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Old February 20, 2004, 14:13   #1
TideWater 41009
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Modify 98 Mauser feed rails

I have two 98 Mauser actions that I have had re-barreled into magnum calibers; one in .458 Winchester Magnum, and the other in .375/.338 Magnum (.338 Winchester Magnum necked up to .375). Both rifles shoot fine, but the feed rails need to be modified for smooth and reliable feeding of cartridges from the magazine.

Can anyone tell me the correct way to do this? Thanks.
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Old February 20, 2004, 19:18   #2
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all I know is that the rails "time" the feed so the cartridge comes up under the claw extractor at just the right point in the feed cycle...
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Old February 20, 2004, 21:05   #3
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On the few Mausers that I have seen the back of the rails closest to the bolt face are just about completely milled off and tapering to the front. If you put a non belted cartridge in the mag it pops right out as there is not much if anything to hold it in.
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Old February 20, 2004, 21:21   #4
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This is where I get my info for my Mauser builds. This place is just full of very smart gunsmiths. Put this question in there and you will have an answer almost immediately. Try putting it in the Sporterizing Forum.

http://pub86.ezboard.com/bmilitaryfi...torationcorner

I hope this helps. Sorry I couldn't help you myself.
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Old February 21, 2004, 13:51   #5
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I think that Brownells sells a magnum follower that would correct this problem.Altering the rails can be quite tricky.
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Old February 21, 2004, 18:16   #6
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The bulk of the modifications to a mausers feedrails for fat magnums is in the front 1/3 rd. nearest the breech. Take your barrelled action out of the stock, turn it upside down after removing the bolt. Make up some dummy rounds and lay one down on the rail, in the position that it would be in the mag, remembering that the rear of the mauser magazine extends up into the receiver. Gently slide the round forward and watch how the rails guide the round and direct it toward the center of the feed ramp(use a dummy '06 round for this if it was a standard m-98) then do it with the magnum dummy. You will see how the rails and the area below them narrow down too much to let the fat magnum center the feed ramp and exit the mag. You can do this job with a Dremel and grinding wheels and sandpaper rolls, but you have to be patient and constantly test the feeding off both rails. You generally are going to remove most of the metal from the area under the rails before tapering the forward lips themselves to "release" the round. If you can find a magnum Mark X action to use for a guide, it would be a great help. The rear rails need little to no modifications, in most cases, when the round is in its normal position in the mag and held by the rails, it should be parallel to the rails at that point, not already kicking over toward center. Anyway, with time and patience you can do it yourself, just dont remove too much metal.
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Old February 24, 2004, 19:01   #7
TideWater 41009
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Thanks for your helpful input everyone.

SADDLER, I tried the magnum follower, but it didn't seem to make any difference. I am hoping the magnum follower along with the feed rail modifications will do the trick.
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Old February 27, 2004, 16:52   #8
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I could take a pic of a Mark X magnum action for you, but I doubt that would be of any real help.. Mark X was designed for the .375 cartridge from the beginning and I'm sure they tweaked dimension as needed.

IMHO the '98 is a fine action for 30-06 length stuff, but you are pushing the design for the belted magnums. I know it can be done, but what are you really talking about here? Putting $300-$500 worth of time into a $100 action that is metalurgically 70 year old technology?? Mag capacity of 2 rounds?

I know, negative WECSOG points for me...

you can pick up a used 375 H&H for like $700-$800 no problem..
controlled feed Winchester

I went a different route, bought a Winchester in .458 for about $850,
and had it rechambered for .450 Ackley (Lott/Watts, it's all the same)...
you need about $100 worth of parts (new mag box and ejector etc..) but out the door for around $1100-1200 total...

465 grains at 2350fps handloads were no problem, and VERY effective in the field on big stuff.
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Old February 28, 2004, 22:39   #9
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Thanks, shlomo.

Para Driver, what I am doing has been done countless times with no apparent problems (at least that I am aware of) as far as safety is concerned. I am confident of the metalurgy of post WW I German and Czech Mausers (other than late WW II).

The unaltered magazine holds three belted magnum cartridges.

You make some good points, and like everything elese in life, there are pluses and minuses to every decision. "You pays yer money, and you takes yer chance", as I've heard said. For me, the problem with the magnum length actions is the long bolt stroke. I tend to short -stroke them no matter how I've practiced in the past. Building on a standard length action means all my rifles operates similarly.

Personally, I loath the very notion of WECSOG, and try my best to do only first class work, whether I am mowing the lawn, painting a living room, or anything else I do. My wish here is to have two large bore rifles built to my exact specifications.

The .375/.338 and .458 Winchester Magnums have all the power I need.

Last edited by TideWater 41009; February 28, 2004 at 22:52.
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Old February 29, 2004, 14:04   #10
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Fair enough, shlomo! Congrats on your rifle, and thanks again for your input. How did you get it to a six 6 round capacity?

BTW, my .458 is amazingly accurate, too. It shoots well with cast bullets or jacketed.
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Old March 01, 2004, 21:40   #11
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The Mark X "long" action for .375's is nothing more than a standard length action with modified feed rails, cut back lower ramp/locking lug recess, and a cut back bolt stop to allow enough stroke to chamber and eject the H&H round. They even cut out the front of the magazine and spot weld a sheet metal extension in to make it long enough. Basically, the factory is doing what custom makers and the Brits have been doing for the last 80 years or so. The greatest advantage to the mark X besides price, is its superior metallurgy. A little polishing of the feed rails and ramp and you are good to go! The magnum follower from Brownells is a good move also as it positions the fatter case a liitle further away from the siderails to compensate for its greater diameter. Again, this is not a hard job, just one that requires a little patience and work. Get Jerry Kuhnhausens shop manual on the M-98 and these and many more interesting mods will be explained.
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Old March 04, 2004, 00:06   #12
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lee446, I got the Kuhnhausen book as advised, and it answers all my questions.

If you will look on page 86, the author does not think highly of modifying standard length Mauders for long magnum cartriges by removing metal from the feed ramp behind the bottom receiver lug. He notes that the high pressure cartridges require a stronger, not weaker action. He didn't name names, but it looks to me that he is including the Mark X actions. I have never felt comfortable with this approach either, and that is why I went with standard (.30-'06 ) length chamerings. I had assumed that the Mark X rifles in long magnum chamberings used magnum length actions, but apparently they don't.
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Old March 04, 2004, 23:33   #13
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Tidewater, Yes, I am aware of the authors opinion on modified mausers, but it is his opinion versus the experiences of thousands of gunsmiths over the past century including Holland and Holland, Westley Richards, Coggswell and Harrisson et al, not to mention our own such as Griffen&Howe, Parker Ackley, etc. Roy Weatherby, for many of his early years, used modified standard FN mausers for long magnums with no problems. Mr. Kuhnhausen is also quite aware, in these litigious times, that to endorse this practice, would invite some idiot to butcher up an action, blow it up, and sue him as author and authority. Currently, there are so many commercial long actions that are fairly inexpensive, that there is little need to go to the expense of having the modifications done on a standard action. I have built, through the years, many long magnum Mark X, and Commercial FN actions into DGR's that have stood the test of time and use and will not hesitate to do so in the future. Good Luck in your efforts on your projects,I am sure you will be sucessful as it is apparent that you are a careful individual ! Lee.
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