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.

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