M1896 Mauser

M1896 Mauser

The most accurate rifles listed (with many individual exceptions) seem to be either M'96 rifles or the shorter M'96/'38 and M'38 carbines. The M96 Mauser is so called because it was adopted by Sweden in 1896. Except for the guide rib on the bolt and the "finger cut" in the receiver, it is much the same as the earlier M'93. Over the years it was manufactured, this model was produced at the Mauser Company of Germany, and by the Husquvarna Arms Company and the Carl Gustafs Stads Rifle Factory, both of Sweden. The NRA reprint "Military Rifles" mentions that "unfortunately most specimens on the market have neglected bores." In many cases cleaning with an electronic bore cleaner, followed by fire lapping will return these barrels to servicable condition.

There is both an M'38 Swedish Mauser and an M'96/'38 carbine, which is an M'96 rifle cut down to M'38 carbine specifications. The M'38 Swedish Mauser will use the same ammunition as the M'96 but, due to the shorter barrel, velocity will be about 100 f/s less than a given load producing 2,400 f/s in the M'96 rifle. [Sierra 140BT/37.8 gr. IMR 4895 produced 2491 ft/sec in an M'38. The same load produced 2595 ft/sec in an M'96.] The M'38 has a shorter sight radius (20.5") than the longer M'96 (26"), but some of them were equipted with a "dial" or "micrometer" rear sight which allows fine adjustments for elevation. Because the "micrometer" replacement for the rear sight slide was available on the national retail market and because it has been allowed on M'96 rifles at the State Shoot Off, the M'38 (given equal condition) seems to have no advantage over the M'96. [NOTE: There is a target version of the M'96 which has a true micrometer peep sight. These were not general issue and are generally not allowed in BAMR matches.] M'96 Mausers in good or better condition have become harder to find in recent years. The 6.5x55 Mauser is an excellent cartridge, but because the M'96 is a variation of the M'93 Spanish Mauser, pressure must be kept below what might be safe in modern sporting rifles. Components for reloading are available from all major manufacturers.

FIELD NOTES: The Swedish service load was a 156 gr. bullet. We used the Sierra 155 gr. MatchKing when available, but found the recoil uncomfortable for a 50+ round match. Many match loads use 140 gr. bullets like the Hornady A-Max or Sierra, but we have gotten very good results with the 142 gr. Sierra MatchKing. Service load velocities are way too high for bench work; we find moving under 2,200 produces best results. In a decent rifle, this can produce ten-shot groups under two inches.

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