Saturday, June 11, 2016

Paul Mauser

Commenter Bradley, asked about Paul Mauser in the post two days ago regarding firearms designers, and I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about him.  Paul Mauser lived from 1838 to 1914 and his family, more than most folks is responsible for the bolt-action rifle that we all know and love.  They lived and made firearms during the transition from black powder muzzleloaders, to smokeless powder repeaters and the Mauser design made good use of the revolutionary changes in arms design at the time.

Paul Mauser himself is credited with the Gewehr 98 and the Carabiner 98K, two rifles that still set the standard for strength, durability, and accuracy.  These designs were so influential that the United States simply stole them when they were designing the legendary Springfield Model 1903, which became the standard infantry rifle for both World Wars 1 and II.  Mauser sued the government for patent infringement and the Court awarded Mauser a judgement of $25,000.  A kings ransom at the time.

Basically, both the Winchester Model 70 of the early 1960s (pre-64) and the current Ruger Model 77 are derivative of Mausers's 98 rifle.  Of course, the Mauser 98 is still available today, both as military surplus and brand-new rifles.  The bolt action rifles of today owe a great deal of their heritage to the work of Paul Mauser.  Occasionally, Brno actions come available on the market, and the Czech company CZ owe a lot of their heritage to the Mauser designs.  Some say that their Model 452 is a scaled-down Mauser, chambered for .22LR

Paul died in 1914, but the company lived on, producing rifles and pistols for the various European military contracts that were available at the time.  Paul is also credited with designing the 7.65x53 Argentine cartidge, and the 7x57 Mauser rifle cartridge.  I still consider the 7X57 cartridge a dandy whitetail deer cartridge.  Not many American companies build rifles for it because of its unfortunate length.  It's too long for standard short actions and too short for standard long actions.  Still, it is a handloader's dream, combining good accuracy, light recoil, and a heavy enough bullet to make it almost perfect for medium game under 300 yards.  WDM Bell used it extensively in Africa to take all manner of game, up to an including elephant, but Bell was an expert shot. I do not recommend the 7mm Mauser for elephant.

Any discussion of firearms design would be incomplete with out at least a mention of Paul Mauser.

1 comment:

Termite said...

Speaking of Mauser in Africa, it would be remiss not to mention the marriage of Paul Mauser's 1898 rifle to Otto Bock's 9.3x62mm cartridge that .
It was a near perfect marriage. Original loadings delivered a 286gr bullet at 2150fps; this was soon increased to 2350fps, and became the standard load for settlers in sub-Saharan Africa. It was considered by Boers and other sttlers to be the perfect combination of power vs recoil/controlable. It was ideal for sable. oryx, eland, zebra, and other similiar sized animals; and with good FMJs, could take a cape buffalo orelephant with a careful shot.