Chinese Mystery Mauser: Fake FN Model 30

“Arming the Dragon” by Dolf Goldsmith is now available and shipping!

One of the most common rifles in Warlord-era China was the Mauser Model 98 short rifle. Various Chinese armies bought large numbers of them from the Mauser, CZ, and FN factories, chambered predominantly for the 8mm Mauser cartridge. In particular, FN sold some 24,000 Model 24 Mauser rifles to China between 1930 and 1934, and another 164,500 Model 30 Mauser between 1937 and 1939. And, of course, several major Chinese arsenals set up manufacture of high-quality copies of these patterns.

As with pistol production in China at the time, crude artisanal rifle copies were made by a variety of small shops and craftsmen. These are of visibly poor quality, and DEFINITELY NOT SAFE TO FIRE. They are, however, really interesting – at least to me. Thanks to viewer Jason for loaning me this one to film, which is a copy of an FN Model 30.


  1. 1) Ya gotta wonder how many Chinese died trying to fire weapons like this. OTOH, they might have been using fake 8mm of questionable quality and power
    2) That anyone would be fooled despite the lack of quality is amazing
    3) I thought all weapons coming into the US had to be marked with the manufacturer, importer and serial number. To use the Chinese expression, Wa ist los?

  2. Did the rear sights work on this rifle? I would hope so, unlike those on many of the warlord pistols.

    It would be very interesting if the hardness of the steel could be tested, to find out how good it was. Although this rifle looks rough, it must have worked. Also, it would have been good to see the state of the bore. How well was the rifling done?

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