Shansei .45ACP Broomhandle Mauser at RIA (Video)

During the Chinese civil war in the 1920s and 30s, international arms embargoes made rifles difficult to acquire – which led to a lot of popularity for pistols with shoulder stocks. The C96 “broomhandle” Mauser in particular was popular, and it was copied by a number of Spanish firms for sale in China as well (in fact, the fully automatic Schnellfeuer version was initially made by Mauser specifically for Chinese sale). The .45 ACP cartridge also became popular with Thompson submachine guns in some areas, and the natural result was a Chinese arsenal designing and producing a C96 Mauser pistol scaled up to use .45 ACP. A few thousand of these were originally made in Shansei from 1928-1931, and then another batch was made for export in the 1980s. They are actually the same basic size as the C96 (and retain the 10-round capacity), but are much wider and heavier.

This Shansei Broomhandle is one from the relatively recent commercial batch, which should make it more affordable and less worrisome to shoot than the nearly 100-year-old originals.


  1. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but according to what I’ve read online, the main reason for the .45 was one of the warlords wanted to give the guards on his armored trains a sidearm using the same round as their Thompsons in order to simplify logistics.
    Also as a side note I thought you’d appreciate, I got to see one of these at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum, which I highly recommend if you find yourself in Oz. As a long time reader of the sight I especially enjoyed their handgun collection as they had literally hundreds of different guns on display, everything from the Kolibri 2mm to the S&W .50, a Wesley-Fosebery auto-revolver, a Mateba auto-revolver, a dardick, a lancaster pistol… etc. I may have made multiple exited noises as I kept recognizing stuff, anyway… highly recommended.

    • That Lithgow armoury museum looks interesting Iggy, and here is an interesting quote from its webpage in the link you provided: “The No 6 Mk 1 and the No 6 Mk 1/1were produced. (pictured top) These proved more successful during trials, however they were never adopted by the Australian Army, the war ending before production could begin.” That looks like a No.5 Jungle Carbine, which apparently had some problems that needed rectifying as a consequence of shortening/lightening a No.4 maybe the Aussies sorted them then.

      • “The Australian No.6 (Mk.I) alone is built on the S.M.L.E. (Short Magazine Lee-Enfield – the primary rifle of British and Commonwealth troops in the First World War). Australia never obtained machine tools for the No.4 rifle and had little alternative but to manufacture modified rifles on the S.M.L.E. action. This they did with great efficiency. Even their WWII sniper rifles were initially scoped SMLE rifles. In order not to be without an equivalent of the British No.5 “Jungle Carbine”, they built two marks of SMLE-actioned carbine prototypes for use in their Pacific jungle theatre. Only the capitulation by Japan, which brought the conflict there to a close, precluded the Australian No.6 rifle from going into production.”

        The Aussies only had Smellies then did they, never knew that. Maybe the SMLE conversions to “Jungle Carbines” didn’t have the problems associated with No.4 ones.

        • Although maybe not, anyway it would be interesting to find out if the Oz No.6/1 was the perfected “No.5 in essence” SMLE Jungle carbine.

  2. “…the main reason for the .45 was one of the warlords wanted to give the guards on his armored trains a sidearm using the same round as their Thompsons in order to simplify logistics.” This is one thing I adamantly agree with. In “the olden days” the cowboys and outlaws liked their pistols and rifles chambered for the same round for the same reason. In the past when I had a chance to carry a Thompson I did because my pistol of choice was and is a Clark Combat Tuned 1911A1. If I ran out of pistol rounds I could use a few out of the Thompson clip or the other way around. Few things are as disconcerting as having a functional weapon and nothing to shoot in it … for all intents and purposes rendering it a very short club.

    • I think 7.63 was about the only caliber Thompsons weren’t made in, at least in prototype form.

      According to an article in Gun Digest a few years ago, Auto-Ordnance and Colt made prototypes in 9 x 19mm, .38 Super, .30 Carbine, .351 WSL (my choice for the most interesting idea), and a single “Ersatz BAR” in .30-06(!)

      That one could easily be recognized by its 24″ barrel and the tubular buffer assembly that stuck out 5″ behind the receiver, making a proper cheek-weld on the standard Thompson stock just about impossible.

      If I could have a Thompson in any caliber I wished today, my choice would probably be something like 9mm Winchester Magnum or the old 9mm Mauser Export.

      .30 Carbine doesn’t need a platform as heavy a the “Tommy”, and the high-velocity 9s would get the most advantage from its longer barrel. Not to mention greater magazine capacity; a 20-round length .45 magazine would hold about 30 9mms, and the longer 30-round box would probably hold about 40 or so.

      Ballistically, it wouldn’t be far behind the 7.62 x 39, and that would make it a pretty serious law-enforcement long arm for “in-town” use. Even more so than the “original”.



