My buddy Ted recently acquired an example of the Model 96 Swedish Mauser at a gun show. It is one of the cleanest examples of this rifle I have ever seen.
I told him, “If you ever decide to get rid of that rifle, give me first shot at it.”
He decided that he could live without it and sold it to me.
Here it is.
It is as clean as the day it left the factory.
These rifles are in 6.5 X 55 Mauser, a very fine round.
Ted also sold me some military surplus ammo for the rifle.
Here’s the ammo.
It is about the nastiest looking milsurp I’ve ever seen.
But “pretty is as pretty does”, so we will see how it shoots.”
I took a round apart and the bullet weighs 143 grains, and the powder is a standard stick powder.
The Swedes marked their rifles with a brass disc on the stock when they went through the armory for re-issue.
Here’s my disc. The most important number is in the smallest part of the “pie” on the disc.
The top number on mine is a “1”.
0 means “New”
1 means “Very good”
2 means “Moderately worn”
3 means “Serviceable”
4 means “Needs replacement”
My barrel is indeed “Very good”, as it looks like new and running a patch through it feels like a new barrel. We’ll see how it shoots.
This rifle was manufactured from 1893 until 1925.
Mine is stamped 1917, and I sure hope I look this good when I am 92 years old.
The rifle was made in the days when they liked long barrels, and this one has a 28 inch barrel and the 2 inch flash suppressor makes it a total of 51 inches long.
A long rifle for sure.
The sights are typical patridge sights, with elevation from 300 to 600 meters.
The battlefield zero is 300 yards, so it will shoot high at 100 yards.
The front sight is surprisingly wide compared to other military rifles, but it works well.
The bolt has the straight bolt handle,
and is massive for this cartridge.
I have seen a lot of these old rifles at gun shows and always noticed that the barrels had threads on the end of the barrel, in front of the sights.
Some rifles had a small screw-on cover on these threads and some were just left bare.
My rifle has a flash suppressor screwed on the end.
Some friends on AR15.com advised me that the threads were to allow the use of a “shredder” to be used along with some blanks loaded with wooden bullets. The designers were worried that the wooden bullets in the blanks might harm other soldiers when fired, so they designed a shredder to break up the wooden bullets.
When these rifles were imported to the USA, someone designed this flash suppressor to cover the threads and make the rifle “look better”. Other than that, it doesn’t really do much, as the recoil from the 6.5 X 55 is not very harsh and the powder burns well in that long barrel.
Well, we went to the range this morning, and set it up.
Let’s see how it shoots. I will be shooting at 50 yards today.
I shot a 5 shot group, and asked Vern, who was looking through binoculars, “How did I do?”
He just said, “Man!”
I looked and said, “Holy smokes.”
Here’s the first 5 shots out of the rifle this morning.
It looks looks a 3 shot group, but it’s 5 shots.
The Swedes liked to stamp the last 3 digits of the serial number all over their rifles.
Here’s one number on the butt plate.
On the bolt.
On the floor plate.
And on the cocking piece and the safety.
And just in case you might think that first group was a fluke, here’s the last one I shot today, 5 shots.
I am not sure if the milsurp ammo is corrosive or not, so I will not take any chances, but washed the barrel out with Windex and sprayed it with WD-40 for the trip home.
There I cleaned it as usual.
Col. Townsend Whelen once observed, “Only accurate rifles are interesting.” If that’s true, then this one is very interesting.
Many thanks to Vern for the photo help, and thanks to Ted for the rifle.