RIA: Mauser 1913 Selbstladegewehr Sporter (Video)

Paul Mauser spent nearly 20 years attempting to perfect a self-loading rifle for military service. He came closest with this, his 1913 patent model, which was used by German balloon and aircraft fliers as the Model 1915 and Model 1916 respectively (and also in an unsuccessful infantry version) – but these rifles were also sold on the commercial market to affluent sportsmen and gun enthusiasts. This is an example of a sporting pattern 1913 rifle, with a sporting stock and full-length handguards, and a mounting rail on the receiver for a Zeiss prismatic optic. It has a 9mm bore, probably (but don’t quote me) in 9x57mm. The mechanism, however, is identical to the military rifles.


  1. It’s really refreshing to see an original factory built sporter (rather than Bubba).

    I wonder whether this was as a marketing piece given, presented or sold to aristocrats or old generals who had influence over military procurement?

    also whether any went to Mauser’s dealers who would sell factory and their own Mauser based guns to sportsmen and officers?

    Firms like Westley Richards, Rigby, Jeffery, H&H etc. https://www.theexplora.com/westley-richards-mauser-c96-broomhandle-pistol/

    • Germany had a number of colonies in Africa which Britain took from them in the course of the war. The campaigns there are an often ignored part of WWI.

      There would have been German officers, administrators, businessmen, and farmers in those colonies who would be interested in having a hunting rifle, including something in 9mm which was suitable for big game.

      I think Mauser were already familiar with this market. Quite a few sporting rifles were based on Mauser bolt action rifles, either as the original rifle or as a new rifle built using a Mauser receiver.

          • You just HAD to mention the Battle of Tanga, didn’t you? It started with a bungled surrender offer from the British to the German colonial authorities (to which the Germans replied with a bluff involving imaginary naval mines in the harbor) and ended with the British forces getting driven out by Paul von Lettow Vorbeck and more humorously, a swarm of pissed-off African honeybees (okay, the Germans also got stung, but they had the sense to stop shooting once the stinging began, for African bees are nastier and more territorial than their European counterparts). Lettow-Vorbeck was undefeated and always managed to seize enemy supplies and weapons for his mostly African troops, along with salvaged cannons from the scuttled cruiser SMS Konigsberg. The running gag in that part of Africa was that as soon as the British colonial forces thought they had Lettow-Vorbeck cornered, he’d pop up behind the British (and sometimes the Portuguese as well) and shoot them in the buttocks with a 10.5 cm ship cannon, mug them while they were down, and then vanish into thin air!

            Did I mess up?

          • I once read a book on Paul von Lettow Vorbeck, who was also called the “Lion of Africa”. Wasn’t he the only German commander never to have surrendered to the Allies until after the Armistice>? I also heard that when Hitler took over Germany, and they asked him to serve as a peace envoy, his reply was that Germany should get what it deserved

  2. Mauser certainly understood safeties a lot better than the accountants in most present day gun makers.

    It’s a shame that he didn’t apply the gas handling and safety principles he put into the 98, to all of his semi autos.

    Looking at the ready fitted scope mounting dovetail – such advances had to wait half a century for Sullivan and Ruger to put dovetails on the Ruger 77 before they occasionally appeared mass produced guns on the western shore of the Atlantic.

    • I’m going to have to re watch the vid several times

      I’m guessing that the safety will only engage when the locking flap is locked (although there’s probably no protection against Bubba leaving one or both flaps out of the gun. Bubba’s mis placed inventiveness is never to be underestimated)

      locking the one flap in the bolt locked position will stop the cam block from shuffling back and forth, and will indirectly hold the other flappy bit in the locked position too.

    • “Mauser certainly understood safeties a lot better than the accountants in most present day gun makers.”
      What was:
      – safety factor used by Mauser
      – safety factor used by most present day gun makers

      • We can argue safety factors of lugs all day, like a pair of nine year olds playing “top trumps”

        which is probably what the marketing and legal guys at the big manufacturers would like us to do.

