Voere has proven once again, that when the ’98 Mauser action is outfitted with a good barrel, properly bedded in a good stock ,it is still one of the most rugged and reliable rifles of all time.
Voere firearms have caused considerable controversy with regard to where they are made – some saying Germany while others swear they’re made in Austria. Voere Germany was founded in 1948 to make air pistols and takes its name from the two owners – Voetter and Restle. They never produced any sporting rifles based on the K98 Mauser action, nor a Titan 1, but they did produce the Shikar model and Cougar model. In 1964, the company changed ownership, being taken over by Mr. Voetter’s son- in-law D.I Alfons Ruhland (the uncle of Sven Ruhland who runs Voere Austria today). Mr. Voetter moved on from Voere Germany in 1975 with the purchase of Sportwaffen Tyrol in Kufstein, which led to the establishment of Voere Austria.
In the late 1960s the first rifle made by Voere Germany was the Titan II (the Titan III was a match rifle). It was produced until the late 1980s when hunting in Scandinavia (where Voere Germany’s rifles were very popular) was prohibited after the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. This led to the closure of the German facility in 1987 and the company was sold to Mauser.
The Voere factory in Austria dates back to 1938, when the factory was built as part of the German War Machine prior to World War II. The factory was built by Krieghoff to manufacture aircraft cannons for the Luftwaffe. After the war the factory was handed over to the works manager, Mr Gatterer, and operated as Sportwaffen Tyrol until it declared bankruptcy in 1964. The defunct company was bought by Mr. Voetter, one of the original founders of Voere Germany, and renamed Voere Austria in 1965. This company operated independently from Voere Germany, which was run by Mr. Voetter’s son-in-law.
Instead of cut checkering with diamonds, the Voere’s stock has a fine fish scale pattern that’s not only very attractive, but totally functional.
The product lines of the two companies were different. Voere Germany made small-bore bolt-action rifles and the Titan II; Voere Austria made semi-auto smallbore rifles, over-under rifles, and models based on the K98 action. Today, Voere Austria produces a semi-auto high-power rifle, a range of big bore rifles, three models of bolt-action rifles, a Tactical rifle and match rifles. The company is now managed by Sven Ruhland, the grandson of Mr. Voetter, the founder of both Voere Germany and Voere Austria.
Voere’s Model 2155 and Model 2165 rifles have been on the market since 1965, and are based on the Santa Barbara Mauser ‘98 action made at the Spanish Military Arsenal at La Coruna in Spain with a number of variations. While it follows the classic Mauser ‘98 design, it is of new commercial manufacture and not a refurbished ex-military rifle. The extractor is beveled to slip over the rim of a chambered cartridge so that rounds can be singly loaded into the magazine. After the actions are received by Voere in Austria, they are smoothed up, fitted with a Lothar Walther barrel and then blued a deep black colour. The stocks which come from Italy are dense, close-grained walnut. Chambering options include a wide variety of American calibres which includes .222, .223, .22-250, .243, .25-06, .270, .308, .30-06, 7mm Rem. Mag.,.270 WSM, .300 WSM, .300 Win.Mag, .300 Weatherby,.338 Win. Mag., and .375 H&H ; metric calibres listed are: 6.5×55, 6.5×57, 6.5×68, 7×57, 7×64, 8x57IS, 8x68S, and 9.3×62
Like the FN and the Mark X, the Santa Barbara is a modified military Model ‘98 action. The receiver is drilled and tapped to take scope mount bases made for the F.N and Mark X actions. It has a solid left receiver sidewall, the stripper-clip guide notch has been omitted and the bridge is left smooth.
The Santa Barbara Mauser action has two massive locking lugs at the front end of the bolt that turn ito recesses in the receiver ring. The left lug is conventionaly split to allow passage of the ejector, there is a cam on the bolt to give power to extraction, and an auxiliary locking lug at the root of the bolt. As the bolt closes, helical approaches to the receiver- ring seats draw it 6.35mm forward to seat the cartridge This leverage which occurs as the bolt handle is turned down helps chamber a sticky reload. Two large round holes in the left side of the bolt open into the left raceway to allow any gas that enters the bolt through the firing pin hole to escape. The gas is directed rearward along the left raceway where it is shrouded by the solid bolt sleeve.
The Voere’s receiver has a flat bottom with an integral recoil lug under the receiver ring that’s larger than that of the original military M 98. The rear face of the lug bears squarely against an alloy crossbolt with a recoil shoulder inserted through the stock ahead of the magazine well. This recoil shoulder absorbs the impact of recoil instead of the wood. A pair of relatively rigid action siderails form the mid-section.
The Santa Barbara action has a receiver ring diameter of 35.56mm – the same as large ring military Mausers. The root of the bolt handle turns down into a notch at the rear of the bridge and acts as an auxiliary safety lug in the almost unheard of failure of both head lugs.
The magazine is the internal box type which carries the cartridges in a staggered double column and permits a good capacity without an excessively deep stock or protruding. A big advantage of the Voere’s open action is the ease with which it can be loaded from the top by thumbing cartridges into the magazine.
The Voere lacks the military Mauser’s inside collar which is slotted only on the right side to clear the extractor and is a close fit with the bolt head to give a shrouded effect and help prevent rearward escape of gas in the event of a ruptured case. By controlling gas flow-back at its source, Mauser’s inner collar breech provides a very effective gas handling system. The Voere’s collar is broached on both sides like that of the FN and Mark X which many shooters claim compromises the integrity of the collar to act as an affective gas block – at least this is the theory.
While only about 30-percent of the case head is encircled by the M 98 bolt-head rim, cartridges seat deeply in the chamber with barely 2.66mm protruding, something that makes the Mauser strong. Many modern, supposedly more advanced breeching systems with counterbored bolt faces actually leave the cartridge head exposed .635mm to 1.27mm from the chamber mouth – more than the M 98.
Other features that distinguish the Santa Barbara action from the military type are cosmetic, mainly of an add-on nature. For instance the Spanish action has a low-profile bolt handle for scope clearance and a streamlined bolt shroud which eliminates the striker lock safety of the military action. It also has the K98-FF single stage trigger which is adjustable for weight of pull by means of a screw in front of the finger lever. It broke at 2.2kgs, but it’s linked to the sliding two-position tang safety. It proved so finicky when I attempted to lighten it, that I returned it to 2.2kg and left it alone. The Voere K98 is available with three different triggers and I’d much prefer one that’s easier to adjust.
Hinged floorplate opens wide to allow magazine to be emptied. Follower is alloy anodized a bronze colour.
The Mauser bolt-action rifle has many virtues – great strength, great camming power to extract the fired cartridge and press home a fresh one, rigidity of action that does not permit the cartridge case to stretch, a rigid barrel and action assembly which combined with a front locking bolt and one-piece stock result in good accuracy, extreme simplicity, and great strength and ruggedness.
Unlike modern bolt actions the Voere doesn’t have a speedlock. It’s fairly heavy firing pin and cocking piece plus a 12mm length of fall are designed to give foolproof performance under the most extreme battlefield conditions in water, mud, and extreme cold. Hunters who go afield in all weathers greatly appreciate the rugged reliability of the Mauser 98 action.
Four decades ago, there were several European factories producing Mauser actions: the great Fabrique Nationale Armes de Guerre in Belgium, La Coruna in Spain, Husqvarna in Sweden and Zastava in Yugoslavia. Today, only the Spanish and Yugoslavian actions are being mass-produced, but they are still being produced in limited numbers by custom makers in Germany. And the CZ rifles are basically nothing more than much-modified M98s.
The Voere Model 2165 action has all the features that have made the M 98 the most copied design in the history of small arms. Most characteristic is the external non-rotating claw extractor attached via a collar around the bolt body. There isn’t any more positive extraction system than the Mauser design. Ejection is handled by a spring-loaded arm which contacts the case rim through a slot cut in the left locking lug. The ejector is integrated in the bolt stop mounted on the left side of the receiver bridge.
Yet despite its undeniable practicality and overall excellence, some features about the Mauser still come in for criticism. That strong, efficient extractor is the reason for the excessive bolt endplay that many shooters don’t like. The long non-rotary claw extractor gives controlled-round feeding by engaging the case rim to hold the cartridge against the bolt face from the time it leaves the magazine until the fired case is ejected. This really offers a big advantage by providing fool- proof functioning, something very important not only in a military arm but also in a dangerous game rifle.
The extractor rides over the right locking lug, causing the raceway on right side of the receiver to be cut deeper. This results in there being less lateral support for the bolt and it is not uncommon for the bolt in some military Mausers to have as much as 15mm of sideways wobble when fully drawn back. Many shooters say that because of this bolt slop, the Mauser bolt has a tendency to bind when operated rapidly from the shoulder. But this happens only if the shooter has a tendency to apply lateral pressure to the handle as he pushes it forward. So I think this criticism is unwarranted, since most Mauser owners experiencing a binding problem, soon modify their hand movements to eliminate it. Actually this amount of bolt clearance contributes to reliable functioning in dusty and muddy conditons. However, the test gun had a fairly snug-fitting, smooth-cycling bolt with less than 7mm of endplay.
Another criticism levelled at the Mauser concerns bisecting the left locking lug with an ejector slot. When the bolt is pulled to the rear, the spring actuated ejector enters the slot and ejects the fired case out to the right. Theoretically, the split left lug is not as strong as a solid right one and some say it should not be split. Mauser derivatives such as the Model 70 and CZ have done away with it. But I think this is just nit- picking never having noticed any lack of strength or safety in any M 98 action.
Too, some worry unnecessarily about the fact that the M 98 does not feature a speed lock, and its 12mm firing pin travel results in a lock time of 5.2 milliseconds which by today’s standards is a long, slow way for a striker to travel. For comparison, a modern action like the Remington boasts a firing pin travel of .213 inches and a lock time of 3.0 milliseconds for the long action. On a varmint-target rifle the long firing pin fall may prove a disadvantage, but it’s of little consequence on a big-game rifle.
