View Full Version : Mysterious Mauser Marking
08-30-2010, 09:02 AM
Help! I am baffled by these markings.
The rifle appears to be a Chilean Type 95 (from the backsight design) 15374- but one of the early ones made up using the bolts with the flat base left over from Spanish Type 93 production. The rifle has been competently shortened (not Bubba-ed) to make a carbine that looks like the Chilean Type 95 carbine, but has no trace whatsoever of a national crest or coat of arms. 15378I can also assure you all that there is no trace of such a marking having been present and ground or polished off.
The only clue on the metal is the mysterious marking just in front of the number on the barrel15373 and receiver. 15375On most Mausers this is a letter indicating the series, as the numbers only ran up to 9999 and then repeated. But this is not a letter of any kind that I can recognize. I have searched through Lapin, Ball and Olson, and can find nothing like it.
Is it a monogram of some kind? Or a marking in a non-European language?
To make it even more mysterious - it has clear British civilian London proof marks from the time range 1904-1925 (according to Wirnsberger).15377
On the wood, right side, about where the the bolt handle rests in the closed position, there is a stamp that looks like some kind of crest.15376 Similar to an S inside a shield. Once again, nothing in Lapin seems to fit. The quality of the wood is excellent.15372
Can anyone help in identifying this rifle? Why is there no national emblem or trace thereof? What is the mysterious symbol in front of the number? Or the crest (?) on the stock, And how on earth did it come to end up with London proofs? All contributions welcome!
PS: the extra backsight fitted to the rear of the receiver is not original, but is the add-on diopter backsight I use to test the rifle rather than my eyes!
08-30-2010, 09:09 AM
Sorry lads, I forgot to say that the rifle is a DWM model in 7x57.
Looking again, I think the crest on the stock is an S-T monogram. So who used such a monogram?
08-31-2010, 06:11 AM
A proper Chileno Mauser will be marked as such: MAUSER CHILENO MOD. 95. with crest on the receiver ring and the previous inscription on the left-hand receiver rail.That said, quite a number of Chilean Mausers went to South Africa Some ended up with OVS stamps on them. Other rifles of similar pattern but commercial manufacture also went there.
This rifle uses the 95 action but is not a Chilean military rifle and never has been.
It is my guess (and guess it is, definitely) that it is a civilian-type Carbine, possibly one of a small lot. I have no idea who it might have been sold to or made for, but such were built because not everyone wanted to cart a 30-inch barrel about on horseback. Civilian rifles of military pattern were available from many gunsmiths and feature prominently in the 1911 Adolf Frank catalogue.
As to use in the Second Boer War, I think this entirely possible and likely the truth of the matter.
I think that if it were mine, I would be googling for information on any small local unit which saw service in that sad war which fit the bill insofar as title was concerned.
Hope this helps.
08-31-2010, 04:39 PM
Thanks Smellie, I appear to have a "carbinified" example of the first series (no series letter) of 93-based full-length Mausers ordered by ZAR from DWM. The full story is on the parallel thread in the Lee Enfield forum.
Patrick, this certainly looks like a shortened Boer Mauser. I collect Boer rifles but have never seen one done like this, so it is very interesting to see. Can you post a pic showing the maker's name? (Should be DWM if it is Boer and lacks the A or B prefix). It is not an OVS Mauser, so would be from a Transvaal (ZAR) commando. Can you also show the wood just below the serial number on the receiver - the wood should also bear the same serial number in that place. Can you also show the bolt and its number, and the buttstock cartouche?. Can you show close-ups of the front swivel sling?
As far as identifying burger ST, Stephanus is the likely christian name, and Terblanche, Tonder and Theron come to mind, but you will not be able to find who it was without more clues.
As far as the carving, Boer rifles (once issued) belonged permanently to the individual burger, not to the government. To prevent pilfering and for pride, many Mausers and Martinis were carved - but usually only fully named in the first part of the war. After June 1900 when the capitals of the Republics had fallen, Britain annexed the territories and could (and sometimes did) hang those who fought on. Having your name on a Mauser could mean a rope around your neck. So when I come across named Mausers with dates of battles, the dates tend to be pre-July 1900. Names after that date tend to be missing or initials only.
09-01-2010, 08:15 AM
OK RObD, her are the latest phots.
Clearly matched system. DWM. Trigger guard and magazine plate also match system. Bolt is mismatched, but correct 93 type with flat base and sear interlock. Headspacing is good (6-8 thou as far aas I can measure) so maybe bolt swapped for better/best fit.
My camera is not good enough for macrophotography, but the mystery symbol is also on the knob of the bolt handle. Number 20 in circle on butt is upside down and a bit skewy OR something else that looks remarkably like a 20.
Thought: If a rifle belonging to an individual, why the 20. Or could the ST (or TS) monogram refer to a commando, this being rifle no. 20 of that commando?
I hope you can help to disperse the fog!
09-01-2010, 08:20 AM
Ok, this time with photos!
Patrick, the circle with the squiggle in it is the DWM monogramme. It's not a No. 20, you'll find it on the right side of the butt, bolt, receiver etc of all DWM Boer Mausers.
Commandos did not number their men or their rifles. ST or TS will be the burger's initials. If it's TS, then one famous owner could be General Tobias Smuts.
Bolt mismatch Boer Mausers are common, the bolts being swapped on commando or when surrendering.
Your Boer Mauser DWM no 4900 was in the final batch (of a total 30,000 Mauser rifles) ordered by the Transvaal republic (ZAR). The DWM rifles numbered 1125 - 9999 were shipped from Germany on 6/6/1897 on S.S. Kruger. The rifles went via Lorenco Marques (now Maputo) and then by train to Pretoria, where they were accepted on 16/8/1897.
The fact that your rifle is heavily modified suggests it was used late into the war, and the initials ST instead of a full name also support that. It was almost certainly captured in the War and brought back, the carbines being particularly popular with imperial troops because they could be brought back in duffle bags without cutting the stock.
09-02-2010, 03:23 AM
Thanks RobD, that is amazing information. I did find it odd that the "20" should be upside down and skewy.
Where did you get the dates etc. from? Have you got a book/written a book that you can recommend?
The seller had no idea of all this, and neither did I. I was just intrigued by the total lack of national emblems on the receiver and the British proof markings. So I bought the rifle for what counts here as a wallhanger price, and am delighted to find that I have not just another Bubba-ed Mauser, but a rifle with a real historical background.
As I have a BPCR competition this weekend, with my "dug up out of a bog" M1871, it will be at least 2 weeks before I can report whether "S.T." still groups satisfactorily or not. I really, really hope so.
09-02-2010, 06:04 AM
RobD, can you provide a photo of a good example of the DWM butt monogram? I know the monogram as stamped on P08s, but the metal stamp version seems far too complex for stamping on wood.
09-02-2010, 10:59 AM
It was sold commercially in England sometime after 1954. The bolt and receiver should have London Proof House proofs.
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