        The safety factors actually count for very little when things start to go very badly wrong, the actual failure mode counts for far more in terms of keeping your eyesight and hands working, and you and those near you off the mortician’s slab.

        Mauser understood that, the clowns who worked on the Springfield 1903, the P13,P14,M17, self evidently did not (and that’s without counting the years of complete mess up in heat treatment of 1903s or the dodgy metalurgy of Eddystone P14s and M17s! even the best 1903 and Enfield cannot hold a candle to the user safety afforded by the crappiest 98) and the GM engineers who Du Pont parachuted into Remington post WWii – with the notable exception of “Mike” Walker, seem not to have understood either.

        With the Exception of Walker, I’m beginning to question whether some of those GM engineers even knew one end of a gun from the other.

        The people who worked on the Win Mod 54 and various mod 70s seem to have had a marginally better grasp than the GM engineers – at least a Mod 70 trigger needs to be pulled before it will fire the gun!

        ok failure modes:

        Have a case head separate or flow in a Mauser 98, it will almost always “blow down” and the receiver ring, bolt, stock and your hands and eyes will still be in place and your hands and eyes still serviceable afterwards -even if you end up with the mother of all flinches.

        Try that with a Win Mod 70 – and not so much.

        It’s usual mode of failure is to “blow up” and shed the top of its receiver ring into your face. even the 64/68 model has more brass hanging out of the chamber in thin air, than a 98, the pre64 and classic, more still!

        a Rem 700 (which is well capable of shooting you or someone or something that you love without even a pull on the trigger (and there is a class action in Progress over that right now https://www.shootersforum.com/warning-notices-recalls/100723-remington-walker-class-information.html

        and a firearms forensic investigation book written with it as one of the main case studies – it really is that big and dangerous and long standing a problem that it deserves that treatment https://www.academia.edu/9677098/UnSafe_by_Design_Forensic_Gunsmithing_and_Firearms_Accident_Investigations ))

        will usually manage to not blow the top off the receiver ring, but behind that, it lacks (by design it lacks!) the bolt sleeve flange of the Mauser 98 from half a century earlier, and will still give you a face full of high pressure gas and particles.
        The 700 also hangs even more brass out of the chamber than any 1903, P13,P14, M17 or mod 54 or 70

        ask yourself why safety glasses are recommended for all shooting?

        what’s stronger, steel in a gun, or polycarb in glasses?

        so, why isn’t there steel designed into the gun to do the job that you are asking safety glasses to do as an afterthought?

        Mauser’s 98 does not rely on high strength steels to achieve its safety, and its safe failure mode,

        The safety is there by design

        Even La Coruna’s production (arguably the crappiest 98s ever made, and if there is one thing that you really can rely on the Spanish state sector to do exceptionally well – it is crap) are still good, reliable and safe guns, whatever the figures on the top trumps cards might say.

        • “(…)Rem 700 (which is well capable of shooting you or someone or something that you love without even a pull on the trigger(…)”
          Should I understand this as Rem 700 is not drop-safe or something other?

          • Hi Daweo,
            The “Walker” trigger in Rmington 700s, 600s 7s etc is subject to problems with the connector piece becoming disloged, displaced because of the dirt, gum and debris which it will innevitably be subjected to, failing to reset correctly, and on occasion due to faults in manufacture.

            this can result in the gun firing due to very slight shocks or when it is taken off “safe”

            until very recently, the safety locked the bolt, so it had to be taken off “safe” to unload.

            If you get the opportunity, Read Jack Belk’s book – he clearly explains the problem, and others…

    • “Looking at the ready fitted scope mounting dovetail – such advances had to wait half a century for Sullivan and Ruger to put dovetails on the Ruger 77 before they occasionally appeared mass produced guns on the western shore of the Atlantic.”
      Keep in mind that in 1910s optical sights were less popular than are now

      • but still, over 100 years later, most American guns that fire something bigger than .223, come with only a set of tapped holes for crappy after market bases that slide around.

