Skip to main content

The Budget-Priced Mauser M18

The Budget-Priced Mauser M18
The new Mauser M18 lists at $699, which is an almost unbelievably low price for such excellent accuracy with the two factory loads it liked the most.
It’s safe to say that the average factory rifle today is vastly more accurate out of the box than the average factory rifle of 1988—or even 2008. That, however, is about all that’s safe to say.

Recently, I received a new Mauser M18 in .270 Winchester. It is one of the most accurate factory rifles I have ever fired, with undoubtedly the best factory trigger. I say that on the basis of how it performed with one particular type of ammunition (RWS), on one particular day. With five other types of ammunition (two different makers and one handload), results were inconclusive.

The M18 is Mauser’s entry in the low-price, high-accuracy sweepstakes, and at a list price of $699, it certainly fulfills the former requirement. Compare that to the base price of the company’s latest Model 98, a traditional rifle in every way, starting at more than $9,000.

I tried not to compare the two in my mind as I was shooting the M18—that’s hardly fair—but one of the noteworthy things about the M98 is its absolutely superb trigger, and the M18’s trigger is every bit as good. Since trigger pull is the most important factor in shooting accurately (provided you have a basically sound rifle), that is no small thing.

As an experiment, I decided to try something different in test-firing the M18. I rounded up all the odds and ends of .270 Win. ammunition I had and took it to the range with the intention of shooting 10-shot groups where possible, smaller ones where I didn’t have enough ammo to do that. A completely random test.


One was my red-hot hunting load, developed for my prized Al Biesen custom rifle, which shoots it reliably under an inch. In the M18, it was not so good. Ten shots measured 2.15 inches.


//content.osgnetworks.tv/shootingtimes/content/photos/BudgetMauserM18-1.jpg
When the two 100-yard RWS groups were laid on top of each other, the combined 12 rounds measured just 1.2 inches.

Norma’s 120-grain Kalahari, which my Biesen rifle dislikes, put 10 shots into 1.8 inches—very respectable. If you have ever shot 10-shot groups, you know how good that really is. Few rifles outside benchrest can put that many shots into an inch time after time.

Where the M18 really sparkled was with two RWS loads: the 130-grain H-Mantel and the 154-grain bonded Evolution. I had only six rounds of each, so I shot two six-round groups. Incidentally, I did all this shooting by putting up seven targets and shooting three shots at each, moving down the line until all the ammunition was used up. Every load was at an equal disadvantage.

The RWS 154-grain Evolution load put six bullets into a 0.72-inch group; the 130-grain H-Mantel group was 1.1 inches. What’s more, if you lay the two targets on top of each other, the two groups are in the same place and together make a 12-shot group measuring 1.2 inches across. That, my friends, is superb performance.

That may sound more complicated than shooting three, three-shot groups and coming back to report that the rifle will group into half an inch, but such is the reality of accuracy testing. It is almost never that simple. Instead, you learn to interpret groups the way Egyptologists read hieroglyphics.


My interpretation of this is that the Mauser M18 is basically a very accurate rifle and that I should be able to develop some handloads for it that will be tackdrivers. Not only that, it obviously likes bullets of varying weights, which is all to the good. Years ago, as much value was placed on a rifle’s ability to shoot bullets of different weights to the same point of impact at 100 yards as on its ability to shoot tiny groups. Obviously, the trajectories will be different, but in this case I could sight-in with both RWS loads at 100 yards and have a good combination for hunting anything in North America or plains game in Africa.

My one remaining question is how can they sell a rifle this good for such a low price? With the M18, Mauser has raised—and lowered—the bar for everyone.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

James Tarr runs through the 3-Second Headshot drill.

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

We're taking a look at what the Army's Elite Units are using for service rifles and what the future of SOCOM sniping looks like.

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

David Fortier talks with Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills Ammunition about the evolution of the .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match bullet.

Pinging Steel At Over A Mile Away

Pinging Steel At Over A Mile Away

Big bore semiauto or a lever gun? We look at the futuristic .450 Bushmaster and how it compares to the tried and true .45-70. ISS Prop House gives us the rundown on the guns used in Enemy at the Gate. We ping steel with a .300 WinMag at over a mile.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Cutting-edge projectiles provide unprecedented performance in the venerable old workhorse, the .30-06.Get the Most Out of the .30-06 Ammo

Get the Most Out of the .30-06

Joseph von Benedikt - April 01, 2019

Cutting-edge projectiles provide unprecedented performance in the venerable old workhorse, the...

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more .270 caliber (6.8mm) rifle cartridges  have not been introduced.5 Great .270 Rifle Cartridges Ammo

5 Great .270 Rifle Cartridges

Layne Simpson - May 28, 2019

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more .270...

The joys of handloading are many, and one of them is sharing the experience with a novice.Share the Handloading Experience Reloading

Share the Handloading Experience

Lane Pearce - May 19, 2019

The joys of handloading are many, and one of them is sharing the experience with a novice.

A unique load for the .450 Bushmaster is Hornady's new Subsonic offering. It's loaded with the company's 395-grain Sub-X (Subsonic–eXpanding) bullet that is designed to expand and penetrate but not break up.Hornady .450 Bushmaster Subsonic Ammo Ammo

Hornady .450 Bushmaster Subsonic Ammo

Steve Gash - August 13, 2020

A unique load for the .450 Bushmaster is Hornady's new Subsonic offering. It's loaded with the...

See More Trending Articles

More Rifles

I consider keeping bullets from the .22 LR close together at 300 yards to be as challenging as shooting the .300 Winchester Magnum at 1,000 yards. It can be frustrating while at the same time being lots of fun for not a lot of money. Using accurate ammunition in an accurate rifle wearing an excellent scope along with good wind flags makes it even more enjoyable.Ruger 10/22 Competition Rifle at 300 Yards Rifles

Ruger 10/22 Competition Rifle at 300 Yards

Layne Simpson - August 11, 2020

I consider keeping bullets from the .22 LR close together at 300 yards to be as challenging as...

The Sako S20 hybrid rifle evolves with the owner, and it combines best-in-class versatility with superb accuracy.Sako S20 Hybrid Rifle Review Rifles

Sako S20 Hybrid Rifle Review

Joseph von Benedikt - September 04, 2020

The Sako S20 hybrid rifle evolves with the owner, and it combines best-in-class versatility...

Finnish-made Mosin Nagant M39s are considered by many experts to be the best of the type. Of them, those produced by Sako are arguably the best of the best.Sako M39 Mosin Nagant Review Rifles

Sako M39 Mosin Nagant Review

Joseph von Benedikt - July 07, 2020

Finnish-made Mosin Nagant M39s are considered by many experts to be the best of the type. Of...

The Winchester Model 52 is a fine, handbuilt smallbore match rifle that was once known as the king of the .22s among competition shooters.Winchester Model 52 Review Rifles

Winchester Model 52 Review

Joseph von Benedikt - July 20, 2020

The Winchester Model 52 is a fine, handbuilt smallbore match rifle that was once known as the...

See More Rifles

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Shooting Times subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now