GUNS OF VORTEX – THE CARL GUSTAV MODEL 1896 SWEDISH MAUSER

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Every gun has a story – Whether it’s a classic lever action, passed down through generations, a battle-torn rifle responsible for defending our Nation’s freedom, or perhaps it’s the first gun you ever shot. Whatever it is that makes you a gun fanatic, we completely understand, because we’re gun crazy, too! In “Guns of Vortex”, we’ll be highlighting some of the firearms owned, used, and/or collected by our crew in-house. What we like about ‘em, what we don’t, and the stories they all carry with them.

The Carl Gustav Model 1896 Swedish Mauser:

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The Carl Gustav Model 1896 Swedish Mauser – just saying the name is enough to drive any rifleholic crazy. Many of you are probably already familiar with the Mauser family of rifles. They are perhaps one of the most iconic rifles in history – one on which many of today’s rifle actions are based. The Winchester Model 70, Ruger M77, CZ-550, and Kimber’s family of bolt actions are just a few of the many models out there, still using much of the same design and technology to date. With that said, this particular example is a beautiful looking rifle, but what makes it so special? We certainly can’t deny that over half a million were made almost exactly like this one for the Swedish Army, not to mention the millions of other Mausers made all over the world in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. That said, this one is particularly interesting, because not only is it an entirely numbers-matching example, over 100 years old, but of all the models built, this one is only #613.

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To find a gun of this age and history, in this fine condition, and with such a low serial number is no easy task.

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With a number as low as #613, and stamped date on the receiver from 1898, that can pretty easily lead us to believe that this rifle was manufactured as a model 96. However, the shorter-than-normal barrel leads us to believe that it underwent some kind of change in its lifetime. Conveniently, many of these rifles were converted to what is known as a model 38, or “Short rifle” in their service life. The model 38 consists of both factory models with turned down bolts, and converted 96’s, which featured the shorter barrel, but a straight bolt handle. This rifle is most presumably a converted m96 because of its straight bolt knob, and serial & date of manufacture numbers on the receiver.

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Ever wish your rifle had a spot where you could record important data about it? I mean, the Vortex Defender flip caps with a “Dope Disk” are a great way to keep dope handy, but what did the Swedes do when they needed to know their “DOPE”, or the condition of their bore? Well, they used this – the “OG” of DOPE disks. There are 3 sections on this version of brass disk, each indicating vital info about the rifle. The first section shows the bore’s actual diameter, and at the time of inspection, it was marked to show if the barrel needed to be replaced. The 2nd section indicates bore condition with a 1, 2, or 3; 1 being good bore condition, and 3 meaning it was on the brink of needing replacement. Because the Swedes didn’t see much battle, they were generally a bit pickier about bore condition, so even if you see a bore with a 2, or 3 marking, it will probably shoot pretty darn good. Finally, the 3rd section of the disk indicates if your rifle is shooting high, or low of your point of aim. Yes, even without an optic, the Swedes knew the importance of your zero distance.

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All Swedish Mausers were chambered in the 6.5x55mm cartridge. Clearly they knew what they were doing by going with a 6.5mm cartridge – who ever said 6.5’s were just the latest fad? This aerial view gives a perfect shot of that classic Mauser style action with the iconic claw extractor. Rifles like these lack the third safety locking lug at the rear of the bolt and feature “Cock-on-closing”, rather than “Cock-on-opening”. Lifting the bolt handle might surprise you as it is spring loaded to assist the bolt moving backward. This causes it to feel and function quite similarly to the Lee Enfield rifles which many are also familiar with.

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Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary about the tangent-style sights on this Swedish Mauser. The neat thing about the “T” marking on this converted 96’ is that, while these rifles were originally intended to fire 160 grain ball ammo, they got a new rear sight when the 140 grain spitzer round came about in the early 1900’s. This new rear sight kept soldiers from hitting too high when issued the new ammo. Whether it’s optical or iron, you could say that we are geeks about sights. Funny to think that the adjustments in sights like this ultimately do the same function that the adjustments in your riflescope do!

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Easy now – a modern shooter might think we tampered with this muzzle to thread it for a suppressor. While you may be able to fit one on here with a proper adapter, this threaded muzzle was actually used to attach a device called a “Shredder”, which was used for training purposes. Wooden blanks were used in training by the troops, and the shredder was attached to ensure the bullets would dissipate upon exiting the barrel, thus avoiding injury to anyone downrange. Rifles with threaded barrels were then known as “B” models, and referred to as such in any military documentation. Later on, these rifles were fitted with flash hiders to both – you guessed it – hide flash, and to also protect the threads.

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It’s always hard to imagine what scenes this rifle saw when it was in use. It traveled all the way across the world to get here, and all we have to see for its stories are the scars and marks from its previous owners. Now, even though Sweden remained neutral through both WWI & WWII, this rifle might have seen the heat of battle in one of a couple ways.
  1. It MIGHT have been sold to the Finnish government and used to defend Finland from the USSR during the Winter War of 1939-1940. Or
  2. In the Continuation War which lasted from 41’ to 44’, again between the Finns and the Soviets.
The model 96 & 38 Swedish Mauser stayed in service with the Swedish Army until 1962, at which time it was replaced by a copy of the HK G3. Either way – scarred from battle, or just from logging the last 100+ years of range time, this cool piece of history is near and dear to the heart of our very own Reuben Aleckson. He’s proud of his Scandinavian heritage, over ½ of which is … you guessed it, Swedish. He found it in the garage of a small auto service shop in the heart of Minnesota, and after a couple of years of pestering the shop owner, made it his own.
Hope You enjoyed checking out one of the many unique firearms here at Vortex. What cool and unique guns do you have in your collection? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below! Stay tuned for more “Guns of Vortex” in the future.

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