Custom Mauser 98 7mm Mauser (7×57) built by Fred Wells for Jack O’Connor. Stamped with a barrel date of 2/54 and serial L08803L0 (both under the wood) and based on a recontoured 1946 Mexican Mauser action, this rifle was crafted by the hands of a legend to be hunted by another. Features include a 21-inch medium sporter barrel, Womack bolt handle with hollow knob, Dayton Traister Mark II trigger and lightened (“Swiss cheese”) magazine box and bottom metal. With the sleek contour of a mountain rifle, the stock is ahead of its time. Appointments include an ebony forend tip, fine borderless wrap-around checkering with diamond accents, substantial pistol grip with metal cap and scalloped cheek rest with a shadow line. The front guard screw beds on a pillar and the barrel channel is carefully free floated with a pressure point at the forend tip junction. ENGRAVING: The barrel is engraved “Built for Jack O’Connor by Fred F. Wells”, “7 m/m” appears over the chamber and the floor plate features the bust of a grand mountain sheep surrounded by border and scroll. Although unsigned, it is logical to attribute the engraving to Rachel Wells. PROVENANCE: Per the included three-page research letter prepared by O’Connor historian Eldon “Buck” Buckner, this rifle was likely acquired by O’Connor’s friend and hunting companion, Dr. Elmer Braddock, many years ago and subsequently sold by a family member to the present owner. DIMENSIONS: Weight is 7.2 pounds (with scope) and length-of-pull is 13.9 inches. CONDITION: The bore is very strong and bright. Metal finish is approximately 85 percent overall, with a silvering ring at the muzzle, spots of tarnish (on and near the receiver), and a vivid plum over the bolt release. The secondary locking screw at the foremost point of the floorplate is missing. The stock is also approximately 85 percent, with sharp checkering fields, a goodly number of field impressions and a drag line at the point of the comb from working the bolt. The Pachmayr Old English pad is likely a later addition. OPTIC: An early Weaver K4 (fresh internal restoration) is secured in Buehler mounts.