        For at least half of that period of time, it has been usual to scope bolt actions and a lot of semi autos and lever actions too.

  3. That inertia locked bolt is very interesting. Is it residual gas pressure which opens the bolt once it is unlocked? Would that technically make this Mauser rifle a delayed blowback?

    As opposed to the inertia-recoil operation of a modern Benelli shotgun.

    • Delayed means, slowing down the opening of breech closure speed. That is, any momentarily locked construction would not be delayed. In fact, excepting long recoil locking, there is certain residual pressure in all autoloading firearms asisting extraction and ejection. Besides, considering the whole gun recoiling back including the breechbolt inside, there would be some momentum transmitted to the bolt to continue its rearward travel at least, into the ratio of the whole gun to barrel and bolt combined recoiling speed. Benelli smoothbore guns use ammos having much lower initial velocity compared to the rifled versions and their compress the bouncing media and kicked back motions might be suit to the responce of unexhausting speed of residual gas pressure inside barrel, but in the rifled guns, very short bullet in the bore time might not permit this. IMHO.

  4. I would question Ian’s conclusion that the rifle’s original 7.92x57mm cartridge was changed to “make it a bigger caliber — more effective on game.”

    The 7.92x57mm Mauser could be considered a sufficient caliber for even the largest European game animals, and with considerably more bullet velocity (hence straighter trajectory) than it’s lower-pressure 9mm derivative. At least from a modern-day North American hunting perspective (scoped rifles, expanding bullets, wide open spaces, etc.) the change to an oversized bullet with an undersized velocity would indeed seem counter-productive, unless there was some other reason for it.

    I don’t know if German military-caliber guns were restricted from civilian ownership in 1913 (as they were later) when this rifle was made, but if so, then I would guess that may have been the primary reason for the caliber switch, one that effectively shortened the target’s maximum range for the hunter by a considerable margin.

    Anyway, it seems a bit odd that this is a rimmed cartridge, according to the listing. Maybe there was a reason for that new/retro “feature” also.

    • aa,

      “the change to an oversized bullet with an undersized velocity would indeed seem counter-productive”

      This is modern thinking. In the early 20th century, jacketed hunting bullets were not as robust as today, and the 9mm bullets just performed better for the meat hunters in Africa at the time. Sharpshooters could use anything, (see Karamojo Bell’s exploits with the .303 British and other small calibers, but then he could shoot birds out of the sky with a rifle), the Average Joe out hunting for meat isn’t quite so precise. Ian could do a whole series on “forgotten bullets” just on the history of bullet development for hunting ammunition. ^__^

    • African game is a lot different to north American, it’s bigger, tougher and, depending on the species, far more aggressive.

      Even in Europe, the piggies are a bit meaner and harder to stop than peccaries/javaline/hempaline.

    • “lower-pressure 9mm derivative”
      Heavier bullet are less prone to change trajectory due to leafs/bushes/etc

      “expanding bullets”
      Expanding bullets destroy more meat so if you want recover as many meat as possible it is better to use non-expanding.

  5. The only other likely candidate for the chambering (being the only other 9mm rimless, bottlenecked European rifle round at the time) would be the 9 x 56mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer, which is so close to the 9 x 57mm Mauser it takes a micrometer to tell them apart (all dim. in inches);

    9 x 56 M-S 9 x 57 M

    Bullet dia. .356 (both)

    Neck dia. .378 .380

    Shoulder dia. .408 .424

    Base dia. .464 .467

    Rim dia. .464 .468

    Rim thk. Ukn .045

    Case length 2.22 2.24

    Ctge.length 3.56 3.10

    (difference due to bullet length)

    Berdan primer dia. .217 (both)

    RWS primer No. 5603 (both)

    Old DWM Case no. 491E 491A

    Loading data indicates the M-S round was loaded a bit lighter than the Mauser, probably due to the theoretically slightly weaker M-S “split-bridge” bolt action.

