Mauser c96 dating

Contents:
  1. Contract C96 Identification Guide
  2. Approximate Production Dates for C96 Pistols
  3. Mauser C96 Broomhandle Identification Guide
  4. Commercial C96 Identification Guide

The popular modern term is Red 9. This was a wartime military contract for , guns, perhaps , of which were delivered before the contract terminated with the end of the war. Despite occasional statements to the contrary, these were not prewar guns reworked to 9 mm. Except for the relatively poor finish, they are identical to the Wartime Commercial, with these specific exceptions - 9x19 mm caliber rather than 7.

Any gun bought by the government might have that mark. I have seen it on Prewar Commercials which were otherwise unmarked and unmodified - and were still chambered in 7. Guns made for this contract have their own serial number range, running from 1 through whatever. System Mauser gives a highest observed serial of My own database lists serials as high as I prefer to avoid the name Red 9 for the Prussian Contract guns, because - Not all original Contract guns were marked with a "Red 9" on the grip panels - some seem to have had a "Black 9," and some had no "9" at all.

During the last twenty years or so, significant numbers of guns with shot-out bores have been bored out to 9 mm and are now wearing reproduction Red 9 grips. This by itself is not a problem, but it causes confusion with genuine Contract guns. The rework involved - Shortened barrel with a new front sight soldered on Fixed sight tangent sight milled from top of barrel extension, and a fixed notch sight soldered on "" mark on frame or barrel extension usually The "" is apparently not a date so much as a claim that the gun complies with some legal edict of that date.

That is, a gun so marked may have been reworked shortly after Particularly because of the range of features, I don't consider these a real variant - that is, they don't help us out much in trying to account for factory production. I have seen guns with prominent "" marks which have not been reworked in any way. A real oddball is serial , a correct Persian Contract gun, which still has all its Prewar Commercial features despite the "" on the right barrel diagonal flat.

Postwar Bolo This was the first major variant out of the Mauser factory after the war. Production started in the early s, perhaps Due to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, German pistols were limited to mm barrels or shorter, and calibers under 9mm. Mauser satisfied these restrictions by reviving an older variant, popularly known as the Bolo.

Contract C96 Identification Guide

Although often called the "small-frame" Mauser, most of the frame is identical to that of the full-size guns. The grip is notably smaller, but all the internal parts are identical to those of the larger pistols. The original Bolo may have been an attempt to make the gun slightly less bulky overall, a notion supported by the fact that nearly all of the very early six-shot guns were Bolos - that is, they had the smaller Bolo grips and the short mm, or 3.

See more on this subject here. However, the postwar Bolos all have 10 shot magazines. The Postwar Bolo is identical to the Wartime Commercial, with these exceptions - 3. System Mauser gives an observed serial range of to for Postwar Bolos. My own database lists Postwar Bolos from to Around serial ,, a Mauser banner mark was added to the left side of the Bolo frame.

Model or M This was the first C variant to have an official factory designation "Modell " in German. The big changes were a reversion from the Bolo to the earlier large size; yet another safety, the Universal Safety ; and what is now called the step barrel. The M is identical to the Prewar Commercial except - Small ring hammer, late style slightly simpler than early style Universal Safety Hammer milling changed for Universal safety Modified safety lever, with a hole through the knob Sear modified slightly for Universal Safety Lock frame modified slightly for Universal Safety Lock frame milling simplified slightly meter sight , without "" meter mark.

On early guns, the "" reads from the right.

Approximate Production Dates for C96 Pistols

Very early specimens omit the "D. My own database lists five minor variants of Ms, from serial to Three small Chinese ideographs meaning "Made in Germany" often appear on the left side of the magazine. Location varies, from down close to the floorplate to 'way up near the slide rails. About serial number ,, the milled cutouts on the sides of the barrel extension were deleted, the lettering on the right side of the frame changed to an italic slanted font, and the frame milling was changed slightly on the right side.

There were other small changes over the seven year production run of the M, and not all were introduced at the same time, so some guns will show a mix of older and newer details. The barrel lengthened slightly from mm to mm, the serial numbers moved around a bit, the numbers on the tangent sight changed slightly, and some small parts lost their traditional Mauser turquoise blue, to be replaced by the same dark blue as the rest of the gun. But the major visual cues persisted - all Ms have the Universal Safety, step barrel, wide unstepped grip frame, and groove walnut grip panels.

