SOLD FOR: $6051.03
Make: Waffenfabrik Mauser, Oberndorf
Model: Mauser C96; Late Transitional Large Ring Hammer
Year of Manufacture: Circa 1900-1903, C&R
Caliber: 7.63mm Mauser
Action Type: Semi-Automatic Short-Recoil Pistol with an Internal Magazine fed by stripper clips.
Markings: The top of the back-strap features the serial number “20861”. The locking block is marked “861”. The sear and sear-arm are marked “861”. The rear of the lock-mechanism frame is marked “20861”. The hammer is marked “861”. The rear of the bolt is marked “861”. The bolt-stop is marked “861”. The front-left portion of the barrel extension is marked “20861” stamped above a double crowned “U” and has what appears to be a unit marking “J198” (since the gun has a commercial proof, it would have most likely been a police unit). There are three gothic letters at the bottom of the barrel. The top of the chamber ring is marked “WAFFENFABRIK / MAUSER / OBERNDORF AN”. The right side of the barrel extension has a Orbendorf proof-house mark. The magazine floorplate is marked “861”. The grip panels are both serial matched to the frame. The follower is serial matched “861”.
Barrel Length: 5.5”
Sights/ Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed by the muzzle. The rear sight is a tangent leaf marked 1-10 inclusive.
Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: The matching grip panels are two-piece serrated wood. There is a lanyard ring fixed to the butt-strap. The grip panels have light handling marks, nicks and scuffs. The grip serrations remain sharp. Overall, the grip panels are in Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright and the rifling with mostly sharp rifling. There is scattered light-moderate erosion concentrated in the grooves.
Overall Condition: The pistol retains about 75% of its metal finish. There are some light handling marks, nicks and scuffs on the gun’s metal surfaces. Notably, there is light finish loss around the muzzle, routine finish loss along the leading edges, the finish has largely worn off the grip straps and some light wear on the right sides of the frame and barrel. The portions of the gun where the finish has worn off are coated in light surface oxidation and have taken a dull patina color. The left side of the barrel extension’s unit marking is faded, but most remain clear. The screwhead is lightly tooled and remains serviceable. Overall, the pistol is in Very Good Plus condition.
Mechanics: The rear of the frame is slotted for a shoulder stock and the bottom of the grip has a boss with a fixed lanyard ring. The barrel extension fits snuggly to the frame. The action functions correctly. We did not fire this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box Paperwork and Accessories: The gun comes with its matching wood stock/holster. Notably, there is a light crack at the heel that extends from where the cover meets the body down several inches. Also there is a patch repair with wood filler on the portion of the cover that meets the heel of the stock (where the aforementioned crack originates). The stock/holster has some other light scattered handling marks, nicks and scuffs. Overall, the stock/holster is in Very Good condition.
Our Assessment: At the end of the 19th century semi-automatic handguns were being adopted by most major powers. Germany was at the forefront of this firearms revolution, a number of prominent designs coming from the relatively young nation (it took its modern form in 1871 following the Franco-Prussian War). Among the most iconic was the Mauser Model 1896 (remembered as the C96), designed by the Feederle brothers (Fidel, Friedrich and Josef) whom were close associates of Paul Mauser, the owner of the famous German arms manufacturer, and they all worked at Mauser’s experimental workshop. They developed a number of prototypes over the course of the early 1890s before finally perfecting what would become the C96 in 1896. A number of variations of the design were produced by Mauser over a production cycle that would last over four decades; most featured a 10 round fixed internal magazine that was loaded with stripper clips. Most C96s were chambered for the 7.63x25mm cartridge and a number were later also chambered for 9mm Luger rounds (several other chamberings exist as well, but these are the two most common by far). Mauser’s design was adopted by the German military and the company secured a number of contracts with various powers to sell the weapon to their armed forces; this included the Ottoman Empire, Italy, Persia and Austro-Hungary. The gun saw extensive use during WWI and was still in service during WWII with the Wehrmacht to a much more limited degree.
This particular specimen is a matching late transitional large ring hammer C96, not just is this an early production gun but it’s also matching which makes it increasingly rare. The gun’s parts are all matching, it retains most of its impressive blue finish and comes with a nicely preserved matching holster/stock. This gun has what appears to be a unit marking on the left side of the barrel extension but we were unable to properly identify where it saw service prior to entering the commercial market (based on the commercial proof marks, it was likely a police unit). The gun‘s exact date of manufacture remains a mystery but its features can give us a rough date from roughly around 1900-1903. This is one handgun that historical firearms collectors will not want to miss out on!