About the Blog

Educating fellow Jews about the sporting and defensive use of firearms. Especially Jews in North America, too many of whom are instilled with the belief that guns aren't for nice Jewish boys and girls.

If you know of notable Jewish shooters that should be documented on the blog, even if it is only at the local club level, I am happy to report and profile them. And don't be shy if that person to be documented is you! Please drop me a line at jewishmarksman at gmail dot com. Also follow me on twitter @JMarksmanship.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jewish Marksman's Israeli Mauser

I've written before on this blog about the Israeli Mauser rifles. Essentially, these are bolt action rifles that were the main battle rifle for the Germans in WWI and WWII. After WWII, these rifles were captured by the Allies, and then made their way over to Israel for use in its war for independence and other battles. When the Israelis received the rifles, they re-barreled them for a 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge instead of the 8mm Mauser, which means the Israeli rifles can usually handle .308 Win.

I spent about a year waiting to find one with the right markings at the right price. They generally come in 3 flavors: German made with German markings, Czech made with a lion's crest, and Belgian made with the IDF crest. The German and Czech are captured rifles, the Belgians were contracted. I wanted a German with a stamped Star of David to start the collection. My original plan was to strip it down to the receiver and build a match rifle, but when my wife saw it she vetoed and insisted we leave it more or less as original. I've since bought a stripped down IDF crested receiver to build a match rifle someday. The Czech will have to wait.

I sent the rifle to well known Mauser gunsmith, Eric at Gunworks of Central New York. He did some refinishing, put in a Timney target trigger, bedded the action and floated the barrel, and also replaced the shot-out barrel. I also decided to go with Mojo aperture sights instead of the original battle sights, and went with a Tubb speedlock spring and firing pin. The gunsmith did a great job. The trigger is great and the action smooth.

I don't know how well the rifle groups yet. I shot it once with 20 hand loads, but I was trying to use the session to find a zero, and did not quite understand the Mojo sights so that session was not as fruitful as it should have been (in a later post I'll explain how the Mojos work). I have another 20 rounds loaded to try again this weekend, hopefully I'll find zero and will then shoot for groups from prone. The gunsmith tested it and got a 2" group at 100 yards, but the tester complained about not being able to shoot well with open sights (I guess he's used to a scope). I actually do have a scope mount for it but forget to send that to him.  Oh well.  That starting group is still a good sign that with a little experimentation through hand loading that we can get down to 1.5" or less. That should be a decent rifle for 100 yard High Power matches.  If I an find a magic load to make a 1" group....

The picture at the top of the post shows the interesting markings on the side of the receiver (click it to enlarge). You can see the Star of David, and that there used to be a German eagle holding a swastika, but the armorer hammered away the eagle's head, wings, and the swastika in its talons (look for the the 4 dots). There are cool markings on the other side, but my patience with my cell phone's camera wore out.

On the top of the receiver you can see the simple crest, indicating where the rifle receiver was made and the year, 1940 (click to enlarge):

Yep, the rifle is 72 years old and shoots about as well as many off the shelf rifles made today.  The rifle has an internal magazine loaded via clips, with a little more practice I'll be as quick with them as a magazine swap on an AR-15:
There you have it, hopefully I'll have some nice targets to post soon.

I paid $200 for mine, which was in poor condition and the barrel was shot out, which is wanted I wanted because I was planning to upgrade. I paid $50 for the IDF crested stripped receiver. Both off of Gunbroker. 

A nice specimen recently sold on Gunbroker:

Here is another currently for sale at the time of this writing:

Ironically, I'm a little on the fence about whether Jews should own these rifles.  You'd be surprised how many philo-Semitic gentiles own them out of respect and admiration for the Jewish people.  It is as if these rifles are a sort of silent ambassador, and its almost a shame to take one out of gentile circulation.  That is another reason I bought a poor-grade specimen and a stripped receiver that nobody else wanted.  On the other hand, I'm told there are plenty to go around, so perhaps my concerns are unfounded.

I can't say I'm an expert, but after a year or so of watching the auctions and other sites, I got decent at appraising these.  If you are in the market, feel free to email me with a link to one you are considering and I'll give you my thoughts privately.

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