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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know in what years these actions were produced by the Empresa Nacional Santa Barbara de Industrias Militares, S.A. in La Coruna, Spain? I know that several rifle firms used these actions to build up custom rifles, but do not know which ones. Are these good quality actions? Any information would be very helpful since I've been looking at a rifle built with one of these receivers and trying to decide it I should buy it. It's in nice conditon and has a P.O. Ackley barrel on it. But I'm a little reluctant to jump on it since I know nothing about these Spanish made 98 Mauser receivers. Thanks in advance for any information you might have.

Mike
 

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The actions and bbl'd actions were first for sale around 1968. I think I last recall seeing them for sale in the early or mid '80's. Could be wrong about that. They were sold with either an alloy trigger guard or you could pay an extra few dollars and get a steel unit. At one time the old Fajen GunStock company built complete rifles on these barreled actions with their stocks of course and called them 'Acu-Rifles' or 'Acra-Rifles'..something like that. They also sold the actions and barreled actions in their catalog. The actions were available in different sizes to accomodate most everything up to the 458. The barrels were US made in most cases on the barrels actions, from a PA firm I think (Flaigs?)
The actions were a little rough on the inside, & alot of people thought they may have been investment cast..a terrible gun word back then! I've seen alot of rifles built on these and they all seem to have survived the last 30 to 40 years just fine. They were not built and sold as a high ticket item but rather a commercial 98 Mauser type action for the gunsmith or hobbiest to build a rifle on. They seem to have accomplished that goal. They must have sold a boat load of them as they were marketed by several different firms through the years. I think Parker Hale/England & Golden State arms used them to build rifles.
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As to the PO Ackley marked one you are looking at.....P.O. Ackley was one of the premier US gunsmiths in the US pre & post WW2. He did alot of experimenting, mostly with rifles. One project he became involved with was building a commercial 98 Mauser style rifle with his Ackley made barrels on them. He must have thought well enough of the action to use it. This was in the late 60's,,maybe early 1970's. His first rifles were made up on Santa Barbara 98 Actions, which is perhaps what you are looking at. Shortly there after, he had a somewhat more finely finished 98 commercial actions made in Japan. These have a M70 Winchester style bolt handle on them to easily spot them from the Santa Barbara made actions. They are stamped 'japan' but under the receiver ring. Not too many of these were made when his supplier in Japan failed and he attempted to find another builder elsewhere but I don't think the project went any further. Both the Santa Barbara and Japan PO Ackley rifles usually have their barrel stamped 'P.O. Ackley / Salt Lake City, Utah' . Sometimes just the 'P.O. Ackley' name.
As with any used rifle, check the caliber, headspace, bore condition etc. If the barrel is original, it's from an excellent classic maker. If he fitted it up, it was done correctly.
Hope this helps.
 

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Spanish '98 Mausers are, I believe, a direct copy of the DWM-made Mausers (someone please correct me if I'm wrong).

While they are serviceable, they are not considered to be one of the best versions as the Spanish arsenals varied in their steel alloys and heat-treating methods. That is not to say that they do not make serviceable shooters - they do - it's just that they are not the first choice for a high- to medium-end sporter these days.

Most Spanish Mausers were made in the late-'30's to '40's and are WW II-era, but they were made as late as the late '50's until they were totally replaced by the CETME battle rifle. Yours, having a P. O. Ackley barrel, was probably a post-war sporterizing job done by the owner or a local gunsmith if there is no markings by the person(s) who did the work.

If the price is VERY resonable and there are no problems (headspace, cracked lug, etc.) it may make a good shooter for a new hunter or maybe a truck gun.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info guys! Yeah, I was a little disappointed when the owner let me remove it from the stock (no receiver markings above the wood except SN) to check the manufacturer of the receiver and saw it was made in Spain. I've always been concerned about Spainish steels and heat treating methods and have stayed away from Spanish made rifles for that reason. The receiver looks like one of the FN commercial actions and has the internal shoulder (diaphragm) continous on the left side (no guide cut for the left bolt lug) and a solid receiver rail (no thumb recess). It also has a slightly rough surface on the inside, but is decent and the bolt works very smoothly. Headspace is good (closes about half way on the no-go gauge) and the bore and crown are in excellent shape. Bolt looks like new and the number matches the receiver. The overall condition of the rifle is excellent and it looks almost brand new. Blueing is about 99 percent and wood has a very nice grain and finish with just a couple barely visible handling marks. It also comes with a cheap Japanese scope for what that's worth. He wants $399 and won't budge. I figure that's a little on the high side but probably worth it. Especially considering what $399 will buy in a modern commerical made rifle these days. Thanks again!

Mike
 

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i have a Golden State Arms 'Granadier', it uses a commercial receiver that i beleive is a spanish made Santa Barbra action. I can't find any markings on the receiver except the S/N as well.

its a pretty good shooter with pretty smooth action. However, i don't think it holds a candle to and FN commercial mauser 98 action as far as fit & finish. If you are looking for a rifle to build from, look for and older Western Field (there are some other store brands as well) that use the FN receivers. you can probably pick one up for anywhere in the $300-$400 range.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks nevadany! The rifle I was looking at was marked "Sta. Barbara Ind.- Spain" on the left side of the receiver tang. You have to take it out of the stock to see it. The fit and finish on this one is close to the FN's, except for being a little rougher on the inside. In fact I thought it might be an FN until I removed it from the stock and saw the Spanish marking. I have a quality rifle that was built by Fred Wells of Prescott, Az years ago. It has a Belgium FN commercial receiver with all the markings stamped below the wood line. Yet, when in their respective stocks, both receivers look virtually identical. Is it possible that Santa Barbara made two different grades of receivers? Highly unlikely, but this one sure looks nice. I would have never guessed it was Spanish.
 

