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Catching up on long-forgotten projects, I decided to really clean up the 1957 Mauser K98 / M44 8 X 57 JS bolt-action rifle that my dad bought for me when I was 14, back in 1967. Yes, I am Officially Old.

In those days you could mail-order any kind of legal firearm. This one was ordered from the Montgomery Ward catalog. When you ordered these surplus Mausers you had no idea what you would end up getting. Many were war-weary, beaten-up relics from WWII, or later survivors from Spanish military action, or from Yugoslavia, or any of the many countries that used the K98 or its variants for many years after the conclusion of WWII.

However, the rifle that came to our door had been manufactured in 1957 at the La Coruna Armory in Spain, packed in cosmoline, and was unfired and new.

When I was younger and lacking the tools and knowledge that I'm now, later in life, starting to accumulate, I did my best to get the cosmoline sludge off the rifle. The tough part was the bolt, as I had no idea how to disassemble it - so eventually, after removing what I could from the exterior, I ended up soaking it in gasoline, shaking it off, lubing it generously, and calling it good. The other parts of the rifle got a wipe-off and lube, and a barrel clean.

Even with sub-optimal cleaning the gun cycled and fired, and quite accurately, even with its original, unadjusted, iron sights.

I recently had a really close look, and (bless YouTube!) finally learned how to field-strip the bolt - it takes 3 minutes but if you don't know where to start… and of course, some people on YouTube know what they’re doing and most do not. Also I had a good peek at the breech and was shocked to see how much hard brown sludge was still packed in there. The gasoline soak for the bolt had actually soaked away most of the cosmoline but there was still a bunch in the nooks and crannies. The breech had so much crap in there that I wonder how the rifle was previously able to get in battery and fire, but it did!

Lemme tell ya, 63-year-old cosmoline is a PITA to remove. It has the consistency of --- I don't know, hardened coal tar or asphalt --- and requires a petro solvent to dissolve. Once I had disassembled the bolt, I found that neither Ballistol nor CLP was working very well, so I used Goof Off paint stripper. That worked well but still left a brown sheen on the parts so I followed up with Simichrome metal polish to remove the rest. The bolt components eventually cleaned up really nicely and it’s now properly clean, lubed, and greased in all the right places.

The breech was a bitch to clean. It is hard to get to with any tool, but after using many, many tapered cotton swabs, metal pick tools and then an AR-15 breech brass brush, it is now clean.

I had previously installed a Brass Stackers scope mount and a Vortex 4X7-44 illuminated scope. It’s kind of a heavy beast now, but all my rifles are scoped because: old eyes.

It’s a keeper!
 

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That's actually a nice looking rifle, I would mind owning something like that.
 

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Grand Inquisitor
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Thanks, Mark. There's something special about old military iron.
I agree, and it's harder and harder to find them in good condition like yours. Your Mauser looks right out of Franco's arsenal! Enjoy it!

La Coruña was not far from the old man's home town, El Ferrol, so there's a good reason he had an arsenal there. it's a lovely tourist spot today.
 

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Corps Commander NGV
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Gorgeous rifle with a great story. Thanks for sharing. Id love to see some targets from the range. I keep flirting with the idea of scoping my 8x57mm Yugo M24/47. It shoots so well with Wolf Gold (Prvi Partizan) 196gr SP ammo my eyes and the open sights are the limiting factor.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
my eyes and the open sights are the limiting factor.
Same here. The reason I got the scope mount setup from Brass Stacker was that I did not want to have the top of the receiver drilled and tapped, or have the bolt turned down. This setup allows the rifle to be returned completely to stock. It's easy to install and would fit your rifle - it's listed as a fit on their web site. :thumbsup:
 

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Nice. I like many people usedpercheclorate ethelene to clean cosmoline. How ever perc as it was called. is very cancer causing. it was used by dry cleaners foe decades. Now everyone used different items. I use isopropy alchohol. Thoug you have to make sure every drop is gon as it can ignite when the gun is fired.
 

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