What is the best Mauser rifle

Test: Mauser M98 Standard

Mauser Werke was founded in 1811 as the Königliche Gewehrfabrik Oberndorf, and military rifles were quickly used all over the world. The am
Weapon introduced by the German cabinet as Gewehr 98 on April 5, 1898 as the world's best military repeater. The resulting use in hunting rifles was only logical - hunters all over the world particularly value its reliability and robustness.

While repetitions hardly play a role militarily today, the 98s could assert themselves as a hunting weapon. To this day, bolt action rifles are made from old military carbines and new systems are also manufactured, mostly by smaller manufacturers (Jung, Johannsen, Hartmann & Weiss, Prechtl).

But Mauser himself is also building 98s again. It all started with the long system for big game rifles - only logical, because these systems, which are only used for civilian purposes, are rare and even old ones are very expensive.

Short systems are now being produced again in Isny, and with the M 98 Standard a completely new hunting rifle is being produced. Whether it makes sense to rebuild the 98 systems, which can only be manufactured with great effort, when there are still enough old military systems available, depends on what demands you have on repeater.

Military 98s, especially from the years after 1938, have relatively large tolerances. On the one hand, they still had to work in the mud, on the other hand, manufacturers wanted to be involved who had never made weapons before. You could hardly afford tight tolerances. Correspondingly, the lock corridor is such a "war product" - there is a lot of slagging back and forth when the chamber is completely withdrawn.

Of course, the steel quality could not match today's possibilities either. A good gunsmith can improve a lot when building custom bolt action rifles from old 98s, but the quality of a system built on modern CNC machines with today's possibilities cannot be achieved, and the high proportion of manual labor has to be paid for. Therefore, only newly built systems are used for really expensive custom repeater.

So if it's supposed to be really good, old military systems are out of the question. This of course drives up the price, because even with modern means a lot of work steps are required, even if there is no longer such an immense production effort as in Paul Mauser's time. In addition, there is the extreme precision of modern CNC centers. The decisive factor for the price are the quantities produced - small series are expensive.

Mauser takes advantage of the fact that new 98 systems are also required for Rigby, which is also part of the Lüke Group - produced by Mauser in the Allgäu. So it made sense to offer your own rifle again. Almost € 7,000 for this seems a lot at first glance, but real alternatives, i.e. custom repeater with the new 98 system, just start at € 10,000 ...

Mauser's new M 98 standard
Production takes place according to old plans, the entire system is a fairly accurate reproduction of the Mauser lock: two lugs, the left one slit in the chamber head, a safety lug in the rear sleeve bridge and the tried and tested lateral extractor.

The wing protection was not adopted - it can only be operated with very high telescopic sight mounts. Instead, the new 98 has a vertically operating three-position safety device. In the withdrawn position, it also locks the bolt and firing pin - not classic, but practical.

The RWJ test rifle was equipped with the Hexalock assembly specially developed for the system. It is locked with three lugs each on the forefoot and rear foot. The assembly is put on from above and secured with the twist locks. It is built very low and is easy to use.

The rifle trigger on our test rifle, set dry, broke at 950 g.
Five standard cartridges fit into the massive magazine box made from the solid. The locking of the hinged cover in the trigger guard is so tight that unintentional opening is hardly to be feared. The buttery soft lock movement is impressive - it can be repeated very easily and without jerking, play is hardly noticeable. Even expensive custom repeaters from new systems hardly know such an excellent lock gear. This cannot be achieved with precise CNC production alone, apparently in the Allgäu they are meticulously polished by hand. Opening after the shot is also much easier thanks to a slightly weaker firing pin spring.

The drawback of 98s is their opening angle (90 degrees), which means that military systems for telescopic sight mountings require extensive modifications to the bolt handle. With the new standard, Mauser chose the stem foot as low as possible and also ground a groove in the bolt stem. Both together enable relatively low assemblies.

Cold forged barrel with robust open sights
In the best tradition, the front sight and visor saddle and the front sling swivel are drawn and soldered with a ring over the cold forged 56 cm barrel. For comfortable carrying on the strap, the front bracket with 25.5 cm sits optimally to the muzzle. The escape sight is designed for quick shots at short range. The rear sight has a silver middle line, the 3 mm silver bead front is height adjustable and the rear sight blade can be adjusted laterally.

With the exception of the chamber, firing pin nut and lock holder spring, all metal parts are plasma-nitrided matt black - an excellent surface protection. Even if traditionalists mourn the classic high-gloss finish - utility weapons are better protected by plasma nitriding.

Sleek sports shaft
The slim, sleek shaft with straight back and German cheek catches the eye. The fore-end tapers sharply towards the front and ends in a stock nose made of black precious wood. The flat pistol grip emphasizes the elongated lines of the elegant rifle. Forearm and pistol grip are cut with fine checkering. The fish skin of the RWJ test rifle was flawless and also withstood inspection under the magnifying glass. The shaft is closed with an unventilated 15 mm rubber cap. The Mauser coat of arms is engraved into the steel pistol grip cap. The walnut wood of class 5 is matt oiled, the wood-metal fit is carefully executed, a synthetic resin bedding ensures an exact system fit.

At the shooting range
A Zeiss Victory HT 3-12x56 was attached to the test rifle in caliber .30-06 with the Hexalock mount. RWS Evo Green (139 grs.) And Hornady's new ELD-X (178 grs.) Were used as ammunition. The rifle, which weighed 3,750 g without target optics, was very pleasant to shoot. Scatter circles (five shots / 100 m) measured 24 and 22 mm - first-class precise.

Summary: It is no exaggeration to say that the new Standard is the best 98 that Mauser has ever built. The ingenious ideas of the Mauser brothers, combined with today's manufacturing options and modern steel, result in a system that runs as smoothly as possible with the highest possible functional reliability. There is no longer any trace of the rough charm of the 98 system - a rifle for lovers of classic bolt action rifles who value the best workmanship.

Caliber range: 30-06, .308 Win., 7 x 57, 8 x 57 IS, 9.3 x 62

Price: 6.995 €