The name Mauser is a famous one, or an infamous one, depending on the light in which you see the matter. To many, Mauser is recognizable as the name of the rifle that our enemies the Germans (and in some instances, their co-belligerents) carried against us through two world wars.
This is true. But the rifle is also famous because of its engineering. Paul Mauser created in the Mauser 98 something that would fundamentally revolutionize the way rifles specifically and firearms, in general, were designed and manufactured from that point forward.
It has to do with the rifle’s action, which is the heart and soul of the platform. The Mauser 98 was a bolt-actuated rifle, and, though not the first, changed the design of the action to a substantial degree.
In the Mauser as in other bolt-action rifles, the action must be manually cycled by engaging the bolt through the bolt handle that protrudes from the right side of the action, which facilitates its use by right-handed shooters.
Outwardly, the Mauser’s bolt action operated just in the same manner as any other bolt-action rifle of the time. The shooter must lift the bolt handle, unlock the action, and then pull it to the rear. This opens the action and exposes the magazine.
Pushing the bolt forward and closing the handle by pushing it downward stripped a round from the magazine and into the chamber. It also cocked the rifle.
But there is something else noteworthy about the Mauser action and is a unique aspect of its design.
This bolt body has three locking lugs. The front of the bolt had two locking lugs. Upon closing the action, these two main lugs locked into slots milled into the rifle’s breech. They provide integral stability and security to the action when the rifle is fired, which exerts immense pressure and stress on the action. The use of two locking lugs helped to counterbalance asymmetric bolt thrust forces.
But the Mauser 98 had a third locking lug that provided redundant safety to the action. The third locking lug, which normally provides no additional support during firing, is there as a safeguard, and in no small part plays into the reliability and durability of the Mauser 98 platform.
The two locking lugs that helped to balance out uneven bolt thrust forces, paired with the redundant, third safety locking lug, are mainstays on the Mauser 98. The action has been called the greatest rifle action ever produced; in fact, the Mauser that sports it has even been called the “rifleman’s rifle.”
The Mauser 98 significantly influenced the production of subsequent rifles, and today, though some rifles still sport only two bolt lugs, many more have three. More than any other feature of bolt-action platforms, this leap to three lugs has made an impact on stability and reliability. If that’s not a testament to influence, consider the fact that a version of the Mauser M98 is still in production, and over 100 million have been produced since it was first developed.
That definitely makes it the most influential Mauser part of them all.
Not the Mauser Part You Were Thinking of?
Given the fact that many Mauser rifles are probably aging gracefully, though the locking lugs of the bolt might not fail, other parts might.
If you’re looking for Mauser parts or parts for other historical and collectible rifles, set your sights on SARCO, Inc. They’re one of the largest providers of firearms and parts and specialize in hard-to-find parts and accessories.
If you need a new Mauser part, call them today at 610-250-3960 or visit them in Easton, Pennsylvania.