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Thread: Need help identifying Mauser

  1. #11
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    Does anyone happen to know of any resources I could use to figure it out myself? I've been looking for a week or so but haven't found much.

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    Senior Member pzjgr's Avatar
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    A lot of German "commercial" guns were custom made, or built up, so there may not be an answer, unless there is a way to decipher who the gunsmith/maker was....

    My guess this isn't a "Mauser Model 941 Hunting Rifle" sort of thing....

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    RKI- Reasonably Knowledgable Individual heavy_mech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pzjgr View Post
    ..this isn't a "Mauser Model 941 Hunting Rifle" sort of thing....
    Yes, I'd definitely agree. I could imagine some or much of this started looking like a military rifle. The TG and FP are familiar as is the rear half of the receiver in top view but heavily customized.
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  4. #14
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    Hello, nice rifle, likely never a military rifle but I’m not certain of that. It was built in August 1914, which is fairly evident stylistically right off the bat, the bolt bend and rounded pistol grip especially it’s specific countour are all very common traits of prewar and into the late 1920’s german rifle style. The specific powder charge as well as the gunpowder type are listed on the left receiver side in grains and the Stmg acronym is for the powder type, this proofing system was also discontinued in a the early 1920’s which is another quick rough aging point without even breaking the rifle down. These Krupp barrels are very nicely styled and to even have one made these days would cost around 800 or so. Seeing as the original powder type was stamped over at some point, I believe it was reproofed at some point, although not exactly sure on that. Makers can be very hard on german rifles even if it has a “maker name” on it as they are often simply retailers. Look at the gunmaking center of Germany, Suhl, the town population used to be extremely predominantly gunmakers. Some shops only built stocks, others barrels, others were actioners etc. There is likely no one maker of it. Also if you want to have rings fit to the rifle, don’t even continue thinking about it unless you want to pay 600+ for rings. There are 24 hand fit mating surfaces in a typical claw mount hence the price. You WON’T find one that will fit. I have seen a guy with 30 or so ring and base sets and not a single one will interchange. For more info you might try nitro express or the german gun collectors association, there are some very knowledgeable individuals on there who could probably help pinpoint this rifle based on some other traits. Many rifles of this same overall style were built directly post WW1 as well in an attempt to keep large makers floating after the war, however they often have less extraneous detail etc which is a testament to the times. Also the TG is likely not an open pocket milled type but rather a solid tang when you take a look out of the stock, a lot of these TG were literally contoured with the stock which often took a lot of metal off the front tang, hence the reason solid ones were used.

  5. #15
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    Thanks! I really appreciate everything you could tell me about it!
    It's not a rifle I ever plan on partin with, especially with all it's seen through the years. The stock could be in better shape, but you can't expect much more from a liberated rifle.

  6. #16
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    By the way, the retailers name on the rib of the barrel was Heinrich Munch of Aachen, Germany.

  7. #17
    Member GEM's Avatar
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    I have found these, along with the Remo/Geha shotguns, interesting as part of the evolution of the M98 and always look at them at shows where they are relatively common. I suspect that they are mostly WWII GI bring-backs. There is no good reference material that I am aware. Many of these are definitely assembled from former military parts in the interwar period and they come in a full spectrum of quality from the truly awful to very high quality. (I recall references that stated that Mauser started using the "Original Mauser" marketing tag line to defend their market share against these "one-offs."

    Your example appears to be a very good quality example - engraving, woodwork, finish and overall composition. So, it is difficult for me to decide if this was pre- or post-WWI example but I lean toward the latter. I can't recall seeing any of these that were not 8x57. The non-service caliber and presence/quality of the Krupp barrel seems to either indicate a re-barrel or assembly by a higher end shop.

    The attached picture show my two examples, both 8x57:

    The top rifle is clearly recognizable as a G98 conversion: Stepped barrel, modified front sight, rear sight base modified from a G98 Lange base, stock sculpted from an earlier G98 stock. Note inlayed wooden medallion over the marking disc position and recoil lug. The military rear sling swivel holes are plugged with dowel. Trigger guard modified for double set triggers and contoured to a more commercial shape. Military lock screws. There are no marks, dates, numbers or proof marks on this rifle except an imperial mark and two digit serial number on the firing pin and a "3" on the back of the safety wind. All of the shop process/inspection marks on the bottom of the receiver have been ground off. The bolt has been bent and the knob ground flat/smooth on the bottom. While the work seems competent, this one is, to me, more of a low end example.

