Original Imperial German Mauser Model 1871/84 Rifle by Spandau with Chinese Legation Marking - Serial 2160
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very interesting service worn example of the Mauser Model 1871/84 rifle, the first Magazine rifle widely used by the German Empire. At one time covered with Imperial German inspection and acceptance markings, many of these are now faded or completely worn away due to decades of use in service.
The serial number 2160 is present on the barrel and receiver, while the other components are all non-matching, or no longer bear any markings. We can no longer see a clear date on the receiver, however these were all made 1888, and we think we can see a faint "85" where the date would be. The "I. G. Mod. 71/84." is completely worn off the receiver, and overall the rifle shows wear on all surfaces.
The top of the chamber is marked Crown over SPANDAU, for the Prussian (and later Imperial) Spandau arsenal in Berlin, a storied production plant that would produce weapons up until 1919, including the famous MG08 Maxim. Below this is the Crown over FW proof for Kaiser Wilhelm I, who used this cypher during his reign 1861-1888.
The most interesting feature of this pistol is the faded box cartouche on the right side of butt stock, which contain partial CHINESE Characters. We cannot make them out clearly, but comparison to other rifles used in China show similar markings. This rather indicates that this Pistol saw service with the PRUSSIAN / GERMAN LEGATION perhaps in Peking or at the Prussian trade center in South Western China. You remember the Movie 55 DAYS AT PEKING with David Niven, Ava Gardner and Charlton Heston, who of course saves the day. This Movie portrayed what happened in the BOXER REBELLION around 1900 but ended up being the Conclusion of the OPIUM WARS the European Powers had been fighting in China since 1860.
The rifle is still complete with all major parts intact and functional. It cycles correctly, with a strong dry fire, and the magazine feed mechanism and cutoff work correctly. However, the spring for the magazine cutoff is bent outwards, so it no longer holds the lever in place, so it swings freely. We checked the bore, and it is in very good condition, with clear lands and grooves and a mostly bright finish. There is a bit of fouling and oxidation, but the bore is definitely the least worn part of this rifle.
As mentioned before, the exterior shows a lot of wear, both the metalwork and the stock. The wood has been cleaned many times, removing many of the original markings almost completely, but also giving it a worn patina that is impossible to duplicate.
This is a chance to add a really interesting Mauser rifle to your collection. Ready to display!
Years of Manufacture: 1884-1888
Caliber: 11x60mmR Mauser
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 32 inches
Overall Length: 51 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: 8 Round Tubular Magazine
Originally adopted as the Gewehr 71 or Infanterie-Gewehr 71, or "Infantry Rifle 71 ("I.G.Mod.71" was stamped on the rifles themselves) this was the first rifle model in a distinguished line designed and manufactured by Paul Mauser and Wilhelm Mauser of the Mauser company, and later mass-produced at Spandau arsenal.
Paul Mauser developed his bolt-action rifle from 1866 to 1871. During 1870-71 trials with many different rifles took place, with the "M1869 Bavarian Werder" being the Mausers' chief competitor. The Mauser was provisionally adopted on 2 December 1871, pending the development of an appropriate safety. With support from the government's Spandau arsenal, the improvements to the safety mechanism were completed and the rifle was formally accepted on 14 February 1872 as Infantry Rifle Model 1871 by the German Empire excluding Bavaria. The action was not based on its predecessor, the Dreyse needle gun which had seen service during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, and which was found to have a number of weaknesses.
The now well known Mauser "wing" type safety lever was developed for the Gewehr 71. The Gewehr 71 is a conventional looking bolt action chambered in 11mm using black powder cartridges. The action included only a bolt guide rib as its single locking lug, locking forward of the receiving bridge. The original design was a single-shot. The design was updated in 1884 with an 8-round tubular magazine designed by Alfred von Kropatschek, making this Germany's first repeating rifle. This version was designated the Gewehr 1871/84. A version of this repeater was adopted by the Ottoman Empire. Designated the M1887, it differentiated from the M71/84 in that it had a side mounted cleaning rod, a second locking lug on the rear of the bolt, and it was in caliber 9.5×60mmR, which Paul Mauser touted as the most efficient (black powder) cartridge. In the early 20th century a few were converted to 7.65×53mm smokeless by the arsenal in Ankara.
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