Interested in a Curious Film-Used Mauser?

From time to time, large movie and TV productions leave a mark on firearms history and the market for such items. For instance, trailer loads of resin (heavy dense rubber or plastic) M1 Garand/Carbine, M1918 BARs, MP40 SMGs, and 98K rifle prop guns manufactured for Tom Hanks’ epic Saving Private Ryan, have been sold and resold over the past two decades– some even going on to cause heartburn at airports. This is in addition to a handful of live-fire capable “hero” guns used in close-ups.

Well, it seems that some movie flotsam in the form of stacks of original antique Mauser Infanterie-Gewehr 71/84 rifles in the original 11x60mm (.43 Mauser) are now up for grabs after serving some extra time in the movies.

These guns were originally sold by Navy Arms’ President, Val Forgett III, to Motion Picture Weapons, the company that supplied the prop guns for the Tom Cruise movie “The Last Samurai” and whose owner, Robert “Rock” Galotti, served as Weapons Master on the film, Mr. Galotti recently sold back these guns to Navy Arms and has also supplied letters of authentication, by serial number, for each rifle.

The I.G. 71 was the first bolt-action breechloader ever built by the Mauser brothers and later upgraded to the 71/84 standard that included an 8-round tubular magazine designed by Alfred von Kropatschek, becoming the German Army’s (and Mauser’s) first repeating rifle.

Jager of the Imperial German Army in 1875 By Auguste Legras from the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, note his Mauser 71 rifle

Besides being used by Germany until the Mauser 98 came along to replace the 8x57mm Gewehr 88 rifle in front-line service, the basic Mauser 71 and its later 71/84 would be exported throughout Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia, seeing the elephant in any number of more local dust-ups from the Easter Rising in Ireland in 1916 to defending Ethiopia from Mussolini in the 1930s, with some German Volkssturm units still issued these antiques as late as 1945.

Now the 71/84s used in The Last Samurai are, sadly, not 100 percent correct, having been modded to appear as the more (and brand new) period-appropriate I.G. 71 for the film, complete with new stocks made for the movie including the identical cartouches to the originals and a new black leather sling.

After all, it would have seemed funny had the Emperor’s new model troops been carrying guns with already-worn furniture. However, all metal parts are original.

Navy Arms apparently is selling these in two grades via their Old West Scrounger sister company including a $995 Grade I (shows wear, dents, and scratches, but does not have cracked stocks), an $895 Grade II (which comes complete with a cracked stock).

Being made in the 1880s, you can purchase these rifles and have them shipped directly to your door, as antiques they do not require any paperwork or shipping to an FFL. Plus, you get a rifle that is both a legit warhorse with its own pre-Tom Cruise martial history and a tiny slice of movie magic.

They also have $399 screen used replicas made from solid rubber and painted to have the look and feel of the originals (but the bolts do not move, etc).

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