Wednesday, January 27, 2016

MMMM. . . Mausers

A couple readers over the last 8 years have asked where the "Mausers and Muffins" name came from.

The Mauser was the first firearm I ever fired. Dad had an old 8 mm Mauser in the closet and when I was about 12, after learning the basics of gun safety, and shooting something much smaller with my Mom (yes, my MOM taught me how to shoot, she was a Deputy in the Sheriff's Department).

Let's just say, that experience gave me a healthy respect for the power of a firearm. This is a gun that wants you to show it who is in charge. Your grip should be strong, the stock, firmly and solidly, placed against your shoulder.  If you want to pick up and play with something light and fluffy that can draw blood if mishandled, go buy a damn kitten.
I've had one in my gun safe ever since, sometimes several of them. A girl needs something to accessorize with her bayonets, right?

Here you can see a crescent emblem on the Model 1938, built at the arsenal in Turkey. Which leads to  today's poston the Turkish Contract models 1890 through 1938. We can spend some time with coffee and 1954 ATF Marked Rifles and some others another morning.

The earliest model of a Turk Mauser I have data on is the 1887. The Ottomans placed their first order with Waffenfabrik Mauser for over half a million rifles patterned after the Gew. 71/84 bolt action rifle. This black powder rifle was to be chambered for the 9.5x60R military round. When the Ottomans terminated the contract, they made the switch to smokeless powder after accepting less than half of their original order.

Then followed the 1890, and the 1893, and the next interesting modification the 1903. Although the Turks had a modern and well equipped army, and upgraded their weapons far more often than other nations in the Middle East, in this rifle the Ottomans were "keeping up with the Joneses". In this case, the German Army, and they ordered rifles modeled after the Gew. 98 and chambered for 7.65x53. (Note: The 7.65x53 and 7.65x54 are essentially the same cartridge and seem to be interchangeable.) It also came with some other small changes similar to previous designs. If you don't know if what you have is this model, the straight bolt handle has a distinctive tear-drop shape. That will give you a solid clue. The stock should also have a pistol grip and the rear receiver bridge will have a "high hump" at the clip loading point. This hump was necessary to support the unique stripper clip in use at the time.

There was also two carbine versions of this rifle with 21.65 and 17.72 inch barrels. When converted to 8mm this is often called an 03/38. This was a gun mentioned above that my Dad had, originally my grandfathers I believe, and one that was the first of its kind that I shot. The really short barreled Mauser was nick-named the 'Camel Carbine' as it was issued to mounted troops, and it had a VICIOUS muzzle blast and recoil. I think the intent was to make me VERY aware of a power of a weapon at an early age. It did that.
Plus when you've been knocked on your ass by the Camel Carbine you're less likely to go running to Mom to whine when you've barely skinned your knee playing outside.
This post's feature is the model 38. The Turkish Republic updated their old rifles to a common configuration commonly know as the Model of 1938 and all in 8x57 Mauser. Although they started the conversations in 1933, ANY rifle converted to that standard is known as the Model 38, even if it was built later. For they were not actually a model of a rifle, but really a standard for rifles to be arsenal reworked.

The Mausers assembled from accumulated parts started during WWII as Turkey became isolated and began assembling their own rifles from stored up parts. The first time both the receivers and parts were made in Turkey was starting in 1940. I'm not an expert by any means, but it appears that all Turkish assembled rifles were marked 1938/K. Kale, for the arsenal where they were assembled. There are also other numerous model 38 Mausers, marked with the 'Ankara' arsenal marking, and these are usually German made rifles that have been refitted. The Home on the Range Mauser is, I believe, a 100% Turk 1943 K. Kale. This is a large ring model with a small shank (normally 0.980 inches in diameter with 0.645 inches of threaded area at 12 TPI) rifle.

The large ring (1.410 inches in diameter) is unique to most Mausers made from 1898 onward. This was along with other features that showed up on the scene at the same time, like the third safety lug, cock on opening, and the gas escape features (after eating a piece of that prime rib I discovered Barkley is equipped with that feature). Though the original idea was for those to take a large shank barrel, the the Ottomans and Turks had large ring receivers made that would accommodate the small, likely to maintain part commonality with their older models. Since they ended up rebarrelling most of them later, it might have been just as good an idea to keep with the old basic Mauser design, but at the time it seemed like a good idea (like making pastry at 5 am).
Having typical 1898 Mauser actions, it's robust and simple. The same techniques used by generations of shooters on Mausers work just fine on this old Turk. And it works for me.

This rifle did get a little "fine tuning" to ensure that all rounds, including old 50's 8 x 57 mm ammo, shoots reliably in the form of a new 24 pound firing pin spring. If you were almost 70 years old, you'd lose a little spring in your step, and the old Mausers are no different. Springs weaken with age and that wear is hereditary with the old Turks. It also has a front sight from a VZ24 Mauser, which puts it on point of aim at 100 yards, rather than 6-8" high at 100 yards as the original sight would have.

Those were really the only changes. This weapon wasn't rebarrelled as many of the old Turkish models were but the birch stock appears newer than manufacturer. Many of the old Turk models are "Frankenguns" with many of them arsenal "reworked" too a more convenient style (read. . a short rifle configuration., typically about 44 inches, this one being 49).

It's a find, and especially at a good price. Like finding anything in the historical market, do your homework, and ask around. Many different rifles can be called the Turkish Model 1938. This would include but is not limited to the GEW 98, Cz 98/22, Turkish Model 1903 and the Model 1893. These are readily available today from varied suppliers for prices ranging from about $150 to several hundred.

Like anything with value to you, sometimes you have to do a little homework and take some time and care when procuring a classic weapon. Quality can range from the "barn fresh" to the painstakingly crafted and cared for. But you won't regret the acquaintance.

As for the "muffins" in Mausers and Muffins?

Well, THAT is easy to answer.