Show Us Your Weapon of War – 1915 Spanish Mauser

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J’s 1915 Spanish Mauser and 140 lb. Newfoundland

comments

  1. avatar GuyFromV says:

    That rifle’s looking pretty ruff.

    1. avatar tmm says:

      But it looks cooler than a K9

  2. avatar jwm says:

    Put a saddle on the dog and you’re mounted infantry. Rifle is 7mm Mauser?

    1. avatar Desert Ranger says:

      Yup. Found it in the closet of the house I bought…really.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        For that price, free, if it had no collectible value I’d be tempted to refinish and restore it. Provided it was a shooter to start with.

  3. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    Nice Newfie… I would trade all my guns except 1 ccw pistol if I could have my Landseer Female for another week. They are the best dogs if you don’t mind the fur and the mess when they try to swim in their water dish. 10 year life span is too short?

    1. avatar Desert Ranger says:

      Agreed. I am not looking forward to that day.

      1. avatar canonf1 says:

        The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. Things worth having come with a price, only having the privilege of a Newfie for 10yrs is part of the price. If you have younger kids there is not a more dependable companion.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      The tragedy of dogs is this: The large, dependable, bet-your-life loyal and intelligent dogs live too short a lifespan.

      The small, boutique, purse-carried yappers and barking rats live seemingly forever.

      TANJ.

  4. avatar Vv ind says:

    Nice trophy, great coloration on the coat. Where did you harvest it? Any good recipes you can forward me?

    1. avatar Desert Ranger says:

      I do have one for roasted sarcastic blog commenter….

  5. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Newfies are wonderful dogs. Not especially aggressive, given to drooling, but a nicer, more friendly, more loving dog is difficult to find.

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      They are also the smartest dumb dog you can find. They are trainable, they listen well, but they are big dumb idiots. I once took my female landseer for an ice cream cone she ate the whole thing in one bite. Brain freeze and then she started banging her head against the bed of the pickup.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        A local ice cream shop here has a drive-thru, and they happily provide freebie doggie cups…

        Happy, happy dogs… 🙂

  6. avatar Matt says:

    Could we get more close up shots of the Newfie?

  7. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Nice dog. Rifle is okay too.

  8. avatar JoshtheViking says:

    Awww

  9. avatar thx855 says:

    Nice black bear you bagged there.

  10. avatar ChiDog says:

    My pop had a Newfie… “Sweet Pea”.
    He took her as a favor to the breeder cuz she was the runt, and leftover, from the litter. Breeder didn’t want her either after all other pups were gone.
    Sweet Pea grew to weigh 220 lbs. She had the size, and look, of a bear.
    When she stood on hind legs w her paws on my shoulders she looked me in the eyes.
    I am 6’3″. (And I only go 210.)
    One of the few dogs I have actually been afraid of.
    BTW- Nice rifle.

  11. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Seeing as how this is supposedly a gun blog, and not Dog Fanciers of America here, I suppose I ought say a few things about this type/model/vintage of rifle.

    I believe what we’re looking at here (from all I’m able to discern from the picture) is a Model 1893 Mauser in 7×57 Mauser, aka “7mm Mauser,” aka “7mm Spanish Mauser,” aka .275 Rigby (when the 7mm Mauser is chambered in British sporting rifles). To avoid confusion these days, I’d recommend people use the now-standard CIP designation of “7×57 Mauser” to make sure you communicate clearly which Mauser round you’re talking about.

    This particular model of rifle appears to me to be a Model 1893 Spanish Mauser. There was a shorter version of this rifle, the 1916, which had a turned-down bolt, and was shortened up a bit. This rifle appears to have the straight-leg bolt, and appears to be longer than a Newfie, which is what leads me to believe it is a M1893. The successive variants of the Mauser the Spanish used would all be shorter than a Newfie, I believe.

    The M1893 was a rifle of several firsts:
    – the first rifle to bloody the nose of US troops on foreign soil with the new smokeless powder (in Cuba, at San Juan Hill)
    – the first rifle to employ Mauser’s new staggered, double-column box magazine which could be recharged from stripper clips
    – The first modern infantry weapon to cause a rapid response and development of our own native infantry arm since the Brown Bess.

    After the US forces (including Teddy’s “Rough Riders”) got their butts shredded going up against the Spanish regulars on San Juan Hill, the US Army commissioned a report of the sort I’m sure people in our military are quite familiar with, even today. These reports carry wonderfully dry titles, but they all should be titled “Whose Ass Do We Kick For This Cluster?”

    Well, the commissioned report coming out of San Juan Hill’s atrocious rate of casualties blamed the 1893 Spanish Mauser and the 7×57 smokeless ammo for the carnage. It seemed that some unusually coherent and observant officers determined that going up against the 1893 Mauser in 7×57 with .30-40 Krags and Trapdoor Springfields firing anemic .45-70 loads… well, that’s not all that intelligent.

    The Mauser was firing smokeless cartridges with blazing (for that day) ballistics, the M1893 had a five-round magazine that could be recharged in seconds from a simple stripper clip. The .30-40 Krag was an able round, but US Army Ordinance officers were still obsessed with heavy, massive bullets with rainbow-like trajectories, and the Krag suffered from this thinking with a 220-grain bullet with poor ballistic coefficients, launched downrange at about 2,000 fps. The Krag rifle had a five-round rotary magazine, and was a slick little rifle, but they were just coming into Army armories when we decided to launch our war on Spain. Meanwhile, the 7×57 was loaded with a 175gr round nose projectile at that point in time, which hauled downrange at 2,300 fps. For a while after SJH, the Army tried to stuff a .30-40 Krag cartridge with enough powder to increase the muzzle velocity to 2,300 fps, but this resulted in reports of cracking lugs in the Krag’s action. They had to pull back millions of rounds of .30-40 ammo that had been loaded hot.

