Some time last week I went up to my pal M's house up in East Overshoe, NH, and we compared and contrasted my 9130 with M's 8mm Mauser Model 98. Both of these rifles shot a roughly similar round, and each had a good story attached to it, but that's about the end of the similarities.
|M's 8mm Mauser|
INDIVIDUAL WEAPON'S HISTORY:
M-N 9130: Saw military service in WWII. Killed Nazis. Actual honest-to-no-god Nazis. After war ended, packed with grease and stored for decades in wooden crates. Exported to US. Inspected and stamped with US data. Purchased by Crafty Southpaw.
Mauser 98: A trophy of war brought back from Viet Nam by M's father, an Army Lt. Colonel. Captured by the Russians after conquest of Germany by the tens of thousands, they stripped Mausers to the component level (stock, barrel, receiver, trigger, bolt, etc etc etc) and sent them to North Viet Nam, where they were used as spare parts and in this case, pieced back together into working rifles. Every piece of a firearm is stamped with a serial number, and all the numbers on M's Mauser are gloriously mismatched. I think that's a great story, maybe even better than owning a weapon that killed actual Nazis. At least it's a draw.
Between the Mauser and the Mosin, I think the Mauser is the slightly better design. Both weapons are simple, easy to field-strip, and reliable. Both models are versatile enough to spawn a carbine model and a sniper model. But the Mauser wins on the details: Though I like the 9130's trigger pull, I prefer the Mauser's in-stock magazine, its sights and its safety. Also I have to give kudos to the bayonet: The 9130 is just a stick of metal in a cross shape, and meant to stay on the rifle, whereas the Mauser's bayonet can be detatched and used as a decent combat or survival knife.
Just better design, plain and simple. Mauser wins this one.
COST OF AMMUNITION:
Here finally we have a clear winner: 8mm Mauser rounds (7.92x57, technically) can run upwards of $.75/round, which makes firing a Mauser an expensive proposition if you and your buddies want to engage in any serious shoot-em-uppery. But the Mosin-Nagant uses unique ammo, 7.62x54r (rimmed), that was hoarded and stored with the same zeal as the weapons themselves. As a result if you want to buy all the ammo you'll ever ever need in one transaction, you can buy 880 rounds packed in two spam cans which in turn are packed in a wooden crate with Cyrillic writing all over it for about $145, which comes to a staggeringly low $.17 per round. The gigantic advantage goes to the 9130.
A good test of accuracy for either weapon would be to shoot at targets from 100 yards at minimum. We didn't have nearly that kind of space but we made do with what space we had, which was about 45 yards. At that range of course you'd expect both weapons to be pretty dead-on and they both were. Eacch weapon made quick work of gallon jugs filled with water from that distance, and this was without even sighting in my 9130, which hadn't been shot for I'm guessing at least 65 years. Another draw, but based on insufficient data.
M-N 9130: Simply put, the 9130 is an absolute beast of a thing, with kickback that would break your collarbone if you held it wrong. As is after firing less than a dozen rounds I needed to put it down, as my arm was falling off (and, like an idiot, I forgot my ear protection - ears rung for two days).
Mauser 98: Every inch as imposing a weapon as the Mosin, but was a joy to fire comparatively speaking. The force transmitted to the shoulder was easily half that of its Russian counterpart. It fires a nearly identical round as the 9130, remember, but it's just an easier weapon to fire. Mauser wins again.
Both rifles are good at what they do, and neither infantry had a particular advantage or disadvantage by using one model or the other. The Mauser is the better rifle by a handful of metrics but a Mauser in good condition, properly imported, refinished, with matching numbers is easily $300-500. Whereas a similarly imported and refinished 9130 can be had for $89, and a really good one with a good looking stock and a nice clean barrel runs you no more than $129. Either way, you could for example use either of these to go hunting without any shame. I like the Mauser better but not enough to justify the added expense of shooting it. OTOH, these are both curios, antiques. They'll be shot twice a year, maybe taken hunting a couple times, and rubbed with a cloth diaper for the rest of the year; really, who's going to take this beast to the range every week?
Get the 9130. It's a $100 rifle that can take down an elk. It should be part of everyone's military surplus collection anyway. Then if you want, get a Mauser as well.
NEXT WEEK: The M1895 Revolver gets put through its paces.