25 April 2012

A new way of doing "spring cleaning"

And today, we take another from the “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore” file… If you wanted a handgun before 1896, you were pretty much stuck with a revolver. Although there was an autoloader design or two out there, none had really met with much success. And then Mauser entered the fray…
From Wikipedia: The Mauser C96 (Construktion 96) is a semi-automatic pistol that was originally produced by German arms manufacturer Mauser from 1896 to 1937. Unlicensed copies of the gun were also manufactured in Spain and China in the first half of the 20th century. The distinctive characteristics of the C96 are the integral box magazine in front of the trigger, the long barrel, the wooden shoulder stock which can double as a holster or carrying case and a grip shaped like the handle of a broom. The grip earned the gun the nickname "Broomhandle" in the English-speaking world and in China the C96 was nicknamed the "box cannon" (Chinese: 盒子炮; pinyin: hézipào) because of its square-shaped internal magazine and the fact it could be holstered in its wooden box-like detachable stock. It was used by the Latvian anarchist Peter Piaktow in 1911 and was therefore known as a 'Peter the Painter' gun by the IRA. The Mauser C96, with its shoulder stock, long barrel and high-velocity cartridge had superior range and better penetration than most other pistols; the 7.63x25mm Mauser cartridge was the highest velocity commercially manufactured pistol cartridge until the advent of the .357 Magnum cartridge in 1935. Approximately 1 million C96 pistols were manufactured by Mauser, with the number produced in Spain and China being large but unknown due to the loss, non-existence or poor upkeep of production records from those countries. 

 Carried by no less a luminary than Winston Churchill, the C96 was the first successful autoloading pistol, and still serves in the modern era in an oddball fashion (being found on the silver screen on the hips of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker). This example was my first experience at internet gun buying: found it on Guns America for $350, needing a LOT of work. Including relining the barrel: someone had started to bore it out to rechamber in 9mm. After a trip to a specialist in FL (no longer in business), I have the wonderful piece you see before you.
He still has problems: need to replace the sear, sear arm, and follower: he doesn’t always want to reset his trigger, and the follower doesn’t hold the bolt back quite far enough to insert a stripper clip. Oh… commercial .30 Mauser isn’t exactly common, so prepare to be spending time at the reloading bench of you get one. Why “he”? Well… his name (y’all name your guns too, don’t lie) is Han, of course! Sites are graduated FAR beyond anything *I* would believe I was gonna hit at with a pistol:
Holster is by HBE. Which involved sending Eric the gun to mold it right: stunning work, reasonably priced. And this has gotten me some looks (this was my preferred “open carry march” piece).

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