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Thread: Mauser actions and safties

  1. #1

    Default Mauser actions and safties

    Has anyone ever heard of or seen a mauser action rifle that fired when the safety was released?

    What causes this, and what is the cure?

    JWB

  2. #2
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    Default Mauser Safety...

    JWB,

    What kind of Mauser? What type of trigger and safety?

    If you mean a normal old M98 Mauser, with the safety on the bolt shroud and the old long pull Mauser trigger, the answer would be the trigger was held back when the safety was taken off. Otherwise, many different reasons for it with different types of triggers/safeties.

    Be specific and I'll try to come up with an answer.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Default rifle firing when safety is released

    I never had a rifle go off unintentionally, but I did have rifles dry fire on empth chambers a few times, when I released the safety. This problem is not unique to Mausers, but can happen to almost any rifle under the conditions I'm about to describe.

    The reason it happened in my case was too little sear engagement. Each time I have had the problem, it was my fault.

    One rifle was a Winchester 70 push feed, and I simply had the factory trigger sear engagement adjusted thinner than the mechanism would tolerate. I gave it more weight and creep, and the problem was solved in that case.

    Another time, I made a mistake and let slight rust start on a custom trigger on another Winchester 70. Apparantly the rust got in where the sear engagment is at the critical point, and it wouldn't catch properly. I cleaned and lubed the heck out of it, adjusted the sear engagement to increase it a little, and the problem has not reoccurred.

    My normal process of adjusting a new custom trigger is to back off the sear engagement until it won't hold. Naturally, when I'm doing this, ammo is not involved. From the point where the sear is barely not engaged enough, I'll adjust back in more engagement, until I notice creep. Then I adjust it again until it won't hold, then back again until just before the noticable creep. Then I work on the weight of pull, etc.

    I'll get it to where the trigger is chrisp, then with an empty chamber, and the safety off, I bump the butt of the rifle off the floor pretty hard - the recoil pad protects the rifle. I do this several times, then cycle the bolt harshly, flip the safety on and off, bump the butt again, etc. trying to get the thing to let go unintentionally.

    So, I don't know if you have a custom trigger, factory or what, but for whatever reason, the sear is not engaging properly, it could be adjusted closer than the mechanism can stand, or rust, dirt, bad spring, etc.

    I could be wrong about this, but I would take a close look at it. If it can't be properly adjusted, take it to a gunsmith. You didn't say if this problem just started, and the rifle has been OK for a long time. You didn't say whether you have the military safety, the three position winchester style, or a side safety. Nor did you say if the trigger is some sort of factory or after market trigger. So it is difficult to know what the problem is for sure.

    If I have missed the point, give some more info. It could be a combination of problems, but assuming that the mechanism is mechanically correct, then the sear is not engaging properly.

    Another possibility, the problem could have simply been that you pulled the trigger. In other words, your fat finger may have been inside the trigger guard when you released the safety. I have seen it happen.

    KB

  4. #4

    Default

    First of all, let me assure you I am not trying to adjust the safety and trigger pull on this rifle myself. I take that kind of work to a qualified gunsmith. The problem arose just last weekend while hunting. We had just taken a small buck and were stalking another. I had slipped a round into the chamber while standing watching a clearing where a second deer was
    anticipated to be. We had decided to leave the stand and return to tend to the chores of field dressing. I pointed the rifle towards the ground safely ahead of, and away from both myself and my hunting companion. I released the safety with my right hand, thumb and forefinger. No other finger, part of my hand, or foreign body (fat or otherwise) was near the trigger or the trigger guard. When I released the safety the rifle discharged, startling both of us. I unloaded the rifle and it remained so, for the rest of the hunt. At home, and in the absence of any ammunition we cycled the action several times and found the situation did repeat itself.
    The rifle is a partly sporterized swedish mauser 7 X 57 - 17-3/4" barrel (original). The trigger is original, and the safety looks like the Buhler safety you can see in Brownell's catalogue. The style that swings up towards the scope when on and down towards the action when off. The situation does not seem to occur every time, but once is once too many. I understand how the cocking piece rests on the sear when the bolt is closed, and I understand how the safety engages the cocking piece to hold it when it is applied. When the safety is released the cocking piece should come to rest on the sear again and remain there until the trigger is pulled.

    What I don't understand is the following:
    Even the tightest of mauser actions I've seen have some play in the bolt in relationship to the receiver. Some are down right sloppy. (Grab the cocking piece shroud on your mauser when the bolt is closed and see if you have movement up and down/side to side. Try the same with a remington 700 for comparison) How is it possible, with any amount of movement between these two pieces, to ensure the cocking piece and sear will be returned to engage each other reliably each time the safety is removed? I only see so much sear sticking up from the trigger and only so much metal sticking down from the cocking piece. Does an increase in the trigger pull adjustment result in more of the sear sticking up to engage the cocking piece?

