Mauser Model 1896 "Broomhandle" 7.63mm
I bought this pistol from a fellow who was liquidating an estate sale. I couldn't believe the condition it was in, and was initially very suspicious of whether it had been re-finished at some point.
Note the fire blue on the safety. It's sometimes called "Turquoise blue" for obvious reasons. It's not as robust as the rust blue, but is quite stunning.
A good shot of the bolt showing the fire bluing of the extractor above and the frame stop below. Original? Or reblue? All my examination indicates it's original. Amazing. The bore is equally pristine, though none of my attempts at photographing it have turned out. The whole pistol shows minimal wear.
The serial numbers throughout the pistol, inside and out, are all matching. There is slight evidence of freckling on the barrel, and some bluing fade and patina on the grip straps and trigger well. I would be even more suspicious if these very minor flaws were not present. Very few firearms, indeed, very few anything gets this old without some signs of the passage of time.
Note the crispness of the stampings here, if this is an example of a re-blue, it is amazingly well done. I've seen lots of re-blued pistols over the years, and this one exhibits none of the tell tale signs usually associated with them. All the edges are knife crisp, inside and out. I'm not an expert, but I do have experience, and my experience tells me it's original.
Barrel proof marks. Take note of the bluing wear along the edges, and yet how sharp they remain.
Commercial acceptance stamp, and serial number.
1000 yard graduated site and fire blued sight index. It has just enough edge wear, and minute scratches under the magnifying glass to lead me to believe it's actually original. One of the things to consider when evaluating a piece like this, is to take a look at the whole pistols condition, and balance it against itself. This one seems to pass that test.
The finish is very pristine. What a shame the frame was damaged just behind the bolt stop. Likely resultant from shooting 7.62x25 Tokarev ammunition instead of the 7.63x25 Mauser. They are dimensionally interchangeable, but the Tokarev ammo is much hotter. Don't do it!
I wish I could master the trick of imaging the bore, as it is in great shape as well, and does not appear to have been re-lined.
Field stripping these pistols is an exercise in patience and wonder...they hold themselves together without bolts, screws, or pins.
Matching grip serial numbers.
There is a great piece of leather tog that wraps around the stock, and lashes it to belt or thigh. It's a pity it is no longer with this fine pistol, but reproductions are out there, and while the pistol is all matching, the serial number does not match the stock.
From what I've learned, it was manufactured between 1910 and 1912. Looking pretty good for a 96 year old pistol.
C96 that is...(yuk yuk...sorry)
It is a fantastic example of dead-end in firearms engineering, evolution and history.
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