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6.5x55 Swedish Mauser

29 Dec 2013
@ 07:56 pm (GMT)

Drew Pigott

Hello,

I have a very old (I think?) sporterized Swedish Mauser that has been my grandfathers for some time. I would like to perform a DIY restoration and would like some input on this weapon.

I would like to know how safe one of these weapons would be to build hand loads for. Essentially how would I inspect the weapon for structural rigidity?

I would like to re-blu the rifle. It has very, very little evidence of corrosion. The reviews on most of the bluing kits say that they don't seem to last and rub off easily. It doesn't seem like a difficult process but does seem that it may not be worth it in the end.

I can post pictures if need be.

What I know about the rifle:

Early Mauser Action- type 94 I think?
Matching serial numbers that are less than 600
Cock on close action
Hinged magazine floor plate
Stepped down barrel, each step being around 8'' in length
6.5x55 Swedish
Full length stock
17.5" barrel
2 stage, 'very creepy' trigger

Thank you for your help.

All the best,

Drew Pigott

Replies

29 Dec 2013
@ 08:02 pm (GMT)

Drew Pigott

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
*Fixed magazine floor plate*

Not hinged.

Has a place on the floor plate near the recoil lug that looks like you insert a bullet to release the food plate. Otherwise I'm not exactly sure what its purpose is.

Thanks again!

All the best,

Drew Pigott
29 Dec 2013
@ 09:04 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Hi Drew, if its a low number, it could well be an Obendorf, made in Germany rather than Sweden. Seems a bit of a shame to sporterize one of these but this is entirely up to you.

I was taught to test the quality of case hardening by taking a file in good condition and run it across an inconspicuous area such as the recoil lug edges. If the case hardening is sound, the file will feel like it is running over glass (try running a file over a bottle to see what I mean). If the file bites into the steel easily, the metal is soft.

Will pay to have a very close inspection of the bore to make sure the project is worthwhile. Don't look down the bore as the light will trick you. Look across it. Use the barrel break in article on the site to see the angles I use for muzzle inspection. You can study the bore by continually looking at each area off angle.

It is important to understand that in the past, gunsmiths did not have access to the high quality tool steels we have today. To make parts strong, a good quality mild steel was case hardened. The steel was heated, carbon was introduced to the surface, the part reheated, then quenched in heavy oil. In the past I have used these methods to make small rifle parts.

One tidbit- Prior to our modern industrial age, to become a gunsimth at Holland & Holland, the apprentice had to learn how to cut, shape and case harden each part by hand, without milling machines or lathes or thermostat controlled bake ovens. The apprentice had to become reliant on his hands, his eyes, his common sense.

It should be obvious that if a case hardened rifle action or bolt is linished and polished, lapped or heavily engraved, the outer case hardening will be compromised.
29 Dec 2013
@ 10:15 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
If your Swedish Mauser has a full length stock and a 17.5" barrel it is a
Model 94. I have one that was sportized and is a great rifle/carbine. It
action is the same as the Model 96 which originally came with a long barrel.
Both models use a controlled feed which requires that cartridges be fed into the
chamber from the five round magazine. It is what's called a small ring Mauser. Locks open after last round ejected.
Mine was made in 1901. The barrel has a 1:7.5 twist.
I reload Norma cases with a Rem 9 1/2 primer, 39 grains of IMR 4350, and
either a 140 grain Hornady SST or Nosler Partition bullet. Both a deadly
on deer here in Washington state. When the last three digits of the serial # are seen on the bolt knob they will appear upside down. This confirms
that the bolt is original. I have fallen in love with the 6.5x57 round.
29 Dec 2013
@ 10:18 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
That sound have read 6.5x55 caliber.
30 Dec 2013
@ 02:05 am (GMT)

Peter Bjerregaard

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Hi Drew, sometimes Wikipedia is your friend: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_Mauser At the bottom you'll find a short English manual.

Your m94 is certainly a Oberndorf, so it's 118 years old. Catch in floor plate is meant to be depressed by rear end of ignition pin according to original manual, but a bullet works. Plate slides off to the rear. Last 3 digits of serial number is stamped multiple places on rifle - all should match.
I happen to have the current Swedish army manual, yes it's still in use. But it's in Swedish, not surprisingly. Tell me if you want it though. Has pictures and I can help with questions.
Action m96 but the same as yours.

//Peter
30 Dec 2013
@ 02:39 am (GMT)

Guy Mainland

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Hi Drew, also conformation of it being an Oberndorf is the crown stamps on some parts having a rounded bottom, as opposed to the tilted crowns of husqvarna or the straight crown with a "c" under it of carl gustof. Check this out-for a bit of clarity? So many mauser variants it can be a head scratcher! http://dutchman.rebooty.com/. Post us some pics! Took me a while to figure out mine was an m38. I love it. Good luck.
30 Dec 2013
@ 12:20 pm (GMT)

Drew Pigott

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Hello Gentleman,

Thank you all for the quick response and informative information!