    JWB
    Last edited by JWB; 10-15-2006 at 22:30. Reason: Add pertinent inf

  5. #5
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    Default Mauser Mahem...

    JWB,

    Mausers in their original configuration, use what I call a direct acting trigger. The trigger acts directly on the sear to "pry" it down off the cocking notch of the striker. This requires a lengthy trigger pull, not heavy but long. When these parts are altered to reduce this long trigger travel, the sear notch is filed away so that the the depth of engagement is reduced and therefore it takes less trigger travel to break the sear. Another way to do this is to put drill rod under the sear to hold it off the engagement to serve the same purpose. The sear is held up against the receiver by spring pressure from the sear spring in front (toward the muzzle) of the pivot pin. Some folks reduce the length of this spring, erroneously thinking it makes the trigger pull lighter, that reduces the ability of the sear to hold the cocking piece. These two alterations can cause a sear to fall, and I think this could cause the problem you describe with the safety.

    The Buehler safety is well proven but sometimes when installed (minor gunsmithing required) the notches in the cocking piece are altered to smooth up the action of the safety and that may allow it to fail. With the many mating surfaces involved in this system, tollerances are such that when replacing parts the we reduce the efffectiveness of the system. This safety cams the cocking piece to the rear and it does not touch the sear when the safety is on. When putting the safety "on" this camming actions is only a movement (of the cocking piece) of a few thousands of an inch. Some safeties may move the sear a bit more. When the safety is taken off, the cocking piece is lowered onto the sear and held there until the trigger is pulled. If this distance of the movement of the cocking piece is more than normal or if there was very little sear to hold on to or the angle of the sear notch and cocking notch are such, it may push the sear down when the cocking piece is lowered by the safety going off. This combination to make a nice trigger pull is defeating the functionality of the Mauser trigger.

    Another possibility and not unusual in unmodified guns is that of debris getting under the sear and keeping it from fully engaging with the cocking piece. This is similar to the installation of a drill rod to hold the sear off the notch to shorten the pull. I have had one unmodifid Mauser to suddenly get a very crisp trigger pull after a quick romp through some very tough weeds. I had got a weed stem up through the trigger opening and jammed under the sear. This sear was almost fired by this debris. The build up of grease or other such crud can do the same thing. The trigger just pivots off the sear and when pulled it just fulcrums the sear off it's notch, so anything can pry this sear from the cocking notch. You could take the trigger out and tie a string onto the sear and pull it off with the string. (Don't try this at home.)

    The Mauser trigger is simple and rugged but it has it's failings.

    In regard to you loose bolt. The tailpiece of the bolt which includes the cocking piece and striker, bolt shroud and safety, is just threaded onto the bolt body. It may function even when not screwed on all the way. Most will have what seems like excessive play even when fitted together correctly. The Swedish rifles have an extra notch for the safety to engage to allow easy disassembly and sometimes this allows the wrong folks to disassemble.

    I love the Mausers but I like to leave them the way Paul designed them. The best trigger for a bolt gun was designed after the Mauser boys were gone. The pre-64 trigger is the best I know, actually the latest version of it rest on the Dakota action.
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  6. #6
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    Default

    I haven't personally had it happen, but know that it can happen. First, are you sure it's a Swedish Mauser? The swedes only chambered in 6.5X55 to my knowledge, and it was called a mdl 96 mauser. The 7X57 was made to my knowledge in both small ring configurations 93's and 95's as well as the large ring 98.

    Yes there is a bit of slop between the bolt and raceway in the action. This is to allow for debri to be able to enter the action and not tie it up, wartime tollerances. The sear and cocking piece are designed to have sufficient engagement even with this slop.

    As was mentioned, debri in the trigger mechanism can cause the sear not to fully return, and hence there is insufficient engagement, and the action can and will fire when the trigger is released. Another possible cause is wear on the sear on either the trigger or cocking piece. This won't normally happen as the pieces are surface hardened. But, if the process of the sporterization the pieces were worked down, and the surface hardening was removed, the soft underlying steel would quickly wear under the forces involved.

    I would take the gun to a competent gunsmith, sadly many gunsmiths know little more than how to swap out parts, so you may need to do some looking to find one that knows what he's doing.

  7. #7

    Default

    Paul,
    I know it's a mauser and is original 7X57 with a 17-3/4" barrel.
    May be a 93 or 95. I'm not that much up on them. I do know the
    action is a lot slppier than a M96 when compared to.
    JWB

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