Spanish FR8

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by finloq, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. finloq

    finloq New Member

    May 23, 2010
    Since I can find no books on these guys, does anybody know what the production years or numbers were?

    Their value seems to fluctuate, I have been watching for a short while and have seen prices between $220 and $400.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  2. mtnboomer

    mtnboomer New Member

    Jun 13, 2004
    Oklahoma by birth. America by the grace of God.
    These rifles are merely Spanish Model 1943 battle rifles that were converted to 7.62x51mm and modified to their present form for the purpose of creating a stop-gap battle rifle so they could enter NATO. The FR-8s were soon replaced with the Spanish CETME automatic rifles from which the German G1 was created. The FR-8s were kept for use with the Civil Guard and state police units. There were no purpose-built FR-8 rifles - they were all conversions.

    Now for the bad news. These rifles should NOT be fired with civilian .308 Winchester loadings! While these rifles might be okay with surplus military ammo, the much higher pressures of the .308 Win will eventually wreck the gun - possibly dangerously so. These rifles were originally chambered for the 7x57mm Mauser cartridge which has a much lower pressure than even the 7.65 NATO loadings. Also, the Spanish Mauser is not considered one of the better copies as the metallurgy of the times were iffy at best.

    Here is some interesting reading on Spanish Mausers:

    A substantial amount of information has been compiled concerning the safety and
    reliability of the Spanish built FR-7, FR-8, and Guardia Civil rifles. The FR-7 and Guardia
    Civil 1916 rifles are built on the 1893 pattern rifle. This particular design employs a two-lug
    bolt system, as opposed to the 1898/1943 model rifles adopted by the Spanish
    The 1893 pattern is a small ring Mauser action, 1893 pattern, with the two-lug bolt system.
    The 1943 model employs the much-improved three-lug bolt system (two locking lugs and
    a non-bearing safety lug). The model 1943 is a large ring rifle that was originally
    chambered in 8X57. The FR-8 is a converted 1943 model. The FR-7 is constructed on the
    1893 pattern. Many of both the 1893 pattern and 1898 pattern rifles were converted to the
    7.62 x 51 mm NATO cartridge.
    It should be noted here, that the small ring 1893 Mauser in 7 x 57 mm caliber was
    designed for a maximum chamber pressure of 46000 cup. The 7.62 x 51 mm NATO round
    topped with the standard 147 grain FMJ military ball bullet generates a maximum of
    50,000 psi of chamber pressure.
    The commercial .308 Winchester round topped with a 150-grain bullet generates an
    average working pressure of 52,000 cup. The .308 Winchester’s maximum pressure is
    limited to 55,200 cup, well above the pressure for which the 1893 pattern and the 1916
    short rifle were designed. The 1898 type 1943 Mauser rifles are perfectly capable of
    withstanding the higher pressures of the 7.62 NATO cartridges. However, a prudent
    person would/should have this model Mauser and other military surplus weapons checked
    by a competent gunsmith using the appropriate testing methods prior to firing them.
    I currently own both an FR-7 and a Guardia Civil rifle (1916 Short Rifle). Both appeared in
    excellent condition when purchased. However, upon having them examined by two local
    Mauser experts, Cliff and Charles Houston of St. Petersburg, Florida, they found that the
    headspace was beyond what is considered to be a normal range. This was determined by
    the use of field and go/no gauges.
    An additional portion of their examination of these two rifles concerns the steel used in the
    construction of the 1893 pattern receivers of these rifles. The Spanish steel was of an
    inferior grade (as compared to the original German produced models). Unfortunately, this
    was a common practice of Spanish arsenal made rifles. Apparently they had a propensity
    for disregarding generally accepted principals of metallurgy. The hardness of the two
    receivers was determined through the use of a low tech, but thoroughly reliable device
    called a Scleroscope. This simple, but reliable device has been in use in numerous types
    machining and manufacturing industries for many years. It consists of a glass cylinder
    marked with a Rockwell “C” scale, and a ¼ inch alloy ball of known hardness. The cylinder
    is placed over the receiver, and the ball released. The level to which the ball rebounds to
    is noted on the scale. Upon comparing the level to which the ball rebounded when
    compared to dropping the ball on a piece of hardened tool steel it is readily determined
    that the steel used in the manufacture of these two rifles is of an inferior (softer) grade as
    opposed to rifles manufactured by German or Belgium companies.
    An additional attribute of the Scleroscope lies in the fact that this device does not
    penetrate the surface of the weapon being evaluated. Other devices penetrate the
    surface, and therefore will mar the finish on the rifle being evaluated. These other devices,
    while undoubtedly more definitive, are more cumbersome to use, and substantially more
    costly. The Scleroscope is simple to use for the average person, is very portable, and
    requires no batteries or sophisticated knowledge for its use.
    The combination of a two-lug bolt system, a soft steel receiver, and a rifle chambered and
    rebarreled for a cartridge that generates substantially higher chamber pressures than what
    the original design was meant for can be a prescription for disaster.
    Unfortunately, many of these rifles that were re-chambered to 7.62 NATO caliber and
    marketed and advertised for sale in national publications as safe for use with both 7.62
    NATO ammunition and .308 Winchester, with scant warning to the consumer. Therefore,
    caveat emptor (buyer beware) is the watchword!!!
    In order to safely shoot these rifles, I proceeded in the following manner. The 147 grain
    FMJ bullet is removed from the NATO round and replaced with a 125 grain Sierra bullet
    which Charlie Houston Danzac* coated, prior to loading them. This coating gives the bullet
    a charcoal gray color, and is primarily used to prevent fouling in rifles, which are involved
    in matches where a mornings shooting can be in excess of a hundred rounds. This also
    reduces the friction of the bullet as it passes through the barrel of the rifle, which in turn
    translates into a higher velocity at a correspondingly lower chamber pressure.
    Next, the propellant charge of 47 grains of military spec powder was reduced by five
    grains, giving the reconstituted round a final weight of 42 grains of powder, reducing
    chamber pressure to approximately 39,000 psi.
    The commercial .308 Winchester round received the same treatment, with corresponding
    differences in the amount of reduction in the powder charge, due primarily to the
    differences in the powder itself, and the fact the bullet weight was 150 grains.
    An additional component of this project is to make certain that the spent brass from each
    rifle is kept separate from each other. The spent brass of the NATO rounds are not being
    reloaded due to the problem of their being loaded with Berdan primers. The
    commercial .308 Winchester brass, which is loaded with boxer primers, is being reloaded.
    The practice of keeping the spent brass separated is used to ameliorate the excessive
    headspace in each rifle, since the brass cases will stretch sufficiently to achieve the goal
    of tighter headspace.
    There is another component in this process, after firing each round I carefully examine
    each cartridge case for primer push back, case bulging, case splitting, or any signs of
    stress to the receiver and bolt group.
    Authors’ Note: I am not a gunsmith, nor am I an expert on Mauser rifles. I am merely a
    person with a passionate interest in military surplus weapons.
    Danzac = powdered tungsten disulfate
    Rockwell Scale = A recognized medium used in surface hardness testing.
    Adobe PDF Downloadable Version of Article