After removing the scope I have found out that the rifle is indeed a Carl Gustafsstads Gevarsfaltori and was made in 1918. The serial # is in the mid 90,000 range. It was worn to an extent that I couldn't see this until I had a very close look. The rifle is indeed a full stock model and has a 17.5" barrel. All of the last three digits if the serial number match as well as the numbers being upside down on the cocking handle. The crown stamps are all over the rifle and have a flat bottom underneath the crown. Under the barrel there are two crowns and a marking near the breach that says CE, which I assume is the initials of the armory personnel that inspected the rifle.

I will try to post pictures later as I'm having some trouble with photo bucket at the moment.

Nathan,

The rifling seems to be in very good shape per your article. Especially for a WWI vintage weapon! I performed your file test on one of the recoil lugs and it passed with flying colors. It felt exactly as the glass bottle.

I assume that this means the weapon should be reasonably safe to start hand loading to at least factory ammunition pressures? After reading your article I believe that a 140 grain bullet should beat suit me along with the species and ranges I intend to use the rifle at. I plant to hunt white tail deer 100-180 lbs and the occasional pig, 70-300 lbs at 30-200 yards. I like the looks of the 140 grain SST and possibly the 140 grain AMAX. Any idea of potential velocities?

John Smith,

Thank you for the information! I love the round too, kill well and recoils like a 20 gauge shotgun. What kind of velocities are you getting from those loads?

Peter Bjerregaard,

Thank you for the knowledge! There can be some questionable stuff on there from time to time! Thank you but I do not need the manual. Yes, the floor plate is exactly as you say and looks identical to the diagram you posted.

Would this seem to of been a different variant of the original Swedish Service Mauser with a 17.5" barrel (like a calvary officers rifle) or would that of been cut to length when it was sporterized?

Guy Mainland,

Thanks for the link and confirmation. The only place there is a 'C' under the crown is on top of the breech. The crowns all have flat and not rounded bottoms.

Again, thank you all for the help and information regarding my grandfathers old Mauser.

All the best,
Drew Pigott
30 Dec 2013
@ 03:55 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Hi Drew, we have had a mix up. I asked you to test the recoil lug of the action, not the bolt locking lugs. No harm done, you have now discovered that the bolt is harder than your file. The beauty of case hardening is that it avoids a brittle action. There are few modern high end semi custom rifles that have had lesser parts fracture from being too hard. Case hardening offered the best of both worlds.

I generally treat the Swede's as being as safe as modern sporters, the cross section should speak for itself. The info I gave you regarding testing the metallurgy was in case you wanted to investigate this further for full assurance. It is possible to destroy a Swede action, it is also possible to do the same with modern actions. One of the most common mistakes I have seen is working up a good potent load with a slow burning powder, then accidentally charging cases with fast burning powder. This can cause action ruptures whether we are using a Swede or modern action.

Providing you adopt safe practices, it is possible to work well past factory load specs with ADI 2209 / H4350 powder and 140 grain bullets in the 6.5x55. I test up to 46.5 grains 2209, but I cannot condone my loads to you as being safe as these are 2.5 grains above book max. Aim for velocities of 2700 to 2800fps with 2750fps being the typical sweet spot. Further notes can be found in both of my books.

If there is a chance of running into large bodied pigs, I would prefer you used the 140gr Partition as suggested in the knowledge base. The basic A-Max, SST, Partition trio of projectile designs has it all covered, each projectile having its strengths and limitations. The double cannelure CoreLokt can also be thrown into the mix. I sometimes call this the poor mans Partition though it does not have the same extended range prowess as the Nosler bullet.
30 Dec 2013
@ 04:07 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Sorry- with that barrel length, try to look for sweet spots between 2600 and 2700fps. I have managed 2700fps (sweet spot) from a carbine in the past, all depends on the individual rifle.
30 Dec 2013
@ 04:56 pm (GMT)

Drew Pigott

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Nathan,

I just performed the file test on the recoil lug as well. The file slid again like it did on the glass bottle.

Thank you for the info on the loads and bullet performance.

A little problem just appeared:
Somehow, the bolt will not fully retract now. I have never had this problem. The bolt will unlock and go back about 1", just before the locking lugs come out of the breach (trigger also slightly moves), and then stop and move no further back. The bolt does appear uncocked because it will not fire and the firing pin assembly is fully forward. The length it moves is approximately the distance needed to cock the bolt. Please forgive my ignorance as I'm used to push feed actions.

Thank you.

All the best,

Drew Pigott
30 Dec 2013
@ 05:53 pm (GMT)

Drew Pigott

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
FALSE ALARM!

Whoooo! The bolt would not retract because I had threaded a screw that holds the base for the scope too far into the top rear of the action, just behind the stripper clip boss. This made contact with the boss on the top side of the bolt that sits proud when the bolt is open; all this presenting me removing the bolt.

