The Infernal Mauser Pistol

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Re: The Infernal Mauser Pistol

Postby GrantRCanada » 06 Mar 2016 05:58

As a "firearms guy", I can hopefully shed some light on the concept of "service" or "issue" pistols.

Until the Great War, those terms would properly apply to handguns supplied by the War Department to Other Ranks for whom such a sidearm was deemed necessary or appropriate. Until well into the 20th century, Commissioned Officers were never "issued" handguns (or much of anything, for that matter) ... being required to supply all of their kit - including weapons - at personal expense.

An Officer might choose to equip himself with a revolver of the current War Department service pattern, but would necessarily have to purchase a commercially-produced version of it, privately. He was at least as likely to outfit himself with some model other than the standard-issue service revolver pattern - often of a higher quality - such as these examples from my collection -

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Although British handguns were certainly the most common choices, as has already been noted the Mauser C96 pistol became fairly popular -

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Re: The Infernal Mauser Pistol

Postby GrantRCanada » 06 Mar 2016 06:14

rclpillinger wrote:... I would be interested to see a picture of the Mauser broomhandle ...

Although not in my collection (unfortunately) here is a lovely example of a Mauser "Broomhandle" pistol retailed by Rodda of Calcutta and Birmingham -

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Re: The Infernal Mauser Pistol

Postby GrantRCanada » 06 Mar 2016 06:39

95th wrote:Those large slow moving heavy 455 lead rounds would definitely hit you like a ton of bricks!

Oh, indeed they would!

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Re: The Infernal Mauser Pistol

Postby 95th » 06 Mar 2016 21:00

Wow that's good expansion!
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Re: The Infernal Mauser Pistol

Postby Mark » 07 Mar 2016 12:03

Thanks for the additional info, Grant! That all certainly now makes sense.

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Re: The Infernal Mauser Pistol

Postby rclpillinger » 09 Mar 2016 12:30

Grant

That information is just what I was looking for; thankyou very much. The Mauser pistol would seem to be very much the "must-have" item of kit for an officer, and would probably make one feel much safer in a war zone, although, having tried to fire a pistol at about 50 yards in the distant past, I wonder how accurate an automatic pistol at 1,000 yards can ever be. How much would this pistol have cost in 1899 as compared to and Webley?

My last question is perhaps more specific; as my Grandfather was promoted form R. Q. M.S. to Hon. Lieutenant and Quarter Master during February 1900 when the Regiment was at Modder River Station, would he have already been carrying a pistol, or would he have been issued one. In other words, how did the Army cope with promotion in the field? I ask because officially at this move from N.C. O. to a Commission I believe that the consent of the Crown was, in theory, necessary.

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Re: The Infernal Mauser Pistol

Postby RobD » 13 Mar 2016 18:05

As regards the accuracy of teh C96 at 1000 metres, I think the general idea at that range is that of harassing or suppressing fire, directed at a body of men or horsemen, rather than actually hitting an individual man.
I quote from http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg/de/mauser-c-96-e.html: "... 1000 meters distance the average bullets spread was about 4 meters, but, due to high velocity ammunition (the 7.63mm Mauser round produced muzzle velocities of about 440 meters per second, or 1450 feets per second), the effective range was about 150 or 200 meters, especially with shoulder stock attached."
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Re: The Infernal Mauser Pistol

Postby schooner » 16 Nov 2016 21:22

In the case of an officer purchasing his own sidearm, what would a C-96 Mauser cost compared to Webley revolver?
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Re: The Infernal Mauser Pistol

Postby Burgher » 20 Dec 2016 11:34

The Mauser C96 (Construktion 96) was one of the first commercially available semi-automatic pistols. It was originally produced by Mauser from 1896 to 1937, but unlicensed copies of the gun were also manufactured in Spain and China in the first half of the 20th century. The distinctive characteristics of the C96 are the integral box magazine in front of the trigger, the long barrel, the wooden shoulder stock which can double as a holster or carrying case and a grip shaped like the handle of a broom. The grip earned the gun the nickname "Broomhandle" in the English-speaking world because of its round wooden handle.

The Mauser C96, with its shoulder stock, long barrel, and high-velocity cartridge, had superior range and better penetration than most other hand guns of its time. The 7.63×25mm Mauser cartridge was the highest velocity commercially manufactured pistol cartridge until the advent of the .357 Magnum cartridge in 1935. The pistol could also be re-loaded quickly with a stripper clip carrying 10 rounds, which was pushed down into the box magazine by finger. Compared to a relatively inaccurate (at longer ranges) and slow firing Webley, the C96's popularity is easy to explain.

Within a year of its introduction in 1896, the C96 had been sold to various governments, and commercially to civilians and individual military officers. During the Boer War (1899-1902) the Mauser C96 pistol was extremely popular with both Boer and British officers, who often purchased them privately. Mauser supplied the C96 to Westley Richards in the UK for resale, while the Boer governments also imported them. By the onset of World War I, however, the C96's popularity with the British military had waned. As a military sidearm, the pistols saw service in various colonial wars, as well as World War I, The Easter Rising, the Estonian War of Independence, the Spanish Civil War, the Chinese Civil War and World War II. The C96 also became a staple of Bolshevik Commissars and various warlords and gang leaders in the Russian Civil War, known simply as "the Mauser". Winston Churchill was fond of the Mauser C96 and used one at the Battle of Omdurman and during the Boer War; similarly, Lawrence of Arabia carried a Mauser C96 for a period during his time in the Middle East in World War 1.

I recently bought an early C96 (manufactured in 1897) and have fired it and seen other collectors fire theirs. It is very accurate for a hand gun even at longer ranges, especially when using the clip-on stock. The "infernal" part comes in the complicated self loading mechanism. You have to cock the hammer to open the breech and a stripper clip must be inserted to close the breech again. You can close it by pulling back the breech with one hand while holding down a small pin in the breech with your other hand's finger, but it will easily snap closed on your finger if you are not careful. Since it is self loading and difficult to see if there is a round in the magazine or chamber accidents can happen if you are not extremely diligent. I have seen a seasoned collector discharge a round by accident (fortunately into the ground in front of him) on the range due to this. Imagine what a bunch of bored young officers who were not used to this new gun's mechanism could have gotten themselves into! And that in the confined space of a ship! When we have antique firearm shooting days at our club the C96 and P08s usually get special attention from our range officers.
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Re: The Infernal Mauser Pistol

Postby grumpy » 20 Dec 2016 22:31

My understanding is that by 1914 at the latest officers were required to possess a pistol that fired issue ammunition, which I believe was 0.455".

Given that orders were often honoured in the breach, surely this ruled out the Mauser and other smaller calibre weapons?

I know nothing about pistols [obviously!].

Please can someone comment?
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