Saturday, January 18, 2014

The $99 Mouser

My first project gun won the 2014 24hourcampfire Michigan Get-together Ugly Gun Contest

It started life as a $99 Model 1938 Turkish Mauser with a 29" barrel, military sights and trigger. These are the guns that get advertised by the local shop-n-swap papers as "Mousers". I did a mild sporterizing job on it. I bobbed the barrel to 22", installed a new Lyman front sight and a Mojo (brand name) rear sight. I installed a Timney trigger. I pillar bedded the screw holes and glass bedded the action and the first 2 inches of the barrel. 

The recoil pad is a special point of pride.  Many fancy guns have rosewood endcaps on the forearm.  I stepped it up a notch and added a sugar maple spacer to increase the length of pull and to provide a bigger butt-plate so I could install a Classic Magnum Pacmayr recoil pad.  Guns are like boats and women.  Some are built for speed. Some are built for comfort.  A few rare, fine individuals excel at both.  This gun clearly comes down on the comfort side of the scales.

Family Budgets 

Mil surplus projects work for me because each additional part can be purchased for about $30. My wife and I have a rule: I can buy a new toy without first consulting with her if it is less than $100 and I have the money in my checking account. MidwayUSA charges $9.00 to ship to my zipcode. Let's see, 3 parts at $30 and $9 shipping...that is $99. 


Signs from the Cosmos do not come any clearer than that. 


My "Mouser" is a near perfect Billy-Bob gun. It looks like a beater mil-surp gun but is a joy to shoot. A big part of the fun is to be able to shoot it often. 


The next logical step was to get into reloading. Except for the press, everything comes in $12 and $20 bites. The current load of choice is a 175 Sierra softpoint in Prvi Partizan Brass with an ample charge of IMR 4895. Life is beautiful.

Grandpa Ed

My friend Ed heard that I was reloading. Ed works at an auction house. He picked up 5 large cardboard boxes of reloading supplies for a song at one of the auctions he was working and came over to drop them off.  

I asked him if he wanted to shoot the project gun.  

"You bet!" He said. "I never turn down a chance to burn other people's ammo." 

So we stepped out onto the deck. "Its a good thing you called because it gave me a chance to set up. I generally sit in that chair and rest the gun across the rail. Just aim at the nail in the center of the paper plate that is nailed to that 8" chunk of fire wood." I point at a chunk of elm sitting in the middle of the yard, strategically positioned in front of a huge pile of dirt. 

"I don't need no stinking rest." Ed said. He shouldered the gun, squinted down the barrel and fired. He racked up another and shot again. 

 "You should have used the rest, you missed both times." I said.  

 "No, I don't think I missed." Ed said.  

I pointed at the paper plate. "I don't see any holes in the plate." I said. 

"I wasn't aiming at that plate. That one was too close. I was aiming at the other plate." Ed said. 

"What other plate? What are you talking about?" I asked. 

"That one." he said, pointing at a pile of firewood my brother Jim had shredded with his 44 magnum. I had dumped them over yonder, next to the pasture fence. 

Yup, sure enough, you could still see part of the paper plate nailed to one of them.  

Ed put down the gun and we strolled over to the pile of dead elm.  

 He missed the paper plate but did not miss the stock tank that was right behind it. There were 2 holes in the front of the tank and the back was split from top-to-bottom.  

Proof that proper reloading components and technique can turn a $99 Mouser into an devastatingly effective anti-tank weapon.

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