Tag Archives: Mauser model 98

Elk Rifle for NAWEOA

Arizona Elk Rifle


     I was approached over a year ago by a gentleman with the Arizona Game Rangers Lodge about custom carving a rifle stock for the 2012 North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association (NAWEOA) National Conference that was being held in Tucson in July of 2012.  


     It was going to be a totally custom rifle – a rebarreled classic Mauser 98 action – Walnut stock – fiberglass bedding – new scope – and they wanted the stock carved.   This would be the centerpiece of the live auction at their banquet.   Of course I told him I would be honored to do the work for this organization and this event.


     The stock was received in April and I was asked to carve it to showcase Arizona – make it with a prominent Arizona Game Animal.   Since I was given Artistic “free rein”, and since Arizona is known for having some of the biggest Elk in the country, I chose a scene with a Bugling Bull Elk on the rifle’s buttstock.    This was a real “treat” since the stock was made from top-notch, tight grained Walnut and as all fine Walnut does, it held the carving of fine details perfectly. 


Below are photos of the various stages of the carving.


 The initial rough out carving

 Adding more detail

 Final carving touches

 Working on the final staining

    The grip and forearm were carved with Basketweave and Leaves.

The Arizona Game Rangers Lodge logo of a Mountain Lion was carved just below the stock’s cheek piece.


   I look forward to seeing this stock on the completed rifle at their banquet later this month.    This Custom rifle should be a real winner for them.   I hope to post some photos of it later this month.


Thanks for stoppin’ in….

Lance Larson




Custom Carved Mule Deer Rifle

Monster Desert Mule Deer Buck     

     This trophy desert mule deer relief carving on the Mauser rifle is completed.   The relief carving features a huge Mule Deer buck jumping over a downed Saguaro cactus skeleton.  The desert mountain backdrop with more Saguaros and a rocky foreground with Prickly Pear cactus complete the scene.    The harsh landscape of the Southwest Desert produces some enormous Mule Deer.   Like this one 


     The forearm and grips were carved in a basketweave pattern.  Hand carved oak leaves accent the basketweave on all sides.   I also carved a nice 4×4 Mule Deer antler shed on the opposite side of the buttstock just below the cheek piece.   I took a photo of an actual shed that the client had and carved an exact copy of that shed antler.


     When I completed the carvings, the staining was done by using oil paints diluted down to work as more of a stain than paint.  The more coats I put on an area, the darker it became.   This allowed me to blend the light colored rump and belly of the Mule deer with the darker brown of the back and sides of the deer.   This brings in a more natural look.   The carvings were finished with a couple of coats of Tung Oil finish.


     This custom carved gunstock is ready to be both a rifle for hunting and a family heirloom for years to come.   The client and I spent quite a bit of time designing what he wanted in his custom carved rifle.   If this interests you, contact me, you and I can design the perfect carving for your rifle, shotgun, or handgun. 








Thanks for stoppin’ by……

Lance Larson


Custom Carved Mauser Model 98

Mauser 98 Custom Desert Mule Deer Carving


      As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the owner wanted a Mule Deer buck in a southwestern desert landscape carved on his Mauser rifle.   The design the client and I came up with is a Mule Deer buck with Large typical  4×4 antlers jumping over the skeleton of an old Saguaro cactus with the normal desert surroundings including rocks, Prickly Pear cactus, and giant Saguaro cactus in the distance.   The Mauser 98 is not manufactured by Mauser anymore but older rifles can be great choices for custom rifles and are still very popular.


   Mauser model 98 information courtesy of Wikipedia:

Mauser was a German arms manufacturer of a line of bolt-action rifles and pistols from the 1870s to 1995. Mauser designs were built for the German armed forces. Since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, military Mauser designs were also exported and licensed to a number of countries, as well as being a popular civilian firearm.

   Mauser Model 98

Mausers were readily adapted as hunting rifles. In Africa, so-called Safari rifles were often made from Mausers. These rifles were often rechambered in larger rounds up to and including .50 cal (12.7 mm). The adaptations usually consisted of shortening the foregrip and barrel, rechambering to popular British rounds, and minor alterations to the action, although the rifle was left fundamentally Mauser-designed. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, companies that made alterations were generally Commonwealth-based and developed several proprietary big game rounds specifically for hunting large and dangerous game. Today, large and small bore Mauser-derived rifles are made all over the world for the civilian market and are popular with hunters.


