Monday, December 26, 2016

Mauser C96 Broomhandle Range Report

Saturday night after dinner I went along with my dad to his club's indoor range and had the place to ourselves. We put 100 rounds of PPU 7.63x25 through the Broomhandle and it ran perfectly.

My first 15 shots, fired at 7 yards:

My point of aim was 6 o'clock on the black. The flyer was my first shot, fired one handed. I switched to a two-hand hold for the remainder.

Shooting impressions:

  • Loading a pistol with a stripper clip definitely isn't as handy as a detachable box magazine. In the case of the this pistol and these clips, you need to wiggle the clips down into the charging slot. They are a tight fit.
  • At ~40 oz. empty, the recoil is pretty mild but after awhile the edges of the frame start to dig into the web of your hand. When shot as a carbine it recoils like a .22.
  • The trigger is similar to that of a Mauser rifle. I.e., it is a two-stage trigger. It's a bit heavy but not at all unmanageable. There's little to no creep and not much overtravel.
  • The barleycorn front sight is hard to see with 48 year old eyes. It's worse when you shoot it as a carbine, because it's closer.
  • Muzzle blast and flash is definitely more noticeable when shot as a carbine, since the muzzle is closer to your face, but isn't too bad. I noticed the amount of flash varied. Some rounds had little visible flash but others had a nice fireball. However, the rounds without much flash had just as much recoil and blast as the flashier rounds.
  • Cases ejected straight up towards the front and then bounced all over the place with most landing in front of the firing line.
  • When I did my part it shot into about a 2" group at 7 yards when shot with two hands. Mean POI was about 1.5" to 2" high.
Dad took a short video of me shooting the Broom with the stock on*:

Having fired a stocked pistol now, I'm even more annoyed with the NFA. A modern stocked pistol with a micro dot sight would be the tits as a traveling gun, a real pocket carbine. Especially in a hot, flat shooting round like 7.63 Mauser or 7.62 Tokarev.

I have wanted a shootable Broomhandle for 40 years and now I finally have one.

* A reminder for those late to the show: According to the BATFE an original Mauser C96 with an original German stock is not considered a Short Barreled Rifle under the NFA.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Field Stripped the C-96 Broomhandle

So, as a follow up, I field stripped the Broomhandle tonight after dinner. Getting it apart was difficult, because the old grease or oil had congealed and glued the floorplate on, and the lock work into the receiver. I dribbled some FP-10 on and let it soak it for a few minutes and was able to get it apart. I spent some time tonight scrubbing congealed goo off the metal parts with a copper Chore-Boy. I'd love to know how many decades it's been since the last time this pistol was taken apart.

The floorplate and grip serial numbers don't match the frame, but at least the floorplate is an old replacement. The grips probably are, too. They are correct for the pistol.

Now that I am able to look through the bore from breech to muzzle, I am amazed. It looks new.

I currently have the lock work soaking in Hoppe's No.9 and FP-10. I'll disassemble it all the way to get out the remaining grease tomorrow. It's hard to tell from the pic but the bolt stop and safety still have a lot of the fire blue left. You can see some of the fire blue on the rear sight's elevation slide. It's almost the same color as blue Dykem layout fluid.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Wartime Commercial Mauser C-96 Broomhandle

Two years ago I came into a Mauser C-96 Broomhandle pistol, which has long been one of my Grail guns. The pistol is in fair condition externally but the bore is shot out. I also posted pictures of the gun taken down to its constituent parts.

In early 2015 I sent the barrel and bolt to Redman's to have the barrel relined for 7.63 Mauser but he returned it to me because it wasn't a good candidate for such work. Specifically, he uses a piloted reamer to enlarge the bore enough for the liner, and my gun's bore was already too large for the pilot. He was concerned that the reamer would wander and I'd end up with an off-center bore. Worse, it appears that the barrel had already been relined once, which made it unsafe to do again.

At this point the only way to restore that pistol to shooting condition would be to cut the barrel off, bore out the barrel extension, and weld on a new barrel. This was sometimes done back when these guns were in service. See here and scroll down to where the discussion of "hashed barrels." I'm not aware of anyone currently offering this service, and it would be awfully expensive.

Naturally, this didn't sate my desire for a functional Broomhandle, that I've had since I was a kid in the '70s, even before seeing Han Solo wax Greedo in Star Wars.

Well, this weekend I went to a gun show in Oaks, PA and came home with this:

It's another Wartime Commercial with a serial number about 20K lower than my other C-96, which is in far worse shape.

The caliber is 7.63x25 Mauser. It was supposedly a WW2 bring back and came from a high-end York, PA collection. Given the condition, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a World War One bring back. Either way, it appears to have spent the past century being well-cared for.

The original blueing is in excellent shape and the serial numbers on the barrel extension, frame, and bolt match. The bore is excellent. There is still some of the original fire blueing on the rear sight leaf and it's basically intact on the extractor.

There is still some old grease visible in the bolt and the hammer recess. I haven't taken it down yet.

The stock which is in excellent shape is original, but not matching. Since it's an original German stock, BATFE doesn't consider the gun to be an SBR when it's attached. (I have an email to this effect from Tech Branch, addressed to me. See my post from December 16, 2014.) The stock has some pretty nice grain on the left side and it's even visible inside the stock where it's cutout to hold the pistol.

The attachment of the stock to the grip frame is solid, with no wobble. Out of curiosity I attached it to my other C-96, and the fit on that gun is sloppy.

I have some original stripper clips and a few hundred rounds of Prvi Partisan 7.63 Mauser ammo that I bought after I got the first Broom. Damn skippy I'm going to shoot it after I verify that the locking block is in good shape. On my other C96 I replaced all the springs and this one is still more difficult to cock. Because it appears that the gun has seen very little use I'm going to hold off on replacing any springs.

Without getting into specifics, the cost was reasonable for the condition of the gun and stock.

After I shoot it, I will post a range report.