Only the M and the Schnellfeuer had these features. Schnellfeuer Although significant numbers of Schnellfeuers were made, in the United States they must be registered as machine guns, and the Firearms Owners' Protection Act of severely restricts imports.

Mauser C96 Broomhandle Identification Guide

There are, last I heard, only about a hundred registered in the United States, so they are rare here. Even today, this pistol turns up in movies on TV and in the big screen.

The Star Wars fans out there may notice a huge resemblance between the C96 pistol and the BlasTech DL heavy blaster pistol that Hans Solo and Luke Skywalker used, except that their pistol had a lot of futuristic gadgets attached to it. All of the Mauser manufacturing and corporate records that were retained at the Mauser plant was destroyed in , by order of the U. Army officer in command at the captured Mauser plant. Since all of the records were destroyed, many collectors of the C96 Mauser have tried to date their Mauser by the serial number, but many of those attempting to do so have run into a dead end.

In an attempt to encourage more sales, Mauser skipped blocks of serial numbers to make it appear that more pistols had been sold than was actually the case. To make it even more difficult for the collector of the C Although it does not stop there, pistols that were made under contract were usually but not always serial numbered in their own series, beginning with number "1". What I am trying to convey is that pistols which might appear, based on their serial number, to have been made early may in fact actually have been made much later.

Commercial C96 Identification Guide

The reverse also holds true. All firearms tend to evolve over the years of its production. This holds true for the C96 Mauser as a large number of changes were made in its 40 year production history. This included not only the above mentioned changes, but also the size and font of the markings and where they were stamped on the pistol and the shape and physical size of some of the parts. Knowing when some of these changes were made can help the collector learn the history of his particular C Trying to date a C96 by the parts that is found on it is not with-out problems either. Then after a few dozen or a few thousand was made, they would then go back to making the pistols with the changes from earlier.

It will appear to the researcher that Mauser had found a dusty box of forgotten parts in some corner of their warehouse and used these parts until they ran out at which point they would go back to the normal production of the C Now to even add insult to injury, did I mention that the Chinese made a copy of the C96 and stamped them with the Mauser logo and markings? Being that this is the M version of the C96 we know that it was made some time between and Going by some of the parts that are installed on this pistol as well as the location of the serial number and other stampings, this pistol turns out to be on the late side of the early version of the M So a rough guess would put the year of manufacture at or near or The picture on the left is a marking that is on the right side of this pistol.

Then under that is the D. The picture on the right is found directly on the opposite side of the pistol from the markings in the left photograph and is of the Mauser logo.


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Mauser used two different style of banners on the M pistols that have been classified by collectors as an early style and a late style. The Mauser logo seen in the right photograph is the early style and exactly the same as the logo that is stamped on the wooden holster at the top of this page. The photograph on the left is of the three small Chinese ideographs stampings that indicate "Made in Germany". The first two characters on the left go together and translate to "Germany", while the one at right is "manufacture".

This marking is found on the left side of the magazine. At the present time, I do not know what the marking in the right picture indicates. The photograph on the left is of the number 11 in a circle. At this time I do not know what this marking should indicate. The photograph on the right is a picture of a crown over the letter U stamp. This stamping which became law on April 1, is the final or definitive proof.

This mark has not been in use since the proof law of became effective in Germany. The new proof law appeared in the Reichsgesetzblatt Reich Law bulletin No.

The new proofing law stuck with the old concept that no small arm which has not been proofed by a state recognized proof house can be brought into general commerce and cannot be sold if it does not bear appropriate proof marks. Each firearm that has passed proof firing must be marked with the suitable mark or stamp. The new proof law calls for marking each of the important parts on a firearm that underwent proof firing, and the parts of the firearm that underwent separate proofing must be marked with the appropriate stamp after passing the tests. The photograph on the right is of the rear tangent sight that is calibrated from 50 to meters.

As with a lot of the Mauser C96 or M parts, there was numerous different variations that were produced. Notice on this rear sight that there is no meter mark and that the mark is read from the left side of the pistol. In other words, the meter mark has been rotated degrees from the picture above.