How to Tell What Type of a Mauser I Have

by James Phillips
The Mauser rifle began firing "Spitzer" or pointed projectiles with the Mauser 98 model.

The Mauser rifle began firing "Spitzer" or pointed projectiles with the Mauser 98 model.

The word "Mauser" can refer either to the German weapons manufacturer, the Mauser-Werke Oberndorf Waffensysteme GmbH, or to the series of bolt-action rifles the Mauser-Werke manufacturered for the German armed forces. Mauser exported their design to several nations, so identification of the nationality of a Mauser rifle is important for collectors. Mauser also manufactured a series of pistols and semi-automatic rifles which are much easier to identify than the ubiquitous m-93 and m-98 series rifles.

Weapon Identification

Examine the rifle for an import stamp located along the barrel; this stamp should state the weapon's caliber, model and country of origin. Many imported rifles are stamped according to federal regulations and that stamp will settle your identification process quickly.

Examine the rifle for any other identifying markings on the receiver and on the stock; the original armorer may have stamped the rifle with markings identifying the factory of manufacture. These markings are often used to identify surplus rifles.

Match the cartridge the rifle fires with a likely country of origin and model. Mauser-pattern bolt-actions were manufactured in countries including Germany, Turkey, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Belgium, Argentina and Chile, so the round the rifle fires can help you identify the rifle's origins and model, like the 1891 Argentine, 1909 Argentine, Spanish 1893, Chilean 1895 and the Swedish 1896. Mausers fire 7.65x53mm Argentine/Belgian, the 7x57mm Spanish/Chilean, the 6.5x55mm Swedish and the 7.92x57mm German.

Determine whether your rifle is a Gewehr 98k or Karabiner 98k if your rifle fires 7.92x57mm, as these rifles fired 8 mm Mauser. These rifles were the famed standard-issue rifles of the German army through the first and second World Wars; should the rifle have a two- or three-alphanumeric code on the top of the receiver, the rifle is most likely a Gewehr 98k or Karabiner 98k. These numbers are the ordinance codes of German manufacturers.

Items you will need

  • Mauser rifle

Tip

  • If the rifle is not of German manufacture, but clearly uses the Mauser action, use a combination of rifle caliber and receiver markings to determine the country of origin. You may need to use a Mauser rifle identification guide, as the number of Mauser rifle variants is too great to list here.

Photo Credits

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