FN Mauser Rifle
ŠPaul M. Alvarez 2003
You sometimes find a piece that just grabs your attention even though it is hard to justify buying it. I was wandering down the aisle at one of the smaller gun shows in Reno when I came across this rifle at one of the tables. At first glance the obviously Continental lines of a 98 Mauser caught my attention. The folding leaf rear sight, hand cut checkering, the shape of the cheek piece, and the front sling swivel attached to the barrel itself rather than to the stock gave it that classic European look.
Now, I didn't have a particular need for a rifle in .300 Savage but I talked the owner down to $150. I figured that the action was probably worth that by itself. Upon arrival at home I gave it a more detailed examination.My inspection revealed that it was missing the floor plate, magazine spring, and follower and had a few dings in the stock but it was an authentic FN Mauser complete with the "Made in Belgium" marks.
I have a predilection for fine European guns, especially center-fire rifles. On the finer specimens you find the "trick" features. Those practical little niceties that make shooting more enjoyable. You wish that your mass produced rifle had them but you know that because they require a lot of hand labor they cost too much for the big factories to include in their basic package. As an example, the folding leaf rear sight on this piece.
Rather than being an afterthought as most rear sights seem to be on American guns, this sight was meant to be very funtional. It is a rather sturdy affair that is soldered in place and has no moving parts other than the folding 200 meter blade. The standing 100 meter blade is made from a substantial piece of of steel and is dovetailed into the base. It can be adjusted for windage by drifting it in the slot but the factory setting had it within an inch of point of aim. Elevation adjustments are made by changing the front sight blade. It is not going to be easily knocked out of alignment under even the roughest use. The "U" shaped rear notch combined with the bead front makes for an effective sight picture that is easily acquired. It is not the most precise combination but then, this is not meant to be a target rifle, it is made for taking into the field.
Another one of those small details is the engraving on the bolt handle. Instead of simple checkering they actually engrave the bolt knob