IDF Mauser M-66 SP

buffalowinter

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Thought some of you might be interested in my Israeli Defense Forces Mauser M-66 SP sniper rifle in 7.62 x 51 (.308 Winchester). Almost all of these rifles were produced in 1980 on the commercial Mauser M66 short action. There were only 360 of these rifles produced. This particular one was used by the IDF and then sold to Springfield Armory who retailed a small number. I purchased this gun from the collection of actor James Earl Jones. This particular gun has the Nimrod 6x40 scope. It is also shown with a Zeiss Orion 80/I (Fero Z51) Night Vision Rifle Scope.

As a design the M-66 SP, like many sniper rifles traces its roots to a civilian sporting rifle. The action was designed in the 1950’s by Walter Gehman, world record setting German “Master Shooter”, expert ballistician, and small arms engineer. Mauser put Gehman’s creation, known in Germany as the “Gehman-Short Action” into production in 1965. In 1971, German police, like many other law enforcement organizations at the time, began to search for weapons, create tactics, and form units to fight terrorism. The bloody attack by Arab terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics caused Mauser to design a precision sniping version of the M-66. After eight years of development the weapon was ready to be put into production and was designated as the “SP” variant of the M-66. All M-66 SP rifles had to group five shots in a two-centimeter diameter group at 100 meters. Only 360 of these rifles were produced with almost all of them being manufactured in 1980. Mauser suspended production of all M-66 rifles in 1995.

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TonyTheTiger

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How exactly does the action work? And what is the mag capacity with the trigger directly underneath it?
 

buffalowinter

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The action telescopes. You cycle the bolt as in a normal bolt action, but the the rear half of the upper receiver moves backwards with the bolt on a set of rails (sort of how a 1911 slide moves on rails) The trigger is normally positioned, it just looks forward from the angle. The gun has an internal 3 round box magazine.
 

TonyTheTiger

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Thanks for the info. I've seen pictures of these before and have always been curious about how they worked.
 

Forgetful Coyote

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Thank you sir, very cool rifle. Im guessing the bolt still locks into the front ring of the action? How about the front of the scope base? Is that piece touching the barrel? Or is it just a somewhat squared/raised section of the barrel itself?
 

sandwarrior

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Buffalo,
what an outstanding example of an outstanding rifle.

Added:. I have shot Mauser 66, but not the sniper variant. I found it to be quite accurate. Accuracy seems to be judged by me as less tight and more as needed the older I get and the less I hope to shoot sub-.020's again:rolleyes:

This rifle will clearly meet the need.

As you noted this variant came about because of Munich. When I watched the movie, I was totally struck by the live footage of Jim McCay and Chris Schenkels reporting on what was happening, that I had watched "live via satellite" in the early fall of my 4th grade year.
 
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buffalowinter

Rick Jones MAJ, SF (Ret)
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The action is very smooth. The trigger is a match trigger . There is no way you are changing a 66SP barrel quickly...it is not meant to be changed.
 
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sandwarrior

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Can anyone give me a current or estimated value for one of these?
The civilain models have been selling in the $3000+ range (U.S.) and the sniper variants have been selling in the $6500 range.

Added: Buffalowinter has/had one in the latters range and it's worth every penny. I obviously need more pennies.
 

Rasmusaskov

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It´s is a very nice rifle indeed.

There´s also a few Mauser Marked Zeiss scopes around., they have special (bigger) turrets.
 

Eostech

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I can try to get some more detailed photos of the action if anyone would like, a mate has one though I did not know they were so rare.
Never see The Fix from Q but they seem like similar concepts.
 

gol1

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memories memories, I used this rifle at the begining of my counter terror sniper carrier, I still miss it, It was dream rifle of the time, than it was replaced with sr86 but it was not the same.
today we have the mrad and it's also a very good rifle, but nothing like the sp-66
 

vascular

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I’ve seen one of the Italian ones recently.. optic is much different than the IDF nimrod. Not sure if it shoots better or worse but looks cool. The idf weapon appears to have seen real deal use; the Italian Carabinieri weapon appears to have been babied. I can understand why. ‘ Usmc sean’. I’m not sure what the cost was. Prolly expensive.
 

gol1

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If I could buy one of the SP66/SR86, it would have been a dream, but our gun regulations are so idiotic we can hardly get a pistol license.
Anyway the sp/sr says we're so different and naive we couldn't understand the difference between real world sniping and Olympic shooting, with my experience today I have to say that the best sniper rifle I carried (and I carried them all) was the M24 SWS with an upgraded Mcmillan A3 stock, in urban and field it was the best and most reliable one, I tried them all , and that's the one I go back to whenever I don't need 338 or 50.
all the fancy furniture and triggers are not necessary in real world combat, I'll take an M24
 
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Troglodyte6

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The action is very smooth. The trigger is a match trigger . There is no way you are changing a 66SP barrel quickly...it is not meant to be changed.
The barrel itself doesn't change out easily, but the barrel and the part of the receiver it is attached to comes off as a single unit in under a minute, using a hex wrench on the two screws holding it to the trigger mechanism and stock.

I'm not sure what the benefit of that capability is on a rifle with a three-round magazine, but it's there.
 

Troglodyte6

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I apologize--the rest of my reply fell off.

I'm happy with the rifle as a collector--it's neat that the Israeli markings haven't been scrubbed. My rifle is made from three rifles--one serial number in the stock, one "inventory" serial number, and the 1996 barrel has a third serial number, obliterated and renumbered to the "inventory" serial number.

Disappointed that the proprietary QD scope mount is nowhere to be found (but I'm still looking). In the meantime, the Picatinny rail that came with the gun will allow me to mount any scope I wish.

I can't make a full assessment until I can get to the range and see how it shoots. But I don't think I will be disappointed.
 
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gol1

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I apologize--the rest of my reply fell off.

I'm happy with the rifle as a collector--it's neat that the Israeli markings haven't been scrubbed. My rifle is made from three rifles--one serial number in the stock, one "inventory" serial number, and the 1996 barrel has a different serial number.

Disappointed that the proprietary QD scope mount is nowhere to be found (but I'm still looking). In the meantime, the Picatinny rail that came with the gun will allow me to mount any scope I wish.

I can't make a full assessment until I can get to the range and see how it shoots. But I don't think I will be disappointed.
I think that I still have mine
 

sandwarrior

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Thought some of you might be interested in my Israeli Defense Forces Mauser M-66 SP sniper rifle in 7.62 x 51 (.308 Winchester). Almost all of these rifles were produced in 1980 on the commercial Mauser M66 short action. There were only 360 of these rifles produced. This particular one was used by the IDF and then sold to Springfield Armory who retailed a small number. I purchased this gun from the collection of actor James Earl Jones. This particular gun has the Nimrod 6x40 scope. It is also shown with a Zeiss Orion 80/I (Fero Z51) Night Vision Rifle Scope.

As a design the M-66 SP, like many sniper rifles traces its roots to a civilian sporting rifle. The action was designed in the 1950’s by Walter Gehman, world record setting German “Master Shooter”, expert ballistician, and small arms engineer. Mauser put Gehman’s creation, known in Germany as the “Gehman-Short Action” into production in 1965. In 1971, German police, like many other law enforcement organizations at the time, began to search for weapons, create tactics, and form units to fight terrorism. The bloody attack by Arab terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics caused Mauser to design a precision sniping version of the M-66. After eight years of development the weapon was ready to be put into production and was designated as the “SP” variant of the M-66. All M-66 SP rifles had to group five shots in a two-centimeter diameter group at 100 meters. Only 360 of these rifles were produced with almost all of them being manufactured in 1980. Mauser suspended production of all M-66 rifles in 1995.

