Mauser M18 Fenris
- By Chris Parkin
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 17/09/2023
The new Mauser Fenris has taken the name of the truly distinctive GRS stock that it sits within, which, incidentally, is named after a Norse god. It is complemented by the rifle’s cold hammer forged barrel that measures 22mm in diameter, is capped and threaded 18x1 for a moderator or brake, and is 24” in length. The deep, blue/black chemical finish works nicely with the matte-black action and green stock.
Mauser uses a 3-lug, push-feed bolt with twin plunger ejectors and an extractor claw recessed within the right lower lug, which draws the brass from the chamber. The bolt has a 20.4mm diameter and there is a bolt release catch on the left-hand side of the receiver. The bolt requires a 60º lift to open it and to cock the action, and it provides a 113mm stroke within the single-length receiver. The 75mm bolt handle projects straight out from the shaft and shows a 30mm long teardrop tip that measures 19mm in diameter.
This 6.5 Creedmoor rifle has a 10-round polymer magazine (+1 in the chamber if needed), while the capacity for the magnum offerings is 4+1. It’s a twin-column unit, and in use, loaded with minimal effort. Plus, the cartridges clip into the top, with the mag in or out of the gun. On this Creedmoor, single rounds placed on top of the mag’s follower, fed directly into the chamber without a hitch. The release catch is recessed ahead of the magazine.
A quiet, 3-position safety catch completes the action’s controls. Just move it forward for FIRE, middle for SAFE with bolt operation, and to the rear for SAFE with the bolt locked. The trigger pull is adjustable from 1000 to 2000-grams using an Allen key at the root of the 10mm wide, matte-black blade. This offers a precise breaking point before 2mm of overtravel, and the review rifle had an average pull weight of 1163-grams/41oz.
The action is fastened into the GRS stock’s specifically tailored M18 action inlet, via twin 5mm Allen nuts. The underside nuts use sprung washers to keep them locked in position, and they screw onto the M6 studs projecting from the action’s underside. This is slotted for a recoil lug and aluminium bedding block within the stock. The aluminium trigger guard is internally bolted to the stock.
There was no inherent stress apparent when tensioning the action back into the stock, and when taken in and out of the stock (using a torque wrench), the rifle maintained zero, which is confidence inspiring.
A 20 MOA Picatinny rail is screwed to the action in four places. This adds long range potential and made it easy to swap back and forth between day/night optics when I fancied taking the Fenris foxing.
The Fenris stock is an asymmetric design and comes in a mid-green colour. This contrasts nicely with the black of the rifle. The forend is stiff and the barrel fully free-floats in all scenarios. The half-profile is 57mm wide and it shows a slight bell shape. It offers a secure handhold and an excessive amount of grip force is not required. The underside has ribs for grip and the sides of the forend show honeycomb scales instead of chequering or stippling. These are aesthetically appealing and I like the semi-organic way the textured patterns blend.
The stock is delicately stippled throughout, with no obvious moulding lines. The characteristic GRS grip is angled for right-handed shooters, and it allows a thumb-up or wrapped position. The canted grip encourages your right elbow to drift outwards, with no strain on your wrist, making it phenomenally comfortable and stable when shot prone, although it’s perhaps slightly less pointable in a standing/fast-fire situation. However, this gun is not really for that type of shooting.
There is a right-side palm swell with finger grooves within the beautifully tactile honeycomb texture. Sadly, you can’t have a left-hander, and although possible, it’s not particularly comfortable to shoot left-handed in anything but an emergency scenario. The reach to the trigger blade from the throat of the grip is 80mm, which is ideal for my medium/larger hands, as I can achieve immediate index finger pad contact on the blade.
The comb has an asymmetric adjustable cheekpiece with 25mm of vertical travel. It slots under your cheekbone without excessive jaw displacement. The height and length of pull (LOP) adjustments are controlled in detented stages with sprung buttons on the right side of the stock. The LOP extends from 343-375mm, and all the mechanics are rigid, without any rattles. The LimbSaver recoil pad is 23mm thick and medium/soft in texture. It moulds to your shoulder pocket without feeling spongy, and its oval shape is 44mm wide and 132mm tall, so spreads the recoil loads evenly in a linear path, with very little point of aim disruption on firing, which is also aided by the weight and balance of the gun. Although only a Creedmoor, this level of control should be fine in the larger .300 Magnums.
I used a broad selection of ammunition between 93 and 156-grains to trial the versatility of the long, heavy barrel with a 1:8” twist rate. All the ammunition used beat the often-quoted MOA standard with 5 rounds. I found the heavy barrel was temperature stable, with no mean point of impact drift, even though groups opened slightly, which is entirely expected from any barrel after 20 rounds of continuous fire.
Magazine feed and ejection were reliable, and I found the trigger consistent for weight and ideally located for the best tactile interaction. Its curved blade allows the finger to nestle in an identical position every time, and with little grip tension needed for a firm hold, you can totally concentrate on trigger pressure.
I have used several GRS stocks in the past and I am familiar with the geometry and ergonomic effects, yet the Fenris seemed to rise to the top. It’s something about the tactile feel and recoil-dampening character that appeals. There is no harmonic resonance on firing and it’s rotationally stiff, yet lighter in weight than the laminate options, even though it’s tall in profile.
The forend resisted any compression from my tripod’s clamp, and there was plenty of free space for it (285mm from forend tip to magazine), with no restriction to magazine access. The hand stop and bag rider allow a good grip and elevation control. The bolt prefers slight forward pressure, so being able to hold the gun in my shoulder was beneficial. A rifle without a hand stop would inconsistently push out of the shoulder if simply resting on a supporting hand or bag.
The barrel’s length and weight mean good velocity and long-range potential. This is aided by the inclined Picatinny rail. At 22mm in diameter, the barrel is undoubtedly stiff and has the mass to absorb and distribute thermal energy evenly throughout the steel. This slows down the heating process and any thermal instability likely to affect accuracy. 50 rounds through the bore stabilised the consistency on target, and it was smooth and easy to clean with soaked patches. This was backed up by a borescope inspection that showed bright, smooth steel within.
Mauser’s M18 has proven itself to me in several formats so far and seems a true 21st-century embodiment of the company ethos. The Fenris is perhaps the most adventurous yet, and as well as being a well-sorted rifle, it seems to be very good value too!