The People’s Rifle, At A People-Friendly Price: The New Mauser 18

Mauser has had a fine reputation for building high-quality rifles for a very long time. The problem in getting more shooters behind Mausers, though, has been the prices. The Mauser 12 was the most affordable model, but it still cost from $1,000 to $1,500. A brand-new Mauser 98? Anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000!

But hunters received a gift recently in the form of the new Mauser 18, a synthetic-stocked, bolt action with a suggested retail of $700.00. Currently, prices on the Internet are just under $500.

And the rifle isn’t only affordable. After a good deal of shooting, I found the new Mauser 18 very accurate and very easy to use, and I believe it is the equal of any sub-$500 hunting rifle I have used in the last half dozen years. 

Truthfully, the Mauser 18 is as accurate and functional as many of the $1,000 hunting rifles I’ve shot.

The new Mauser 19, the no-frills “People’s Rifle,” with an affordable price tag.

The Mauser 18 I received for review was chambered in .308 Win and featured a 22-inch, cold hammer-forged barrel. The rifle does not come with sights, so I installed a Bushnell LRHS Elite 4.5-18x44mm scope on the Mauser, mounting it with a set of Mauser rings made by Talley. 

McCombie used a Bushnell LRHS Elite 4.5-18x44mm scope to test accuracy on the Mauser 18.

During my time with the rifle, the Mauser 18’s three-lug bolt worked smoothly and locked up tightly. The short-throw, 60-degree bolt allowed over 1.5-inches of space between the bolt handle/knob and scope when the bolt was fully opened, making for easy loading of rounds into the chamber.

The Mauser 18’s three-lug bolt worked smoothly and locked up tightly.

Mauser, of course, made its name with the M98 controlled-round feed system, where the massive, claw-style extractor at the face of the bolt stripped the cartridge from the magazine and guided it into the chamber.

The Mauser 18, though, employs a more modern “push-feed” system, with the bolt pushing the cartridge forward, out from the magazine and into the chamber. The Mauser 18 bolt also features two plunger-type extractors that fling empty brass a good 6-7 feet from the shooter. Generally, the push feed approach is less expensive to manufacture, which helps explain one factor in Mauser offering this rifle at a more budget-friendly price point.

The rear of the Mauser 18’s bolt shroud features a cocking indicator. When the rifle’s firing pin is cocked and ready to fire, the shooter will see the red-based cocking indicator sticking out from an opening in the center of the bolt shroud.

A red-based cocking indicator sticks out from the center of the Mauser 18’s bolt shroud when the firing pin is cocked and ready.

The Mauser 18 has the easiest-to-load magazine I have ever used in a bolt action rifle. I simply pushed the .308 rounds onto the top of the polymer magazine, and they were grabbed and held in place. No hard shoving, no having to start the rear of the brass into the magazine track. Push and in. Done.

The polymer five-round magazine was very easy to load and snapped firmly into place in the magazine well.

The Mauser 18’s trigger breaks and resets damn near like a custom trigger, and my Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge measured the trigger at an average of just 2-pounds, 4-ounces. The trigger itself is externally adjustable with an Allen wrench. But with that very crisp, 2-pound, 4-ounce break, I had no need to adjust the trigger.

At my local range, I first zeroed the Mauser 18 at 50 yards and then proceeded to test accuracy at 100 yards, shooting from a rest. For .308 Win ammunition, I used: Terminal Shock made by Dynamic Research Technologies, firing a 150-grain frangible JHP bullet at 2,653 feet-per-second (fps); Hornady Precision Hunter with a 178-grain ELD-X bullet at 2,480 fps; and Remington Hog Hammer, loaded with a 168-grain Barnes TSX bullet launching at 2,330 fps.

All fps readings, by the way, were done with ten rounds of each ammunition and measured by my PACT Professional XP Chronograph, from Brownell. My PACT unit was approximately six feet from the rifle’s muzzle.

