Spanish Model 93 Mauser 7x57 7mm Rifle Rebuild Project - Before I Began

01
of 07

Introduction and Overview; Right Side of Rifle

My 93 Mauser had been through a lot in its life before it became mine.
Right side of the Spanish Mauser '93 rifle before I began serious work on it. This rifle had been through a lot before it came to me, as evidenced by the many dents in the rifle's stock. Photo © Russ Chastain

This is the first in a series of articles about rebuilding an old rusty, ratty, somewhat rotten Spanish Mauser Model 1893 rifle. I'll talk about how it all began, and what kind of shape the rifle was in, before moving on to discuss all the work that went into 'smithing this hunk of junk into a fine rifle that would eventually kill a fine ten-point buck with its first woods-fired shot.

To my everlasting delight, I was given this rifle - for free. Sadly, it turned out to be worth just about as much as I'd paid for it - but it offered a golden opportunity to explore rifle building and gunsmithing farther than I'd done in the past, and I jumped in with much consideration and enthusiasm.

When I was given the rifle by an old family friend, I was told that the rifle's barrel was shot out and needed to be replaced. Being an optimist, I decided to doubt that assessment, and began entertaining visions of cutting down the long 29-inch barrel to do a simple and easy sporterization of the old clunker. So I began cleaning the bore.

Cleaning the Bore

I used a series of products from Sharp Shoot R Inc. to clean the bore, and they did an exceptional job of removing ages of rust and black crud. The problem was that the bore kept growing!

As I removed more and more crud, I kept having to move to larger brushes to get good contact with the bore. I lied to myself and claimed that the copper solvent was simply eating away my brushes' bristles... and staunchly ignored the fact that I kept having to move to larger patch jags, too. Discarding the facts, I kept cleaning until there was no more crud hidden in the deep rifling, and my patches came out nice and clean every time.

Then I took the rifle out to shoot it.

More of This Article

  • Page 1: Introduction and Overview; Right Side of Rifle
  • Page 2: Shooting the Rifle; Left Side
  • Page 3: Assessing the Project; Top of Rifle
  • Page 4: Rear Sight, Closed
  • Page 5: Rear Sight, Open
  • Page 6: Front Sight and Muzzle
  • Page 7: Receiver Stamping, Ready to Start Rebuilding

About This Mauser

02
of 07

Shooting the Rifle; Left Side

My 93 Mauser had a rough life before I got hold of it.
Left side of the Spanish Mauser '93 rifle before I did much to it. I had disassembled and thoroughly cleaned it, and de-rusted some parts using Evapo-Rust. Photo © Russ Chastain

After spending much time and effort to clean out the rifle's barrel, I grabbed some ammo and targets, crammed the gun into the truck, and headed out to shoot the rifle with the now-sparkling bore. My hopes were absurdly high; I really wanted to see some kind of accuracy.

That was not to be.

The rifle did not shoot near point of aim at all - in fact, I couldn't even hit the target until I closed to within a few yards of it. When I did manage to hit the target, it soon became evident that I was wasting time and ammunition, as the bullets were keyholing.

Back home again, I did what I should have done before, and very roughly measured the rifle's bore using a caliper. It measured about .290 inch; the standard 7mm bullet size is .284 inch, and this rifle was originally chambered for the 7x57mm Mauser cartridge. Clearly, the barrel was far too oversized to be any good, and a new plan began to take shape.

Let me say here that the Sharp Shoot R products I used did a good job, and allowed me to clean a bore that was extremely nasty. I suppose that's one reason I kept cleaning even though I was pretty sure the bore was hosed; just to see if it would ever come clean. It finally did, thanks to a lot of elbow grease along with Wipe-Out, Patch-Out, and Accelerator.

Now that using the original barrel was not an option, it was clear that I was looking at a fairly large project.

More of This Article

  • Page 1: Introduction and Overview; Right Side of Rifle
  • Page 2: Shooting the Rifle; Left Side
  • Page 3: Assessing the Project; Top of Rifle
  • Page 4: Rear Sight, Closed
  • Page 5: Rear Sight, Open
  • Page 6: Front Sight and Muzzle
  • Page 7: Receiver Stamping, Ready to Start Rebuilding

About This Mauser

03
of 07

Assessing the Project; Top of Rifle

Rust pitting and almost-rotten wood on my 93 Mauser showed the abuse it had been through.
Top view of the Spanish Mauser '93 rifle. Heavy pitting is evident on many parts, and the rear handguard ring (just forward of the receiver stamping) had been de-rusted - it was almost rusted in two, down inside the stock. Photo © Russ Chastain

Once it became clear that I was going to completely rebuild the rifle, I began taking photos and taking stock. A close examination of the receiver and bolt convinced me that the action was strong enough to use.

As the photo shows, the bolt handle stuck straight out to the side when closed. When opened, it stuck straight up in the air - right where I would eventually want a scope to be - so I would need to modify the bolt handle. The bolt-mounted safety would also interfere with scope use, and would have to be removed or replaced.

I found and ordered a barrel, then began planning and locating parts and tools for the job ahead.