Major sigh of relief. The very last thing I wanted was to of destroyed a rifle that has a great deal of sentimental value to me.

Sorry for the confusion.

All the best,

Drew Pigott
30 Dec 2013
@ 08:05 pm (GMT)

Guy Mainland

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
That's a relief mate! As I type this I'm taking a break from messing around with my bolt. Turns out the rear king screw was protruding just a tiny amount and catching the cocking piece as the bolt slid forward, semi cocking the bolt before it engaged. It hasn't happened before and I suspect the wooden stock has shrunk slightly the last time I took it apart to linseed it. Should have listened to Nathan and got the synthetic! haha! No big deal but it's something to look out for-make sure that screw is flush.
31 Dec 2013
@ 05:37 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
We are always learning, one challenge to the next.

All the best for the new year guys.
01 Jan 2014
@ 06:09 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
According to the 5th edition of the Nosler Reloading Guide with 39 gr. of IMR 4350 I might be getting a velocity of 2,510. But with the 17.5 inch barrel
I suspect I'm getting somewhat less velocity.
The serial number on my M94 is 1075x and the receiver is stamped
1901 To the left of the serial number on the receiver are the letters OG. This may identify the inspector as
Capt. Olof Gibson. On my M96 the letters BF stand for The Fortress
Police in Boden, Sweden. So sometimes those letter can stand for
the inspector or a place. My sporterized M94 has a full length tiger
maple stock. I probably spend too much time looking at my rifle
while sitting in the tall grass of eastern Washington deer hunting.
Like Nathan has stated the 140 grain bullets give me the best
accuracy. As one buck mule deer can attest.
02 Jan 2014
@ 09:09 pm (GMT)

Drew Pigott

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Guy,

Wow, there's always something new to learn! Who would of thought that such a thing would cause such a problem as a little extra length on the king screw.

John,

Thanks for the data. Yeah I wasn't expecting to get very good velocities with the old rifle and that short barrel. It is nice to hold the rifle from the pistol grip with the muzzle pointed at the ground an it still not touch. Talk about a handy rifle!

Happy New Year everyone!
03 Jan 2014
@ 11:16 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Hello Drew,
I sighted in my sporterized M94 again today after changing scopes.
Within five shots my last three could be covered by a U.S. dime.
While cleaning the rifle tonight I remembered that you said the
barrel on your M94 had a stepped down barrel. Mine does not.
I had always thought my barrel, which measures 17 inches to
where it enters the receiver, was an original barrel. Maybe it's
an after-market barrel. In both my reference works the original barrel
of the M94 is mostly covered with a forearm so it's hard to tell if the barrel
is stepped down or not. Maybe Nathan can unravel this.
On another topic I learned today that my reloaded 6.5 rounds with
a Nosler 140 grain Partition bullet set at OALof 3.ll0" will not seat in
my M94. They will in my Ruger No. lA. Different ogive? Tomorrow
I will experiment with less OAL to a point where they will seat.
03 Jan 2014
@ 11:24 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
I forgot to add that Hornady 140 grain SST rounds reloaded at OAL of 3.140 seat
nicely in my M94. This is where the different ogive seems to be causing
the problem.
22 Jan 2014
@ 02:36 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Nathan maybe you can answer this. Did the original Swedish Mauser M94
have a stepped down barrel as described by Drew? My M94 does not
have a stepped down barrel and has no visible serial numbers on the
barrel. Does this mean by sporterized M94 has a non-original barrel?
22 Jan 2014
@ 03:26 pm (GMT)

Drew Pigott

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
John,

Thank you for the information. I really appreciate it. I think I'll try the 140 grain SST for general purposes. If its not getting over 2,500 fps, I'll most likely switch to a 140 grain AMAX. It will most likely be used for deer at 1-250 yards so that should give excellent performance.

All the best,

Drew Pigott
22 Jan 2014
@ 03:28 pm (GMT)

Peter Bjerregaard

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Hi John,

I can answer that. Yes the M94 has the stepped down barrel. They put numbers on everything else (shroud, bolt handle etc.) so why not barrel? Had one once but can't recall the serial number of the barrel ( I'm thinking of placement of the number...not actual number)

//Peter
22 Jan 2014
@ 06:43 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Hi Drew, the earliest rifles I have handled, the original Obendorf Swedes, had stepped barrels. Beyond this I do not know if there were any non stepped barrel rifles. I do not think there were- but I am always learning.

There were quite a few Swedes retro fitted with Douglas premium barrels in years gone by.
22 Jan 2014
@ 08:03 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
Hi Drew, Peter and Nathan,

So without any serial numbers on my non-stepped down M94 barrel
I guess it is an after-market barrel.
Drew - My Nosler Reloading Manual lists a velocity of 2510 fps with
this load: Bullet - Hornady 140 gr SST
Powder - 39 gr of IMR 4350
Primer - Rem 9 1/2
Out of my M94 this round is very accurate and gives little recoil.
 

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