As you may remember, the first step was the design:

The second step was the out line cuts of the drawing:

Then I move to the roughing out and shaping of the artwork.

 The shaping continues:

Then you start working on the details – mountains, rocks, cactus shaping, antlers, body shape……

 I put a coat of Minwax Prestain conditioner on the carving – now it’s ready for staining and finish:

     I still have quite a bit of work to do yet.  The forearm and grip checkering will be removed and replaced with Basketweave and Leaves as accent.   I will post again on this project.

     If you have a rifle that you believe would look great with this type of carving, call or email me.   Let’s discuss the options.

Thanks for stoppin’ by ……

Lance Larson

Coues Deer Rifle

Custom Gunstock Carving of a Coues Deer

Coues deer & cactus carving image

   This rifle is one of my own.  An ongoing project with the end finally in sight.   It started as a 1909 Peruvian Mauser bolt action rifle in 7×57 caliber that I found used in a small gun shop in Mesa AZ.   It caught my eye because the receiver was not blued, it was what is known as “in the white”.   It had a shiny, bare metal receiver.   It had  an old military, stepped barrel with most of the bluing worn off and a basic sporter stock from the 60’s or 70’s .   But, it was a Mauser action and I saw another fun project.


    It took a couple years to get this rifle to the carving stage.  First, there was installing a new barrel in .257 Rigby caliber to replace the old short military barrel.  I removed the action from the old stock.   The new stock was shaped from a beautiful aged blank of Maple Burl. The blank was sent to a gentleman in Texas to shape it and I inletted the stock by hand to fit the action when I got it back.   I had initially carved fish scale and leaves on the grip and forend of the stock a couple years ago but was waiting for the right inspiration for the butt stock carving design.


    Coues deer & cactus rough out carving imageIn the design phase of a gunstock carving, I ask all my clients what type of hunting or shooting they do.   I ask them what their favorite game animal is and where do they like to hunt.   Are they looking at telling a story about a particular hunt on the stock?    I had to do the same for my stock and decide what this rifle would be used for.    I knew it would be my go-to rifle to hunt Coues Whitetail Deer here in Arizona.


   For those who have no idea what a Coues deer is, think about a common whitetail deer in the rest of the country and Coues deer buck imageshrink it in size by half or more.   A big Coues deer buck may only weigh 85 to 90 lbs.  My dog is the same size this deer.   They are a desert animal and have the nickname of “Grey Ghost” since you see them and they just dissolve into their surroundings and are gone.


“Arizona’s ‘Grey Ghost’, the coues deer, is one of the smallest deer species of the whitetail deer. This small, elusive deer is one of the most popular deer to hunt and one of the most challenging of the deer species.    The country these deer inhabit is some of the most beautiful, rugged country in the United States. They are found from the desert floor to over 8,000 feet.”


   A carving of a Coues deer buck was what I wanted to do, but it took a long time to get the design right.   I wanted to make sure not to cover up the beautiful areas of burl in the butt stock so the carving had to be smaller than normal.   Since the grain of this stock flows freely , I decided not to have a definite border to the carving and let the carving edges flow like the wood grain.


Coues deer & cactus closeup image   Since the Coues deer is a desert animal, a prickly pear cactus had to be included in the carving along with the deer.   You’ll notice I left the front half of the butt stock untouched to show off the beautiful wood grain.  It would have been a crime to carve over this area.  After I completed the carving, oil paints were used in a diluted form to stain and highlight the cactus, the antlers, and the white areas on this buck. 


   This rifle goes on it’s first hunt with me this fall but, as with all old mausers, I’m sure it’s been out there many times before.   But it never looked as good as this before.


  If a carving like this appeals to you for your deer rifle, contact me and we can talk about your ideas.   You can make your rifle a one-of-a-kind.   Life’s too short to hunt with an ugly rifle.


Thanks for stoppin’ by…..

Lance Larson  

An Old Mauser Rifle

Fine Old Mauser Rifles…if only they could talk…….



     My friends tell me I have an affliction….. an addiction if you will….. and it’s old Mauser rifles.    They keep telling me to quit buyin’ and huntin’ with antiques and buy a new rifle ….in a new caliber.    They may be right, but it’s not gonna happen.   Old walnut stocked rifles are too much fun (and I can’t stand those”tupperware” synthetic stocks – you can’t carve on them.)   I have two other old Mausers and they’re in European metric calibers.   That means you can’t buy ammo down at Walmart.   