More of This Article

  • Page 1: Introduction and Overview; Right Side of Rifle
  • Page 2: Shooting the Rifle; Left Side
  • Page 3: Assessing the Project; Top of Rifle
  • Page 4: Rear Sight, Closed
  • Page 5: Rear Sight, Open
  • Page 6: Front Sight and Muzzle
  • Page 7: Receiver Stamping, Ready to Start Rebuilding

About This Mauser

04
of 07

Rear Sight, Closed

The Mauser's rear sight was badly rusted, but I got it cleaned up and moving again.
Rear sight of the Spanish Mauser '93 rifle, folded down. Despite all of the rust, I was able to free up the moving parts of the sight... not that I had any plans to use open sights on the finished rifle. Photo © Russ Chastain

I didn't plan to use open sights on the finished rifle, but thought it was worthwhile to show the original rear sight. Like many battle rifles, this 93 Mauser had a rear sight that could be opened or unfolded and adjusted for shooting at absurd distances. It's shown here in its closed, or folded, position.

More of This Article

  • Page 1: Introduction and Overview; Right Side of Rifle
  • Page 2: Shooting the Rifle; Left Side
  • Page 3: Assessing the Project; Top of Rifle
  • Page 4: Rear Sight, Closed
  • Page 5: Rear Sight, Open
  • Page 6: Front Sight and Muzzle
  • Page 7: Receiver Stamping, Ready to Start Rebuilding

About This Mauser

05
of 07

Rear Sight, Open

Long-range battle sights were not always practical.
Rear sight of Spanish Mauser '93 rifle, unfolded. This type of sight is fairly common on military battle rifles; the notched portion of the sight moves up and down the "ladder" for long-range shooting. Photo © Russ Chastain

Here we see the Mauser 93 rear sight in the open position. The notched portion of this sight has been moved all the way down. By depressing the spring-loaded button on the left side, that portion can be moved up and down the sight's frame and set at any of the positions (note the notches on the right side of the frame).

The purpose of this type of sight is to provide a way for soldiers to aim for long-range shooting, but by and large it's not all that practical.

The rust present here is indicative of the rifle's overall condition when I got it. I believe the fellow who gave it to me must have kept it leaning against a tree out in the yard for at least a few months, because some portions of the gun were severely rusted and some of the wood stock was beginning to rot.

More of This Article

  • Page 1: Introduction and Overview; Right Side of Rifle
  • Page 2: Shooting the Rifle; Left Side
  • Page 3: Assessing the Project; Top of Rifle
  • Page 4: Rear Sight, Closed
  • Page 5: Rear Sight, Open
  • Page 6: Front Sight and Muzzle
  • Page 7: Receiver Stamping, Ready to Start Rebuilding

About This Mauser

06
of 07

Front Sight and Muzzle

The front sight and muzzle showed abuse and wear.
Front sight and muzzle of Spanish Mauser '93 rifle. Like every part of this rifle, it shows evidence of much wear and abuse. Photo © Russ Chastain

Like the rear sight, the front sight on the Spanish Mauser 93 is attached to a base which is indexed via a set screw, and soldered onto the barrel. The presence of two index holes (not visible here) in the barrel for each sight indicates that this barrel was probably chambered and installed twice in its life.

Like the rest of the gun, the front sight base shows multiple battle scars.

The Spanish 93 is far from the strongest Mauser model, but it's not a bad action and it can be readily gunsmithed. While it lacks some safety features built into Mauser's later designs, if ammunition pressures are kept reasonable, the 93 will work just fine.

More of This Article

  • Page 1: Introduction and Overview; Right Side of Rifle
  • Page 2: Shooting the Rifle; Left Side
  • Page 3: Assessing the Project; Top of Rifle
  • Page 4: Rear Sight, Closed
  • Page 5: Rear Sight, Open
  • Page 6: Front Sight and Muzzle
  • Page 7: Receiver Stamping, Ready to Start Rebuilding

About This Mauser

07
of 07

Receiver Stamping, Ready to Start Rebuilding

My M93 rifle was made in Oviedo, Spain in 1928.
Receiver stamping on Spanish Mauser '93 rifle. Despite the rust, one can make out a semi-circular FABRICA DE ARMAS around a crest, and OVIEDO above 1928; indicating this receiver was made at the Fabrica de Armas armory in Oviedo, Spain in the year 1928. Photo © Russ Chastain

The stamping shown here on the front receiver ring indicates that this receiver was made in Oviedo, Spain in 1928. That's not to say that the rifle in its present form was made at that time and location; mismatched serial numbers and other clues indicate that this rifle was rebuilt from miscellaneous parts at some point.

Note the rust pitting and overall ugly appearance of the bolt. I dealt with that later on by jeweling the bolt, which greatly improved its looks.

Once I had documented the rifle's condition, I began tearing it down, working through hurdles as they arose, moving ever forward towards a finished product that would one day be an accurate, attractive source of pride rather than a rattly-bored eyesore.

- Russ Chastain

More of This Article

  • Page 1: Introduction and Overview; Right Side of Rifle
  • Page 2: Shooting the Rifle; Left Side
  • Page 3: Assessing the Project; Top of Rifle
  • Page 4: Rear Sight, Closed
  • Page 5: Rear Sight, Open
  • Page 6: Front Sight and Muzzle
  • Page 7: Receiver Stamping, Ready to Start Rebuilding

About This Mauser