Ok, so I got one of these cool mausers for just over 200 bucks. Since then I have been all over the net trying to find out if the gun is safe for modern .308s. General consensus seems to be "if you gotta ask, don't do it!" Course, there are others who claim hundreds (or thousands) of trouble free 308 shooting. I have a couple of boxes of Remington Low Recoil .308s coming soon. Figured this is about my best source on the web, so what say ye? Please direct me to thread if this is old news and thanks in advance.
So, Eli, it's a European-made Mauser.
(I don't have a reference for, specifically, Chile.)
European Mausers were properly strong actions, made of good steel and correctly heat-treated.
What's it's original bore size? Was it made for a 7.62mm cartridge, or a 7.65mm?
(I suspect the latter, but I don't know. If I'm right, the extra 0.011" of bore diameter could affect accuracy, but not chamber pressure, adversely.)
If its bore is 7.62mm or very slightly larger, the next step is: "Was the chamber recut properly?"
To ascertain that, you need at least a "no-go" headspace gauge, and it would be better to also have a "go" size.
Then, you'd need to investigate the barrel's lede.
Absent the proper gauge, I suggest just barely seating a jacketed bullet into an empty, unprimed case, and slowly closing the bolt on it until you feel resistance. If the case comes out with the bullet still in it (rather than it having stuck in the rifling), you can compare it to a factory-loaded case. This will tell you just how far the bullet has to "jump," in order to catch the rifling. It should have to "jump" a small distance, certainly under 1/4", but "jump" is what it should do. It should not be right up against the rifling.
If all that checks out, you might tie the gun to an old truck tire, and use a string to pull its trigger remotely. Examine it after each shot.
If it stays intact, it's most likely OK.
(I hope that I'm not insulting you by "teaching gran'ma how to suck eggs.")
For what it's worth, 1895 Chilean Mauser, Modelo Mauser Chileno 1895, 7.62 Nato conversion
Chilean Mausers were made by by Ludwig Loewe or DWM, and were originally in 7 x 57mm (7mm Mauser). The Steyr rifles were also originally in 7 x 57mm.
See if your local library has a copy of "Mauser Military Rifles Of The World", by Robert W.D. Ball. It's a nice addition to any personal library.
Eli, disregard my previous message, and look at the site to which rfawcs has linked you.
Good Lord—what a messy conversion! Like a "Navy Sleeve," but less-well engineered! What a waste of a perfectly good Mauser!
Sooner or later, gas cutting is going to release the soldered-in chamber. That'll certainly be interesting. (Not dangerous, just interesting.)
Yes, I have seen this "solder" thing, but that is on the older model. My understanding is that the 1912-61 were conversions done by Waffenfabrik Styer Austria in the 60's (thus the 61). They used a surplus Springfield '03 barrel (the bore is like new), rechambered to 7.62X.51/.308. It is built like a Mauser 98 with a 24" barrel and is very smooth. The bolt on this gun has three lugs and a gas relief, rather than the two lug "no relief" bolt on the older conversions which tended to remodel a soldiers forehead with metal and or cartridge/gas failures. I bought the gun from my usual gunstore where I was told it was "no problem" as long as I got the headspace right as Steve mentioned. Anyway, I'm going to have it checked out as I would really like to have a .308 carbine! Thanks for the info, I will post a range test whence my ammo arrives.
These have been around for many, many years when everybody was upgrading to modern, NATO-style weapons. The .308 (7.62x51) is about the same power/pressures as the original 7x57 Mauser. Shoot it!