Tools for 8mm Mauser Cleaning





Introduction: Tools for 8mm Mauser Cleaning

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

This is my 8mm Yugoslavian Mauser. It is a piece of history and fun to shoot. I soon learned some special tools would be a big help for tearing it down to clean. This Instructable will show the special tools I use, most of which I made. To do that, I used--

a larger snap ring pliers
1/8 x 1/2 inch strap iron
1/8 inch rod
finish nails
a welder
brazing rod
1/2 inch black iron pipe
5/16 inch steel rod
a grinder
2 inch PVC and an end cap 
PVC cement

Step 1: The Hooded Sight

The best tool I know for removing the hood over the sight is a snap ring pliers set to widen the tines when the handles are squeezed. This spreads the sight hood enough to remove it from the sight easily. 

Step 2: Routine Disassembly

Since I am using this Instructable to show special tools I use, I will not give attention to several steps that are part of the disassembly. Anyone wanting a step-by-step guide to the disassembly of a Mauser rifle should follow the steps in this link. (The photo shows removal of the front barrel band.)

Step 3: Floor Plate Release

A punch or a pin is needed to press the release pin on the floor plate. The floor plate forms the bottom or floor of the ammunition magazine. The spanner wrench (See the yellow text boxes.) will be used in a later step. See the second photo to view how the pin portion of the tool is used. I welded a piece of 1/8 inch rod to some 1/8 x 1/2 inch strap iron. Push down until you hear a click With the other hand, slide the floor plate toward the trigger guard about 1/8 inch and it will come out immediately.

Step 4: The Spanner Wrench

The photo shows the spanner wrench section of the tool used earlier to remove the floor plate. I drilled two holes in a piece of 1/8 x 1/2 inch strap iron. They are the same distance apart from each other as the indentations in the special nut on the bolt running across the rifle stock's width. The second photo shows the spanner wrench in use. Notice the brazed area. I inserted two finish nails into the holes I drilled and brazed them in place. Then I cut them to length and ground away any rough edges.

Step 5: Cleaning Up After Corrosive Primers

I have some military surplus 8mm ammunition from the days of corrosive primers. The recommendation is that the barrel be cleaned with hot soapy water to remove the corrosive elements. I bought a piece of 2 inch PVC pipe and an end cap. I cemented the end cap on one end of the PVC and cut it to 29 inches. That means the end of the gunbarrel is nearly touching the inside of the end cap. In order to get as much of the trigger area into the PVC as possible, I heated the PVC enough to make it pliable and I formed it into a slight oval. Now all but the trigger itself fits into the PVC. 

To use, I heat water in a tea kettle until it is very hot. I put about a tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent into the PVC tube. I place the gunbarrel into the open end of the PVC. I stand it in one corner of the bathroom shower. I pour the very hot water into the open end of the PVC. I push a cleaning rod with a patch up and down in the barrel fairly quickly to agitate the soapy solution. I let it set for a few minutes and pour it out while the water is still hot. I pour more hot water in for a rinse. The barrel is hot enough that any water on it dries by itself very quickly. Then I clean the barrel with cleaning solution and patches in a more conventional manner. 

Step 6: Disassembly of the Bolt

Periodically it is good to disassemble the bolt to clean any powder residue from inside it or to lubricate internal parts. The bolt includes a very strong spring. There is very little space on the bolt for one's fingers to pull it down and hold it while turning the safety to release the bolt parts. I made a special tool from 1/2 inch black iron pipe and 5/16 inch rod with a 90 degree bend. I had to grind a little on the rod so it clears portions of the bolt when putting the tool onto the bolt. Turning the safety catch is what releases the bolt at this point (but not while the bolt is in the rifle). There are various places on the Internet that describe taking the bolt apart. Here is one.

These tools have helped me when working with my Mauser rifle. I found a listing for a commercial spanner wrench to be used in removing the nut on the bolt (as in "large screw," not part of the rifle bolt mechanism) that goes through the stock crossways. While I made mine from strap iron and finish nails, this commercial wrench costs $25 plus shipping. I saved myself some money with my solutions to a better way to do the job, and it was fun making them myself.



