Many early repeating rifles were lever guns from the United States. Models that come to mind are the original Henry Rifle, the Winchester 1876, and the Marlin 1895.
Lever guns offered a high rate of fire and decent accuracy, but they were not without their drawbacks. For one, the lever action required the area beneath and in front of the shooter to be clear; these rifles also predominantly fired round-nosed bullets that, though they packed short-range stopping power, had drooping trajectories over greater ranges.
One of the most iconic rifles from the era - that is, the dawn of the 20th century - is neither American nor a lever gun at all. It is Paul Mauser’s Mauser 98 rifle, which unlike these, was run by a bolt and which shot pointed spitzer bullets.
The pointed bullets were more stable in flight and shot flatter for farther, thanks to advanced aerodynamics - but that fact about the cartridge has relatively little to do with the gun.
It’s Mauser’s bolt action that has gone on to define repeating rifle manufacturing and continues to do so through the present era.
Stronger and More Reliable
While many bolts look similar from the outside, on the inside, they feature different works. Like many other bolts, the Mauser’s bolt stripped a cartridge off of the magazine and up into the chamber when closed and locked. Without a doubt, the Mauser part that makes the pivotal difference is the locking lug design of the bolt.
It featured two locking lugs which were central to its strength. These provided integrity and locked the bolt in place during firing. These lugs fit into special recesses in the receiver, locking them solidly into place and sealing the breech.
This locking-lug design is now nearly universal among bolt-operated firearms and is seen as one of the strongest, most reliable, and failproof designs in firearms engineering. Even pump-actuated rifles and shotguns feature locking lugs in their bolt carrier groups.
The Mauser’s three-position safety is also unique and practical. It is a tab that can be aligned to the left, right, and center. With the safety all the way to the right, the trigger is blocked and the bolt cannot move. With the safety in the center, the trigger is blocked but the bolt can be cycled to safely load or unload the rifle, and with the safety to the left, both the trigger and bolt can operate and the rifle can fire.
Another thing to note about the Mauser action is that it was hammerless. This resulted in a much shorter lock time - especially when compared to lever guns which featured external hammers - which potentially had implications on accuracy.
Where Can You Get Mauser Parts?
Mauser claims that it has produced more than 100 million Mauser 98 rifles since the gun’s inception, making it one of the most prolifically produced firearms in history. It remains a popular collector's item and sporterized Mauser 98 rifles are still popular for hunting and competitive shooting.
If you have a Mauser 98 and are in need of Mauser parts for repairs or upgrades, get in touch with SARCO Inc., online at SarcoInc.com. They carry a wide range of parts and accessories and can help you find what you need.