SPANISH MAUSERS
M1893 Rifle
M1895 Cavalry Carbine
M1916  Short Rifle.
M1924 Short Rifle
M43 Rifle
M44 Air Force Rifle
Spanish FR7
Spanish FR8
M1891 Trials Rifle
The Spanish Mauser Inquisition
Identifing Spanish Mausers
 The 7x57 Mauser Cartridge
The 7 x 57 mm Mauser rifle was the standard armament of the Spanish forces during the Spanish American War. The weapon, firing smokeless powder, was far superior to the "Springfield trapdoor" rifle carried by most American volunteer units, and also to "Krag-Jorgenson Rifle" carried by the U.S. Regular Army troops and the "Rough Riders".

BACKGROUND:
Brothers Paul and Wilhelm Mauser brought innovative rifle design to Germany in the late 1800's. Specifically in 1892, Paul Mauser introduced several rifle improvements. The most important being a long, non-rotary extractor that prevented double loading and improved in smoothness of operation.

The Navy Version of  the Weapon:

The Model 92/93 cal. 7.65mm carbine was made for the Spanish Navy with a contract for 400 rifles.

By Royal Order of 30 January 1893, the 7 mm Mauser rifle received the denomination of “Mauser especial 1892”. The Model 92 Spanish rifle and carbine introduced a new Mauser smokeless powder caliber--7mm. It was a repeating rifle with a cartridge rack containing five smokless bullets. The smokeless powder made it very difficult for the enemy to spot the location of the shooter. The cartridge rack was located inside the main body of the rifle.

The Spanish Navy decided to purchase 2,000 units of this rifle between the years 1893 and 1894 with a total cost of 312,000 pesetas. Belting and 400,000 rifle-grenade cartridges were included in this sum. In addition, the following rifles, of identical model, were purchased to be sent to the colonies:
 
 

Destination Units Bullets Cost (pesetas)
Cuba 787 157,400 122,772
Philippines 2,070 414,000 322,920
Puerto Rico 72 14,400 11,232
Fernando Poo (Africa) 34 6,300 5,304

The next version, Model 93, was a major step in Mauser development. This rifle was chosen over all contenders in the Spanish rifle trials of the early 1890's. Chambered for the 7mm rimless cartridge, the Spanish Model 93 rifle featured a staggered-column box magazine flush with the bottom of the stock. This five-round magazine not only gave the rifle improved compactness and a better appearance, but also facilitated carrying and afforded protection for the magazine box, which could be clip loaded.

The Army Version of the Weapon:

By Royal Decree of  30 November 1892 Mauser rifle was initially qualified as the "sevice weapon" for the Spanish Army under the name of "Fusil Mauser Español Modelo 1892", (Spanish Mauser Rifle Model 1892). Only a year later, it would be replaced. In 1893, "...having exhausted all means of improvement and arriving at the moment for the final approval with the modifications proposed by the manufacturer..." the Royal Order of 7 November 1893 declared again this rifle as service weapon under the name of "Spanish Mauser Rifle Model 1893". Consequently of this, Spain decided to purchase 70,000 rifles and 5,000 carbines as well as 18 millions cartridges.

A few years later, this model was produced at the Spanish arms factory in Oviedo at a production cost of 78 pesetas/unit.
 
 

The effectiveness of these new 7mm rifles were soon felt by the U.S. in the Spanish-American War of 1898. Theodore Roosevelt reported on the difficulties of locating the Spanish at Las Guasimas commenting "...as we advanced we were, of course, exposed,...But they themselves were entirely invisible. The jungle covered everything, and not the faintest trace of smoke was to be seen in any direction to indicate from whence the bullets came." The effects of the superior Spanish weapons were again felt at San Juan Hill and El Caney. This experience led to the U.S. development of the 1903 Springfield after being bested on the field of battle by the Model 93.

The Mauser 93 was the basis for the development of the American rifle Springfield M1903, and it was intended to be used by “first line” or regular troops.

The smoothness of operation of the Mauser, and the use of smokeless powder were the weapon's primary advantages. 
Jose Poncet with Patrick McSherry

THE M1893 in the Spanish American War


The knife-type bayonet for the Mauser
 


 

Spanish M1891 Trials Rifle

7.65 mm x 53 Mauser
1200 rifles were manufactured by Mauser factory for Spanish trials.  They were identical to the Turkish M1890 Rifle.
Detailed Pictures here.
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SPANISH MAUSER MODEL 1893 RIFLE
CAL. 7x57 mm.