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    20 Discussions

    That's a nice idea for cleaning, never even thought about doing something like that before.

    4 replies

    Your welcome, your guide will definitely help people who aren't used to mausers.

    What I really like is the tool for pulling against the bolt spring so I can open the bolt without fearing that pieces will fly all over or I will injure the skin on my hand. But, this PVC cleaning tube is a big asset, as well.

    Yep, the bolt can be really mean sometimes. I had to install a new spring in my yugo m48bo, that was not fun, got a few marks from that.

    Very well done. Gun smithing is a changing art, as new guns replace the old. Your Mauser is in amazing condition, and the tools that you use to keep it in that condition are great little inventions. The only gun I have fired that could be compared is a Russian Mosin Nagant.

    4 replies

    Thank you. I need to take it out to a range and shoot it much more often than I do. It sat in a warehouse for 60 years, which explains the condition. I fired a friends Mosin-Nagant and considered buying one before I found the Mauser. The Mosin-Nagant kicks like a mule.

    Yeah, I like the Nagant because it has crazy good accuracy. Are the Mausers hard to get in the US? My friend bought his Mosin at Big 5 sporting goods of all places.

    About five years ago Big 5 had 8mm Mausers in stock regularly. Their prices were a little high. Then, suddenly, they dropped the price to almost half of what they had been charging. That lasted for about a month. After that, it is hard to find a Mauser rifle at Big 5. I bought mine over the Internet. Naturally, it did not just arrive at my door in the mail. I had to specify a federally licensed firearms dealer near my home. The rifle was sent there. I went to that store when it arrived and filled out paperwork for a background check and for registration. I waited about 30 minutes for that to clear. I paid a fee and I was on my way. There is another company on the Internet that refinishes Mauser rifles and charges quite high prices for them.

    Some people have trouble with the Mosin-Nagants. The shell casing does not want to eject when the bolt is pulled open. There is a coating inside the chamber and on the cartridges. The heat generated when the shell fires binds these two together like a tough glue. The solution is to use a wire brush on a Dremel to remove the coating from inside the chamber.

    Ok, well, If I ever get a chance to get a Mauser and I have the cash, I will leap on the opportunity. Here in California we have a waiting period of several days between the buying of the gun and the time when we can actually take it home.

    The Mosin I fired only had two mis-ejections in the whole afternoon of shooting, and both only involved pulling the shell out of the action with my hand. If I ever get a Mosin, I will remember that improvement though.

    Thank you, Osvaldo. It kicks a bit when I shoot it. I bought a pad to fit on the end of the wooden stock so it protects my shoulder.

    Custom tools make a world of difference! Nice work, I enjoyed reading this.

    Once I finish my studies and I have a steady income, I would like to get my hands on: Mauser circa 1900, but that would only be in about 10 years :(

    (Background to the next section, my family originally “hails” from the Netherland, but have been in South Africa for about 300 years, I stay in Stellenbosch I am studying mechanical engineering. My dad is a Prof in Theology, a man of the cloth like you, but unfortunately he is not very handy)

    May I ask what year the Mauser is from? It looks quite old, but not as old as the ones from the Anglo-Boer Wars [Colonial Wars in South Africa] or you have looked after / repaired it well. My dad said that my great grandfather attributed their victory over the British to the superiority of their Mauser rifles over the British Lee-Metford. Apparently my great grandfather jokingly said he survived because the British soldiers could not hit him with their bullets because he was too skinny (probibly due to the scorched earth campaign, very hectic).

    Check out the wiki page:

    7 replies

    Thank you for looking at my Instructable and for commenting. I have had this rifle about five years. I found and bought it over the Internet. (Lest anyone worry about easy access to guns in the USA, it was shipped to a federally licensed gun dealer near me. I went to that dealer where I had to complete forms sent electronically to the US federal government for approval on my fitness to own a firearm. Only then could I leave the gun store with my gun.)

    My Mauser was made about 1947 shortly after WW II. People then were just certain there would be another war in Europe very soon and they made rifles to put into warehouses for the day they would be needed.

