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Is a Gew 88 good for a project?
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  hawcer

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Posted: November 06 2009 at 12:29pm | IP Logged Quote hawcer

 I purchased one of those $19.95 Gew 88 commision rifles from centerfire a couple years ago and it has been leaning against the wall behind my tool box at work ever since. I don't have much to do today so I pulled it out to fiddle with it a little.

The stock is pretty beat and has a crack in the forearm section.There is some minimal surface rust here and there nd some slight pitting on the receiver and barrel shroud where they meet the stock. It was originally going to be a wall hanger, nothing more. While stripping it down today,upon the easy removal of the barrel shroud I found a brand new in the white barrel.WTF??? The rifling is still good and I had left it packed with cosmoline.

What caliber are these and what could I convert it to?At first I was thinking of cutting off the barrel andboring out the stub and pinning in a barrel for a handgun caliber as was mentioned before on my Lee enfield project...but I don't want to ruin a new barrel.

I would need to find a bolt and bolt head also.

What to do...What to do.....

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  hawcer

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Posted: November 06 2009 at 4:37pm | IP Logged Quote hawcer

 

Make a permanent chamber insert and shoot 327 magnums?

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  midmichigun

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Posted: November 06 2009 at 9:18pm | IP Logged Quote midmichigun

Hawcer,

If you look around, you will see a post where I made a NEW shroud for several of my Gew88 rifles. I also have the wood post where I replace a chunk of wood that is missing from the rifle.

The action is actually stronger than you think! Bolt? That is the hardest part to find. I was able to get a bolt from the importer, but it was missing the bolthead (which is actually the hardest part to get). Incidentally, for awhile the bolthead was costing more than the bolt... and probably still is. When my memory trips again, I will post who I bought the bolt from. I think the price was around $20.00.

I think it was Swede Nelson who made a run of NEW boltheads. I did get one bolt with a bolt head front Tennessee Gunparts once, but I think they sold out. I believe I bought one for $80+ last year. Swede also does a nice repro sling.

I have seen an occasional one (Gew88) that was a customized rifle. Polished up, they are real slick with a butterknife handle!

Alot of people have problems with the "packet" clips that these rifles need to function. You can get repros but they may be modified to function correctly. A photo of your rifle will demonstrate if it is "original" and still needs its packet clip.

As to your caliber... it is an 8mm... as in 8mm mauser. The problem is the bore size. Most of CF's rifles didn't have the modern 8mm barrel. I would point you to the site that specialized on the Gew88, but they shut down the forums... which contained all sorts of information on the caliber. Basically at some point, the CF's rifles were modified with a nonstandard 8mm barrel, and then shipped to South America.

And yes... all of my barrels look brand new! BUT I haven't slugged them. This is probably the most important thing to do... to insure you have a true 8mm barrel.

Some people claim you could shoot modern 8mm in the undersized barrel... others said you would die. Some also claimed you could shoot the Remington 8mm Mauser ammo (pressure is downloaded in the US for safety), but couldn't shoot the 8mm turk (being to hot). Personally you wouldn't find me pulling the trigger on my rifles until I know what I have!

There is a company that does make NEW Gew88 barrels in 8mm, with the correct contours. But the price is rather $$ for a $20.00 (or less) rifle. I have suggested group buys, but can never find ANYONE interested.

The Turks "modernized" some of their remaining Gew88 when they had them. On occassion you find a heavily modified GEW88 that was rebuilt to look like a K98 (being called a Turkish Mauser). At one time the attempt was made to "update" all of their guns in their inventories... and some look like alphabet soup because of this.

Sorry for the run on... but you have found my favorite topic! Have you checked the barrel bands to see who they were issued to? Some of the Gew88's made it to front line service in WWI. Most did not...

Subcal or running a barrel liner may be an option, but I am still holding out for NEW modern 8mm barrels!

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  hawcer

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Posted: November 06 2009 at 10:42pm | IP Logged Quote hawcer

 

 It is still in the shop, I'll try to get pics next week. I believe It uses the original design "fall through" clip...I don't have one(clip) but it does have an open slot in front of the trigger guard with a spring loaded lifter arm.

I didn't know to check the barrel bands...interesting. The buttstock section does have a name hand carved rather crudely into it.

For a old $20 junker, It does have some interesting designs  and is really made quite well for the age as far as machining goes. Nothing seems to be "half-assed" or crudely machined to cut costs. I would have liked to see what these looked like new out of the factory back in the late 1800's.

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  comestmk

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Posted: November 07 2009 at 3:09pm | IP Logged Quote comestmk

Hi there,

your Gewehr 88 could have two possible calibers. At first Loewe manufactured it in 8 x 57 I which had a land diameter of 7,80 mm and a  field diameter of 8,07 mm but quite a lot of the Gewehr 88 were changed to 8 x 57 IS barrels (which used the Spitzer bullet) he barrels of these rifles had a land diameter of 7,89 and a field diameter of 8,20 mm. To distinguish both calibers the later rifle in 8 x 57 IS had and S stamped on the receiver head.

You could find a lot of information about the Gewehr 88in english  at this web-site:

http://www.gew88.com/main.htm

Hope this helps.

But I do have to say that my heart aches at thought of slaughtering it  for it's parts and subsequently destroying this historical rifle, which played an important if tragic role in german military rifle history.
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  midmichigun

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Posted: November 07 2009 at 8:47pm | IP Logged Quote midmichigun

Comstmk,

I used to post on Gew88, until the forums shut down. Maybe somehow my computer is broken and won't let me on?

Hawcer,

BTW, all of my GEW's are marked with "S".

