By: Warren Gray
Copyright © 2022
“Short. Compact. Uncompromising. This is the new Mauser 18 Waldjagd.
‘Waldjagd’ is German, and means ‘hunting in the woods.’ This rifle is simply
made for hunting in dense conditions…The ultra-robust, polymer stock is
available in classic, forest green…Ready for anything.”
— Mauser web site, 2022.
Mauser Jagdwaffen (“Hunting Weapons”), of Isny im Allgäu, in far, southern Germany, only 10 miles from the Austrian border, is probably best known for its legendary, M98 military service rifle. The rifle was produced from 1898 to 1935 and was replaced by the Karabiner 98k, a shorter rifle using the same basic design, manufactured from 1935 to 1945, although it continues to appear in conflicts across the world when taken out of storage.
Today, the German company offers an updated, top-of-the-line, Mauser 98 hunting rifle with wooden stock. This is a classic, elegant, very-high-quality firearm, with a jaw-dropping price tag of $11,160 to $12,380. Then, there is the Mauser 12 series, another superb weapon, priced at $2,022 to $2,770, in six different variants. Finally, for those of us with more-modest incomes, there is the new, “no-fuss,” Mauser 18 series, since 2018, priced at $1,100 to $2,610, depending upon the particular model.
The Mauser website currently states, “The new Mauser 18 defines hunting in its fundamental form: pure, intuitive, and simple. It’s not merely a hunting rifle, it’s a symbol of all things Mauser: the ultimate rifle for all of man, for all of time …which brings together the essentials for hunting in the best possible way…With a 5-shot, sub-MOA guarantee, and the best ergonomics in the business, the Mauser 18 characterizes performance.”
Currently, here in the United States, only the Mauser 18 Standard is offered for sale by Blaser USA (Mauser USA), of San Antonio, Texas. On the Blasser website, other models are slated to be “coming soon.” I live and hunt deer in the Eastern Region of the USA, specifically in a mountainous and forested part of Maryland. My favorite, bolt-action, Mauser rifle is the Mauser 18 Waldjagd (pronounced “Vahld-yahgd”), which is currently unavailable here. It retails for about $1,550 in Europe, although Mauser USA emailed to say that they could special-order one from Germany for $1,375, if I wished.
The Waldjagd is produced in a spectacularly beautiful region of Germany, at the foot of the majestic Alps, with plentiful hills and forests all around, only 34 miles from picturesque, fairytale, Neuschwanstein Castle, the real-life inspiration for Walt Disney’s ornate castle in Disneyland. It’s produced in nine different calibers, including .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, 6.5x55mm SE, 6.5mm Creedmoor, 7x57mm Mauser, 8x57mm IS (7.92x57mm), or 9.3x62mm Mauser.
The Mauser 18 Waldjagd comes standard with a rugged, hollow (with internal storage area), polymer stock in pine green (for woodland use), a compact, cold-hammer-forged, 20-inch, fluted and threaded barrel, a silent, three-position, safety system, five-round, detachable, polycarbonate magazine, available, iron sights as a backup, black-nylon or brown-leather, Mauser slings, and a Mauser/A-TEC (Norwegian) aluminum suppressor (they call it a “moderator”), with sound reduction up to 30 decibels, and recoil reduction up to 50 percent.
Taras Oleynik wrote for GunMag (of Ukraine) and BulgarianMilitary.com (BM) on April 10, 2021, “Mauser 18 Waldjagd – a budget hunting rifle like no other…The Mauser 18 family was the German brand’s brightest debut in the budget, hunting rifle range. Following age-old traditions, the company decided not to skimp on the main thing – accuracy and reliability…This weapon can do much more than meets the eye…We can say without exaggeration that it has taken the budget rifle market by storm!
“What is noticeably different is the barrel. (For the) Waldjagd, it is shortened, has a length of (20 inches), which compensated by an increased thickness of (.75 inch.) Therefore, the balance of the carbine shifted slightly forward. This fact improves the jump and the stability…when shooting at a moving target. But the main thing is that there are open sights – light-accumulative, adjustable, front sight and rear sight…(so) a hunter may not need to mount a (scope) or optical sight on the weapon for short-(range) shooting.