    Then there were the .45-70 Trapdoor carbines, and their anemic loads. Going up against any modern smokeless rifle with a .45-70 is to be done only from a protected position where you have a Sharps rifle and vernier sights at your disposal. If you’re going to use a single-loading rifle with crappy sights and a rainbow trajectory that makes you ineffective until you get really close, up against a magazine fed rifle with crappy sights that can reach out and slap you around at 300+ meters, the outcome is now pretty easily predictable. The Trapdoor is a weak action, foolishly slow to load and since the action is weak, it needs low pressure rounds. Low pressure under a 405gr projectile means ballistics like a mortar round.

    The result of this bloody encounter with the M1893 and the 7×57 was that, for the first time in about 100 years, our Army Ordinance department got their heads dislodged from their posteriors. They said “Hmmm. This new Mauser rifle looks mighty slick… we need one of our own.” And the result was the 1903 Springfield. Then Ordnance said “We need a hotter cartridge! We’re not going to allow those Europeans to launch their bullets at higher speed than ours!” and the result was the 1903 .30 cal Springfield. This was the predecessor to the .30-06. The ’03 .30 Springfield was pushing a bullet of 220 grains at 2,300 fps. This, as you’ll NB, was about the same muzzle velocity the 7×57, only with a substantially heavier pill. This, you’ll also NB, was the same bullet weight as the .30-40 Krag. Coming from the black powder world, the US Army was obsessed with throwing massive bullets. To the mindset at the time, launching a bullet of under 200 grains was heresy.

    The original .30-03 load’s result was throat erosion and complaints about recoil of the 1903 rifle. Then some news out of Europe about the efficacy of putting a point on the noses of bullets (aka the “Spitzer” style of bullet) came with quite a shock – you could make bullets go further, faster, without stoking quite so much powder behind them… imagine that!

    As a result, Army Ordinance reduced the bullet weight, used a spitzer bullet and changed the size of the case, and you get the Model .30 of 1906, aka the .30-06.

    All of that development was inspired by the beat-down our people took from the Spanish at San Juan Hill, armed with the rifle you see above. Our military leaders finally left behind the “let’s throw a huge massive projectile at them” and got on board with some of the modern ballistic developments coming out of Europe. They missed the 6.5 mm revolution, but at least they caught on to lighter spitzer bullets. Sadly, after the .30-06 success, we went on to get a tad silly about the “lower weight, pointier bullets” trend, to the point where we adopted a varmint cartridge for our infantry rifles. There was a sweet spot between 220 grains with a rounded nose at 2,300 fps and 55 grains of spitzer at 3,000+ fps, and we appear to have skipped clear over it.

    The M1893 has been a favorite for sporterizing for years. While lots of them have been converted to more modern cartridges, there’s absolutely nothing wrong or inadequate about the 7×57 Mauser as a modern hunting cartridge if you reload. As with cartridges of 100+ years lifespan (eg, the .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .45-70, etc), factory loaded ammo will tend to be very conservative in their pressure levels. The 7×57 is no exception to this rule, and this is why too many people think that the 7×57 is a poor cartridge for hunting. Using modern powders and bullets, you can push velocities higher, up into the region of 2,500+ fps with a 150gr pill. The M1893 lacks the safety lug of the 1898 Mauser, so don’t get rambunctious in your choice of chamberings – ie, don’t try to stuff some Super Moose Blaster Magnum in there.

    If modern powders had been available 100 years ago, the 7×57’s performance would have precluded any need to develop at least half of the wildcats and new hunting cartridges since then, including the .270 Winchester, .280 Remington, .25-06, 7mm08, .308, etc, etc, etc.

    A grand old cartridge in a groundbreaking rifle is what you’re seeing there. Give it a good cleaning, including pulling it out of the wood and oiling up the metal that comes into contact with the wood really well before putting it back together. A simple sporterizing would involve turning down the bolt handle, shortening the barrel, putting a more ergonomic stock onto it, drilling the receiver for scope mounting, and perhaps putting a swing-style safety on it. If the barrel is useable, then 7×57 will not leave you wanting for much more for deer, pig or smaller larger game in the US.

    1. avatar Andy says:

      Nice article!

    2. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      DG ruined the dog show with all his facts and intelligence. It’s nice to have you around DG. Thanks for that information.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        To be fair, DG judged the rifles ID by it’s length to Newfie ratio.

    3. avatar =BCE56= says:

      Thanks for that essay, DG.
      I purchased one of these many years ago from Samco. Cost was about $100.00 including a bayo and a motheaten leather sling.
      Mine is the short rifle with turned down bolt. According to the importer, these were issued to the Guardia Civil around the time of the Spanish Civil War, and rechambered to 7.62 NATO in the ’50s. Not sure when the fascist Crest was applied to the receiver ring.
      Since reports vary on the safety of these rifles, mine is relegated to wallhanger status.

  12. avatar Yngvar says:

    Man’s best friend. And a dog!

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