      • The “not available in 7.63” that intrigues me in the 1911. Since everyone and his brother-in-law is making 1911s now I’m surprised that no one has done a run of them… lack of magazines would be my guess. I remember in the early 90s (around the same time as the .45 Broomhandles) seeing some Chinese import 7.63 1911s – apparently these were .38 Super reworks and what little I’ve read about 1911 custom conversions say that the .38 Super mags sorta work if you don’t load more than 5 rounds. Would make an interesting gun if someone made a mag that worked. I’ve also seen (on the Net) a shorty AR-15 converted to 7.63 that used PPsH-43 mags; that sounds like a lot more fun than the 9mm version.

        • In his book Pistolsmithing, George Nonte stated that to convert the 1911 to 7.63, you need to start with a .38 Super slide and barrel, because;

          1. The firing pin on the Super is smaller in diameter, with a smaller breechface hole. The .45-sized pin and hole leaves too much of the primer unsupported and can lead to blown primers with the 7.63’s higher breech pressure.

          2. The .45 barrel, even if relined (which it of course has to be) leaves too much of the lower arc of the 7.63 case head unsupported, which can lead to bulged or burst cartridge cases. The Super barrel (which also needs relining, naturally) already has a beefed-up lower chamber/feed ramp arc to deal with the Super’s pressures.

          3. The .45 extractor can be “bent” inward enough to catch the 7.63’s rim, but extraction is not consistent. The .38 Super extractor generally needs only minor modification. Or you can just use the extractor from a 9mm 1911 like the old Commander, which requires no alterations and is a “drop-in” replacement in the .38 Super slide.

          The higher pressure 7.63 round needs to be treated with about the same respect as a .357 Magnum, in terms of dealing with its breech pressure.

          As for magazine capacity, Nonte found that an eight-round .38 Super magazine worked perfectly well with seven 7.63s once you modified the follower to increase the “up-angle” of the round’s nose just a bit. He did it by bending the follower platform downward slightly at the top front angle, i.e. “lowering” the back end of the follower platform to create more up-angle at the front. This eliminates the tendency of the 7.63 round to nosedive into the magazine or ram the feed ramp head-on. It also feeds .38 Supers a bit better, actually, according to Nonte.



  3. I posted this over at full30, don’t know if you got to read it, but I think the reason for the .45acp being prevalent was because the warlord Yan Xishan liked it allot. Yan Xishan controlled Shanxi and was absorbed into the Chinese Nationalists government, and even fled to Taiwan following the Communist victory on the mainland.

    Here is my post from full30 (As always Ian thank you for making such awesome videos):

    not to nitpick but Shansei=Shanxi=Shānxī=山西. I think your using the wade-giles romanization, but the closest way to say Shansei, or Shanxi without knowing mandarin, is to pronounce it as SHANSHI. Also I think the .45acp might have been a favorite of Yan Xishan 閻錫山. Anyways awesome video, would love to see you shoot one, also keep an eye out for a Chinese Browning Hi-Power with shoulder stock, that would be an awesome video. Thanks Ian.

  4. I have read … but don’t have it close at hand … that some of the recently made and imported .45 Broomhandles used barrels and other parts from some select-fire “originals” (i.e., pre-WW2 Chinese manufacture), which could never be imported into the US, no way, no how. The receiver and any full-auto parts were removed and new replacements made. The info was in the ad copy offering these guns for sale in the U.S. several years ago; I want to say IAR or CDNN was the company, but I could be wrong.

    If this web page ever comes back (unlikely) the images would be very useful:

  5. It would make a better Ham solo blaster pistol basis than a 7.63mm one, that’s gotta be worth a thousand bucks or so

    Particularly to folk who, have the rest of the outfit…

  6. I have one of the IAR .45 Shanseis. I got it fairly cheap some years ago, and figure it is one of the repros, considering it looked brand new when I got it. It’s still one of my favorite range toys, and is a decent shooter, albeit a bit heavy and awkward. I’ve heard that they were called the “box cannon” and can see why. It is a real attention getter when I take it out at the range. Not my first choice in a gunfight, but better than a pointy stick :)!

  7. I would suspect this is actually meant to be used as a carbine with the shoulder stock attached almost permanently. If so would be a nice handy little rifle, rather than a cumbersome pistol?

  8. A Chinese import 9mm Mauser broomhandle was available about ten years ago for around $600. It came in a Styrofoam case with a cardboard sleeve labeled “boxcannon”.The receiver was all new, but the internals were mostly 712 (full auto) with the extra channels milled in the inner frame. The upper slide/barrel had no Mauser markings, but almost everything else pure Mauser. The weapon came with a ten and a twenty round mag. A Mauser detachable (712/711) 10 round magazine did not quite line up with the Chinese weapon’s release lug.

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