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Something I never asked initially, what is the ammo this rifle is based around? I hate to say I'm a bit disappointed in the countries that adopt a truly capable rifle only to feed it their version of M80, or pretty much standard infantry ammo.
 

fdkay

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Something I never asked initially, what is the ammo this rifle is based around? I hate to say I'm a bit disappointed in the countries that adopt a truly capable rifle only to feed it their version of M80, or pretty much standard infantry ammo.
I'm sure the Israelis are wise to the fact that match ammo should be used, but you never know.
 
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sirhrmechanic

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I'm sure the Israelis are wise to the fact that match ammo should be used, but you never know.
They only ran 6x and a few 10x scopes on them. You don’t need match ammo for short engagements. Be interested what they trained for. Urban short engagements aren’t like 1000 yard mountain pass shots.

What was IDF’s training and engagement history? An interesting research project for sure.

Sirhr
 
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Troglodyte6

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May 11, 2020
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we used M118 for a short time and than we got IMI M852 168 grain
for scopes we had henslodt X6 and later S&B 2.5x10.
I still have mine.
the rifles were very accurate and we managed to engage targets to 800 meters as maximal effective range, but could hit targets even a little further
Two questions (I'm new here, apologies).

- Who's "we"? Could you share a little about the ways your team used the rifle?

- How does the IMI M852 ammo differ in performance from M118 in the rifle?

Thanks,
Trog
 

Troglodyte6

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May 11, 2020
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m118 was 173 grains m852 was 168 grains and a little more accurate.
I served as a sniper in the IDF
Thanks.

Are you aware of any other scopes being used on the rifle by the IDF? I overpaid for a Nimrod 6x40 to mount to it, but am interested in what the true authentic scopes are. I've noted the Hensoldt 6x and later Schmidt & Bender 2.5x10 you mentioned.

PVS-2 for night vision?

Preference for bipod brands and models?

And given the weight, I'm guessing the rifles were primarily used in stationary overwatch? (Obviously you will not share sensitive tactical info).

It's rare to get the chance to query somebody with your experience about a collectible rifle, so I'm very interested in your responses.

Best,
Trog
 
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gol1

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if I remember correctly early ones also had the kahles 1-6 but I am not sure, Nimrod scopes were mainly used on M-14 dmr rifles.
the rifles was used in elite and counter terror units and was carried qnd used in the battle field and in spc ops.
I really liked the sp66 and the sr86 they were very good for that period of history,but I did most of my service with the m24 and ill take it any day.
as for bi-pod only harris were used on the sp66 sr86 and m24, some units purchased parker hale bi pods but they were scarce, good luck you got an amazing piece of history
 

gol1

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btw
Nimrod scopes are actually a copy of the kahles and were manufectured in Japan by HAKKO and later by Japan optics, very main stream scopes of the era nothing special
 

Troglodyte6

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May 11, 2020
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btw
Nimrod scopes are actually a copy of the kahles and were manufectured in Japan by HAKKO and later by Japan optics, very main stream scopes of the era nothing special
The name and the IDF markings are the only things that make the Nimrod interesting.

Thank you very much for the time and info. As I said before, this was a rare opportunity for me as a collector.

Best,
Trog
 
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sirhrmechanic

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The name and the IDF markings are the only things that make the Nimrod interesting.

Thank you very much for the time and info. As I said before, this was a rare opportunity for me as a collector.

Best,
Trog
I'll second that.

Thanks for filling in some history! Mine is inbound and I am looking forward to putting it through its paces!

Cheers and thanks for standing on that wall, so to speak!

Sirhr
 

Troglodyte6

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May 11, 2020
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"m118 was 173 grains m852 was 168 grains and a little more accurate. "

I have an Israeli scope with the elevation turret marker "M118," which I figure means that's the type of ammo it's cammed for.

I have another marker "M14." Do you know the crooect type of ammo for that scope? Also M118, or M852, or something else?
 

Troglodyte6

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May 11, 2020
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I am sorry but I don't remember, I think it was for the M852 168 grains
it's evening here right now but i'll try to look for it tomorrow, I have some old literature from that era that might have the correct answers.
Thanks--greatly appreciate it!