Adventures in Surplus: Chromed Argentine 1891 Parade Rifle

When I got this Model 1891 Argentine rifle, I assumed it was the unfortunately result of someone’s experimenting with chrome plating parts. All the small parts are chromed and then heavily worn, while the barrel and receiver remain blued. Frankly, I think it looks awful, but it was in the lot with the Kar98a that I really wanted – such is the nature of lots. Anyway, when I started doing some reading, I found that a number of other people have Argentine Mausers in a similar condition. While there is no documentary proof, it is widely surmised that these were chromed for use as drill or parade rifles by the Argentine Navy. This would explain their condition and why they were surplussed only in the last couple decades. It’s a great example of why you shouldn’t make assumptions about something until you are really sure…


  1. Parade guns are carried a lot but never fired in anger. Expect lots of cadets to handle each one every year and nearly lose it while doing drills. I could be wrong.

  2. This was a terrific celebration of this weapons. It is “archaeology” in the best sense of the word! I also really liked the comments on the nature and significance of collections! Excellent!

  3. What you have is indeed a parade rifle if you will but from the presidential guard (a ceremonial unit like the redcoats guarding Windsor palace). When I lived in Argentina I saw a number of similar rifles but the presidential guard had gone to FAL’s similarly chromed and high luster blue finish.

    • Well, the soldiers guarding the english queen are “real” soldiers and the various guard regiments change regularly and are otherwise normal infantry regiments. so no, these are actual combat units. Not just for show. They are the exception though as most ceremonial units do only this.

  4. I believe what you have is a CAI import 1891 Mauser that was sold by Jerry Prasser. I bought one from him. He said that they were used by a Military School in Argentina. He would separate the batches into Ludwig Lowe (like you have and which are Antique and can be sold without FFL) and the DWM versions which needed to be shipped to an FFL. He would have more information on it if you would like to reach out to him. I have included his web address. Thanks.

  5. Most of these seem to have ended up on the US commercial market. Did any of them ever fire in anger (apart from the presumed internal ‘civil actions’).

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