Kimber Mauser M96

What is a Kimber Mauser M96?

Q: I bought a .308 rifle fitted with a Nikko Gold Crown scope at a clearing sale on a neighbouring property. They claimed it was a Kimber but it has a Swedish Mauser action. 

Can you tell me how this came about? I am not all that worried as the rifle is in good nick and shoots accurately. Even better, it was a steal for $250. 

I have heard that these actions are weaker than the Mauser 98. Is this true?

George Matthews

A: Back in the early 1990s Kimber bought a large quantity of Mauser 96 actions and rebarrelled them to .22-250 Rem, .243 Win, .257 Roberts, .308 Win, and 6.5×55. 

The company rebarrelled them with stainless steel match-grade barrels and black synthetic stocks. The barrels were fully floated, and the .243 and .308 rifles were available with fluted barrels.

I tested these Kimbers in .257 Roberts and .308 Win and they were very accurate. They also represented good value for money.

Don’t have any doubts about the Mauser 96 being strong enough for the .308 as the Swedes chambered them in 7.62 NATO, used them with full-power factory loads and detected no problems whatsoever. 

The Swedish Mausers are of high quality metallurgically. Workmanship and finish are excellent. They have no defects likely to cause failure within reasonable limits of reloading.

Having said this, metallurgy is a highly specialised science that has made tremendous strides since the days when the 1896 Mauser was produced. 

While the metallurgy of these early Mausers was excellent for its day, obviously it is not up to the high standards of today’s actions which are superior in strength and uniformity. 

Reduce maximum loads for the .308 Win by one or two grains and you won’t have any problems.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.