As on all Mausers, the bolt rotation is 90-degrees; cocking is on the uplift of the handle. The amount of effort required to cock the action is primarily determined by the smoothness of the cam notch at the rear of the bolt body and the cocking piece. Evidently, Voere matches the mating surfaces of these two components and hones them to a glass-smooth finish because the test gun was one of the most smooth-cocking Mausers I’ve struck on a commercial sporter.
The 600mm Lothar-Walther barrel has a rounded crown. The deep-blue colour of the barrel coincides with the blued action, but the trigger guard-magazine assembly is alloy with a dull- black anodized finish that doesn’t match the blued metal. The rounded follower which is alloy anodized a bronze colour, feeds rounds into the chamber smoothly.
The test gun was fitted with a lightly figured walnut stock with fish-scale checkering bordered with oak leaves on both sides of the forend and slim pistol-grip with a Wundhammer palm swelling on the right side. The wood stock is handsomely contoured and has a contrasting rosewood grip cap and schnabel forend tip and Monte-Carlo cheekpiece for righthanded shooters. The stock is also fitted with blued steel Q/D sling swivel studs and a solid black rubber buttpad. Wood-to-metal fit is close and neat, and the forend is undercut to leave the barrel free-floating right back to the receiver ring. Wood along the sides of the receiver is left thick but slims down just ahead of the grip.
The Lothar-Walther barrel on the test rifle, chambered for the venerable 7x64mm Brenneke cartridge, has a diameter of 28mm at the receiver ring and carries this measurement forward for 40mm then tapers off over the end of the chamber and begins a straight taper to reach 15.50mm at the muzzle. The barrel has a slender profile, but I’d prefer it if the factory left open sights off a rifle that begs to equipped with a scope for big game hunting. The rear sight features a wide Vee with a U-notch which aligns with the ramp-mounted blade.
For my accuracy tests, I used Weaver bases and rings to mount a Sightron 3-9×42 Big Sky scope. All ammunition fed from the magazine without any hitches. We found the Voere Model 2165’s accuracy in keeping with hunting rifle performance. This is certainly not a target rifle, but it offers accuracy that’s more than adequate for taking big game even at extended ranges.
Santa Barbara Mauser action has large oblong recoil lug, gracefully swept back bolt handle, and Oberndorf-style magazine floorplate release button in front of trigger guard
The gun performed as expected for a light-barreled sporter and Sellier & Bellot ammunition loaded with the 158gn HPC expanding copper-tipped bullet gave excellent accuracy. This bullet which is similar in design to Winchester’s Silvertip has a hollow point covered with a copper cap, which improves its B.C. Leaving the muzzle at 2638fps the bullet still has 2395fps and 1948fps and 1331 ft/lb s of energy at 300m. The HPC bullet is designed for controlled-expansion and gives deep penetration in big game. Three shot groups with the 158gn HPC averaged 1.18 MoA. A handload comprising the 140gn AccuBond bullet and 57gn of Re-19 generated a muzzle velocity of 2934 fps and grouped 3 shots into a neat 1.00 MoA. Another handload of 55gn of Re-22 behind the 160gn Sierra turned up 2820fps and produced the smallest 3 shot group – .95 inch. With the 175gn Sierra a charge of 52gn of AR2209 got 2710fps.
In my experience bullets weighing from 139 to 160 grains work best in the 7×64. Cases were neck-sized and I found I could seat bullets 3mm farther out than the factory ammo before the bearing surface made contact with the rifling.
Voere technicians have proven once again what many of us already know, that when a good Mauser action is fitted with a good barrel and properly bedded in a good stock, it is capable of accuracy equal to that produced by rifles built on modern commercial actions with drop-in stocks.
The grand old Mauser ‘98 design has reached the ripe old age of 114 years, but the Voere remains a rifle for all seasons and all reasons. It’s favoured by many hunters over all other actions as a platform on which to build a powerful dangerous game rifle. If you are among the still sizable group of hunter/riflemen that favours the traditional Mauser ‘98 action and contemporary stock styling, you can’t help but like The Voere Model 2165.
Specifications Voere Mauser Model 2156
Manufacturer: Voere Kufstein, Tirol, Austria
Model: K98 2165
Action: Santa Barbara Mauser 98 turnbolt
Trigger: Voere K98-FF
Safety: 2-position sliding button on upper tang
Sights: ramped rear vee with U-notch and ramped blade front
Barrel: Lothar-Walther, 600mm long
Overall length: 1143mm
Magazine: internal, staggered column, holds five rounds
Stock: Italian walnut; length of pull, 370mm; drop at Monte- Carlo, 14mm, drop at heel, 40mm; drop at comb,18mm.
Retails around $2100
Trade enquiries: Herron Security & Sport P/L.
PH: (02) 9417 3388 FAX: (02) 9417 3200.