From Academic Kids

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Mauser Logo

Mauser is the common name of German arms manufacturer Mauser-Werke Oberndorf Waffensysteme GmbH, as well as the line of bolt action rifles they built for the German armed forces. Their designs were widely popular and have been exported to a number of countries, and their design remains the model on which almost every successful bolt action rifle has been built.



What was to become Mauser started on July 31, 1811, when Friedrich I of Württemberg established a royal weapons factory in Oberndorf, a small town in the German Black Forest. The factory opened for business the next year, employing 133 workers.

Mauser Model 71
Mauser Model 71
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Mauser Model 71/84

In 1867 Wilhelm and Paul Mauser developed a rifle using an improved rotating bolt system for breechloaders based off the Chassepot (fusil modele 1866), itself an improved version of, and based off a earlier Prussian design. The Franco-prussian war had shown their rifle inferior to the Chassepot, so in 1871 the most recent version of their design became the standard German infantry rifle beating out the M1869 Bavarian Werder. The Mauser design was known in service as the Gewehr 71 (infantry weapon model 1871), Gew 71 or G71 for short. Production started at the Oberndorf factory for the infantry version firing an 11 x 60 mm round from a long 850 mm barrel, and shorter versions were introduced with the 700 mm barreled jaeger and 500 mm cavalry carbine. A number of slightly modified versions were widely sold to other countries, with rounds that would today be considered very large, typically 9.5 to 11.5 mm in caliber.

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8mm Mauser, Spitzer head

In 1886 the French Lebel Model 1886 introduced the clearly superior smokeless powder to the industry, allowing for high-powered smaller rounds with accuracy out to 1,000 yards. The next year Vetterli-Vitali introduced the box magazine to rifle design, dramatically improving reload times and general reliability. The German army introduced both of these features into their own service with the Mannlicher Model 1888, better known as the 1888 Commission Rifle, which was chambered for a round designated "7.92 x 57J". The design had a round head however, and it would not be until later that a spitzer bullet with a sharp point was developed and entered service, which was done in response to the french changing over to a pointed bullet. Only later versions of their rifles, or converted ones could fire the differently shaped rounds.

Model 92

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Mauser Model 92

Paul started work on his own designs using box magazines, but had trouble with the design and instead used a long spring-loaded tube under the barrel for several models. In 1892 he designed a new extractor, the small claw that pulls the empty cartridges out of the barrel after firing, that did not rotate with the bolt and helped prevent "double feeding" of rounds from a box magazine he had been struggling with. Four hundred of a shorter carbine version known as the Model 92 were sold to the Spanish Navy using a new smokeless powder in a 7.65 mm caliber round.

Model 93

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Mauser Model 93

The next major innovation was the Model 93, which introduced a short staggered-column box magazine holding five 7 x 57 mm rounds flush with the bottom of the rifle, which could be quickly reloaded by pushing a strip of rounds down from the top of the open bolt. The new 7 x 57 round became the standard round for the Spanish armed forces, as well as for the militaries of several Latin American nations, and is dubbed, in common usage, the "7 mm Mauser". This model was widely employed by the Spanish Army, and was used to tremendous effect during the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba where 700 Spanish regulars held off an attack by 15,000 US troops armed with .30-40 Krag-Jørgensen for twelve hours. This led the US to develop their own version of the Mauser design, which would become the Springfield 1903 rifle.

Model 94

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Mauser Model 95

The results of this battle were seen around the world, and orders soon poured in for Mauser rifles. Turkey purchased the Model 93, Brazil and Sweden the Model 94. The Model 95 was very similar to the Model 93, and was sold to Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, the South African Republic (Boer Transvaal and Orange Free State), China and Iran. The South African versions faced the British during the Boer War and proved deadly at long ranges, forcing the British to design their own rifle on the Mauser pattern, eventually delivering the SMLE which would remain the standard British infantry weapon until the 1950s.


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Mauser Model C96 Pistol

In 1896 Mauser also branched out into pistol design, producing the design of another team of brothers, Fidel, Friedrich, and Josef Feederle as the C96. This design was rather impractical due to the forward mounting of the magazine making it so nose heavy that many were equipped with a small stock to keep it under control. Nevertheless its distinct "broomhandle" shape remains well known to this day. Over a million C96's were produced between 1896 and 1936 when production ended.