“The weapon for such a hunt should be compact, agile, well-balanced…The thick barrel of the 18 Waldjagd…and the weight of the carbine is (6.8 bs.), a thicker barrel contour will allow more shots to be fired at a fast pace without ‘leaving’ the zeroing point due to its heating…Due to the thick barrel and open sights, this model looks very versatile and suitable for all types of hunting and amateur sports shooting.”
Scott Mayer tested the similar, Mauser 18 Standard model for Grandview Outdoors, writing on December 14, 2018, that, “As far as handling and performance, this is an exceptionally nimble rifle…Despite the M18 being a ‘basic’ rifle, there are some advanced features. Chief among them is the user-adjustable trigger. Adjustment is simply a matter of turning a set screw in the face of the trigger blade…The trigger, set at three-pounds-pull on the sample rifle, is fantastic. It hardly moves when you pull it, and provides a smart, snappy release…The trigger is adjustable from two to four pounds of pull.
“Mauser has done a great job of creating a feature-rich, entry-level rifle with a German pedigree…you get a 10-year warranty…Average accuracy for five, consecutive, three-shot groups with that load was 1.14 inches…(with a) sub-MOA accuracy guarantee…the M18 uses Remington Model 700 (scope) bases, which are about as ordinary and available as you can get…Simple, straightforward, and effective is the best way to describe the Mauser M18 bolt-action rifle. Chambered for popular, American calibers, this European thoroughbred speaks with a decided accent — as in deer whisperer. It truly is that simple.”
American Rifleman magazine wrote on August 2, 2019, that, “Because the push-feed bolt has three locking lugs instead of two, the M18’s bolt throw is shorter and quicker than the Model 98’s. The rifle’s controls also proved to be top-notch…the trigger…broke so cleanly at 3 lbs., 6 oz. Better yet, the M18 can hold a group. Our best result came from Federal Gold Medal Berger Juggernaut Match, which averaged 1.04.” Considering the bench shooting was done with a budget, 3-9X scope, that’s confidence-building precision.”
Steve Gash noted for Shooting Times on April 13, 2020, that, “The M18 is a thoroughly-modern rendition of the bolt-action, hunting rifle…Mauser calls the metal finish ‘black-burnished,’ and the barrel looks to me like it has had a subtle bit of polishing for a nice effect…The trigger was just delightful, and it’s adjustable via a small hex screw that’s accessible from within the trigger guard…And it was crisp, with no overtravel.”
Mauser supplies their rifles with Minox (of Wetzlar, in west-central Germany) scopes when requested. One such example is the one-inch, $500, Minox 4-12x40mm ZL3 model, shown below, with Talley (of Santee, South Carolina) scope bases.
My overall impression of the Mauser 18 Waldjagd is that it’s superbly well-suited for its namesake, with the intended purpose of “hunting in the woods.” The new Waldjagd includes the legendary, Mauser quality; a super-accurate, fluted-and-threaded, 20-inch barrel; an all-season, forest-green, synthetic stock; an unprecedented, 10-year warranty; a smooth, fully-adjustable trigger; and a top-quality, available, A-TEC suppressor for quiet, stealthy hunting when desired.
It’s easy to mentally picture a dedicated, German hunter in the dense Black Forest, silently stalking roe deer or wild boar in the untamed, heavily-forested mountains near the French border. For those few adventurous spirits lucky enough to own a fine Mauser 18 Waldjagd here in the United States, it’s a very rare treat, indeed.
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Warren Gray is a retired, U.S. Air Force intelligence officer with experience in joint special operations and counterterrorism, and is an NRA member. He served in Europe (where he lived in Germany for four years) and the Middle East, earned Air Force and Navy parachutist wings, four college degrees, and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Intelligence Operations Specialist Course, and the USAF Combat Targeting School. He is currently a published author, historian, and deer hunter. You may visit his website at: warrengray54.vistaprintdigital.com.