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Options for a worn out 1893 FN Mauser 7x57

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Steve M, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    I've recently become aware that my sporterized 1893 FN Mauser 7x57 has excessive chamber headspace. The most obvious sign of this is new factory ammo from Federal showing signs of head separation and primers backing out as much as 0.010" past the head of the cartridge. I've had the rifle about 20 years and the old timer I bought it from was reloading for it so I know that some brass can last at least two firings in the rifle without separating, but the signs were there had he been paying attention.

    I can't in good consciousness sell it as a serviceable rifle and am not about to continue using it so I'm looking for opinions and options. So far this is all I've been able to come up with:

    1) Wall hanger - Even if my wife would allow it, I find no beauty in looking at a useless item that bears little resemblance to the military rifle it used to be.
    2) Red Herring - In the event that the government seizes bolt action rifles with 5 round fixed magazines I can give them this old dog while hiding a modern rifle.
    3) Repair - A local gunsmith could set back the barrel and re-cut the chamber for about $400, but I could buy another rifle for that price.
    4) Swap bolts - Not only are 1893 Mauser bolts cost prohibitive, but the handle and safety would have to be modified to fit the scope which would probably be a $200 fix if I could find a suitable bolt.
    5) Part out - Sell for parts and try to get some money out of it, $100 if I'm lucky.
    6) Wildcat - Fire form cases to the existing chamber and treat it like I just created my very own wildcat cartridge.
    7) Cut a new chamber - Cut the chamber to a slightly larger cartridge. The 280 is close, but the 1893 Mauser can't handle SAAMI max pressures for the 280 and the magazine is too short. Am I overlooking something else that I could chamber to?

    I've love to hear any thoughts or opinions on the options I've explored or any that I've overlooked.
  2. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Option 8) Wait for the next gun buy back and exchange it for a gift card.

    Depending on how you feel about buy backs that may or may not be an option. Since the rifle carries no sentimental value, I can't see spending $400 on it to set back the barrel or even $200 to swap the bolt. If it was in it's original trim, then maybe, but not sporterized. Unless you've got a huge stock pile of 7x57 cases, the wildcat option doesn't suit me either.

    Good luck.
  3. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    I would have the bolt lugs examined by a qualified 'smith, along with the lug recesses in the receiver, for signs of setback. The previous owner may have battered them all to h*ll with hot loads.

    If signs of setback don't show indications of imminent failure, and if it shoots good otherwise,you could try fireforming some new cases using the pistol powder and cornmeal method.
    The necks will get slightly shorter, and the case body will get slightly longer, and the head separation should stop, or slow down greatly.

    If you are worried about it, pull the firing pin out of the bolt, and hang it on the wall.
  4. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    I thought about the gun buyback programs, but I'm torn about that and I don't think I've seen one in our area. I certainly don't have a pile of 7x57 brass because it was all damaged from firing and went into the recycling bin as soon as I realized what had been happening. It sure doesn't seem like there are any good options for the old girl so maybe I'll just pull the pin and store it away.

    One altruistic option that I thought of last night was to donate it to a gunsmith trying to get some experience so they have a disposable firearm to practice on.
  5. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    have the barrel removed, replace it or set it back one or two turns. A small ring barrel would probably be the cheapest way to go. sarco or gunparts
  6. tahoe2

    tahoe2 Seattle area, Washington state Member

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    you can get a small ring barrel from Midway for under $100 bucks, providing the lugs and receiver are good to go.
    then have the chamber finished (another $50-$100). The barrel has no sights, so D&T the receiver (another $50).
    scope mounts & rings $50 bucks, and change the bolt handle $25-$40, and that's provided everything else is ok.
    Don't get me wrong, I have one in the same condition that is going to get a new barrel and D&T and a new bolt handle.
    I could buy a new rifle for all that work; but I would rather breathe new life into a classic,
    I will still keep the pressures at the limitations for that receiver as I have a 280 Rem if I need more power.
    Good Luck ! However if you do not want to embark on such a project, PM me.
  7. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    If you enjoy shooting this old rifle then consider using using once fired military 30-06 brass. Buy once fired brass that still has the military primers crimped in to ensure it is once fired. Use this brass (it's thicker in the web) to fire-form your 7x57 cases. Use cast bullets and shoot them at lower pressures.
  8. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    I finally got the old Mauser out to the woods today to fire a few rounds and figure out what the issue is. My thought was to try to fireform brass to the long chamber so a search on that topic lead me to the following:

    If the headspace is a little long but cases will still fire consistently, oiling the case will allow it to slip rearward without stretching. No, this doesn’t increase bolt-thrust. Any suitable oil loses its lubricity at pressures below 10,000 psi. Once pressure rises to 10,000 psi, the case grips the chamber wall firmly.

    Since I was not having any issues firing I decided to try this and fired 9 cartridges coated in a thin film of gun oil. None of the 9 showed any signs of headspace separation and none of the primers backed out as before. When I got home I took headspace measurements and got the following:
    New factory cartridge - 1.786"
    Fired brass - 1.798"

    Research of SAAMI specs show that the cartridge headspace should be 1.7925" to 1.7995" and the chamber 1.7947" to 1.8047". It seems to me that the factory rounds are under spec to fit tight chambers and the Mauser chamber is a bit long to aid in reliable operation under military conditiona, but probably still in spec. My intentions for now are to keep it around and just bump the shoulder a tad when reloading and new brass will get the lube treatment.
    orygun likes this.