Mauser 18 Waldjagd – a budget hunting rifle like no other
This post was published in GunMag by Taras Oleynik. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.
PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Most hunters who do not suffer from an excess of free money, when choosing a rifled weapon, look for the most versatile option, trying to “close” all possible niches for them, that is, directions and styles of hunting. Moreover, many of them also are interested in sports, high-precision shooting. Is such a combination possible, and even not for all the money in the world?
The Mauser brand is probably familiar to anyone interested in small arms. By and large, almost all sliding breech carbines to one degree or another use the Mauser brothers’ creative heritage in their design. The fate of the Mauser Jagdwaffen GmbH company itself was complicated. Still, we can only state that since 1998 the production of hunting firearms under this brand has been carried out in the city of Isny, Germany – in the same place where their Blaser and Sauer carbines are produced.
The popularity of Mauser hunting bolts has been relatively stable over the years. Still, the growth in the number of owners of these excellent carbines has been hampered by the company’s focus on the “above average” price segment. Everything changed in 2018 by releasing the first budget model of this brand – the Mauser 18. Two years later, We can say without exaggeration that it has taken the budget rifle market by storm! And this applies to both general European realities and purely Ukrainian ones.
However, resting on its laurels would be an unaffordable luxury, and the success of the base model has freed Mauser’s hands to produce more specialized and more sophisticated versions. Today we will consider Mauser 18 Waldjagd created for the most popular hunting types with rifled weapons in our country.
“Hunting in the forest”
Translated from German, Waldjagd means hunting in the forest, in dense vegetation. This hunt can be a round-up hunt, concealment, or hunting from a tower – however, in all cases, we are talking about short shooting distances. The weapon for such a hunt should be compact, agile, well balanced. One of the prerequisites is comfortable, well-distinguishable mechanical sights.
And Mauser 18 Waldjagd matches them. The carabiner’s stock does not differ from that of the base model 18 – a suitable dense polymer (this time in green), complemented by rubberized inserts on the handle and forend for better grip—straight stock, classic. The butt pad, as in the base model, is removable – Mauser 18 Waldjagd can store small accessories in the butt cavity (for example, a broach for cleaning the barrel or a cap for protecting it).
The detachable box magazine has not changed either – it is two-row, holds five rounds, and is made of plastic. It is very convenient to charge, remove and install – too. There is no need to be afraid of accidental reset: the magazine locking mechanism is well thought out, convenient, and very reliable. The bolt group is classically European, reminiscent of Sauer: a steel cylindrical receiver, a one-piece steel bolt with three lugs. The trigger mechanism also remained unchanged: one-stage, clear and dry, with a very moderate actuation force – about 700 g. A three-position fuse is responsible for safety.
The balance of the carbine shifted slightly forward
But what is noticeably different is the barrel. At Waldjagd, it is shortened, has a length of 51 cm, which compensated by an increased thickness of 19 mm. Therefore, the balance of the carbine shifted slightly forward. This fact improves the jump and the stability of the leash when shooting at a moving target. But the main thing is that there are open sights – light-accumulative adjustable front sight and rear sight. Thanks to them, a hunter may not need to mount a collimator or optical sight on the weapon for short-term shooting.
The thick barrel of the 18 Waldjagd has become slightly heavier than the base model, and the weight of the carbine is 3.1 kg. This fact will not burden the shooter, but a thicker barrel contour will allow more shots to be fired at a fast pace without “leaving” the zeroing point due to its heating – what is need for driven hunting. In the muzzle, the M17x1 thread made it possible to equip the weapon with a muzzle brake or sound moderator, thereby providing you with increased comfort when shooting.
Due to the thick barrel and open sights, this model looks very versatile and suitable for all types of hunting and amateur sports shooting.
A wide range of calibers
The Mauser 18 rifles come in a wide range of calibers, but we decided to stick with the classic .308 Winchester for a practical test. The Geco Express cartridges with a 165-grain bullet produced by the German concern RUAG have long been the favorite choice of many hunters, having proven themselves well.
Trial shooting is carried out from a standing position at metal targets with a diameter of 20 cm at distances of 50 and 100 m, simulating a round-up hunt. Before shooting, just in case, we clean the barrel with a Bore Snake-type broach – due to a bit of rain drizzling at the shooting range, moisture could get on the weapon, and we don’t need it in the barrel bore.
The first five shots are unexpected. It is possible to hit a reasonably large target at 50 m only on the third attempt – only after the shooter saw that the carbine was striking 30 centimeters to the right and made the appropriate offset to the left. Bringing weapons out of the box turned out to be ineffective. However, this is easy to fix. Loosen the front sight fixing screw, move it one space to the right and tighten the screw again. We load five more rounds into the store.
This time everything seems to be working perfectly. Three sonorous hits evidence this at 50 m and two at 100 m. The carbine is comfortable. It is easy to reload without taking off from the butt. A good trigger allows you to shoot accurately and avoid mistakes related to its processing.
Bad weather conditions
For the sake of interest, American-made cartridges were also tested in the carbine – Hornady Precision Hunter with an ELD-X bullet weighing 178 grains. The rain, meanwhile, intensified, and by the time we changed the ammunition, actual bad weather broke out on the shooting range – so the streams of water and gusts of wind probably contributed to the results of the shooting.
The wind was incredibly disgusting – when shooting while standing, it tangibly twitched the shooter, forcing him not only to fight with tremors of the hands and vibrations of the front sight and rear sight but also to choose moments of relative calm for the shot. However, when hunting, the weather is not selected, and we will not make reservations.
The results are as follows: hit at 50 m, two misses, and two hits at 100 m. It seems that the work is entirely satisfactory for standing shooting with an open sight. Everything depends on the skills and abilities of the shooter himself and his visual acuity, which is essential with open sights.
The Mauser 18 family was the German brand’s brightest debut in the budget hunting rifle range. Following age-old traditions, the company decided not to skimp on the main thing – accuracy and reliability. The company reduced the cost due to more straightforward stock materials and less durable coating of metal parts.
The result is models that have become workhorses for thousands of hunters around the world. These rifles are already a genuine Volkswagen, that is, a real people’s carbine!
However, the possibilities that the Mauser 18 horses provide to their owner, as it turned out, go far beyond the generally accepted expectations. This weapon can do much more than meets the eye.
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