one can see in the pic, this is a truth at least for these five actions. Of course, I would have to do a set up that I'm not gonna do to get a more accurate depiction with photos. A straight edge with proper lighting and an eyeball is better. Next, I determined what the angle is from the base to the shoulder (.7345* using a cad drawing of a .308) then set up the mill and plowed away (junk 1916) at a Z axis angle of 84* from stem to stern and visa-versa. Well, I'll danged! Be danged after a follower dance....

    From top to bottom, the three actions are:

    '96 CG 6.5x55

    '95 Lowe Chilean 7x57

    '38 Type I Carcano 6.5x50
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy 405grain's Avatar
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    Yes, your getting it! The feed rails are a match to the cartridge that the action was intended for. A ball end mill would be the best tool for machining on the rails. Usually it can be done with one size end mill. For some cartridges you should use two different diameter end mills: one for the match to the case body, and one to match the case neck & bullet diameter (it only needs to be a close match, not literally an exact match). When you're converting to a shorter cartridge you should put a spacer in the back of the magazine box to take up the extra space. Don't put a spacer or other contraption in the front of the magazine box; remember, you need for the base of the cartridge to snap up under the extractor claw as the cartridge exits the magazine. Having the cartridge all the way in the back of the magazine, then having it exit early (before the nose of the bullet has entered the chamber) usually adds complexity to the operation.
    There's more to it than just matching the feed rails to the cartridge. A lot of times feeding issues can be caused by the magazine well not being wide enough. There may be ample room for the head of the cartridge, but if the shoulder diameter is wider than the original cartridge it can cause binding. In example, if a rifle was chambered for 30-06, then rebarreled to either 25-06, 270, or 280, it would probably feed fine. If that same rifle were rebarreled to a cartridge with a larger diameter shoulder with a sharper shoulder angle it may require some fitting to feed reliably.

    All this is only of note if the action won't feed. Just as often as not a rifle will work fine after a cartridge conversion. Look how many rifles were rechambered to Ackley Improved cartridges without any other modifications and worked great. A good rule of thumb is to try an action with dummy cartridges before deciding on altering the feeding system. The old adage holds true: it's easier to remove metal than it is to replace it. As I said in my first post, it's rare that the rails need to be machined. Often the modifications can be done with small files and stones. A mill will make a BIG change in the rails. This can be a good thing if everything turns out right, but if things go sideways they'll happen fast. Going slow with hand tools allows disaster to happen in slow motion, and often it can be caught and corrected before it gets out of hand. I'll look through my files after work tonight and if I can find it I'll post some information about milling on the receiver rails.
    Last edited by 405grain; 01-18-2022 at 08:20 PM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I have opened up the reciever walls (below the rails) to make an Amberg 1917 (originally 8x57mm) in .358 Norma magnum feed correctly. I did the same thing to a Type38 Arisaka(originally 6.5x50mm) in 8x57mm and it feeds great but the mag length limits the bullet weight.
    Like we know- it might not work on another one.....
    Keep us posted!

    Sent from my SM-A716U using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    "It seems that there are no cut and dried follow the dots instructions on how to modify feeding rails."

    And this is something that comes about from just nibbling away with a Dremel. Trial and error have their place, but I have a bunch to do. I don't think Hans and Franz sat around all day at the Mauser factory hand fitting magazine geometries to the various calibers of guns they produced. It's not rocket science and I don't think it needs be an art. I am after a 'follow the dots' solution to this very particular and to me, interesting problem. I understand that this is something that is seldom done thus has limited value and what's more, over time, will be of zero value. I'm old and quite aware my brain is not as agile as it once was. These sorts of things keep me from watching the news 24/7, on a couch, and then think I know something. These sorts of things stimulate problem solving and all that entails instead of stimulating fat cells in the brain. I think?

    There is no magic needed here. This is a complex set of geometrical problems that can be resolved - or not! For example, currently what I have now feeds flawlessly rapid fire. Slow-go, the left side sometimes catches the point (I'm using spitzer dummies @ the max COAL) with a .190" block aft in the magazine. Aft because that's where the feed reliability was pointing. I made a dummy aluminum barrel (all of four inches long) and chambered it as I don't have a .308 barrel that will screw in.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    I finished milling on the 1916, added 1/4" spacer aft and it works great slow and rapid with full smooth extractor engagement. I did nothing to the lips except softening the milling with 100 cloth. This was using a stock follower that had the front and back ground off so there was just a whisker left of the bumps (spring containment) projecting, and a pass made with a flapwheel to soften the follower rail a bit. A hat tip regarding using the magnetic signage material as a temporary shim. That showed I had removed about .020" material too much width-wise. Then for grins, I put the guard, etc. on another 1916. That actually kinda-sorta worked but ONLY if the action is cranked very rapidly. I then tried it on 5- '94s, 2- 95's, 4 more 16's, and 3- 1910's. They all worked but not without flaw, especially on the first and second rounds, usually. Also, the rounds get beat up as they are proud which the bolt drags over and they crowd the rails/lips. On about a third of them, I couldn't fit the fifth round down and the rest were very tight on the fifth. I don't know why yet but the operation is smoother using a '93 bolt with the flat bottom than a '95 with the round. I could not make anything reliable happen with the rounds stacked aft even using every flavor mauser follower I had, one modified to the point of ruin. I think that might be cured with the follower rail being radically reshaped.

    This pretty much tells me how now to move forward with my intents using this style action.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check