Accuracy averaged near MOA or better with all three brands, firing three- and four-shot groups. The Hornady Precision Hunter topped all others with a three-shot group at .711-inches, while the Hog Hammer and DRT averaged .980-inches and 1.13-inches, respectively. Averages were based on five groups of three and four shots apiece.

Hornady’s Precision Hunter in .308 Win scored this three-shot, .711-inch group at 100 yards from a rest.

Mauser nicknamed the Mauser 18 the “People’s Rifle.” And being that it’s made for the “people,” the rifle sports a very functional but no-frills polymer stock with a straight comb. Mauser added soft, grippy inserts on the ­pistol grip and forearm for better control that the poly stock’s surface alone provides.

Soft, grippy inserts on the rifle’s ­pistol grip and forearm provide for superior control.

The stock even incorporates a small storage space in the stock, large enough to store a bore snake.

The Mauser 18’s stock has a small storage space behind the butt pad for a cleaning kit.

The rifle also features a rocker-style, three-position safety perched on the right side of the action. The bolt is locked when the safety is on the rearmost position, while the center position allows the bolt to move so the hunter can unload the rifle though the rifle will not fire in this position. With the safety pushed all the way forward, the Mauser 18 is ready to fire.

The rifle’s three-position safety lets a shooter unload while still in the SAFE mode.

The safety’s tab is textured and operates through all three positions without a sound.

The M18 is available in .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .270 Win, .308 Win, and 30-06 Sprg.  Magnum calibers are limited to the 7MM Rem Mag and the .300 Win Mag.  

The rifle weighs in at 6.5 pounds unloaded and without a scope in the standard calibers, and just 6.7 pounds in the magnum offerings. Barrels on the standard calibers are 22-inches long and blued, and 24.4-inches in the magnums. 

With SUB-MOA performance and a price tag of under $500, that’s a whole lot of “People’s Rifle” for the money. No, this isn’t the prettiest rifle you will find afield. It’s simply a very accurate and reliable workhorse of a hunting rifle, made to get the job done in any conditions.

The People’s Rifle is made for hunters who want functionality first and foremost, including exceptional accuracy.

SPECS:  Mauser 18

Caliber (as tested):  .308 Win.

Action: Three-lug bolt, push-feed system
Barrel: Cold-hammer forged, 22-inches

Twist Rate: 1:11

Magazine Capacity: 5 Rounds

Finish: Black

Stock: Polymer

Length: 41.7 inches

Weight: 6.5 pounds

Sights: None, drilled and tapped for optic

Safety: Three-position

Included: Rear-stock compartment for cleaning kit; sling studs installed; recoil pad.

MSRP:  $699.99

For more information visit Mauser website.

Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!

About the author: Brian McCombie writes about hunting and firearms, people and places, for a variety of publications including American Hunter, Shooting Illustrated, and SHOT Business. He loves hog hunting, 1911’s chambered in 10MM and .45 ACP, and the Chicago Bears.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Tom H November 22, 2019, 7:39 am

    Other than the 3 position safety that is going to cost a few hunters their dinner, how is this Mauser any different than the Savage Axis (the Accu-Trigger version which also sells around $500.00)?

    I have the even cheaper non accu-trigger Axis and it will shoot sub-MOA also. I paid $249.99 for the Axis combo in 30-06 with a basic Bushnell scope. As long as the shooter does his/her part, it will do 1.25 to 1.50 groups all day long at 200 yards.

  • Matt Cuddy September 2, 2019, 6:12 pm

    Anything made by Mauser, or designed by Mauser is good stuff. Like my BRNO VZ24 in 7.92×57. I paid fifty bucks for it at Big Five about 20 years ago, and since 8mm Mauser is so cheap, I can’t complain. I went through a giant wooden crate, found one with a perfect bore, in the white with King Carol of Romania’s crest stamped on the receiver. With the battle sights and a tripod, I can ring the big steel cow set back at 400 yards every time.

