SOLD FOR: $2626
Make: Shansei Arsenal (Sometimes spelled Shansi or Shanxi), China
Model: Type 17 Broomhandle “Hand Cannon” – Scaled-up Copy of C96 Broomhandle Mauser
Serial Number: 2013
Year of Manufacture: We believe this is from a production run in the 1980’s. There were some made in the 1920s and 1930s, but the condition and import mark indicates newer production.
Caliber: .45 A.C.P.
Action Type: Single Action Semi –Auto with Ten Round Internal Magazine
Barrel Length: 5 1/2”
Sights / Optics: The pistol is mounted with a “V” notched rear tangent sight with markings from “100-1000”. The front sight is a tall blade with a rectangular base fixed to the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece serrated wood, each has the serial number hand-written on the interior. The grips have minor handling wear but do show the slightly rough finish typical of these pistols. There are a few light marks and some wear from the lanyard ring. The serrations are well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Very Good-plus condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright and the rifling is sharp. There is some minor tool-chatter in the bore. There is some minor erosion and stubborn fouling, mostly in front of the chamber. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 7 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 90% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at some edges, most notable at the muzzle. There are odd voids in the finish on the bottom of the floorplate. The rear frame panels and the surrounding raised surfaces have oddly defined, but minor finish wear. There are some scattered minor nicks and small scratches. The action shows light operational wear. The screw head is tool marked with a strong slot. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, however we were not able to remove the lock frame from the frame. The trigger has a smooth takeup with a little bit of creep before it breaks. We did not fire this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: The Broomhandle Model 1896 Mauser is certainly an interesting looking firearm. During the Chinese civil war in the 1920s and 30s, international arms embargoes made rifles difficult to acquire – which led to a lot of popularity for pistols with shoulder stocks. The C96 “Broomhandle” Mauser in particular was popular, and it was copied by a number of Spanish firms for sale in China as well. China began manufacturing a copy of the C96 as early as 1918 and by the late 1920s, there were a total of 11 government arsenals manufacturing C96 pistols. Yen Hsi-Shan, the Governor General of Shanxi province starting in 1912, wanted to equip his forces with the most modern firearms available and built an arsenal to produce weapons for his troops. They started making a copy of the M1921 Thompson submachine gun during the late 1920s, and the problem of having to supply and carry two different calibers of ammunition, one for their Thompsons and another for their 7.63mm C96 pistols soon can apparent. A scaled-up copy of the C96 to fire .45 ACP cartridges was designed and began manufacture in 1928. Approximately 8000 Type 17 (Seventeenth Year of the Nationalist Chinese Rule starting in 1911) “Hand Cannons” were made at the Shanxi Arsenal from 1928-1931 and became so popular with collectors that another batch was made in China during the 1980s.
This Model 17 .45 Caliber Broomhandle was one of those made in the 1980’s. This pistol has about 90% of its finish remaining, and is in Very Good condition. We were not able to remove the lock frame from the frame, but the observed serial-marked parts are all matching. Collecting C96 Mausers can be quite an undertaking, as there are many variants (large and small ring hammers, etc.), and no C96 collection would be complete without Spanish and Chinese copies included, at least the ones made by major gun manufacturers and arsenals. Of the oddball copies, the most collectible is the .45 Model 17 “Hand Cannon” made by Shanxi, and we would think the more modern copies are just as collectable. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud