I recently purchased a M48 Yugoslavian Mauser (manufactured on German tooling during and after WWII) from AIM Surplus for $109.99. [JWR Adds: These can sometimes be found for as little as $100 from discount sporting goods stores such as Big 5, and at guns shows.] In my opinion this is a great deal. I purchased one of these a few years ago and it was in nearly new condition, bore bright and shiny and the action smooth, stock in excellent condition. As many who have purchased these know, these are very good shooters and an excellent low cost rifle. AIM Surplus also has the straight-bolt M47 Mauser for $99.99 and Enfields chambered in 7.62mm NATO for $169.99. I plan on purchasing a .308 barrel from Brownell’s for the Mauser and otherwise leave it as is. (This makes a great trunk rifle if you are crossing into a ‘less than gun friendly state’.. and don’t want to be caught with your high dollar semi-auto and high capacity magazines!) If someone is happy to leave it as a 8mm, AIM also has a supply of surplus and new manufacture 8mm for a relatively good price..Im not affiliated in anyway with this company but have been satisfied with the South African .308 I purchased and felt like passing it on. Best Regards, – Jason from North Idaho
JWR Replies: First I should mention that I am a fan of 8×57 Mauser. It is a very capable cartridge for mule deer and elk hunting. However, most military surplus 8×57 ball ammo is corrosively primed. Unless you are willing to clean your rifle scrupulously and almost immediately after firing, and are willing to clean it again for two subsequent days, then you should buy only non-corrosive ammo. Be sure before you buy! If the seller isn’t willing to guarantee that it is non-corrosive, then look for another batch.
Second, most of the barrels sold by Brownell’s have a “sporter” tapered contour. With those, you will not be able to re-use the rifle’s original sights. What you’ll need is a military contour (“stepped”) 7.62mm barrel. (Such as those that were originally made under contract by FN for the Israeli Defense Force. Some readers may recall that in the 1960s the Israelis rebarreled large numbers of German Model 98K Mausers to shoot 7.62mm NATO, so that they would cartridge interchangeability with Israeli FALs.
Third, anyone that desires privacy in their gun purchases should contact The Pre-1899 Specialist. They sell hand-picked Model 1893s that have had their headspace checked. These were made in Oberndorf, Germany under contract for the Turkish government from 1894 to 1897. They are ideal Federally exempt (no FFL required) candidates for rebarreling to 7.62mm NATO.