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Other than the lack of the fine finish on the inside of the action, the Santa Barbara was finished on the outside nicely and had all the comercial traits,,no thumb cut on the left receiver wall, no stripper clip rails, streamlined commercial bolt shroud and an adj trigger. I don't recall different grades other than the availabilty of a steel guard to replace the standard aluminum one at a slight extra cost. The Yugoslavian built Mark X Mauser 98 kind of took over the marked that the Santa Barbara actions had starting in the late 70's. 'nevadany's' advice is good in that if you're looking for a commercial 98 to build a rifle on, JC Higgins (Sears) and Western Field (Western Auto) were rifles built with FN 98 commercial actions in the 50's and early 60's. Because of the 'name' on these, they usually go for quite alot less than a known brand but the action is still a commercial FN 98. If you're going to build a rifle and put some $$ and time into it, start with a resellable action. Nothing against the Santa Barbara actions, but they will kill resale/future value of an otherwise nice rifle. Example..the very gun you're looking at. just the way it is..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi ktr and thanks for the info. You've been a great help. If I was going to build a new rifle, I would start with a Belgian FN receiver as you suggested. But I'm just trying to find out about the Santa Barara actions since I've never heard of them before and wanted to know if they are any good, especially since they were made in Spain. And also, if a rifle, in the condition described above, with a Santa Barbara receiver is worth the $399 price. Apparently, from the responses here and a couple gunsmiths I've talked to, these are good receivers and hold up well, but are not premium receivers. And I'm guessing not quite as good as the Yugo Mark X receivers. But given the like new condition of the rifle and the P.O. Ackley barrel, I think the rifle is probably worth the price (maybe a little high). And more rifle than I could get by buying a mass produced new commercial one for the same amount of money. So I will probably go ahead and get it. Thanks again for the responses!

Mike
 

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Parker-Hale rifles were built on Santa Barbara actions, I just picked up a complete rifle in 300 Win Mag. They were Proofed, so the actions were tested in that respect (not all rifles are proofed).

I haven't shot it yet, but it appears a pretty good rifle, fully adjustable trigger, etc., and it was like new (scope never been mounted).

Like said, an FN action would be preferable but I couldn't find any of the "store" brands mentioned, I'll still look for one in 30-06 and pick it up someday, as they are great, just usually a cheap stock. However, you see these guns going with cheap $30-40 scopes for like $450 on Gunbroker, etc., so people are getting tuned into the value.

I certaintly couldn't begin to build as nice of a Mauser rifle for what I paid, the days of working over old military actions are gone I think (and their value is high).

As mentioned, the Interarms Mark X along with the Whitworth were Yugoslavian based Mauser sporting rifles.

JW
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well I went ahead and got the rifle in spite of the Santa Barbara receiver. Brought it home, cleaned her up, free floated the barrel, replaced the cheap Japanese scope and mounts with a 3-9x40mm Leuopold scope and mounts (squared the mounts and lapped the rings). Then disassembled the trigger group (trigger was a little rough), honed the sear and trigger and squared up the mating surfaces. Adjusted the trigger to a 3 lb pull with a very nice crisp release (but safe). Took it to the range and sighted her in. Shot consistant quarter inch groups at 100 yards off the bags with handloads. I contribute the accuracy to the Parker O. Ackley barrel and to who ever built up the rifle. A real craftsman! Something you don't find in most modern day mass produced rifles, in my opinion. Think I'll keep her.

Mike
 

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sounds like a nice rifle! If your happy with it, that's all that matters.

And, I wouldn't worry about the Santa Barbra action. it may not be the absolute highest quality out there, but its not going to fail you either, and best of all...its still a Mauser!

Enjoy,
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Dave! Thought about installing an FN receiver, but it wouldn't be cost effective and why fix it if it ain't broke. It might not even shoot as accurately after putting the money and labor into it. Kinda like the old saying "The operation was a success, but the patient died." :)
 

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Congrats on a fine shooting rifle! Sounds like a bit of your fine tuning and a good basic rifle adds up to one accurate piece. I believe you're right about that Ackley barrel being one of the reasons it shoots well. As we've said, nothing wrong with the Santa BArbara actions, they're just a bit rougher, mostly on the inside, than a FN and don't carry the name and re$ell value. But you certainly didn't pay an FN price for it or buy it to resell it. A good many of the military surplus 98 actions used in high dollar custom rifles were not made at Mauser either. Where else you gonna find a center fire bolt rifle at that price to shoot like that?!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks ktr. Yeah, it shot a little better than I expected. I was using reloads I had worked up for one of my other rifles. Must of hit the barrel harmonics "sweet spot" right off the bat. Or maybe it's just that an Ackley barrel will shoot just about anything well. Anyways, I'm happy with it; especially considering I've paid more for rifles that didn't shoot as good.

Mike
 
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