Original German Pre-WWI Gewehr 88/05 S Commission Rifle by ŒWG Steyr - Dated 1890
Original Item: Only one Available. This is a good example of the iconic German Gewehr 1888 "Commission Rifle", also known as the Gewehr 88, or GEW 88. It was manufactured by the Steyr Mannlicher firearms division of Österreichische Waffenfabriksgesellschaft (ŒWG, Austrian Arms-Manufacturing Company) in Austria.
The rifle then and then saw long service, as indicated by the large number of different markings on the gun. It still retains the original German Regimental Markings on the middle barrel band: R. P. 5. 32.. These are most likely not the first set of markings on the rifle, as this indicates use by the Reserve Pioneer/Engineer Regiment, 5th company, 32nd man.
These rifles were originally chambered for 7.92mm Patrone 88 ammunition and had a fixed magazine. As with virtually all Gewehr 88 rifles in service, this example has the the tell tale "notch" cut into the rear of the receiver ring to accept the slightly longer spitzer-type S Patrone cartridge. This indicates that it was converted to take the 7.92×57mm Mauser S Patrone, and has an S stamped above the chamber, indicating the conversion. The Spitzer-shaped S Cartridge was ballistically superior to the M/88, however the chamber required modification to accept the thicker walled shell casing. This particular rifle does also has notched plates welded to the rear of the receiver on either side to accept the 1905 pattern stripper clips, making this a Gewehr 88/05 S. There is a 1914 date on the magazine floor plate, indicating the year it was converted.
It even retains its very unusual correct M-1888 cleaning rod with double slots, which were often lost or broken over the years. The right side of the receiver is marked Gew. 88. in German blackface type and also has serial number 3810 / W on the barrel and receiver, which is also marked on the trigger guard/ magazine housing. Over the chamber it is marked Œ / WG / STEYR / 1890. However in addition this rifle was then shipped to Germany's World War One Ally TURKEY, who stamped a CRESCENT MOON with Turkish writing on all of the bolt components.
Rifle is in good used condition, with a solid stock and metalwork with a a good deal of the original blued finish. The receiver and bolt were originally bright steel, and have faded with a nice patina. The stock does not have any repairs we can see, and the original German proofs are visible in many areas. It does have wear on the bolt bearing surfaces, and the bore is somewhat worn. Lands and grooves can still be seen, but they are rounded, and the finish does have some oxidation.
An absolutely genuine GERMAN contract M-1888 Service Rifle issued to a German Infantry Regiment in 1896 and subsequently shipped as Military Aid to Turkey during or before World War One. This possibly saw service on TWO fronts of the Great War. Fully cleaned and ready to display.
History of the Gewehr 88
In 1886, the French Army unveiled the Modelle 1886 "Lebel" rifle. There was an immediate reaction in German military circles bordering on hysteria. Why? Because the Lebel was the world's first small bore military rifle using an efficient smokeless powder cartridge. Now, the Lebel, which used a tubular magazine located under the barrel was not a particularly noteworthy design, but the power and flat trajectory of the new French 8mm round far outclassed the 11mm Reichspatrone black powder round used in the contemporary German infantry rifle, the Mauser 71/84.
In this rather charged atmosphere, the German Gewehr Prfungs Kommission (GPK - Rifle Testing Commission) went to work. Initially, the idea was to revise the Mauser Gewehr 71/84 to use a small caliber smokeless powder round based on the old 11mm black powder Reichspatrone. To this extent, production machinery was ordered from the Ludwig Loewe Company of Berlin-Charlottenburg in December, 1887. As things progressed, the GPK became disillusioned with this technical approach, and so a rather strange hybrid of ideas took shape.
The bolt design was highly revised by a Spandau Arsenal technician named Louis Schlegelmilch and features a separate bolt head. The ensuing rifle had a Schlegelmilch/Mauser action, a five shot clip loaded Mannlicher style magazine (note: while the clip falls out as with the Mannlicher clips, this one was markedly improved in that it could be loaded with either end down as opposed to only one end on the true Mannlicher), and a full length barrel jacket designed by Armand Mieg. The pitch and profile of the rifling were copied directly from that of the Lebel. The cartridge chosen was a modified Swiss style rimless design based on the ideas of Eduard Rubin. By March 23, 1888, the Bavarian military observer in Berlin, General von Xylander reported that the development was virtually complete.
Field trials for the new rifle were completed in November, 1888, and the GPK recommended that it be adopted immediately. The adoption orders were signed by Kaiser Wilhelm II on November 12, 1888. Issue of the Gewehr 88 as the new rife was designated, were first made in the spring of 1889 to the XV and XVI Armeekorps stationed in Elsass-Lothringen. Issue to the Bavarian military units began in October 1889, and by August 1890, all Prussian, Saxon, and Wrttemberger line units had been re-equipped.
The Gewehr 88 was made by the three primary Prussian arsenals at Danzig, Erfurt, and Spandau, a smaller Bavarian establishment at Amberg, as well as several private contractors, including the Ludwig Loewe Company, Osterreichische Waffenfabrik Gesellschaft (Steyr), and Haenel. Production figures up to the time production ceased in 1897 are as follows:
Prussian Government Arsenals: 750,000
Year of Manufacture: 1890
Caliber: 7.92×57mm Mauser
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Overall Length: 49 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: 5 round internal magazine
This product is not available for shipping in US state(s)
This product is not available for international shipping.
IMA considers all of our antique guns as non-firing, inoperable and/or inert. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 921(a)(16) defines antique firearms as all guns made prior to 1899. This law exempts antique firearms from any form of gun control or special engineering because they are not legally considered firearms. No FFL, C&R or any license is required to possess, transport, sell or trade Antique guns. All rifles and muskets sold by IMA that were manufactured prior to 1899 are considered Antiques by the US BATF (United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms). Therefore, all of IMA's Antique guns may be shipped to all US States and most nations around the world.
These antique guns are not sold in "live" condition. They are sold as collector's items or as "wall hangers". Any attempt at restoring an antique gun to be operational is strongly discouraged and is done so at the risk of the customer. By purchasing an antique gun from IMA you thereby release IMA, its employees and corporate officers from any and all liability associated with use of our Antique guns.
Pre-1899 Manufacture, no licenses required, allowed to ship to almost any deliverable address across the globe. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services.
Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon