[SHOT 2016] Media day at the range: Hands on with the Mauser 98 Magnum

One does not simply lay a $13K rifle on concrete...

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”.


Quite possibly the best caliber marking I've ever seen

Quite possibly the best caliber marking I’ve ever seen.


Some fine hand checkering

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).

Rear peep sight

Rear peep sight

adjustable 2 leaf express sights

adjustable 2 leaf express sights

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 "Extreme"

The M12 “Extreme”.

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!

Rusty S.

Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. He is fortunate enough to have access to class 3 weaponry as well.


  • iksnilol

    *heavy breathing*

    chamber it in .50 AK and I might be willing to shell out the price of a lightly used car for one.

  • Vitor Roma

    Off-topic: Where is the Desert Tech MDR? I’m dying to see it fully functional.

    • Rusty S.

      The post for that one is live

  • LG

    .416 Rigby is one of the GREAT all around calibers.

  • Lance

    Hows you soar shoulder after shooting it…. LOL 🙂

    • Rusty S.

      Its not at all bad, honestly there are far worse guns out there recoil-wise. A double in .416 Rigby might give one a sore shoulder, however.

      • Anton Gray Basson

        I found 416 Rigby less punishing to shoot than 375 H&H. Its a very well designed cartridge.

  • Anonymoose

    A peep sight mounted on the bolt? That doesn’t seem very wise. I wish someone would come up with a receiver-mounted peep sight that doesn’t interfere with a normal scope mount.

    • Rusty S.

      It worked very well, although I shared your reservations at first.

    • Jim Watson

      I don’t know if this version shares it, but a real Rigby with bolt peep has a V notch sear and cocking piece to keep the sight centered. If you want a scope sight, I am sure they will accommodate you.

  • M.M.D.C.

    That curly maple looks suspiciously like walnut.

    • Rusty S.

      just going by what they told me

      • M.M.D.C.

        Just kidding around. Figured (curly, tiger, quilted, fiddleback) maple has a very distinct grain. Unstained it looks like this:

        • M.M.D.C.

          Stained a walnut color:

  • Oldtrader3

    That curly Maple is Grade 4 walnut!

  • Henrik Hansen

    As an owner of a Mauser M03 i will say that they make excellent rifles. I have fondled the M98 and it’s brilliant. A remington, Browning or ruger will also do the job but it’s like comparing a Jeep cherokee with a Mercedes G-wagon 🙂