    This new Mauser will look good in my safe, next to it’s older brother from Czechoslovakia.

  • J.D. Smith July 31, 2019, 1:18 am

    Hey shouldn’t you guys put the most recent comments at the bottom of the pile?

  • J.D. Smith July 29, 2019, 9:25 pm

    Oh I think it would be a beauty with a nice wood stock. I imagine Boyd’s will come out with one to fit eventually. Course there goes the 500 dollar budget priced people’s gun but what the hell. I like wood and steel.

    I’m thinking about it. Hey it’s a real Mauser.

  • Zupglick July 29, 2019, 2:15 pm

    This rifle may not be “pretty” to some but I think it’s quite alluring. I do subscribe fully to the “KISS” principle in
    firearm engineering.

  • John July 29, 2019, 9:20 am

    Brian,The two “spring loaded extractors” you refer to in the bolt face are ejectors.

    • Sgt. Pop January 1, 2021, 7:58 am

      You are right John, little mistakes like this makes me question the general firearms knowledge of an author.

  • Robert Parker July 29, 2019, 8:30 am

    Does it come in left handed

  • Frank S. July 29, 2019, 7:41 am

    Back in the 60s and 70s you could buy a surplus K98 barreled action, just the action, or even a whole rifle pretty cheap, so not much point in Mauser making a specific bolt action hunting rifle on the low end. Some of those were even re-chambered for .30-06 or .308. You can still get an M48 (Yugoslavian Mauser) for around $400, but many don’t like the 8mm Mauser caliber. Easy enough to rebarrel in 30-06, but then you’re in another ~$200 for a barrel and whatever a gunsmith will charge to replace it (another ~$200??).

    It seems Mauser has noted that the surplus market has dried up enough to leave room for a budget rifle they can make and sell cheap enough to take up the lower end that was previously satisfied with mil-surp guns and parts.

    • Grampy Tom July 29, 2019, 8:40 am

      I don’t follow the logic or drift of your comment, Frank. This is not a surplus rifle or one made from surplus parts. Very few of the surplus mausers you mention were even made by Mauser and surplus mausers are available in several calibers. How do you even link this mauser, considering all the technical description and photos in the article, with the K98? Mauser doesn’t give a rat’s behind whether, or not, the surplus market dries up since they don’t sell or even compete with surplus rifles. The Mauser in the article is a company making many things, including new rifles……. the mauser in the surplus market is a specific design of rifle made by many countries in may calibers for many years. Marlin, Mossberg, Remington, Savage, Winchester and others have been providing excellent rifles at the lower price end for years. The surplus market hasn’t dried up, it has moved into the “collectable” phase. Surplus rifles are still out there, they just cost more and are bought for reasons other than being “bubbafied”….. especially since the manufacturers, mentioned above, have been producing excellent rifles at decent prices.

      • Matt Cuddy September 2, 2019, 7:07 pm

        Here on the left coast 8mm Mauser is about a ten cents a round. I can get a produce bag full of FNM non corrosive 8mm Mauser for 20 bucks. My BRNO VZ24 and FN49 eat it just fine. A hard hitting accurate round if there ever was one.

    • Mike C. November 22, 2019, 11:35 am

      “Back in the 60s and 70s you could buy a surplus K98 barreled action, just the action, or even a whole rifle pretty cheap, so not much point in Mauser making a specific bolt action hunting rifle on the low end”

      You do realize that we’re in a whole new millennium, don’t you? And by the way, you can’t buy a new car for under $4,000 either. Yeah, I know, it sucks!

  • Bayou Boys July 29, 2019, 7:18 am

    I must have got lost some where he stated the Peoples Rifle under 500.00 then in the specs. it lists MSRP 699.99 ??? There are a lot of rifles out there for the 699.99 price tag, Nice rifles.

    • MagnumOpUS July 29, 2019, 8:53 am

      The MSRP is 700.
      Actual internet selling prices are 500, more or less.

      Just check GunsAmerica and see.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend