Ethiopian Oddities: The Mo43 Mauser – Handmade or Factory?

Today’s Ethiopian Oddity appears to be a factory-built Mauser short rifle, but embellished with a couple replacement parts (nosecap retainer, stock, bayonet lug) and some truly mysterious markings. The top of the receiver has been milled down flat, and hand-engraved with a quite odd crest, along with the markings “Mo43” and “GERMANY”. Several other parts are also hand-numbered “43”. The question is, why were these markings put on this rifle?


  1. “(…)Mo43(…)”
    But… is that actually o letter? It does look like

    first line is somewhat akin to symbole numéro
    but with M rather N. Whatever was imbuing this weapon with symbols had access to N (GERMANY), but might nonetheless make mistake, especially if had not specimen to look after. If this is case it would simply mean 43th example.

    • Looks more like a European abbreviation for “Modello 43”, or Model 43. Which makes sense with the Italian interest in Ethiopia. Not sure why they would modify them this way, I am speculating some sort of shady arms deal. or maybe some form of public relations, Italians providing Ethiopian guerillas, or warlords with arms and trying to make sure the public knows where they came from.

    • For sure. But a Mauser can spare plenty and still be more than strong enough. A stock Mauser action can take magnum cartridges easily, so I doubt losing a bit o metal off the top is going to seriously compromise the rifle.

      • Yep. This actually reminds me of the Ethiopian contract FN Mausers that have one side of the receiver milled flat like this in order to take a rack number (Ian did a video on those, and like he mentioned that system was actually quite brilliant if the rifles are stored receiver up/towards).

  2. I’m by no means a mauser expert, but I don’t believe the stock is original to the rifle in question. 43 in the Ethiopian calendar would be 36 Gregorian. That’s the year Germany supplied rifles to Ethiopia in response to Italian concerns over Austrian unification. Perhaps the rifles sent were scrubbed and marked as in the video. Mystery mausers like this are one of the most wonderful things about Forgotten Weapons.

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