Swedish Mauser is the name applied by military rifle collectors to the 6.5x55 calibre Model 96 and Model 38 bolt-action rifles adopted by Sweden in 1896 and 1938, respectively.
The Model 1896 (M96) rifle (6,5 mm Gevär m/96) was adopted by Sweden on March 20 1896, designed for use with the 6.5x55 round that had been adopted in 1893 by Sweden and Norway. Production initially began at the Mauser Obendorf factory in Germany under contract, but soon after Carl Gustav in Sweden were manufacturing the rifles as well. The Swedes felt that their indigenous steel was far superior to all others, and when Mauser was contracted to manufacture M96 rifles in Germany, they were required to use Swedish steel in the manufacturing process. The M96 remained in production until 1938, when it was replaced by the M38 Carbine.
The M38 Rifle (6,5 mm Gevär m/38) was adopted in 1938 as part of an overall worldwide military trend (which began just before World War I) towards service rifles that were shorter in overall length than a standard infantry rifle, but longer than a cavalry carbine. Contemporary examples such as the Mauser K98, Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III, and Mosin-Nagant M91/30 were all noticeably shorter than a standard 19th century infantry rifle, and with another World War on the way the Swedes felt it would be expedient to adopt a shorter rifle for use by reserve troops and the Navy. The resulting rifle- the M38 was some 7 inches shorter than the M96 rifle, and had a bent-down bolt handle (as opposed to the straight bolt handle of most M96 rifles).
A number of M96 rifles were officially converted to M38 configuration, and are known as M96/38 rifles, to differentiate them from as-manufactured M38 rifles. All M38 rifles were manufactured by Husqvarna Vapenfabrik, with production finally ending in 1944.
The M41 (6,5 mm Prickskyttegevär m/41) was an M96 fitted with a telescopic sight. The scope could be either the M41 German Ajack or the M42 Swedish AGA.
The Swedish Mauser was not completely phased out of service until 1995, when the last M96, M38 and M41 rifles were officially removed from service, much like the WWII AG-42 semi-automatic rifle.
Both the M96 and M38 Swedish Mauser rifles are highly sought after by military rifle shooters and hunters. The 6.5x55 cartridge is ideal for use on medium game, as it has a flat trajectory, low recoil, and high accuracy. Often considered to be one of the best all-round hunting rifle calibres, many M96 rifles in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa have been sporterised to make deer (or similar game) hunting rifles, and many firearm manufacturers, including Ruger and Winchester manufacture new hunting rifles chambered in the 6.5x55 cartridge.
The M94-96-38 was successfully transformed by Carl Gustav Arsenal in highly accurate target rifles called CG63 and later CG68, in 6.5X55 calibre. These rifles are known to be very accurate, bearing a heavy barrel, diopter sights (many models), target stock and tuned triggers.
Husqvarna Vapenfabriks also made commercial M94-96 versions available as sporting rifles called Model 46 and its variants (mod.46A, 46AN and 46B) in calibres 6.5X55, 9.3X57 and 9.3X62. After WWII they used the M96/M38 action without thumb notch and called it Model 640 (646 - 6.5X55, 648 - 8X57, 649 - 9.3X62) - not to be confused with the late production model number 640 which were using FN Herstal M98 actions. Stiga of Sweden made sporterized versions in popular calibres. These rifles are very well finished and balanced.