Sold For: $2,725.00
Make: Shansei Arsenal (Sometimes spelled Shansi or Shansei), China, Imported by Navy Arms, Ridgefield, N. J.
Model: Type 17 Broomhandle “Hand Cannon” – Scaled-up Copy of C96 Broomhandle Mauser
Serial Number: 505
Year of Manufacture: 1980’s. If this were an original, a low serial number like “505” would have made in 1928-1929. Production ended in 1931-1932 in the high 8XXX range. In addition, lettering on the pistol is done with pantograph, not stamped characters, as were the originals.
Caliber: .45 A.C.P.
Action Type: Single Action Semi –Auto with Ten Round Internal Magazine
Markings: The left shoulder at the chamber, the back of the hammer, the back of the lock frame, the top of the cocking piece on the bolt , the inside surface of the magazine floorplate and the back of the frame at the top of the backstrap are marked “505”. There are Chinese characters on both sides of the frame that are read from right to left. The three characters on the left side translate to “Type 17”. The characters on the right side indicate the date it was made and the armory. The first two characters indicate Nationalist Year, the second two 10,8 or 18, and the last four “Shanxi”. The first year of the Nationalist Republic was 1911, so the year would have been 1929. The front strap has the import marks “CHINA / .45 ACP” and “N. A. Co. / RIDGEFIELD, N.J.”.
Barrel Length: 5 ½”
Sights / Optics: The pistol is mounted with a “U” notched rear tangent sight with markings from “50-1000”. The front sight is a tall blade front sight with a rectangular base, which is fixed to the top of the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are grooved walnut with a lacquer finish. There is a ding at the bottom rear of the left grip (probably from a lanyard ring), four tiny surface chips and a few dings in the left grip, and a few light handling marks with several light scratches under the finish in the smooth top of the right grip. The grips rate in Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: The pistol is blued. The hammer, bolt and lock frame are “In The White” and the safety, extractor and the rear sight slider have a fire blue finish.
Finish Originality: The pistol has not been refinished since it was imported into the United States, since the import marks on the front strap are through the finish. However, there are marks on the rest of the pistol indicating it was either refinished, or made from old parts.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with light wear in the rifling. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 98% of its current metal finish. There are grind marks in the top of the barrel on either side of the front sight, light pitting under the finish on the left side of the barrel extension at the port and at the rear below the rear sight elevator, and extremely light scratches from sanding under the finish in a few locations that were never polished out completely. There is a sprinkling of light pitting in the top of the bolt on both sides of the extractor. There is a spot of surface loss in the top of the extractor, light thinning on the front face of the magazine’s floorplate and a few light marks in the backstrap. The hammer serrations have been ground flat in spots, the bolt serrations show moderate wear and the safety serrations show light wear. The grip screw is sharp and the markings are clear. although the import marks are poorly struck: deep on the left side and very shallow on the right. The Chinese marks appear to all be done with a pantograph rather than struck. Overall, this pistol is in Fine condition.
Mechanics: The rear of the frame is slotted for a shoulder stock. The action functions correctly. This pistol has a “New Safety” which requires the hammer to be pulled back slightly before the safety can be pushed all the way forwards. If the safety is pushed forwards normally while the hammer is cocked, the safety will not be engaged. There is a fair amount of creep in the trigger. 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: This pistol comes with a wooden shoulder stock/holster. The shoulder stock is hardwood with a light colored satin finish. It has a spring loaded metal clasp at the front that locks the stock into the dovetailed slot in the backstrap of the pistol. The rear of the stock has a push-button release hinged cover that covers the grip of the gun when used as a holster and serves as a buttplate when attached to the pistol. The hinge and the tangs of the front clasp are blued, with light pitting under the finish of the front clasp tangs. There are a few light handling marks in the wood, with a scrape or saw mark and a small knot in the rear cover that are partially filled with a reddish putty. The shoulder stock is in about Fine condition
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 (in fact, the fully automatic Schnellfeuer version was initially made by Mauser specifically for Chinese sale). 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. It has import marks on the front strap and the Chinese markings appear to be pantographs instead of struck. This pistol has about 98% of its finish remaining, and is in about Fine condition. It has a bright bore with light wear in the rifling and no erosion. 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, especially if they come with a shoulder stock as does this one.