Mauser Turn-bolt Rifles
Personal - I have had several mausers in several calibers. My impressions, first I am not a big fan of 8mm Mauser, it is a hard hitting round and can be accurate, but there are better choices just as there are better choices than 30-06. There is just something "old world" about the full wood stock and metal butt-plate/endcap. In the end, I have to be honest, a turn bolt is just not all that exciting. Ok, a M98k, Swedish M38, or M24/47 Yugoslavian with a bayonet and a full wood stock with a rock crushing butt-plate is one of the starting cornerstones of a collection, what of it? Well, just like all bolt actions they can be loaded down in power and loaded with cast lead or paper patched bullets. even fired with black powder loads. There are cartridge inserts are available for shooting lower power ammunition. Any gunsmith worth a half a spit can do unnatural things with a Mauser including "sporterizing" and an endless array of caliber conversions. My most recent mauser was the M1916 Spanish Mauser in .308, but I have had several examples (far too many) of the M98k one (Israeli conversion in .308), one Swedish M38, and one Yugo. I keep thinking I want one of Mitchell’s "Tanker-Mauser" rifles in .308. I never disassembled any Mauser bolts, just a little sprits of cleaner and hit the barrel with a rod and cleaner, I have also never had a single part break on any Mauser I have ever owned.
Function - If designed for the caliber it currently is barreled for the Mauser is the pinnacle of the bolt action design. All bolt action guns just like the pump, straight pull, and lever action depend on the user moving the action - of all of the manual actions the turn bolt is the most reliable. There is something inherently accurate about the turn bolt and the Mauser for all practical intent is the best of it's type - only tiny incremental improvements have been made after the 98k. I have only had function problems with the conversions, both the Spanish and Israeli conversions to .308 would show failure to feed issues where the round would get turned down into the magazine and fail to feed correctly. Just about anyone above room temperature is capable of understanding and operating a bolt action rifle.
Design flaws - The activation on closing the bolt versions would have better cleaner breaking triggers but are awkward to some shooters like myself. The sights are also typical military inverted v or post and rear notch notch v, the sights can be converted to adjustable with the Mojo sight conversions (nice for any rifle). Complete drop-in triggers or gunsmith modifications can make some US shooters who dislike military triggers happy. Made in a different era they do not have a detachable magazine and were designed to use clips feed into the magazine from the top of the rifle - as with the M1 or FN49 (10 round versions) I find that the clip fed rifle is clumsy and the system outdated. The original examples with metal butt-plates will punish some users, it would not be uncommon to see a new user unfamiliar to heavy recoil even drop a rifle the first time they fire one of the old rock crushers.
Quality - Fit and finish can vary, and condition depended on the users, some are pristine and others (like some of the Israeli conversions) have been so neglected as to be bottom tier trunk guns. Original European manufacture in good condition will be examples of the best of first world craftsmanship.
Caliber/Ammunition - While 7.92x57 is readily available, Mauser rifles were produced or modified for .308, 7x57, 7.65x53, 6.5x55, and a list too long for my desire to reproduce here. One warning be careful of surplus ammunition and the possibility of corrosive ammunition, if left in a Mauser the corrosion in the action and bore can destroy the functioning of the rifle permanently if left too long.
Use - Currently I consider this a great supplemental rifle, a good solid rifle for training and even for a second to lend out when hunting, unlike an "evil assault rifle" even a full stocked military version will only get mild curiosity from the Billy-bob six-packs when hunting with one. Originally designed as a military long arm the design is capable of quick fire and accurate shot placement with rounds far more potent than some small current "assault rifle" calibers.
Current production - There is current production of this old design with some reproductions and some modified, Remington 799, Mitchel, Mauser (new company) and others are available.