Blasts From the Past is a weekly look at great old guns and underappreciated shooters from yesteryear. If you have photos of rare, interesting, or unusual firearms, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s rifle came with a simple note. Tyler writes: “Hello, my great uncle left me this bolt-action rifle, and I have zero idea of what kind it is.”
Sometimes this happens when someone hands down a gun. You’re delighted to have it, and to keep in the family, but—what is it?
At Blasts from the Past, we’re here to help.
This is a Model 96 Swedish Mauser. There’s good news and bad news about this rifle. Bad news first: With its aftermarket sporter stock it’s no longer collectible, unless the original is floating around somewhere at home. The good news: It’s likely a terrific shooter, and one of the better Mausers ever made. Both Carl Gustafs Stad Gevärsfaktori (rough translation: Carl Gustafs town rifle factory) and Husquavarna, who makes chainsaws today, built these rifles from the late 1890s to 1962. The Swedish Mausers are known for their accuracy, their high-quality steel, and their overall workmanship.
Per the marking on the receiver, this rifle was made in 1906 at Carl Gustafs. Assuming it hasn’t been rebarreled, it’s chambered in 6.5mmx55, aka 6.5 Swede, a cartridge which earns the DEP Seal of Approval for its accuracy, light recoil, and deadly performance. It remains a very popular hunting cartridge in Sweden today.
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