Yugo M24/47 Mauser rifle
- By Pete Moore
- 40 Comments
- Last updated: 27/01/2017
Old rifles have a smell all their own; and none more so than military bolt-actions. Preservative grease, gun oil and, doubtless, the blood, sweat and tears of numerous users all combine into an evocative aroma. Go into any gun shop and have a sniff around and you’ll see what I mean! They are often in poor visible condition, which combined with the distinctive smell makes them a non-starter for many shooters.
All sold off as surplus they have found their way into gun shops everywhere, but that patina of grime and looks aside, the majority of rifles that have survived the various global conflicts or even heavy garrison usage are usually in good mechanical condition. A fact belied by their usually rough outward appearance! In my time I have owned Lee Enfields (SMLE, No 4 and No 5) Swedish M96 Mausers, Moisin Nagants and Springfield 1903s, and all have proven good shooters. Some of which must be down to the common, military syndrome of being much carried and little used.
This review was inspired to a degree by Bruce Potts who, as you may know, did an article on building a classic Mauser K98 sniper rifle that he would use for stalking. I thought I would get an example in to show readers who perhaps might not be aware of what the generic 98 is all about. Things turned out a little different as I achieved my goal but some unexpected seeds of possible ideas were also planted.
The rifle in question is not in fact a true, German Mauser K98, instead it’s a Yugoslavian M24/47, but with a few minor exceptions you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference, so certainly fit for purpose! Based on the Belgium FN M24 it was called the M24/47. There are a few different models in terms of length etc, but all use the generic Mauser 98 action. For example this rifle has a straightout bolt handle like the original G98 of the Imperial German Forces in World War I, which the K98 dispensed with. However, I have also seen examples with turned down bolts like the K.
Chambered in the rimless 8x57mm (8mm Mauser) the rifle feeds from a top-loading, 5-round fixed magazine using stripper clips as was the style of the period. The Yugo came from Henry Krank & Co Ltd, who specialise in a number of classic and modern areas one being military bolt-actions.
This gun has doubtless done the rounds as its beech stock could do with some TLC, due to it being dented, scratched, chipped and covered in preservative grease, giving that familiar and unpleasant sticky feel; after shooting 40-rounds this was oozing out of the pores of the timber! However, the woodwork showed no major damage, so no physical problems. The barrelled action retained 95% of its blacked finish and the bore and crown were in good condition – always a bonus! Equally the bolt, which was in the white with just a little staining, was tight on closure and smooth in operation, though the handle position makes it less easy to operate from the shoulder than the turned-down style.
Unlike the K98 the 24/47 shows a full-length hand guard that goes around the rear sight, which is of the tangent-type and graduated to an optimistic 2000 metres! The 24-inch barrel is retained by a steel band with bayonet bar and topped with a ramped blade that is windage-adjustable by drifting. Though doubtless lost it should also wear a pressed steel sight tunnel and have a 12-inch length of steel cleaning rod under the barrel. Sling swivels are included on the forward band and under the butt, with a steel plate at the rear.
The 8x57mm is a powerful cartridge – the 1934 load shot a 198 grain FMJ bullet at around 2500fps/2700ft/lbs and, like the 30-06 Springfield, has survived today as a popular and effective hunting calibre as well as its use in classic shooting. It does however give you a healthy kick and with that steel buttplate, I opted for one of Krank’s, slip-in recoil pads, which did the trick. They also supplied 100 round of PPU 198 grain Match ammo. The action has a 3-position, flag safety on top of the bolt shroud – set to the left for FIRE, in the centre (vertical) SAFE with bolt operation, and to the right SAFE action locked. The trigger is good for a Service gun and offered a mid-weight, 2-stage pull that gave a predictable break of about 4-5lbs. Though I did have to clean out the preservative grease in the action, which was increasing lock time noticeably! That’s about it as, and like the majority of military bolt-action, the M24/47 is a simple design that has been built well and to last.
Shooting proved a pleasant revelation, as the iron sights were surprisingly precise and the M24/47 shot easily into 3-4-inches at 100 metres with the bar set to 300 metres. The rear V and front blade proving fine enough to place precisely. If it could do that with the basic equipment I reckoned a scope could bring that down to an inch easily. Recoil was big but not unpleasant with the appliqué pad doubtless doing its job! In the course of the test I put 40 rounds through it with no problems and had a very enjoyable time doing so! As this rifle stands I would happily use it ‘as is’ with some soft point ammo for deer with confidence up to 100 yards! Or at a classic match and not feel out gunned. But I might have other plans for this old soldier…
The Yugo proved it could shoot, and underneath its tattered military jacket beats a quality steel heart. I have always had the hankering for a classic Mauser Sporter so am considering a makeover using the existing barrelled action, which has proved itself. This would necessitate a turned-down bolt handle conversion and the fitting of scope bases. Stock-wise I could cut down and alter the existing furniture, or look for a classic Sporting-style unit.
Conversely, I could restore it to its military finish and add a proper sling, cleaning rod and sight protector, so turning it into a good and shootable example of the marque in its original layout.
If you’re into military bolt-actions Kranks carry a comprehensive stock and are well worth a visit.
CONTACT: Henry Krank & Co Ltd 0113 256 9163 www.henrykrank.com