söndag 18 november 2007

A mauser range report

Today, my father and I went to a more or less deserted gun range way out in the bush, to test the gun & adjust the sight. Of course I was extremely excited! The weather was a one or two degrees below freezing temperature and there was a slight spooky fog in the air. The scandinavian pine wood landscape was beautiful.

The old shooting range was a bit hard to reach, we had to walk some distance because of the condition of the road and the snow. Also, two bridges were collapsed and had been washed away by the spring flood earlier this year. The weather and the condition of the site gave it an almost haunted feeling! I was glad I had armed myself with a quality piece of true swedish manufacturing exellence!

As seen above, the shooting bench was a bit primitive, but OK. A sand bag was used as support for the rifle.

Loading the Mauser was a breeze thanks to the clips. I guess a well trained soldier must have had a high rate of fire using them. They are never seen in use nowdays, because of bulky scope sights making these operations impossible. Besides, if you need clips when hunting scandinavian moose, it´s possible that you have to rethink your shooting skills a bit!!

The ammunition used was elcheapo Sellier & Bellot practice ammo.

To adjust the windage and elevation of the new sight we shot at a big piece of cardboard at a distance of 100 meters. The bullets went way too high, missing the target. After a number of adjustments, I concluded that the front sight need to be replaced with a higher one, the one I have now is a -0,5. The Williams sight was adjusted as low as it possibly could. I had to aim roughly 20 centimeters below the point I was trying to hit.

Then my father also fired a number of shots. He had a serious problem using the black open sights on a black target, he´s 63 years old and he´s probably better off using a scope. He uses a scoped CG 63 (a sportified m/96) when hunting moose.

Now it was time to get serious, or a bit serious anyway. We placed a white A4 sized paper on a small post and started firing at it. Still at 100 meters.

And now the problems began! As you can see to the right, a white target on a white surface is kind of hard to find! Can you see where it is?

I had to aim somewhere around the top of the visible part of the post. The fog had increased a bit and it was soon to be dark. My nerd glasses also began to cause problems, because my breath was making them foggy too!

I fired anyway, and I really felt like a noob because I hadn´t been at the range for two or three years. My technique could certainly get better with a little training. Here are the results of this not-so -serious experiment:

Not too bad. When thinking of the circumstances, I´m happy with it. I shot groups of approximately 8 centimeters.

The rifle was a joy to shoot! Very smooth and with a light recoil. This caliber (6,5mm) is great at the range - cheap and easy to fire. The next time I´d like to find a better shooting range, better target and I hope to be able to get a scout mounted scope for the Mauser. It would be real cool to have a long eye relief pistol scope mounted where the back sight is located today. I´m used to scopes and it would be fun if we both could shoot with no problems.

This is me to the left, and my father below, on our way back from the shooting range.

Note that he´s still wearing his hearing protection, for some reason!

A new adjustable sight

In 1941 Sweden changed ammo to the new "Troped" bullet, and the sights were all fitted with "Västerås" refined sight adapters. My rifle was never fitted with the insert sight, and probably never saw any action at all.
I realized I needed a modern adjustable sight - I´d like to shoot it at 100 meters or so, and the original sight goes from 300 and onward. With the old type ammo! Problem.

The solution was a $29 Williams Open Sight from ebay, adjustable for both windage and elevation! No modification was required to the rifle, and the installation is very discreete.

A present for myself - a 1918 Swedish Mauser rifle

In october 2007 I got myself a real nice present, a 1918 Mauser m/96 in very good condition. I bought it here in Sweden, and paid about $76 for it. It is made by "Carl Gustaf Stads Gevärsfaktori", and sports a brand new NOS barrel. This rifle model was the main armament for swedish soldiers, from the late ninteenth centry and well into the 1950s. In fact, in was used as a sniper rifle until about 1995.

The m/96, known as the Swedish Mauser in the US, has a reputation among enthusiasts for being extremely well made and also accurate for a military surplus rifle. Sadly, in Sweden it is often seen as a redneck weapon, only used by those who are too cheap to buy a "proper" new and shiny toy. Still, many scandinavian moose are shot every year by more or less modified m/96.

Note the ultra-cool late 1800s ladder type sight! When flipped in its up position, the rifle is supposed to shoot 300, 600 and 2000 meters. The soldiers fired together in units, fighting off charging enemy cavallery and stuff. Flipped down, in its "nearest" setting, it is marked for 300 meters. Remember, the 1896 Mauser construction was based on experiences gained during the german 1870s wars with France.