If your barrel bands ran out of space, sometimes they started marking the buttplate with the unit numbers. They were conveniently "XXX" out when the unit changed for the rifle.

As far as quality? VERGY GOOD QUALITY! I have never seen junk on these rifles. Most of the problems are neglect on the behalf of the previous owners. Something about storing them on the floor of a jungle for 50+ years!

As to your "markings" keep 'em! Its part of the history. On one of mine, I picked it out due to the "flowers" that were stamped into it. Others are "carved" with with an "M. J"? I even have one with a white paint "unit" marking... Of course I try and save all this good stuff. Its part of the history of the gun!

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  bikergunnut

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Posted: November 07 2009 at 9:01pm | IP Logged Quote bikergunnut

All of my saved links for GEW88 work but they may go down for awhile....

http://www.gew88.com/gew_88_forum/viewtopic.php?t=665

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  hawcer

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Posted: November 08 2009 at 11:56am | IP Logged Quote hawcer

 

Doing some further thinking...

Looking up case specs...the only pistol round to come close to fitting the bolt face without modifacations is the 44 auto mag (.473"-8mm and .470" 44 auto)...that could be a neat and expensive set-up to shoot. The 8mm mauser has an Cup readings from 33,000 to 49,000 and the 44 auto mag has an average cup of 35,000.

The threaded receiver section for the factory barrel shroud instantly make me think "vented tubular handguard/barrel shroud needs to thread on  here".

I would trim off the forearm just in front of the triggerguard mounting screw and leave the barrel full floating...since the wood is cracked and damaged in this area behond repair anyway.

And still thinking....

As far as ruining a historical piece.....That has already been done way before I got my hands on it.

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  midmichigun

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Posted: November 08 2009 at 12:28pm | IP Logged Quote midmichigun

Biker,

I followed your link, and it opened fine. But I was NOT able to navigate to other threads. Its simply said that the page was missing. I am otherwise able to navigate the site. We were told that we raised enough money to keep the site going... I guess the devil was in the details... the forum/ chat didn't survive?

Hawcer,

They seem like good project guns. You obviously can't beat the price. I am now seeing them "incomplete" for around $50.00 when I do see them. Remember that the bolt is missing and is the $$ item. The vender that I bought my bolt from was Old West Scrounger. Last time I checked, OWS still has the bolts (missing the bolt heads) in stock.

My question was the barrel thread. It would be easier searching for "large ring, or small ring" mauser barrels to match... if I knew what it was. Remember it really isn't a Mauser. Most of the contour is hidden under the jacket, so technically as long as it fits the ID... and the reciever... and is long enough... I was told that Numrich has a few barrels on sale for $80.00 but I don't think that any were 8mm (for my end of the project). Depending on if you can get one to fit, this may be a "cheap" option for your project!

I was thinking about converting one to a "historical reproduction" carbine. However, I haven't seen one to copy. I have ran across a few that were destroyed at the end, like you mention your wood is... and making a "historical" carbine seems like an easy answer.

I am able to easily heat the solder on the jacket nut off, when I make a new jacket. Rumor has it that some are a "high temp" solder... never had a problem with mine though.

Do you still have your sights? Also finding really nice jackets is hard. Maybe if yours is good you can sell it to help defray the cost of your project, and just make a new one for your "vented" jacket!

Keep us posted on your progress and thought process.

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  hawcer

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Posted: November 08 2009 at 1:07pm | IP Logged Quote hawcer

midmichigun wrote:

Do you still have your sights? Also finding really nice jackets is hard. Maybe if yours is good you can sell it to help defray the cost of your project, and just make a new one for your "vented" jacket!

Yep...they are still there and intact. The shroud is in decent shape with a little rust pitting on the stock line. Finish is about 75- 80% and the inside is 95% rust free.

 

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  hawcer

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Posted: November 08 2009 at 6:08pm | IP Logged Quote hawcer

At looking at the Lothar Walther barrels for the 1888...it looks as if most small ring Mauser barrels with the .980x12Tpi threads could be made to work.

Finished barrel for rifles Gewehr 88
thread: 0.980"x12TPI (for Mauser96)
ØD1 = 0,531"
ØD2 = 0,906"
L = 29,13"
 
 
Small Ring  M-1893-1896 
 1.30 in diameter are 8.50 in length, Straight side walled receiver with screw spacing of 7.620.
Small ring have a threaded shank diameter of .980 in. With 12 threads per inch.
These include M-93-96 by Spain, Sweden, Germany. Spanish M-93 bolts have flat bottom, DWM M-95 bolt faces are round. Swedish bolts M-38/94/96 will fit only Swedish.
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  bikergunnut

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Posted: November 08 2009 at 11:41pm | IP Logged Quote bikergunnut

midmichigun wrote:

Biker,

I followed your link, and it opened fine. But I was NOT able to navigate to other threads. Its simply said that the page was missing. I am otherwise able to navigate the site. We were told that we raised enough money to keep the site going... I guess the devil was in the details... the forum/ chat didn't survive?

I just went and looked around, there were even posts made today. I never even set up a username there so I don't know why you couldn't look around.

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  midmichigun

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Posted: November 09 2009 at 8:00am | IP Logged Quote midmichigun

Biker,

Thanks! I went to a 3rd computer, and I can navigate the site! I don't know what got downloaded on the last Microsoft update, but it doesn't like G88's I guess!

Hawcer,

Thanks on the barrel dimensions. This is an interesting thought process of using a small ring mauser barrel, it gives a wider selection of cal choices!

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  tommerr

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Posted: November 14 2009 at 7:14am | IP Logged Quote tommerr

I have looked with interest at these rifles for years. Didn't Centerfire and others have some in very good condition?
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