American Rifleman - July 2011 - 35

Claw Mounts For Riflescopes

Q

I have inherited a Mannlicher-Schoenauer Model 1908 rifle chambered in
8x56 mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer. I have located a source of ammunition,
but can't see well enough to shoot it accurately. The gun is set up for claw
mount rings, but the advertisements I see for claw mounts don't look like
they match up. Do you think I can drill and tap into the existing bases on
the gun to mount regular, modern bases, or is there a better idea?

A

Claw mounts were common on German and Austrian sporting rifles
in the early part of the 20th century. Standardized mounting systems
were yet to be developed, and, for the most part, rifles and scopes were
assembled as one-off units. In many cases, the mounts were soldered or
attached permanently to the scope. If the scope failed or was damaged,
the mounts had to be separated from the scope and carefully attached
to the replacement. Distance, wars and the system's obsolescence has
made this inconvenient, if not impossible, the result being a rifle minus its
scope and half the mounting system.
Even if you were able to locate a scope with a similar mount system, or
even rings with claws, it's unlikely that they would fit your particular rifle.
I would urge you not to alter your rifle for another mounting system.
Doing so would definitely devalue your rifle. It is possible to fabricate
mounts with rings to attach to the rifle; however, unless the rings and
bases are absolutely rigid, the quick mounting and dismounting feature
becomes problematic. The Mannlicher-Schoenauer split bridge requires
an off-set which adds to the difficulty.
I suggest you contact New England Custom Gun Service, Ltd.
(Dept. AR), 438 Willow Brook Road, Plainfi eld NH 03781; (603)469-3450;
www.newenglandcustomgun.com. They are experts in the fi eld of
classic German and Austrian firearms. They do provide the service of
fabricating claw mount ring systems to fit Mauser and MannlicherShoenauer rifl es originally equipped. I believe they are your best bet.
-JOHN W. TREAKLE

Mannlicher-Shoenauers were often
fitted with "patented Steyr Telescopic
Mounts" at the factory (r.) or by
individual gunsmiths using various
forms of "claw" mounts. Replacement is a job for a firm such as New
England Custom Gun Service.
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American Rifleman - July 2011

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