Mauser Pistol Serial Numbers ((HOT))
There are very few known examples of Mauser 1910 pistols in the serial number ranges from 115000 to 150000 and from 156000 to 200000. These gaps may be from stopping production of the 6.35 mm (.25 cal) model during the war because of greater demand for the 7.65 mm (.32 cal) model.
Mauser Pistol Serial Numbers
The use of existing parts at the end of the war to continue production in the post war economy may explain why many minor differences are encountered in this period. These differences include side plates with and without a Mauser banner, slides with different styles of address stampings, milled or stamped magazine and barrel retaining rod catches, milled or stamped other small internal parts, one and two part strikers, barrels with and without barrel bands, and smooth or button faced barrel retaining rods. The method of stamping serial numbers also varied, with some early examples having the complete serial number stamped on the rear of the frame, and some with partial frame serial enumeration of either three or four digits.
The right side inscription remains the same as on the previous variant through approximately serial number 365900. Between approximately serial numbers 367000-388000 the right side of the slide was stamped in all-capital sans-serif italic characters as follows:
We estimate that approximately 58,300 where made with these features. Many changes occurred in this serial number range. The method of stamping serial numbers varied within this model from external to internal, beginning around serial number 376400. Partial serial enumeration on all except the slide serial number is seen, with either 2, 3, or 4 digits being used. Early examples continue to have a rust blue finish, but this was changed to salt blue around serial number 370000. Sometime between 370000 and 390000, Mauser began to stamp serrations on the bottom of the magazine release.
The grip continues to be either checkered wood or hard rubber with an MW monogram. The magazine body has a bright unblued finish with three witness slots in each side. The magazine base has a square-front notched base in lower serial numbers and a square-front, clipped toed, notched base in higher serial numbers. Magazine bottoms are finished in blue. Most magazines are stamped with the Mauser banner on the base. Between approximately serial numbers 388000-404800 the right side of the slide was stamped in all-capital sans-serif characters as follows:
To give the gun a cleaner look, partial serial numbers were no longer stamped on the back of the frame or on the bottom of the sideplate. The frame serial number was moved to the left side beneath the grip, and the sideplate serial number was moved to the back side of the plate. The front plate of the barrel pin is perfectly smooth, with no grooves on the front or side. The finish is a high-polish salt blue. A few guns are known to have been nickel plated, and some have mixed nickel and blue parts. The curved one-piece grip is either walnut with light checkering, or black plastic. The plastic grip (sometimes said to be hard rubber or bakelite) is a new design with the Mauser powder barrel logo at the bottom on a checkered field.
There are three minor sub-variants, the first having no milled slot for the serial number (serial numbers 401800-423000) and the second having the milled slot (serial numbers 423000-429000). Finally, very late examples, after approximately serial number 428000, have the eagle over N nitro proof mark. The eagle over N proof was used beginning early in 1940. Production is believed to have continued at least through 1939, and possibly into 1940.
Production began in late 1940 at serial number 700,000, as an extension of the serial number range of the Mauser Model 1934 pistol, a much more difficult pistol to manufacture. The early pistols have well-made wooden grips, and are highly polished and richly blued. The first 1350 pistols were made for the commercial market and, because of the low positioning of the grip screws, have become known as the 'Low Grip Screw' variety. Approximately half of this initial production was purchased by Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. All these early low grip pistols are today very rare. At approximately serial number 701345 the grip screws were relocated upward to a more central and sturdier position.
The German Army began HSc procurement with an initial order for 3,000 pistols in early 1941, beginning with serial number 701,345, and, intermittently, ending about #712,000. These pistols are marked with an Eagle/655 inspection stamp on the left rear trigger guard web, a factory firing proof Eagle/N on the right rear trigger guard web and at the front of the right slide. Also a small Army Test Proof stamp was stamped on the left rear grip tang. Subsequent orders were placed by the Army throughout the war, along with pistols procured by the Police and Kriegsmarine, with almost 24% of the total production of 252,000 pistols going to the commercial market.
A second Army variation of about 5,000 pistols consisted of pistols whose serial numbers ranged, intermittently, from about 712,000 to about 745,000. These have an Eagle/655 WaA (Army acceptance) on the left rear trigger guard web and the Eagle/N firing proofs on the right rear trigger guard web and on front of right slide, but have no proof mark on the left rear grip tang. The finish on these pistols is also of the first quality.