In 1897 the Mausers were given control of the factory, forming Waffenfabrik Mauser AG.

Model 98

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Mauser Model 98

In 1898 the German army also purchased a Mauser design, The Model 98 incorporated all of the improvements of earlier models, and entered German service as the Gew. 98. Copying the key feature from the British SMLE, the 98 used a rear-mounted bolt handle that was easier to access than the older designs that placed the handle directly over the bolt, forward of the trigger. In 1905 the "spitzer" round was introduced, in response to the French adoption of a pointed round, which offered better ballistic performance. It copied the pointed tip design instead of the previous rounded nose profile, and most existing Model 98's were rechambered for this new round, designated "7.92 x 57IS". Pointed rounds reduced the bullet's ability to wound, especially at shorter ranges but made up for it though improved range.

A number carbine versions known as Karabiner 98's had been introduced and used in World War I, some were even shorter than the later K98k. These carbines were originally only distributed to cavalry troops but later in the war to the special stormtroop units as well. A version developed in the 1930's from the Karabiner 98b, the Karabiner Kurz (carbine, short) was adopted by Nazi Germany as the standard infantry rifle in 1935, and would serve until the end of World War II, known in service as the K98k or often just KAR 98.


Mauser Model 98k
Mauser Model 98k

The K98k "Mauser" was the most common infantry rifle in service within the German Army during World War II. The design was based off developed from the Karabiner 98b, one of carbines developed from the Model 1898 mentioned before. The K98k was first adopted by the Wehrmacht in 1935 to be the standard rifle, with many older versions being converted and shortened as well as the design itself entering production.

In the name K98k, the first K stands for karabiner (carbine) and the second k for kurz (short). The "98" is derived from the earlier rifle's year of adoption (1898), though the carbine itself was adopted in 1935.

The rifle has a bolt action and uses 7.92 x 57 mm rounds. It has an effective range of about 500 metres, but when fitted with a high-quality scope, its range increases to 900 metres. The K98k has a 5 round internal magazine and is clip fed. Over 14 million of these rifles were produced by various manufacturers. However, this number includes versions of the rifle other than the K98k.

Full name: Karabiner 1898 Kurz; Caliber: 7,92 x 57 mm; Weight: 4 kg (8.9 lb); Length: 1250 mm Barrel: 740 mm, 4 grooves, right hand twist Mechanism: Mauser bolt action Magazine: 5 round integral box Effective Range: 500 m

See Karabiner 98k for more.

Civilan Market

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Modern Mauser Model 94 with telescopic sight

Mausers were readily adapted as hunting rifles. In Africa, so called Safari rifles were often made from Mauser rifles. These rifles were often rechambered in larger rounds up to and including .50 cal (12.7mm). The adaptions usually consisted of shortening the foregrip and barrel, rechambering to popular British rounds, and minor alterations to the action, although the rifle was left fundamentally Mauser designed. In the late 19th century and early 20th century companies who made alterations were generally Commonwealth based and developed several proprietry big game rounds specifically for hunting large and dangerous game. Today large and small bore Mauser derived rifles are made all over the world for the civilan market and are very popular with hunters in Africa, Australia, North America, and Europe.


Mauser Post 1940

In 1940 Mauser was invited to take place in a competition to re-equip the German army with a semi-automatic rifle, the Gewehr 41. The requirements specified that the design should not drill holes into the barrel, thereby requiring mechanisms that proved unreliable. Two designs were submitted, and the Mauser version, the G 41(M) failed miserably in testing and was cancelled after a short production run. Walther's version did not do much better, but was later improved with the addition of a simpler gas-actuated system.

With the fall of Germany at the end of the war, Oberndorf came under French control, and the entire factory was dismantled by the occupying forces. All records in the factory were destroyed on orders of the local US Army commander. Edmund Heckler, Theodor Koch and Alex Seidel, former Mauser engineers, saved what they could and used it to start Heckler und Koch. Heckler und Koch has since taken over the role of Germany's main small-arms manufacturer. Mauser, now a subsidiary of Rheinmetall, still manufactures autocannons, such as the Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon used in the Eurofighter.

Persian Mauser (

de:Mauser (Waffe) fr:Mauser he:מאוזר nl:Mauser no:Mauser


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