I assume you are talking about the Yugo M48 and submodels. I bought a few when they first came into the country. All appeared unissued. First, they are very nice looking rifles from about 3 feet with great bores. Second, they are an intermediate length receiver, so many M98 parts don't fit. The metal finish was about average, with lots of tool marks visible, and the bolt operation reflected that these are not the glass smooth M98s of fame and fortune. The wood finish was great on 1, but another 2 were not so hot, with it appearing that the wood never received any final sanding before it was oiled. The good news is of course that with virtually new wood, it required little effort to refinish so that all 3 now match.....and there were no stock cartouches or other markings to worry about ruining.
Accuracy with all but one were fine right out of the box. The one that wasn't turned out to be poorly inletted, so removing a little wood put it in the "X" ring at 100 yards. I assume little problems like this are found on unissued rifles that would have been corrected at the unit level if it had been issued. All in all, I like the rifles, but for fit and finish aside from user wear, any of the inter-war Mausers would be better (like the 98/22s that a number of distributers are now pushing).
KY Imports still has the Yugo 48s in a couple of grades, but they are a tad pricy for those of us that bought when prices were low. Any issue of "The Shotgun News" shows a few people listing these still.......but as you've noticed, they are drying up.
Thanks for the reply, richardwv. I'll keep all that in mind. I'm determind to limit my rifle purchases to only one more this year (really), and I want a Mauser. Actually I have a Swede, and I love it, but I think I want a German model from, and I'm wishing here, the early war years. Something historic, but not one of those latter units slapped haphazardly together. Maybe that's a lot of wishing, but that's what I have a hankering for.
Your best bet for reasonable price is going with a hand pick from one of the sellers of the current crop of Russian rebuilds on the market. While I'm sure that the Soviets captured weapons throughout the war, when they finally rolled the Germans back from St. Petersburg, they had to have captured 100s of thousands of them....which at that time should have been almost all early war (if the historians got it right, something like 8 out of 10 Germans that invaded the Soviet Union didn't come back). I got a nice 1937 recently that was largely matching (forced match bolt) but had the late war welded end cap and no locking screws. A little shopping at Numrich Arms could cure that, but I'm leaving it the way it is. The reblue on mine wasn't great, but passes the 3-foot test. I guess when your country is fighting "The Great Patriotic War" that buffing out a few corrosion marks at the wood line just wasn't important. Many of the smaller sellers are describing individual rifles in great detail, so you should be able to find one that fits your desires.
Good luck in finding one that you like....and while you're at it, I've never seen better prices on decent 8mm surplus ammo. While some turn their noses up at shooting MILSUP corrosive, this is what these rifles were meant to shoot.....and generally do it well. At today's prices it is less expensive than reloading....and of course is historically correct for the rifles. I've been shooting some 1944 Nazi marked ammo recently that is amazingly good considering the people churning it out were most likely slave labor that had B-17s overhead at the time.
You have set yourself upon a tough road. A matching German Mauser K98 from WWII is very hard to find, and if you do find one, expect the price to be very high. They are very hot right now among collectors.
If you're just looking for a shooter, then I agree that the Russian captures are the way to go. There are still some with Nazi marking coming in, but they are quickly drying up also.
I 've got a BNZ4, with all matching serial numbers, no import marks, with cleaning rod, sling, and front sight hood in my safe.
It has been valued at 1800.00 by a vendor at a PA gun show. My wife also passed out! She used to think the WWII guns that I buy are all junk. Now she wants to know all about them, LOL.
Maybe next, she'll start taking them out of the safe and cleaning them, haha.
I actually did give up, for now, on getting a rifle falling within my original narrow guidelines. I decided on doing what you mentioned and just pick up a shooter. So a few weeks back I bought one of those Yugoslavian 24/47 models. I got it at Big 5, and the box had Non-Matching Parts checked off, but when I got home I found just the opposite--the parts did indeed match. The metal is in very nice shape, and it might not have ever been fired. The wood leaves something to be desired, however. I might sand and stain it, or I might just leave it like it is and make it my "truck" rifle.
I bought a bunch of that surplus Turk ammo (mostly for the stripper clips), and took it out for a spin this past week. Shot quite well, actually, and I'm pleased. I also shot some Remington 8mm, and it seemed just a bit more accurate, but I have to say I wasn't dissapointed in the Turk at all. And now I have all those clips to boot.
The M-24/47's now on the market are perhaps the best deal in mausers out there. Quality is high in that most were originally made under peace time standards and the rework is quite well done on most. I personally shoot a lot of the Turk ammo, but many warn of high presure. I've never seen any sign of such on mine, but I pass along the warning of looking at your emptys for any indication of high pressure. The Turks really did push this round to its limit and evidently stepped over the line a little from time to time. Enjoy!
Here's another Mauser question: Will a scope designed for a K98 or M48 work on this 24/47 of mine? And what is a good source(s) for Mauser scopes? I don't want to "ruin" my rifle by drilling and tapping, by the way.
There are a number of scope mounts to select from. The first question is whether you want the normal relief scope or a scout scope (pistol scope mounted forward on the rear sight, requiring the normal pistol relief). With a scout scope bolt clearance isn't an issue. Your straight bolt will have to be bent to mount a scope with normal relief. Since you want to keep your rifle unaltered, you could get a replacement bolt body with a sporter handle to use when using a regular relief scope and switch back to the stock bolt when using iron sights. All you need is the body since the rest of your bolt parts could be switched back and forth.
B.Square makes scope mounts for many military rifles and I believe offers both regular and scout versions for your rifle. B.Square is carried by many reputable retailers, but most of the people you talk to with the discount sources don't know much about firearms. While not always the cheapest retailer, I'd call or e-mail Midway and ask what they have (www.midwayusa.com). These folks are very knowledgeable, which is why they sometimes cost a little more....but are definitely worth it. A relatively new source which makes a regular relief mount that still connects at the rear sight is "Iron Elite" which has a web site at "www.iron-elite.com". Their mount replaces the rear sight and your rifle is specifically listed. A potential downside with this mount is that it has a long unsupported rear area that just has to bend/break if you drop it. However the vast majority of the mounts made for a "no alteration" fix are not that robust in any event since the no alteration criteria limits their design options.
My personal recommendation would be to go with a scout mount that replaces the rear sight. This option is becoming very popular with collectors that want to keep their rifles unaltered. While I've never used one on a Mauser, I've got one on a Russian M-38 and couldn't be happier.