The third Army variation of some 4,000 pistols ranged in intermittent serial numbers from about 745,000 to about 790,000. These bear an acceptance mark of Eagle/135 on the left rear trigger guard web and the two Eagle/N firing proofs on the right side. The high quality finish of the earlier pistols starts to decline in this production segment.
The last variation, of some 32,000 intermittently numbered pistols in a serial number range of about #886,000 to #952,000, has the three-line device on the left side of the slide and bears an Eagle/WaA135 acceptance and the Eagle/N proofs. Beginning in the late #940,000 range some pistols were given black plastic grip panels. The very last pistols, in the #949,500 to #952,000 range, were finished with Mauser's phosphate finish, somewhat similar to the U.S. parkerizing finish used on most M-1 rifles, M-1 Carbines and M1911 pistols. The Mauser phosphate finish is variable in color, from a dark grey to an almost green color. These phosphated pistols are quite rare today and, with Eagle/WaA135 acceptance, are highly desirable to military collectors. The Eagle/WaA135 marks are generally 'right side up' on the early phosphate pistols but 'upside down' on the later pistols. Small parts on many of these very late phosphate pistols are usually a mix of older blued parts and later phosphated parts. HScs with frames and slides of different finishes may exist and would be extremely rare and desirable to military collectors.
The full serial number of each pistol is located on the front of the grip frame, just above the magazine. The last three digits of that serial number are located on the bottom of the chamber (stamped) and the flat panel of the slide just under the muzzle (electropenciled).
Mauser's first military contract was with the Ottoman government in 1897. They ordered 1,000 pistols for the royal palace guards. They had their own range of serial numbers, running from 1 to 1000. They differ in that they use a Farsi number system on the tangent sight and serial number, and the weapon is designated in the Muslim calendar year number system "1314" in place of the year of the Gregorian calendar "1896/1897". Markings include a six-pointed star on both sides of the chamber and the crest of Sultan Abdul Hamid II (a trophy of crossed Turkish flags, various polearms, and a collection of his royal awards and honours) and the Muslim year "1314" on the square left rear frame panel. Under the sultan's rule, there was great concern about potential military coups, and most weapons were locked away in armories, including many of the C96 pistols. After the Young Turk Revolution of 1908-1909, these pistols were issued to the army and police for service use. Some were used in combat in World War I, and after the war they were considered obsolete, being put up for sale cheaply to army or police officers. All of this meant that they saw a lot of use and as a result few specimens survive today, many of them in quite harsh conditions.
In 1899, the Italian government ordered Mauser's first major military contract; an order for 5,000 C96 pistols for the Italian Royal Navy. They differ in that their receivers are "slab-sided" (i.e., lacked the milling on the sides found on commercial Mausers). They also have a "ring hammer" (spurless hammer with a hole through its head) instead of the early "cone hammer" (spurless hammer with ribbed cone-like projections on the sides of its head). These guns had their own serial number range, running from 1 to 5000.
The Persian government ordered 1,000 pistols. They have the Persian government's "Lion and Sun" insignia on the rectangular milled panel on the left side of the receiver and the serial numbers range from 154000 to 154999. It is often confused with the Turkish contract Mauser.
The German government purchased 7,800 commercial M1930 pistols in 1940 for use by the Luftwaffe. They have Wehrmacht proof marks and the Mauser serial numbers come from the early- to mid-1930s. The weapon had ceased production in 1937 but the order was filled from remaining stocks. According to Kersten, Moll and Schmid, these were likely purchased by the high command of the armed forces and issued to motorcycle and flak crews of the Luftwaffe.
There was limited sporting interest in the carbine version and, due to small production numbers, it is a highly prized collectable priced at about twice the value of the pistol version. Recently, importers like Navy Arms imported replica Mauser carbines with 16-inch or longer barrels for sale in the US.
Mass-production of the weapon was from 1921 to 1930. It was sold in quantity to armies in the contested Baltic region and was carried by the Poles, Lithuanians, German Freikorps and White Russians. The Bolshevik government (and later the new Red Army) of the embryonic Soviet Union purchased large numbers of this model in the 1920s and also appropriated them from defeated enemies. The distinctive pistol became associated with the Bolsheviks and was thus nicknamed the "Bolo". The "Bolo" model was also popular elsewhere, as the shorter barrel and smaller overall size made the gun easier to conceal.