    The bottom rifle is an advancement in that the stock is not military and the barrel, while I believe to be military, has been contoured to a commercial profile. Commercial style front sight. Close inspection indicates that the metal parts are military. The receiver retains a barely discernable "Gewehr 98" marking. The trigger guard appears military but more heavily modified. No military lock screws. Not sure if they filled the screw hole, used a commercial trigger guard or used a military guard like a 1909 or some such. The bolt shows evidence of being cut and re-welded in the bent position and knob has been ground flat and checkered on the bottom. There is a 5 digit serial number on the left of the receiver ring. Shop marks are present on the bottom flat. There is an illegible nitro proof mark on the receiver. No other marks. I consider this one to be a serviceable mid-grade example based on workmanship. This is sort of a "plain jane" version of yours.
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  8. #18
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    The rifle is dated 1914 right there on the barrel, the proof style on the receiver was changed in about 1923 so the receiver fits that time frame as well, also the barrel index is perfectly aligned, nothing indicates a rebarrel in my opinion. Mauser sporters in general are a lot more complex than just Oberndorf vs the little guy. For one you have several large makers building commercial models off Mauser actions in the interwar period, Simson, Sauer, VCS, Danzig etc built them in this time frame and these are certainly not to be considered in the same category as rebuilds from ex military rifles. Actions were purchased from Oberndorf and many bare two SN, the original Oberndorf as well as the receiving companies SN. Non Oberndorf sporters shouldn’t be considered second rate by any means, many of the local makers had been building high quality sporting arms long before Paul Mauser even came up with the action. In fact Oberndorf even did a little borrowing of their own at the time with their model M Mauser which relied heavily on the asthetics and features of the then extremely popular Mannlicher Schoenauer to try and keep up with sales. Of the smaller makers in and around Suhl it appears actions and parts were sourced from other places as well. I have an example proofed in Oct 1943 which appears action wise to have been built almost completely from parts sourced from Astrawerke and then commercially marked.
    Engraving styles can also help roughly identify or at least render an educated guess about the region a rifle might have been built in, as engraving was passed down through apprentices over the years and often retained regionally. In Thüringen especially the style is easy to spot, look at the engraving style and features on mine and you will see an example of it. Just looking at yours it appears similar to the Danzig sporters engraving style.
    As to calibers many of the non 8x57 rifles were intended for hunting outside the continent as many countries did not allow the use of military cartridges. The forums I listed should indeed find you a way to experienced sporter collectors, both in the US and Europe that can probably give you a better rundown on your rifle, best of luck in your search.

    Gem, that is indeed a beautiful example in your picture, I like it a lot!
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  9. #19
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    I would recommend joining the German Gun Collectors forum and posting DETAILED and CLEAR pictures of all the markings.

    There are several members there that have an astounding knowledge of German commercial gun makers.

    I can tell you from my notes that it was originally proofed in 8x57 between 1888 and 1901 based on the proof load used. After 1912 it was re proofed showing the bullet weight.

    It was likely originally a commercial rifle. There were not many surplus 1898 Mauser rifles available before WWI. You would have to make a detailed study of it to determine whether or not military components were used. Remember in Germany the gun trade is not like here in the US. The nebulous use of the word "bubba" does not really apply. Post WWI many commerial rifles were built on military components that were never military rifles. I have a commercial rifle built between WWI and WWII that was built from a mix of military and commercial parts. Many of the Suhl gunmakers made both military and commercial components, often on the same machines. Many parts were farmed out to smaller gunmakers and often times the left overs were used for commercial rifles. Sometimes generations later.

    This brings up an relevant point. Collectors often times become so specialized they become an ostrich with their head in the sand. I started out studying on military rifles and had no interest in commercial sporters. I wound up buying one and spending some time studying commercial rifles. It was amazing what the guys who study the commercial makes know as "common knowledge" yet in the military field we are totally ignorant to. Vice versa as well. The Suhl consortium is one aspect that is an excellent example. SimsonSuhl has posted and written a great deal about it over the years, Karem/Steves has some excellent information, and Storz details a decent amount. But the knowledge by the guys who study the commercial side is overwhelming.
    Last edited by Fal Grunt; 01-17-2018 at 10:24 AM.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fal Grunt View Post
    ..many commerial rifles were built on military components that were never military rifles. I have a commercial rifle built between WWI and WWII that was built from a mix of military and commercial parts. Many of the Suhl gunmakers made both military and commercial components, often on the same machines. Many parts were farmed out to smaller gunmakers and often times the left overs were used for commercial rifles..
    Great points and this exactly is what I was trying to convey. On certain components you can clearly see the similar (or exact same) profile of the piece. Even with others that were extensively reworked and reshaped you can still make out the similarity to the component used on a military rifle.
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