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I am posting this for a friend who seeks to find out exactly what he has. I appreciate any input you can provide.
If this is posted in the wrong section, please let me know.
Here's the correspondence he sent me with questions.

I'm trying to identify this rifle. It appears to be a 1898 Mauser, in 6.5mm, but my calipers won't go small enough to measure it accurately. I put a .25 caliber cartridge into the muzzle and it fitted very loosely, stopping only when the shell casing was at the muzzle. The slug mic'ed out at 6.3mm and the casing mic'ed out at 7.0mm. The rifle has a scope mount that is screwed onto the receiver, as opposed to the way most claw-mount scope mount seem to be attached. The scope mount is in like-new condition, but not marked by the manufacturer except it has a “45” stamped on the rear mount and a “46” on the front mount. I do not know what kind of scope was mounted with it. It is an octagonal-to-round barrel, approximately 24” in length, with a full ramp on top and a “V” shaped sight, with a flip-up Sight directly in front of it to change range. It has a double set trigger with a screw adjustment.

The barrel is marked “Bohler” with a six sided star symbol after the name. The barrel has a milled out section on the ramp with “OTTO BOCK BERLIN” stamped inside it. The barrel has proof marks that look like a “C” with a mark above that might be an eagle, then above that a “B” and another mark that might be an eagle above . The Receiver is marked “2243 V.C.S.” This seems to be for Valentin Christoph Schilling. The bolt has the serial # 2243 and a marking that appears to be “BU” with an indistinguishable mark near it. A swivel is welded to the bottom of the barrel and blued.

The bolt is unusual in that the safety doesn't flip all the way over to the left when on “safe”. It appears to have been modified, probably to accommodate the scope. The bolt handle is shaped like a “Spoon” and is called I think a “butter-knife” bolt handle The magazine bottom door has a spring-loaded pin for a release. The bolt handle, trigger guard and magazine door have a minimal amount of scroll work on them and are silver in color. The receiver has some engraving that is in the form of borders.

The stock has a cheek-pad on the left side and a spot on the left side of the stock that appears to be a slight defect in the grain. It is not split. The butt plate has a small piece missing at the bottom.

The story on this rifle is that my wife's uncle brought it back from German after WWII. It was given to my wife and me after her uncle passed away about five years ago. To my knowledge this rifle had always been in his possession and was given excellent care and was used infrequently, (Deer hunting)?perhaps because of ammo for it not being readily available in Northern Minnesota. (He had a lot of other weapons). He may have had the scope mount added after he brought the rifle to the U.S. The rifle has been used, but has almost all it's bluing intact. The stock is in pristine condition except for the fore-stock which shows the varnish has been rubbed away from handling and the previously mentioned defect on the stock.

If this is as desirable a weapon as I think it is, I would be willing to take it to a gunsmith to have the barrel, stock and trigger mechanism checked for additional marks as well as a complete evaluation and a written report.

I would like to know the following:
Is it a Mauser?
Is it pre world war II? Pre world war I?
How can I determine the exact ammo specifications for the rifle?
Will it shoot modern ammo loads?
What does the V.C.S. stand for? Valentin Christoph Schilling?
Was V.C. Schilling still in business at the same time Otto Bock was? What was the relationship between Bock and Schilling?
Would additional information be located under the scope mounts?
Can I fire it safely?
What is it's approximate value? Is it rare?
Thanks for your help!
 

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Beautiful rifle! I can shed a small amount of light on the situation. Otto Bock was a somewhat famous German gun dealer (possibly gunsmith, there debate on that) in the early 20th century. Best known as purveyor to the King of Prussia. There are many examples of outstanding sporting arms that carry his name. He is said to have developed the 9.3X62 Mauser round which was highly regarded as an African big game cartridge. The rifle does appear to be a Mauser, though not necessarily made by Mauser Oberndorf. Looks like a Schilling action. The cartridge in your rifle is probably one of the three 6.5mm rounds offered by Mauser in that era. The 6.5X54, 6.5X55 and the 6.5X58 Mauser rounds. A competent gunsmith will be able to take a chamber cast an tell you exactly. While unlikely it might be some other 6.5mm round. Still, a gunsmith will find out. The trick will be to find scope mounts that fit and a period correct scope. If it were mine I'd be all over that and then go shoot the thing. That's it for my knowledge, I'm sure some of the others will chime in shortly.
Best
Hans
 

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The "BU" on early Mausers generally indicates a pre-WWI sporter. It is also something that should appear on the receiver as part of the S/N. Mauser produced actions for sale to custom gun makers and this might be one of them.
 
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