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Howdy folks,

I have in my possession an old rifle that has been passed down from my grandfathers-father, of which little is known.
The rifle is clearly a Mauser M98 derivate, it is chambered in 8x57 I (Not IS). Now to the tricky part, the rifle has almost no visible markings that I am familiar with.
Most Mausers I have come across have some form of engravings on the top of the receiver, just above the chamber. This one doesn't. Underneath is a variety of letters and inscriptions that would not look misplaced in a Robert Langdon movie. Before my grandfather passed away he told me that his father gave it to him in the 1940s, his father had been in possession of it for a long time by then.

I hope some mauser enthusiast can at least give me some clues to the origin of this mysterious rifle. Any ideas?

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Definitely a Mauser, and looks to be a commercial variety. The proof marks are commercial and not military. This is not a 'sporterized' rifle.
 

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And while you're taking pictures, take some of the rest of the proof marks on the barrel just in front of the receiver. If what I think I see is correct it appears to have been proofed in June or August of 1936 with a steel jacketed bullet of 14 grams.

It is not uncommon to have a German sporting rifle with no stamps or engraving as to who made or marketed the rifle. If they have a name on them it also isn't uncommon for that name to be just the retailer and not the maker.

Back to another thread on the 8 X 57, here is one that is stamped 7.8 rather than 7.9 It would behoove you to slug the bore and ascertain the groove diameter. Just because the German military went to .323 groove diameter in 1905 does not mean all civilian sporting rifles were so rifled after that date The .318 groove diameter was used in some sporting rifles almost up to WWII.
 
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Please pardon me for the bad pictures. I reused the ones I have on my phone. I keep my firearms at my parents place since I am currently a university student and it is not permitted to have firearms around campus housing. These pictures are all that I have. The rear sight is fixed and not adjustable. The bolt is bent down and "checkered".

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From what I can see of the bolt it appears to be a regular military bolt handle. The bottom metal also looks military to me. gr or jimbrady will know better than me. The lack of engraving, schnabel fore end tip and double set triggers leads me to believe it is pretty much a basic rifle.

Your pictures look fine to me, they just don't show what needs to be seen to make some observations.
 
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You have a wonderful commercialized military Mauser rifle.( same idea as a Remington model 30 )
Your rifle is a plain jane working man's rifle. This rifle is made to be used.
There are two interesting things about this rifle. The first is the bolt handle. Although it may have the apearance of a military bolt , I don't think it is. During the 1930s the reverse style of the bolt was popular with the big bore rifles of 9mm and larger or express cartridges. ( I have no idea as to why you have it on an 8mm ).
The second thing about this rifle is that it has a stock design for iron sights only . If you were to reshape the bolt handle and install a scope, you would need a face that was shaped like a horse's a**. You can't do it unless you change the stock.
If I an seeing correctly, I have the same bolt on my on one of my own Mauser sporters from the 1920s.
You don't see this type of bent bolt often because most people cut of the old style bolt handle and weld on a different handle.

As to the maker, there were dozens of shops producing this type of sporter and you probably will never find out.
 

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Many thanks for all the helpful inputs! I just keep being curious regarding the rifle being "unmarked". If the action is military, how come it does not have a factory marking over the chamber? If I'm not mistaken this was a practice the Germans kept from at least WWI with Gew 98s made by makers such as "Amberg" and on through WWII with the various factory codes of K98s.
 

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Many thanks for all the helpful inputs! I just keep being curious regarding the rifle being "unmarked". If the action is military, how come it does not have a factory marking over the chamber? If I'm not mistaken this was a practice the Germans kept from at least WWI with Gew 98s made by makers such as "Amberg" and on through WWII with the various factory codes of K98s.
It's a military style action but was not made for the military, it was made for the commercial firearms manufacturers, many of whom were small "cottage industry" shops.
 

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Now I get it, thanks! I initially assumed the lack of markings to be related to the interwar period restrictions on firearms manufacturing by the treaty of Versailles.
 

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Unmarked IS NOT uncommon in the least, from the mid-1800's up through and after WWII. It has nothing to do with the civilian restrictions between the wars. Many firearms were made by all the makers "for the trade." Retailers would purchase firearms from any of the makers and purchase or order them unmarked to perhaps be marked later by their in house 'smith, or not. Sometimes the maker would stamp or engrave the retailers name if so ordered. The ONLY one I know who consistently marked firearm for both the retailer AND for themselves as the maker was Immanuel Meffert and they didn't do it all the time. It's just one of those quirks of the German gun industry until the industry started up again in the latest 40's and early 50's. From that time they are almost all marked in some way, certainly by the retailer and usually the maker. However, a lot of the small shops didn't survive the war....for obvious reasons.

The German and British gun industries from their beginnings until after WWII are....a maze. Shops were started by a Master Smith. Inter-marriages were very common among the trade and sons-in-law would take them over, the founder might die and his brother or nephew and, in a couple instances, their wife would take over, they would merge, split up, sell the name....any combination of events you can think of. A few are sill in business from the late 1700's. Johann Outschar of Ferlach, Austria is the first that comes to mind and there is others. No one will ever know everything about them. As Griz mentioned, both industries were largely a cottage industry with a few big makers and a PILE of subcontractors.

I have a few bolt rifles, one drilling and one stalking rifle that are not marked as to maker or retailer. All of which are finished to a considerably higher degree. than yours.
 

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The best reason of all. Though it's not an upper end piece, it is still a fine rifle in a more than adequate cartridge for US hunting.
 

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From what I can see of the bolt it appears to be a regular military bolt handle. The bottom metal also looks military to me. gr or jimbrady will know better than me. The lack of engraving, schnabel fore end tip and double set triggers leads me to believe it is pretty much a basic rifle.

Your pictures look fine to me, they just don't show what needs to be seen to make some observations.
Just guessing here, Sharps, but if the action was produced in a major arms maker's facility - and NOT destined for further production as a K98 military arm, the production stamps/markings will be present under the receiver.
 

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You got me jim. The only stamps/marks I have any familiarity with are the civilian proof houses and a very few mechanics marks. I wouldn't know a military stamp/marking if it bit me in the butt.
 
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Just guessing here, Sharps, but if the action was produced in a major arms maker's facility - and NOT destined for further production as a K98 military arm, the production stamps/markings will be present under the receiver.
That is an interesting point.

And yet I have several complete actions that I bought during the 1970s that have only a serial number and nothing else excluding the Mauser actions I purchaced from the UK that have the BNP stamp that is so small you need a magnifing glass to read.
 

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It would behoove you to slug the bore and ascertain the groove diameter. Just because the German military went to .323 groove diameter in 1905 does not mean all civilian sporting rifles were so rifled after that date The .318 groove diameter was used in some sporting rifles almost up to WWII.
+1. IMHO, never a bad idea to slug the bore, particularly when dealing with a five thousands potential difference in groove diameter. My two cents worth.

I am aware that this rifle is not a beauty nor is it a diamond, but it has family heritage and therefore I keep it. I have other rifles to fill that roll.
The best reason of all. Though it's not an upper end piece, it is still a fine rifle in a more than adequate cartridge for US hunting.
+1 and +1. Maybe not as finely finished as some of the upper end German sporters, but, IMHO, still a very attractive piece, and certainly a keeper. Another two (maybe four) cents worth. 😊
 

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You do have a diamond though not as bright and shiny as others , but still a diamond.
Every year there are less and less of these rifles do to " HACK gunsmiths " and BUBA .
And its all about that military style bolt making most people think that it is a military rifle that has been converted into a sporter giving the rifle very little value. You have hacks and buba turning these old rifles into new American style sporters
thus destroying its original value.
 

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It's a sweety!!! One I'd be proud to own and even more so given the history you have of it.
 
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