    I wouldn’t call them “interchangeable”, but the M-S case would probably go into the Mauser chamber without forcing. The reverse is probably not true. In the Mauser chamber there could be headspace issues with the M-S cartridge.

    Note that today, Quality Cartridge catalogues brass for both these rounds.

    See; Cartridges of the World, 13th ed., pp. 480-481,489.



  6. Not sure if my previous post evaporated or it just went to a moderation queue because of a hyperlink. I guess we’ll see – I doubt I’ll bother to reproduce it.

  7. This is off-topic but I’m not a member on full30 and don’t want to sign up, so I’ll say it here:

    Ian, Karl, today’s InRange TV “Culture, Commentary, & Rant” on your Mud Tests is spot-on. Excluding the many other factors in a firearm’s suitability for use I am almost certain some of those “failed” guns would function at least as well as the AR you tested – with just a different variety of mud!

    It makes me wish I were surprised that folks are lighting torches, sharpening bayonets, and throwing out their “useless” rifles that can’t pass “the mud test.”

    I’ve long been suspicious that the thought patterns behind the scientific method should be introduced (in a practical, non-dry way) starting in, ohhh, kindergarten, instead of very late primary or secondary school. It doesn’t seem to take root very well the way and time we’ve historically taught it.

    P.S. Keep spreading the mud test videos around – I have a lot of gaps in my gun collection that I can’t yet afford to fill. 😀

    P.P.S. Recovered my post. If the other one is in a moderation queue (not swallowed by the internet) don’t bother approving it – the link was just for convenience.

  8. Here’s the patent for the out-of-battery safety, 17 December 1912 (applied for 27 July 1910).


    The fact that this wasn’t in the original design makes me cringe a bit. So now we have the answer to what that bar is on the right hand side that interlocks with the “cam plate” in the top cover.

  9. Here is the patent for the trigger disconnect “safety”, (or maybe more properly, trigger block), 8 October 1912 (applied for 8 February 1911). Note that although this patent was granted before the above, it was applied for after, confused yet? ^__^;;;


    One of the things you’ll notice with Mauser designs, the various parts of the design are often patented separately.

  10. I think this patent is meant to answer the statement from “Keith (In England)” above, “although there’s probably no protection against Bubba leaving one or both flaps out of the gun. Bubba’s mis placed inventiveness is never to be underestimated”

    This applies to an earlier version, but is meant to address the problem, “What if the user assembles the firearm incorrectly, or leaves out essential parts, (the “locking levers”)?”

    Patented 16 January 1912, applied for 15 September 1908. I assume a similar safety was incorporated into the later version? ^__^


  11. Hmm… Are there any “civilian” rimmed hunting rounds acceptable for modern day service apart from 9.3×64 Brenneke? And speaking of rimmed rounds, is it possible to make a carbine-length repeating or semiautomatic weapon chambered for 7.62x38R Nagant apart from the Tokarev 1927 SMG?

    If you think I’m being a pest, just ignore this post…

    • I don’t know quite what “acceptable for modern day service” might mean but there must be millions of 30-30 lever-actions still around, even if those rimmed cartridges are no longer the hunting staple they once were.

    • Keep in mind that semiautomatic “carbines” are made for .22 rimfire rounds every day, including the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire. The bottom line is that if the demand is strong enough, somebody will fill it.

      And bolt-action and other box-magazine rifles in .30-30 WCF used to be fairly common. Not to mention ones in .44 Remington Magnum, which is about as unlikely a round to be fed through a box magazine as you could imagine.

      And let’s not forget all those “Desert Eagle” pistols in .357 and .44 Magnum. The magazines on those look a lot like oversized clones of magazines for .22 RF semiauto pistols, especially around the feed lips.

      What sort of puts the kibosh on such ideas is that there are plenty of rimless cartridges today that fill those ballistic niches, and are easier to run through such feed systems. The most obvious example being 9 x 19mm.

