Tag Archives: C96

Of Long Barreled Broomhandles

The Mauser Construktion 96, or C96, entered service in 1896 and was made– barring Chinese and Spanish unlicenced copies– into the late 1930s for both the consumer market and military contracts. While the standard barrel length of the “Broomhandle” was 5.5-inches, and shortened “Bolo” length guns ran 3.9-inchers, there are a few that went significantly longer.

And of course, any of these could have been fitted with a stock to make them more “carbine” regardless of barrel length

The M1896 Kavallerie Karabiner, made for just three years, ran a 15-inch barrel with a permanently affixed wooden stock and forend. This was later repeated briefly in the M1917 Mauser trench carbine proposal during the Great War that never reached production.

Then came the 12-inch Karabiner pistols, with detachable stocks.

During the 1980s and 90s, Navy Arms custom made a few batches of faux Karabiners in rifle format, complete with fixed stocks and 16.25-inch barrels to keep them NFA legal.

They were produced from a pile of C96 parts Navy Arms had imported from overseas. (Photo: Morphy)

Morphy’s Auction House has been specializing in these long boys for a minute, having sold several over the years.

Morphy also in 2019 auctioned a one-of-a-kind engraved C96, complete with a 12 inch, slightly heavier custom barrel that was made by the Bohler steel company of Austria.

It went for $3700.

Then there is this, in the current Morphy Collectible Firearms & Militaria auction, running this week.

Chambered in .30 Mauser– the Lord’s caliber for Broomhandles– it is made from an Oberndorf-marked C96 and carries a 16-inch barrel, but is still a pistol.

Bidding is within my range, currently, so maybe we’ll get to bring this one home.

Souvenir of the Big Advance at Cambrai

Turned over in a police firearms surrender, a trophy Luger from a historic Great War battle on the Western Front is now in a museum.

The pistol, a 1911-marked DWM, was collected by the Wiltshire Police during the UK’s National Firearms Surrender this summer. While the majority of firearms collected will be torched, the Luger was passed to the famed Tank Museum in Bovington for them to display.

“Firearms handed into the police during surrenders are sent for ballistic tests to ensure they haven’t been used in crime and are usually then destroyed,” said Wiltshire Police Armourer, Jamie Ross. However, an exception was made for the Luger, which was transferred in unmolested condition. “This live firearm is a part of history and I know that it is a welcome addition to the collection at the Tank Museum,” said Ross.

The intact DWM Parabellum was made in 1911 and, brought back as a war trophy the UK, is in a holster marked “Souvenir of the Big Advance at Cambrai November 1917.” (Photo: The Tank Museum)

More in my column at Guns.com

How about a Wauser?

Here we see what looks to be a 1930s-era C96 “Broomhandle” Mauser Model 712 Schnellfeuer auto pistol (or, Blaster if you prefer…) currently in the Royal Armouries Collection.

However, on closer look, it is a Chinese-made copy of a 712 covered with badly emulated spurious markings and a substandard rust bluing “though appearance is closer to browning.” Marked “Manufactured by the Third Battle Area Arms Repair Department,” the banner scroll reads “Wauser.”

C96s were a cottage industry in China for decades, where they were known as “box cannons” and carried/sold as status symbols among warlords and village strongmen from the Yalu to the Yangtze.