A review of the Mauser M03 Extreme Rifle. Chris Parkin falls for a modern classic, The Mauser M03 Extreme sporting rifle in .308 Winchester

MauserM03I have always had a bit of a soft spot for pure design thoroughbreds and although we all owe a technological debt to the Mauser 98’s design, in 2003 when Mauser launched the M03, a modern classic was born. 

Out of my price range brand new, a visit to Swillington Shooting Supplies saw my attention diverted from a new pair of boots towards a pristine condition M03 Extreme, chambered in the ever-so-versatile .308 calibre. Several of the M03’s features strike me as fantastically versatile yet with no unrequired add-ons bulking out the gun. 

MauserM03bSimply fed from a detachable 5 round magazine that can be both loaded external from the gun or top fed in use, the gun shoots like a dream from the well-proportioned stock with a delicate palm swell and crisp 3lb trigger. 23 inches of slim barrel is appointed with a 14x1 metric thread and spigot for moderator mounting with an invisible thread cap and flat black in colour. It contrasts subtly with the sand coloured synthetic stock in which the barrel is free floated with a forend stiff enough to prevent intermittent flex affecting accuracy. Grippy lateral inserts assure your hold both here and through the palm area.

The feature that could easily be missed on this gun is the barrel change facility, simply executed with 2 Torx bolts underneath the forend, changeable with little fuss in a minute or so. What if I change cartridge head size? Again not a problem, just unclip the bolt head and swap it for smaller 223 or larger magnum sizes along with the magazine.

MauserM03cFurther extending the gun’s pedigree are the scope mounts, not cheap, but with two small spring loaded locking levers on the left of the gun, the scope and mount unclips for either barrel change or to allow a spare optic to be employed. The last feature in the notably Germanic design is the bolt de-cocker, a simply button that when depressed on the rear of the bolt, allows the safety catch lever to sink silently to the left, squeezing gently onto the thumb pressing the de-cocker itself. To re-cock and allow the gun to fire, just return it to the right hand position, very safety conscious.

All mechanics attach to an internal chassis fastened into the stock and it blends the classic looks and charisma of a fine rifle with cutting edge manufacturing technology, materials and standards with nothing added for looks and nothing withheld for engineering. 

MauserM03aI couldn’t detect much use of this gun, the 3 pairs of lugs on the bolt were UNMARKED and in my opinion it looked to have done little more than prove itself at the factory. Swillington originally sold this rifle, know its history and their borescope inspection is an assured backup to their opinion. I shoot a lot of guns these days and it takes something special to catch my eye, I didn’t want to return it after test.

In my mind, a modern design classic. Price second hand £1750 including scope mount. RRP for a new rifle is around £1965 + mount £350. £1295 for Zeiss 3-12x56 Illuminated (£1600 new rrp) 

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