Swedish 6.5x55 Mauser with Moose and Basketweave Carvings

     I was at a Gun Show recently  and a man directly across the aisle had a rifle displayed that caught my eye.   It was a customized Swedish Mauser, in ‘6.5x55mm Swede’ caliber, and it was built on a Mauser model 98 action.   Since most guns of that caliber and age were built on smaller, Mauser model 96 actions, I gave it a closer look.   Then I noticed it had a double set trigger and an engraved butter knife bolt handle, both of which was definitely the sign of a good custom rifle for the time.  The action was a smooth as silk and….. it followed me home.

Moose carving on Buttstock of 6.5x55 Mauser rifle

     First, let me tell you, this rifle is not worth a lot of money.  There was no real collector value because it had been sporterized.   The true value of this rifle, for me, is the history.  The history of the caliber, the action, and the part of the world it originally came from…Sweden.  And since I’m a “Swede”, I always wanted one of these rifles.   The 6.5×55 caliber was designed in 1891.   Yes, old but still very, very, very effective.   The Mauser model 98 action came out in 1898 and has not really been improved upon in 112 years.   There were bolt action rifles before it but the Model 98 was the pinnacle of design. 


Here is a little history of this caliber and rifle from Wikipedia:


6,5×55 caliber – Sporting use

The 6.5x55mm cartridge is highly esteemed as a hunting round in Europe, Scandinavia, and North America. It is used for harvesting most kind of game including reindeer and moose in Scandinavia, while in Canada and the United States it is used for taking deer and other medium-sized game. Sportsmen who favor the round laud the combination of low recoil coupled with the cartridge’s inherent accuracy and superb penetrative qualities.

European rifle makers including Sauer,CZ, Steyr, and Mauser offer sporting rifles chambered for this cartridge, as does the Finnish arms manufacturer SAKO/Tikka, while ammunition manufacturers such as Norma, Lapau and Hornady offer loadings of the 6.5x55mm round that are designed for use only in modern hunting rifles that can tolerate higher chamber pressures. These modern loadings should never be used in older military rifles .


6.5x55mmExpanding bullet loaded in a 6.5x55mm before and after expanding. The long base and small expanded diameter show that this is a bullet designed for deep penetration on large game. The bullet in the photo traveled more than halfway through a moose before coming to rest, performing as designed.

The cartridge is also used in the Sauer 200 STR (Scandinavian Target Rifle).

The 6.5x55mm cartridge was widely used in biathlon competition until 1975 (when it was replaced by the.22 Long Rifle(.22 LR) rimfire cartridge), because of its inherent accuracy and historical popularity with the Scandinavian nations who have dominated this sport.


     Basketweave carving on grip of Mauser 6.5x55 rifleThe stock was a military stock that someone had sporterized very nicely.  Obviously the double set trigger was added during the original work.   Another item I found after I got it home was a marking on the bottom of the barrel the read “Fine Firearms, Avondale, AZ”.  I have found no information at this time about this gunsmith shop but I’m still researching.  


     Important Safety Tip:  One thing to make sure of before buying an old firearm is that the rifle’s barrel is marked with the correct caliber of the gun.   Even then, have it checked by a professional gunsmith before you fire it.     Saying that, this custom rifle had no caliber markings on the barrel, but I had the ability to make sure of the caliber myself, so it came home anyway.    


     Before deciding what type of carving I was going to complete on this stock, I needed to do some research.  I looked at a Basketweave carving on forearm of Mauser 6.5x55couple of aspects…….what type of game was commonly taken with the 6.5×55 caliber, and what style of carvings were common in Europe in the early part of the last century.  That is why I chose a Bull Moose carving for the buttstock of this rifle.  This caliber has been a common moose hunting caliber for many years in Scandinavian countries.


     Basket weave carving was somewhat common on the higher end custom guns of this era, so that’s what I elected to carve on the grip and forearm.   Acanthus leaf patterns were carved as borders around the basket weave.  These were also common borders for the period.  This custom gunstock carving was made to look like it had been on the gunstock for 50 years by copying the older carving styles. 


     I really do wish this old rifle could tell us her stories.  I’m sure this was a working rifle for it’s owner or owners, not a “safe queen” that never saw the field.  What animals had she hunted?   On how many continents had she been hunting?    How many hunting campfires had she been part of?   That, to me, is the magic of these fine old Mauser rifles. 


     Oh yeah, she’s pretty accurate too.    The stories for this rifle are not over.


     Thanks for stoppin’  by

     Lance Larson