MAS-45: The French .22 Trainer Designed by Mauser

When the French occupied the Mauser factory in April 1945, they found all the tooling to produce .22 caliber rifles still in place and in good order (among other things). The French military did not have a proper training rifle at the time, and they decided to have Mauser design a produce one. The result, adopted for production in August 1945, was essentially a Mauser KKW action with the detachable magazine from the Mauser 410B and a rear-mounted aperture sight. About 10,500 of these Model 45 rifles were made at Mauser by June 1946, when production was shut down in preparation for the demolition of most of the Mauser buildings.

The tooling and incomplete parts fort he rifle were relocated to the MAS factory at St Etienne, where production resumed and another approximately 30,000 were made. The MAS-45 would serve as a standard French training rifle until he 1970s, and remained in limited use afterwards (even to this day, in fact).

To see some of the French drill and shooting, check out Bloke on the Range’s video on the MAS-45:

15 Comments

  1. Dumb idea: I wonder if this training weapon could restart production as a commercial plinking rifle or as a target rifle. Any customers?

    • That was my thought too. I suspect it would be in a production cost range which might be prohibitive in today’s industry standard. For comparison, the Savage Mark II rifle shows cost saving at every corner; mind you still a good rifle for my purposes.

      I’d also suggest to look at CZUB small bore line of rifles; they have it worked out for optimum balance of cost/ price and performance. Do they make money on it? I suspect they do, but they work for lot less than Germans do.

    • Norinco make a rather nice .22 Mauser (K98k)style training rifle. I have owned several, including one that had been fitted with a scope sight. All have shot well and are a delight to handle. Retail in the UK at £429 including tax.

  2. This is an extremely well made common-sense small bore rifle. I would love to own one. Excellent job by Ian, as we are used to.

    One detail which gets my attention is location of rear sight leaf. It would be more commonly over the chamber. I guess this was also part of French demand. Ironically, the Oberndorf factory is making rifles for French military – yet again.

    • The rear sight position makes sense when viewed in the context of their rifles at that time. All of their major infantry rifles had moved to aperture sights by then, so why train recruits on an antiquated system. And yeah, that Oberndorf thing is pretty funny.

    • Rather, it’s a cartridge for one of the Velodogs.
      But a bottle cartridge for a pistol Mann from the past plot.

      A wonderful toy.
      If I’m not mistaken, it served as a prototype for a whole family of rifles, starting with TOZ-8.

  3. What a wonderful little rifle! They remind me of my own Ruger 77/22. My retired army officer father had one, and always said that it was better than the M1922.

  4. I’m amused that it has the German safety, when France didn’t have manual safeties on their service rifles at the time.

    That front sight protector has to be rare; I assume most that weren’t lost, were simply tossed.

  5. I was just mentioning the MAS 45 in the thread about the French producing Lugers at Oberndorf.

    The MAS45 is a fantastic little rifle.

    The CZ is probably the closest .22 rifle currently being made, there’s also at least one Chinese made clone of the Cz.

    I’m Absolutely in agreement with Denny, that there’s probably very limited demand for a .22 of this quality (and price!).

    However, in the same way that skilled gunsmiths like Robert Snapp, converted BSA martini training rifles into very high end spotters

    There is at least one incredibly high end sporter that has been made on a MAS 45 (admittedly using New bottom metal with a straddle type magazine floor plate to hide the short detachable magazine

    https://www.westleyrichards.com/us/theexplora/a-rare-westley-richards-22-lr-best-quality-bolt-action-rifle/

  6. Was the centre fire possibility 5.6x33R?

    The European loading that was later copied by Winchester as .22 hornet

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