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Thread: Portuguese M1904 and M1904/39 Mauser Vergueiro

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    Really Senior Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
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    Portuguese M1904 and M1904/39 Mauser Vergueiro

    Hi all,

    I thought I would take this time to show two of my favourite firearms. It is a M1904 and M1904/39 Mauser Vergueiro.

    In 1904 the Portuguese adopted the M1904 Mauser Vergueiro. They did this to modernize there armed forces who were mainly using the old black powder designed 1886 Kropatschek rifles. The Mauser Vergueiro is a mix of primarily M98 Mauser features like a internal 5rd stripper clip fed magazine and a bolt designed by a Portuguese officer Jose Vergueiro. The bolt is more reminiscent to a M1888 Commission rifle than anything else, however it is a exceptionally smooth bolt. They did this mainly because even though the Portuguese wanted a rifle like the Mannlicher Schoenauer, they couldn't afford something like that, so the Mauser Vergueiro was more a effective compromise than anything else.

    In 1939 the Portuguese decided to update the M1904s that were in stock and serving around there empire. Basically the M1904s that were serving in Portugal were updated to M1904/39 standards well those in the colonies were generally left in M1904 configuration. The M1904/39 standards were to more closely match the new M1937 M98 Mausers they had just bought.

    Changes included shortening the barrel and rechambering/boring the barrel to 8mm Mauser, bluing the bolt, adding a reinforcing bolt to the stock, drilling a gas vent hole in the chamber, grinding down the rear sight ramp to match the ballistic profile of 8mm Mauser, adding front sight protector wings to the front sight, and adding capture screws to the magazine screws.

    The M1904 which is shown here was at one point part of the Mozambique arsenal (DGMLM Direçao General Militar de Lorenço Marques number 196 of the arsenal). In 1914 this particular rifle is one of the 20,000 that were given to the South Africans to go fight the Germans in East Africa (who rightfully prized these rifles when they captured them). The M1904/39 here was converted to the M1904/39 standard and was likely left in the grease until I received it a couple years ago, as the bore in mint.

    The only real issue with these rifles is that some people have a really tough time assembling and disassembling the bolts (one of the most commonly mismatched parts of these rifles is the safety because of this). I can say though after getting use to it, I can assemble the bolt in about 30 seconds, and disassemble it in less than that.

    Overall I prefer the M1904 to the M1904/39. The weight of the M1904 is 8.6lbs and the M1904/39 is 8.4lbs. However because the M1904 is longer the weight is more balanced and the M1904/39 feels heavier. I think if I had to choose a rifle to take with me to WWI, which was used in WWI the M1904 would have my vote. Well here are some picture which show the evolution.


    The two rifles side by side with the proper M1904 bayonet between them


    Expanded view


    Original bolt in the white on top, the blued bolt on the bottom, note how the bluing is starting to wear from use.


    Gas vent hole drilled in the receiver. Also note that sometimes a M1904/39 will have the 6.5 'x'ed out. There is no set standard on that, so if you are unsure of which model it is the gas hole will tell you.


    What the writing looks like without the hole in it


    Rear sights, the top is original, bottom is the M1904/39, you can clearly see how they ground down the ramp


    Top is original sight, bottom is the M1904/39 sight with protector wings


    They did this by drilling a hole in the front sight and attaching the wings with a screw through them. Issues with this is to disassemble the rifle you must take the protector wings off, and as such you will sometimes find the rifles missing the protector wings, as either people would take them off as they prefer the blade only sight picture or they would lose the screw and be unable to hold the protector wings on.


    Top is original trigger guard, bottom is the M1904/39 trigger guard with the capture screws added. Personally I really like this improvement.


    Bolts disassembled.




    DMGLM 196 marking on the left of the butt stock of the M1904


    DMGLM 196 on the right hand side of the butt stock of the M1904


    FDB? EDB? PDB? Marking on the stock of the M1904, not sure if it is initials, or something else.


    UDF 10133 UII marking on the butt plate of the M1904


    UDF 10133 UII markings on the butt plate of the M1904 from a different angle. UDF stands for the Union Defence Force, the Union being the Union of South Africa
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    Very nice.

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    I understand the Germans, who built them, tried to get the Portuguese to buy GEW98's. But no luck at all, as they insisted on their own design.

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    Thread Starter
    The results of there trials basically said the Austrian-Hungarian Mannlicher-Schoenauer was the best rifle, but due to there delicate financial situation they couldn't afford that. The Gewehr 98 was part of the trial but even though it didn't win some of the features were still pretty good (such as the magazine system and the sights). So the compromise was the much smoother M1904 bolt placed into a modified M98 action.

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