06-14-2009, 08:41 PM
I have a 96 Mauser with very good metal finish, serial numbers on all parts match. The wood, while in great shape, has had a glossy polyurethane applied. I would like to return the wood to its original finish. Was the factory finish linseed oil? Any stain applied?
Are these rifles commonly found in condition as good as this one? Also, what exactly does the stockdisc tell me? I know that the upper portion states that the bore is 6.5 mm, but what other information does it provide?
Thanks for any help.
06-15-2009, 03:38 AM
The Mauser 96, a.k.a. Swedish Mauser or Carl Gustaf is often found in good condition, but the wood work on yours is exceptionally good. In fact it is too good to be true, and has been refinished (see below).
The scuff marks around the muzzle and foresight indicate that the rifle was not a cabinet showpiece but a rifle that had real use. This conclusion is supported by the stock disk, which indicates bore size as 6.50 mm and bore condition as 2, i.e. rust detected in the corners between lands and grooves, maybe spots in the grooves. Don't panic - the Swedes were notoriously picky about barrel condition, so the barrel probably needs nothing more dramatic than a solid afternoon's work with bronze brush, bore cleaning paste, and a fistful of patches.
The third section, with "Torped Overslag 0 Str" refers to the correction in "Streck" - an old Swedish angular measure that corresponds to about 10 cm at 100 meters. This correction was necessary when the "Torped" i.e. spitzer-type bullet was introduced, to replace the original round-nose type that was so popular for service rifles in the 1890s. No value is indicated, as by 1915 the standard was to attach a correction table to the right side of the butt, upside down, so that the shooter could read it by simply rotating the rifle without getting out of position. This table is missing, showing that the woodwork was stripped and refurbished, presumably by whoever applied the polyurethane (YUK!).
Before doing anything about appearance - see how it shoots! Expect a 3" group or better at 100 yards with good ammo. Get some rounds from an experienced Carl Gustaf shooter. Better still - let him try it out!
Disassemble the rifle, but FIRST note the position of the triggerguard screws, for later reassembly! Strip off the polyurethane with the kind of paint stripper that looks like a jelly and can be removed with spirit. This leaves a smooth surface and does not raise the grain or soften any stamped ID marks. Wash off the stripper with real turpentine and you will have a surface that only requires application of boiled linseed oil and some elbow grease to come up with a good finish. You do NOT need to use any kind of sandpaper or wire wool on that surface. And no stain either.
Finally, the action marking: HK was Helge Gustav Ludivig Kolthoff, Inspector/acceptance officer at Carl Gustafs Stads Gevaärsfaktori from April 1, 1912 to Feb. 28, 1923, which ties up with the date on the rifle.
The one thing that bothers me is the serial number. By 1915 the serial numbers were in the rough range 330,000 - 370,000. A number 866 would be from 1898, and therefore requires some explanation. However, I am not going to speculate but leave that to someone who knows more than I do.
Finsally, if you are still reading this with interest, you need "The Swedish Mauser Rifles" ISBN 1-882391-26-8 by Kehaya and Poyer, and "Crown Jewels" ISBN 0-88935-283-6 by Dana Jones, from which the above information was derived.
06-15-2009, 09:21 PM
Thanks for the info. You are correct about the serial number. All parts except the receiver have the last 3 digits of the SN which is 866. The photo that shows the SN on the receiver has the first three digits blanked out (not comfortable posting my weapon's full serial numbers onto the internet).
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