    Article written by: K.L. Cramer
    Collecting and Shooting the Military Surplus Rifle (2006) -

  3. finloq

    finloq New Member

    May 23, 2010
    Thanks for the info.
    Now for the question...when were they converted?
    The 7.62 Nato round, went into service in 1954.
    The CETME A, was produced in 1957.
    So theoretically, these were late 50's, possibly into early 60's?
    How many years were they produced?
    I have read that a production estimate for the FR7 is 6000, but I have found nothing on the more common FR8.
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Contrary to the above, the Spanish Model 1943 is a Model 1898 Mauser action, not a Model 1893, and was originally chambered for the 8x57; Spanish ammunition was loaded to about the same pressure level as German ammo. Some earlier Spanish rifles tend to be soft, but that does not mean they are going to blow up and wipe out whole counties, as some folks tend to believe. (Kuhnhausen reports tests showing that Model 98 receivers made by FN were actually softer than Spanish receivers, yet no one seems to be in a panic about Belgian receivers.)

    The Model 1943, and the FR8 made from it, are quite capable of handling 7.62 NATO (there is no such thing as a "7.65 NATO") or .308 Winchester factory loads for any reasonable amount of shooting. The FR7, on the other hand, was a converted Model 1893/1916, originally made for the 7x57; I don't recommend using it with full power 7.62 NATO or .308 Winchester.

  5. finloq

    finloq New Member

    May 23, 2010
    FR7 converted Spanish model 1916 7mm (Mauser 1893) small ring.
    FR8 converted Spanish model 1943 8mm (Mauser 1898) large ring.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  6. finloq

    finloq New Member

    May 23, 2010
    Well, with a little google-ing. I found the following FR8 serials, these are posted carbines (not mine) so to respect the owners privacy I have xxx'd out the last 3 digits:


    Note: The date would be the original manufacture date of the Modelo 1943, not the conversion date to an FR8 (which, I have been told was 1965 - ?).

    So, if they are sequential; I am thinking at least 30,000 produced. If they started at: 00001, then at least 48,000.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  7. finloq

    finloq New Member

    May 23, 2010
    Maximum PSI (From Wikipedia):

    7x57mm Mauser - 45,000
    7.92x57mm Mauser - 57,000
    7.62x51mm Nato - 60,200
    .308 Winchester - 62,000

    That is maximum pressure, I would expect averages to run less.

    8mm Mauser to 7.62 Nato = an increase in PSI of 5.5%
    8mm Mauser to .308 Winchester = an increase in PSI of 8%
    7mm Mauser to 7.62 Nato = an increase in PSI of 25%
    7mm Mauser to .308 Winchester = an increase in PSI of 27.5%
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  8. Laufer

    Laufer Member

    Jul 27, 2008
    West TN.
    I read hours of info, including conversion charts about this after buying my FR8 a few weeks ago.

    A large number of quite knowledgeable gun people are not aware that there is a huge (10,000 psi) conversion factor between C.U.P. pressure and Saami psi.

    The results often equate to about 58,000 psi for NATO 7.62, and 62,000 psi for modern .commercial .308 ammo.

    The test pressures for both far exceed either pressure, by about 50%.

    They also seem unaware of the difference between the FR7 (uses the 7mm Spanish action) and the FR8 (8mm Mauser action), as mentioned by finloq or Jim K.
    Incidentally, my FR8, which is in very good-exc. condition shows once-used .308 brass in almost brand-new condition, and even the rifle failed my gun smith's Go gauge (quite common), the bolt barely moved on my .308 Field Gauge.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011

    BIGJOHN1 New Member

    Jan 7, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
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