A Tale of Two 96s

Given that most 96 Mausers available today have matching numbers on all parts and despite increasing collector interest, the Mauser 96 is still ideal for customization work.

by Wendell Deaner

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. With apologies to Mr. Dickens, please pardon my plagiarism, but it might really have been one of the best of times for firearms development in history. Arthur Savage introduced his model 99. Oliver Winchester gave the world his many lever-action models. Peter Paul Mauser took his 93, 94 and 95s and improved upon them to build the 96 Mauser, also known as the Swedish Mauser as it is long associated with that country. This was the last action, and the last cock-on-closing Mauser, to be introduced before the renowned Model 98 came upon the scene. Smokeless powder was coming into its own as well as developments such as the Model 1905 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) and its ammunition which would become the model 1911. Many other inventors were at work although most of their firearms have become obsolete and fallen by the wayside after but brief success.

We could also make a case that this was the worst of times since world war was barely over the horizon. Luckily for collectors and builders like me, Sweden decided to remain neutral during the two world wars. The only 96s I know of that actually saw combat use were a number of samples that were transferred to Finland to fight the Nazis. The Swedes did not have to make wartime production shortcuts and the quality of these rifles found today reflects that fact.

 

Read more in our May 2012 issue. Back issues are available.

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