How to Use Mauser Sights

by Gus Stephens

Mausers are widely considered the finest bolt-action military rifles ever made. The first Mauser went into service in 1871. The last production Mauser, the 8 mm Yugoslavian M48, was produced in large numbers from 1948 until the late 1950s. By then, semi-automatic rifles rendered bolt-action designs obsolete. Thousands of factory-fresh M48s were coated with heavy preservative grease and placed in storage for 50 years. The fall of the Iron Curtain released this stockpile of mint condition "Yugo Mausers" onto the retail market. The M48 front sight is a standard male post friction-fitted into a female dovetail and sheltered by a round hood. The front sight performs all M48 windage adjustments. The rear sight makes ladder-style elevation adjustments with a sliding tangent. The adjustment scale is inscribed with range increments from 100 meters to 2,000 meters.

Front Sight Adjustment

1. Open the bolt and verify that the rifle is unloaded.

2. Pull the front sight hood forward off the sight.

3. Lay the rifle on one side and support the front sight base with a block of wood.

4. Tap the front sight blade with a small brass punch or rod and a small hammer to move the front sight in the desired direction in its mounting. To move the bullet's point of impact to the left, tap the front sight blade toward the right. To move the bullet's point of impact to the right, tap the front sight blade toward the left.

Rear Sight Adjustment

1. Estimate the range in meters to your target.

2. Squeeze the locking tabs on each side of the rear sight ladder to unlock the sight.

3. Slide the tangent up the ladder scale to the proper range.

4. Release the locking tabs to lock the sight at the desired range.

Aiming The M48

1. Verify that the downrange shooting distance is unoccupied and safe.

2. Point the rifle toward the target.

3. Look into the rear sight tangent. Align the inverted V post of the front sight with the notch in the rear sight tangent.

4. Align the sight with the target so the bullseye rests on top of the front sight post.

Items you will need

  • Small brass punch
  • Small hammer

About the Author

Gus Stephens has written about aviation, automotive and home technology for 15 years. His articles have appeared in major print outlets such as "Popular Mechanics" and "Invention & Technology." Along the way, Gus earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications. If it flies, drives or just sits on your desk and blinks, he's probably fixed it.