Turkish Conehammer “Broomhandle” C96 Mauser

This is Lot 2493 in the upcoming October Morphy Extraordinary auction.

The “cone hammer” was the first commercial version of the Mauser C96, so named for the stepped conical sides of its hammer. The C96 did not sell particularly well in the first few years after its introduction, and the only major bulk sale was to Sultan Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire, who bought 1,000 of the guns for his palace guard. These guns were numbered in Farsi in their own range from 1 to 1000, and were all sold with matching shoulder stocks. The order was signed in December of 1897 and the guns were shipped a few months later, in May of 1898.

Under the Sultan’s rule, there was significant concern over potential military coups, and most arms were locked away in armories, including many of the C96 pistols. After the revolution in 1908/9, guns were more liberally distributed to the military and police, and these C96 pistols were issued out to both groups for service use. Some were used in combat in World War One, and after the war they were considered surplus, available for purchase inexpensively by Army or police officers. This meant that they saw a lot of use, and as a result few survive today, with many of them in rather rough condition.


  1. The C96 may not have been a great pistol compared to its later contemporaries, but with its holster doubling as a stock when attached, it was great as a PDW. I could be wrong.

  2. Firing pin has a stop plate at back which is different at later models having press and rotate dismount types. A cause should be it changed apart from the parts economy, since later type needing much more complicated machine work at both bolt and firing pin.

  3. “there was significant concern over potential military coups, and most arms were locked away in armories”

    If so, why did they buy them in first place? Was there such mistrust in military? Is there any ‘Turko-log’ to explain?

    • Denny, I’m very certain that giving all your cool toys to a group mostly staffed by people you don’t like will inevitably result in you getting riddled with holes. Just ask one of the group of British occupying officers who wound up surrendering an entire fortress’s worth of field guns and hundreds of rifles (with ammunition) to Afghan tribal rebels before attempting to escape to British-held India. THE ENTIRE BRITISH COLONIAL ARMY APART FROM ONE MAN WAS MASSACRED!! Just kidding…

    • Sultan Abdul Hamid was very afraid of people and mi!itary and even caused the Navy as immobily rusted off at their location.

      • So, basically there was no one left to lean on. Strange fallow.

        I wonder, current president of Turkey is totally different case, but how well he goes along with military? They tried a coup on him couple of years ago. My sense he gives them an outlet time by time in form of incursion into Syria. Will it keep them happy in long term?

        • Current government members are arrenged as admirers, even lovers of Abdulhamid and haters of the people against him. They seem as robotic clerks for an unknown force. So called military coup a few years ago was a childish attempt of a scenario of the government for rapid clearing off the lots at the opposite thinking. The play has been going on at Syrian case.

        • Totally different situation, you can’t really compare the situation of fin de siecle Ottoman Empire with Turkey today.

          Without dwelling into a century of Turkish history and dysfunction, let’s just say that the Turkish military has traditionally seen themselves as defenders of Ataturk’s legacy. (Ataturk: Founder of modern Turkey) The military was pro-modernization, pro west, pro democracy (within limits!) and opposed to religious fanaticism. (And religion in general!)

          As you might know, Erdogan, the current Turkish leader is pretty close to being an Islamist. The coup attempt against him a few years ago was therefore the traditionalists in the military (and society) trying to stop what they saw as a slide towards ending up like Iran.

          The current situation in Northern Syria is mostly unrelated. It’s Erdogan trying to get rid of two of his current problems. Millions of Syrian refugees inside Turkey, and a way to forestall the rise of a Kurdish statelet.

          (The Kurds have been involved in a sepratist war against Turkey for decades. A war that often turned to terrorism).

          On both of those issues (Kurds + Refugees) Erdogans interest Allin quite nicely with the traditional Military establishment in Turkey. However, there’s no love list between the two sides aside from that.

          • ‘Numbered in Farsi’?Why Farsi (Persian)?Why not their own native Turkish, an unrelated language?

  4. Winston Churchill, then a young cavalry officer, purchased his C96 in 1898, having a shoulder injury that ruined his swordsmanship. He had determined to fight with a pistol, and in London bought a Mauser automatic, writing later, “then the newest and best design.” (It superseded his Webley-Wilkinson revolver.) Ten shots quick, indeed, as we know from his account of the Battle of Omdurman. I have read that upon joining the infantry in WWI (after resigning as First Lord of the Admiralty after the Gallipoli disaster) he purchased a Colt 1911, which was by then the newest and best design.

    • Fairly effective, especially with the standard 7.63×25 Mauser being loaded hot back then. Not as hot as a Tokorev, apparently though 7.62×25 Tokorev is a direct copy of the Mauser cartridge. Still, high velocity light weight bullet at pistol ranges is a decent combination.

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