SOLD FOR: $2525
Make: Waffenfabrik Mauser, Oberndorf
Model: 1896 (C96)
Year of Manufacture: Circa 1916-1918, C&R
Caliber: 9mm Luger
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 “47112”. The right side of the frame is marked “WAFFENFABRIK MAUSER / OBERNDORF A NECKAR”. The sear is marked “112”. The rear of the lock-mechanism frame is marked “47112”. The top of the bolt locking block is marked “7112”. The hammer is marked “NS” (Neues Sicherung; lit. “New Safety”) above “112”. The top-rear of the bolt is marked with a crown above a crowned “u” and “7112”. The bolt-stop is marked “7112”. The front-left portion of the barrel extension is marked “47112” over a crown above a crowned “U”. The bottom of the barrel extension has some scattered marks. The right of the barrel has faded British proof marks which have been mostly removed in the refinishing process. The top of the chamber ring is marked “WAFFENFABRIK / MAUSER / ????N”. The exterior of each grip panel is marked with red colored “9”. The interior of each grip is marked “47112”. The magazine floorplate is marked “7112”.
Barrel Length: 5 1/2″
Sights/ Optics: The front sight is a fixed blade by the muzzle. The rear sight is a V-notch tangent leaf marked in increments of 50 measured from 50-500 meters, pinned to the top of the barrel extension behind the ejection port.
Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: The grip panels are two-piece serrated wood. They show fairly even light-moderate wear with scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. The serrations show wear. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Good-plus condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Refinished. The follower does not have the impression typical of 9mm followers and is likely a replacement. It is possible other parts have been replaced and force-matched to the frame.
Bore Condition: The lands are semi-bright, the grooves are gray. The rifling is well defined. There is scattered light-moderate erosion in the bore, mostly in the grooves. In this writer’s opinion the bore rates 6 out of 10.
Many military and C&R eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide. For example, the U.S. used corrosive ammunition throughout WWII. The U.S. military did not begin to phase out corrosive-primed ammunition until the 1950’s.
Overall Condition: The pistol retains about 95% of its current metal finish. The new finish is generally strong throughout with most of the balance in spots of minor surface oxidation. There are a few small nicks, some under the finish. There is some scattered minor erosion under the finish. There is notable pitting in the frame where covered by the grips. The action shows operational wear. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. The screwhead is sharp. Overall, the pistol is in about Very Good condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box Paperwork and Accessories: This pistol comes in a wood presentation case with two stripper clips.
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 albeit to a much more limited degree.
This particular specimen is a variant of the C96 chambered for 9mm. It has features which indicate it was made during WWI as a “Red 9” including its grips, 500 meter rear sight and serial number. The variant takes its name from the distinct red colored “9” marked on both grip panels. This specimen has been refinished, but you can still make out some British proof marks on the barrel, which may indicate capture during the war or post-war export to the British Isles. The gun remains a fascinating WWI-era handgun with a rich history and comes with a nice case for display. Good luck on your bid!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud