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Also known under a variety of other names, including C96, M96, Bolo, P-7.63, Broomhandle, Mauser Military Pistol, Large Mauser pistol, Pistole 7.63 and the Model 1930, in the context of this website, 'C96' should be taken as referring to a full size Broomhandle Mauser model, with a 5.5 inch barrel, standard sized grips, 10-round fixed magazine fed by stripper clips, and a tangent rearsight, usually marked 50-1000 yards, firing an 85 grain bullet at 1400 feet per second through a 1 in 8 inch barrel twist.

C96 Broomhandle Mauser with fitted wooden Holster/Stock
Kortegaard Engineering

The C96 was designed by Fidel, Friedrich and Josef Feederle. At the time, Fidel Feederle was employed as Superintendent of the Mauser Experimental Workshop 1. Originally known as the P-7.63 or 'Feederle Pistol', it was renamed by Paul Mauser as the 'Mauser Military Pistol'.

In the absence of factory records which show when which pistol was made, or even the number of pistols made in any given year, C96 owners usually attempt to determine the year that their own pistol was produced, based soleylon serial number. Such attempts are fraught with peril! In the early years of production, the big Mauser pistol was not especially popular and sales were poor. In order to make it appear that more pistols had been sold than was actually the case, Mauser skipped large blocks of serial numbers. In the later years it appears that some attempt was made to fill in these missing blocks of numbers. To add to the confusion, pistols made under contract were usually, but not always, serial numbered in their own series, often beginning with number "1". All of which means that pistols which appear, based on their serial number, to have been made early in the production run, may actually have been made much later. The converse may also be true 3.

The first successful prototype was dated 15th March 1895 and on 11th December 1895, its German patent was issued 3. During 1896, some 110 pre-production pistols were built. Full scale production started in April 1897 7.

A US patent (#584479) was granted on 15th June 1897 4. Previously, patents had been granted during 1896 in Great Britain (patent #959), Switzerland (patent #11943), Belgium (patent #119462) as well as several other countries, including Brazil (patent #2088) 5. With only a slight interruption after 1918, production of the Broomhandle Mauser continued until the late 1930's.

The C96 was the first efficient and reliable design for a self-loading pistol. An outstanding feature of the design was the absence of pins or screws in its construction. The design is based upon the frame being milled out from a solid forging, rather than a separate pieces. The receiver and barrel are formed from a single forging. This means that unfortunately a lot of present day C96's have 'shot-out' barrels, and as they cannot be changed out, they have to be bored out to the larger 9mm calibre.7 Loading of the C96 is by single round, or through the use of 10-round stripper clips. The C96 was designed to use 7.63mm ammunition, however, due to military requirements, a number were converted to shoot 9mm ammunition, the same as the later available Luger pistol. These are known as the 'Red 9' C96 models.

A 'Red 9' C96 [in 9mm] and two 10-round stripper clips [7.63mm(L) and 9mm (R)]
Kortegaard Engineering

The Imperial Russians fell in love with both the 7.63 Mauser cartridge (aka the ".30 Mauser") and the Mauser Military Pistol, and were to become one of Mauser's best customers. The October Revolution did not change this fondness for the C96 and the 7.63 Mauser cartridge (it is said a C96 was one of the firearms used in the murder of the Czar and the Royal Family), and both pistol and cartridge remained in general use in the early years of Communist rule 3.

The C96 'basic model'

Overall length 12 inches
Weight 43 ounces
Operation Short recoil
Lock Bolt lock from below has teeth which engage in recesses in bolt. Bolt travels in extension which is part of barrel forging and lock is cammed down out of engagement as barrel travels halts
Mainspring Coil operating through plunger
Disconnector Positive type prevents firing more than one shot per trigger pull
Trigger Pivot type, engaging with sear
Safety Thumb piece on left hand side of receiver

A CGI supplied by Vlad

References and bibliography

If you want to read more about the background of the Mauser C96 'Broomhandle' pistol, read through Kyrie Ellis's excellent 'Mauser FAQ'.

You should also join the dedicated C96 Forum on Yahoo! Groups.


1 Kortegaard Engineering - http://www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/msrstock.htm
2 ???
3 'Guns Review' magazine issue date January 1990
4 'Know Your Broomhandle Mausers' by R.J.Berger
5 'The Mauser Self-Loading Pistol' by James N. Bedford and Jack Dunlap
6 ???
7 'Target Gun' magazine issue date September 1991
8 'Target Gun' magazine issue date March 1990
9 Dennis Kroh from Empire Arms - http://www.empirearms.com/
10 'Target Gun' magazine issue date August 1994
11 Joey from northwest-denture.com - http://www.northwest-denture.com/mauser1896/
12 Nobel Powder Loading Manual
13 Vihtavuori Powder Loading Manual
14 C-R-FFL message thread - http://www.goags.com/~c-r-ffl/archives/199612/msg00187.html
15 'System Mauser : A Pictorial History of the Model, 1896 Self-Loading Pistol' by John W. Breathed, Jr. & Joseph J. Schroeder, Jr.
16 'Guns Review' magazine issue date May 1988 [Christies auction sale item]