    Two things happened. First, the anticipated war did not come. Second, new technology soon brought the semi-automatic rifles that made bolt action rifles obsolete for military purposes. My rifle looks very pristine because it sat in a warehouse for sixty years. Supposedly it was removed every five or so years to be test fired and then packaged for storage again.

    The Mauser brothers have had an amazing impact on rifles from many different conflicts in the world and the basic bolt design has been copied in many nations. The USA's 1903 Springfield rifles from WW I were copies, and the US had to pay royalty penalties after the War. My great-grandfather fought in a German reserve unit in France during the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War. The first Mauser rifles were available at that time and I wondered if he had used one, but I later learned the rifle issued at that time was the Dreyse Needle Gun (rifle). Thank you for the Wikipedia reference. I will look at it.

    I wish you well in your search for a 1900 era Mauser.

    Thank you for the background, I enjoy studying the history of conflicts, I believe we can learn much from them, prevent future conflicts and understand each other and the world better.

    I did not know of the post WW2 weapon stockpiling, I will read up on it. Regarding semi auto, I believe the M1 Garand did play an integral role in the Allied victory of WW2, your thoughts on the matter?

    Interestingly, when I looked at the Dreyse Needle Gun, the shape of the bolt made me think of the Russian bolt action Mosin Nagant. It seems “reverse engineering” is a much older field of mechanical engineering than I had anticipated.

    You are right about the M1 Garand. When I got the Mauser I did a lot of reading on the 'Net to see what I could learn. Somewhere I read about the semi-automatics of the early 1950s put the bolt action rifles out of business as a military armament. I am not sure how that all fits together.

    I thought the Dreyse was peculiar because the experts of the day believed a primer behind the bullet was more effective than a primer behind the powder load.

    I am curious how you found my Instructable. After your first comment I realized it must have finally been published, yet I cannot find it listed among the recently published Instructables.

    It is interesting that your ancestral family is from The Netherlands. Mine is from Ost-Friesland, also along the North Sea and next door to The Netherlands, although my family lived over toward the Weser River side a bit more. My understanding is that there are quite a few people in The Netherlands with my family name: Bohlken. I read once there was a battle and the side championed by people with my family name lost. Some of them fled to The Netherlands.

    The Garand is one of my favorites after the Mauser (because of the history). Patton hailed the Garand as one of the best weaponsof WW2 [respect].

    The Dreyse powder load and primer arrangement might be due to burn rates and slowed combustion resulting in larger bullet velocities, I can't think of another reason.

    I found this instructable after I saw your carbon electrode welder instructable and I started following you. I paged throught your entries and found the Mauser piece. You have a range of great Instructables by the way!

    I ask my father on the origin of the Bohlken name in Friesland, he has done a lot of research on our family history for our 300 year family reunion in SA. Quite a coincidence, my family name: Bosman [translated: Boatswain or Bosun], came from the Northen part of Friesland, technically part of Netherlands.

    Small world... I will update you when I know more on the Bohlken family name!

    Now I see this Instructable listed among those recently published. It took a while. Thank you for telling me how you found it.

    I remember reading there is a difference between Frisans and East Frisans going back to a war in past centuries. It has been a while since I read about those things and my memory of them is not very clear. We have driven across the northern part of The Netherlands a couple of times either to or from the airport in Amsterdam.

    I believe you know more about rifles than I do.

    Hi Mr Bohlken,

    I spoke to my father on how you can retrace your family tree, he suggests looking online at the following records: birth, Christening and marriage and death certificates. Knowing from which region/town/municipal area your family hails will narrow your search quickly.

    I found one link on a person called Steve Hanken in Iowa asking about East Friesan side of the Bohlken family [maybe contact him first]:
    Here is another link for online resources:

    Thank you. I know Steve Hanken. He and I grew up in the same church in Eastern Iowa. He is a few years younger than I am. I had not seen him for many years, but we were both at a celebration in Germany for the 200th anniversary of a small village where our forefathers had lived before emigrating to the USA during the late 1800s.