      The 5.7 x 28mm is another example, as in the FN P-90. Interestingly, in most loadings it approximates the ME of the 9 x 19mm, i.e., in the 350-400 FPE range.



      • Good points, eon. The only problem is when someone wants to use a revolver and a long gun. Most revolvers don’t chamber rimless rounds without moon clips.

        Given a scenario where we could be forced by circumstances to use 7.62×38 Nagant as the “common” ammunition (like getting trapped in one section of a munitions factory), which layout would be best for the long arm you might craft under siege?

        1. Manually operated repeating carbine with tubular magazine
        2. Manually carbine with detachable box magazine
        3. Semiautomatic carbine with a tubular magazine
        4. Semiautomatic carbine with detachable box magazine
        5. Blow-back submachinegun
        6. Belt-fed squad automatic weapon (if you’re insane enough to try it)
        7. Screw this activity! Have proper weapons and ammunition from the very start!

        Well, the activity is voluntary. Don’t reply if you think the post is worthless.

        Thank you,


        • “use 7.62×38 Nagant as the “common” ammunition”
          Then use automatic weapon with Blum machine gun style magazine:
          Blum machine gun (Пулемёт Блюма) was .22 LR machine gun used from 1930 for training of machine-gunners, notice that magazine externally look as drum magazine however cartridge are stored only near outside wall of magazine (see image in link), this limits capacity but should give good reliability.
          BTW: 7,62x38R is probably one of worst cartridge for usage in self-loading or machine weapons, it is rimmed and has hidden bullet so it can’t be used to guide during ramming into chamber

        • “Most revolvers don’t chamber rimless rounds without moon clips.”
          Properly crafted revolver for rimless cartridge will chamber and fire it without moon clips. Problems might be with ejection in case if simultaneous ejection is used – in most revolvers with one-cartridge-a-time system it is not problem – for example Colt Peacemaker. In fact after adopting newer revolvers .45 Colt need to be redesigned with bigger rim to work properly (become .45 Colt M1909)

          • During WW2 it was fairly common among French resistance to convert Mle 11mm 1873 revolvers to fire .45 ACP, which was more readily available. The latter has a higher maximum pressure, but the difference is not that drastic (16,680 psi vs. 18,860 psi, CIP spec), so the conversion, while unsafe by peacetime standards, was not hopelessly so.

            I don’t know how they dealt with the slightly longer OAL of the .45 ACP, but the 1873 being a revolver it might not have been a problem. The bullet diameters are identical, and of course extraction was not a problem with the ejector rod.

        • I’d think the Nagant round would work best in a tubular magazine, whether pump, lever, bolt, or self-loader. At least with its bullet fully enclosed in the case you wouldn’t have to worry about primer indentation.

          If you want to get really crazy, have a hopper-fed or strip-fed weapon like a Gatling or Gardner. To get totally insane,consider a five or ten-barrel Nordenfelt.



      • German hunters traditionally used break open weapons like Drillings. Repeaters were much less frequently used. Break open designs do handle rimmed caes with much more ease than rimless ones.
        As a result, nearly every popular hunting cartridge in Germany also has a rimmed counterpart.

        Regarding the 9 mm bore of the rifle: 9×57 (originally called M88/9) is quite possible. In fact, it was the only 9 mm standardized during the twenties. All others were 9.3 mm.
        Unless the rifle was modified after Paul Mausers death in 1914 I think it very, very improbable that it is chambered for 9 mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer. In his early days Mauser had for some time to pay license fees to Steyr, which enfuriated him. In my opinion, he would never have chambered one of his self-loading rifles for a Steyr and/or Mannlicher cartridge.

    • I suppose you mean bottlenecked and rimmed cartridges? Because there are of course lots of rimmed and straight-walled or tapered hunting cartridges around, such as the .444 Marlin.

      The 9.3×74R is bottlenecked and still quite popular in Europe, mostly used in single-shot rifles, drillings and other multi-barrel guns.

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