First off, I've been dripping through Sh!tgun news lately and am more and more set on the idea of putting togather a Mauser actioned long-range rifle. Cheaper than any storebought gun, and something fun to do too. I've settled on using a Czech VZ-24 action I've got, but beyond that I'm in need of some good suggestions-
#1- Chambering? Some considerations here are accuracy at distance (will be zeroing at 300m) and cost of the barrel. I know FAC offers a couple of Mauser barrels in different calibers, both fluted and non fluted, I believe .308 and .30-06 are the two most evident choices out of them. I used to have an 8mm Rem Mag that I loved, using a custom 26" barrel on a 1917 Enfield action. Is there anyone who has a stock of ready-made Mauser threaded barrels in a varity of calibers? I'd also consider 300 Win Mag, or 300 Lapua Mag, or possibly a newer belted magnum.
#2 Stock- I want a synthetic. Centerfire Systems carries that funky, faux-Steyr Scout stock that, sans the monstrosity on top, looks pretty nifty. Anyone have any experience with these? I realy would love an AW style stock, but I think they are hella expensive, and dont come in Mauser. Any other good tactical synthetic stocks for the '98 action? I'd love to find something in that grey sort of splatter-painted non-slip look you see on some Remington 700s
#3 Bolt handle- I want a "butter-knife" setup, wondering if there are any better than the other, or is one of the ones that "Boltman" does, just fine for my purpose?
#4 Bedding- I know people do this alot, and frankly I'm not all that new to it either. I used a nice high-temp Epoxy in my .22wmr that improved its accuracy exponentially, but is it necessairy in a synthetic stock?
#5 Muzzle- Will there be any detriment to accuracy if I have a threaded muzzle? Any good breaks/suppressors out there for a heavy tactical rifle?
#6 Optics- I want a good, moderate to high power optic that isnt going to run me more than $80, any ideas? I plan on using a standard drill-N-tap Mauser rail. Something I can find locally.
#7 Bipod- Something to attach to the front sling swivel stud...Harris still the best?
#8 Other accessories- Thinking about buying a repro 25rnd Mauser Trench Mag and neutering it to give me a slightly larger mag capacity, but nothing outrageous. Does anyone make 5rnd detachable mags for the 98 style action? I know a while ago I saw 3rnders advertised, but I'd like something a tad bit bigger. Also I'd like a neoprene cheek pad with the spare shell holder for the butt stock.
Any other suggestions?
And on to the Cobray...
M11 in 9mm or M12 in .380? Can you even FIND 30 rnd mags for the 380 beyond an act of devine intervention?
I'll try to answer some of your questions. I have 3 custom Mausers, and have built dozens more for other folks through the years.
BTW, the VZ24 action is an excellent action to use. Good steel and good dimensions.
1. .308 and 30/06 are good choices for the VZ24 action. My personal .308 needed no modification to the receiver rails to reliably feed .308s. The extra room in the magwell allows me to easily handload my cartridges to .030 or so off the lands. Yopu will need to do extensive work to the receiver and bolt to go with a belted magnum.
2. Look at midwayusa.com and brownells .com. They have a pretty good selection of synthetic stocks for the mauser.
3. Why the butterknife? The Mauser has a 90 degree bolt throw, and a good "ball" type works well. A larger cone style welded on (like the Steyr) would be an advantage. Butterknife handles are usually found on sporters.
4. YES! Get the action and first 2 inches of the bbl bedded, and the rest of the bbl floated. It's a must for accuracy unless you have a stock with aluminum bedding blocks custom made for the gun.
5. You will notice that no serious target shooters have attachments on their rifles, unless it's a .50BMG. You could put one on though.
6. Go with Leupold bases and rings. They are pretty solid. If you have big ape hands you may have minor difficulty loading the cartridges. Weaver bases will work and allow more room. They are cheaper too. They are'nt as solid though.
7. I have Harris bipods and they work well. I can't really comment on the others.
8. I once welded a BAR (military) mag on a Mauser trigger guard and increased capacity to ten rounds. Make sure it's not too long or you won't be able to shoot prone without it hitting the ground.
edited to add: Make sure the gunsmith laps the bolt lugs to ensure good contact with the receiver! I have never seen one yet that had good contact without being lapped!
My opinions are free........
Great input Balming...this along with another kit AKM are going to be my fall projects to keep me from spending *too* much :) I intend on doing the primary assembily myself (yes I have a barrel vise and some good barrel wrenches) and having a smith friend of mine do the final touches (bolt lapping, etc) as well as quite possibly the magazine extension.
The butterknife bolt was a carry over from the very first tactical rifle I ever shot, a very heavy (at the time I was 13) Steyr PII-K? with a dark grey tactical stock, in .223. It had a beautiful satiny black finish and a butterknife bolt handle that just looked and felt very wonderful. It was my dads, had some kind of very pricy Leupold tactical scope with the target-style knobs on it. He sold it for my first car :*( I appriciate the loving gesture but I'd rathar have bought my own car and inherited the Steyr later on.
Thats the other question I forgot to ask- finish? What, in your experience, is the best finish to put on something like this? And who does it? I can live with shooting a stove-black'ed rifle for a little while if I have to, but I'd realy like a green park, or the above mentioned satin black.