The Swedish M/1896 Mauser
About a year ago, a local shop was going under and liquidated their entire inventory. They had 3 Mausers on the wall: A Zastava M48, a Zastava M24/47, and a Carl Gustaf Stads M/1896; all in near flawless condition. I did a little talking and walked out with all three for just shy of $900.
The rifle is chambered in 6.5×55 Swedish, has an overall barrel length of 29.1 inches, feeds from an internal 5-round magazine with a bolt-hold-open follower, and a straight bolt handle. The bolt is of pre-Gewehr 98 design and is a cock-on-closing
The Swedish Mausers are known for quality. Composed of high-grade tool steel and manufactured to unusually strict specifications, the rifle has the smoothest action I’ve ever operated. Despite being 103 years old, the bolt operates as if it were made yesterday. The trigger is the finest of any surplus gun I’ve ever had the pleasure of handling. Close inspection reveals precision machining and remarkable attention to detail. I would dare say the craftsmanship exceeds even German standards. In fact, many of these were produced on contract by the Germans during WW1 but were required to use Swedish steel and tooling.
Something unique about this rifle among Mausers is the factory threaded-barrel. The barrel was threaded to accept a bullet catching blank fire adapter (BFA) designed to be used with wooden bullets in training. The idea being that the bullets explode and the fragments are vented out of the holes in the BFA. The bullet catches for these rifles are quite common and most M/1896 rifles will include them. The wooden bullets are also quite common and a case of several hundred can be obtained for under $30. The issued thread protectors are near impossible to come across, however.
Another unique feature is the rear sight. The sight aperture can be dialed from 300 meters all the way to 2 kilometers, in 100-meter increments. The unique sight I was able to take the rifle to a 200-meter range and was able to put an entire 5-round magazine in a 2” group.
Overall, the M/1896 is a lesser known but high performing member of the Mauser family. This rifle is the pinnacle of my military surplus collection and makes a fine showpiece. Most of these are in rather good condition and have experienced a rapid increase in value in the last several years. If you wish to acquire one, they will run you $500-$600 on Gunbroker.
Amy, great article. My M96 does not fire. The casing is not penetrated by the firing pin. I bought a new pin, it seemed exactly the same length. Stripped the bolt, loaded the new pin, and still no fire. It seems the fired pin is a tad short of coming out of the bolt end. Do you have knowledge of what was the ‘deactivation’ method on many of these before importation here? Regards, DES ONEILL [email protected]