Here at SHOT show media day at the range, there are some firearms that one might encounter normally in any gun shop or at the range, and then there are rarities that might not be seen every day. Mauser had one of each available to try: The bespoke (grade 5?) Mauser 98 Magnum in .416 Rigby and the M12 “extreme”.
First off, I had to try the .416 Rigby. The M98 Magnum’s stock was far nicer than my hastily taken pictures can convey. The hand checkering and grain of the curly maple was quite pleasant to behold. The bolt itself ran like oil over glass. For the price of admission, a hand polished bolt and receiver better be part of the deal. The sights were excellent, though I used the rear peep sight mounted on the bolt, rather than the express sights (which are also windage adjustable).
When it was my turn to try my hand at this beautiful beast of a gun, I chambered the round, and tried out Mauser’s relatively new horizontal safety. It locked into each position securely, but most importantly for a hunter, it was absolutely silent in its operation. The same can be said for the bolt. The trigger broke at a crisp 2 pounds, and the recoil was actually much less than I expected. This was less unpleasant than my .457 Alaskan Magnum, and that rifle has porting, whereas the M98 did not. Accuracy-wise, I definitely hit what I was aiming at, but with pillar bedding, this is probably as accurate as dangerous-game rifles come. In summation, the super smooth action and excellent trigger coupled with artisanal level of craftsmanship left me wanting the M98 Magnum even more, though at that price point, perhaps as a 50th Birthday Present.
The M12 was also nice to shoot, and is capable of sub-MOA accuracy. The trigger was almost as nice as the M98 Magnums, breaking at 2lbs but not quite as crisp. The 6 lug bolt locked up solidly and efficiently, and the rifle had pretty nice overall ergonomics. It might be worth a look if one is interested in a sub-MOA bolt action that is still relatively light and handy at 6.75lbs.
Thanks to Mauser for affording me the opportunity to try their rifles out!