Action: 
Total length without bayonet: 
Total length with bayonet:
Length of barrel:
Rifling: 
Weight:
Ammunition:
Maximum range:
Operational range:
Initial muzzle velocity:
Charge:
Overall Weight of cartridge:
Overall length of cartridge:
Weight of projectile:
Muzzle Velocity:
Bayonet:
Turnbolt Repeater 
  1,235 mm (48.62 inches)
   1,484 mm (58.43 inches)
   738 mm (29.06 inches)
   4 grooves with one turn in 8.8 inches
   3.95 kg (8.69 pounds)
   7mm rimless in five round clips
  4,000 meters (4320 yards)
2,000 meters (2160 yards)
   680 meters/sec (2203 feet/second)
   2,5 grams 
   25 grams (0.88 oz.)
  78 mm (3.07 inches)
   11.2 grams (.394 oz.)(173 grains)
   2,300 feet per second
   Knife-type, .405 kg (.891 pounds)


The Model 1893 Spanish Mauser is considered to be the first modern rifle.   With it's 5 shot integral staggered magazine and the ability to be loaded from a stripper clip, it set the pattern for the numerous models of Mausers which followed.  The Spanish used the Model 1893 in the Spanish-American war.  And while the Spanish lost, the 93's performance convinced the American government it was time to examine the Mauser pattern rifle more closely.


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SPANISH MAUSER 1895 CAVALRY CARBINE.

CAL. 7x57 mm.
Caliber: 7mm
System of operation: Turn Bolt
Length overall: 37 inches
Barrel length: 17.56 inches
Feed device: 5 round,staggered row, non-detachable, box magazine
Sight:Front: Barley corn w/ears
Sight:Rear: Leaf Weight: 7.5 lb
Muzzle velocity: Approximately 2575 f.p.s.
 

Made by Ludwig Loewe & Co., Berlin 1896-97 and by Fabrica Nacional de Armas, Oviedo 1896-1915. Adopted on 7th may 1895, this was simply a shorth Mod. 1893, stocked to the muzzle, with a small rear sight and the bolt handle turned down. A change was made in 1896 to he barrel band, which gained a sling ring on the left side, a sling bar was fixed in the left side of the butt in addition to the bar-and-ring assembly beneath the wrist. A half-depth cut in the left side of the receiver was added to facilitate charger-loading. (Rifles of the World, John Walther 1998)
 


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SPANISH 1916 MAUSER SHORT RIFLE.
Converted to CAL. 7.62 mm Nato
1916 Disassembly
Converting 762x51 to 762x39


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M1924 Spanish Czech Short Rifle

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SPANISH MAUSER M-43

7.92mm

SPANISH MAUSER M-44 AIR FORCE RIFLE
Cal. 8mm Mauser
 
 

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Spanish FR7

Converted from the Spanish M1916 model Mausers in the 1960's
Converting 762x51 to 762x39
 
 

Spanish FR8

The much maligned FR-8 Mauser. Converted from the Spanish M43 model Mausers in the 1960's.
Disassembly
Converting 762x51 to 762x39
 

Here is a good look at the innovative rear combination peep and 'V' notch rear site.

Seen faintly in the lower right of the receiver ring, the highly contentious "CAL 7.62" marking. The metal work on the rifle was parkerized on most of these models but many were only blued.

Although the stocks were reworked to fit the new FR-8 configuration, the original side mounted sling loop was left intact during the conversion and a separate bottom swivel was added.

The strange muzzle arrangement. The barrels were from CETME and H&K tooling and used the same front site parts but 'inverted'. The small cylinder below the barrel was used to hold a cleaning kit. The muzzle sports a NATO configuration flash hider and grenade launcher mounting fixture.

The Spanish crest is quite faded on this rifle, probably due to the metalwork done during the FR-8 conversion.
The date of original manufacture can still be seen though, 1948.
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The FR-8 by Colin Carson

For three months, I researched the history of these misunderstood carbines. OK, so I didn't really get to go to spain (darn), But I've dug deep to find out some history of these converted Mausers.

When I purchased a FR-8 at a local gunshow 6 years ago,I was only looking to expand my small military rifle collection with another Mauser type action. I liked the idea of having a Mauser in 7.62x51 because of my passion for reloading and shooting with military guns and the 7.62x51 cartridge offers so many options for the reloader to experiment with.

What I didn't realize, was the amount of controversy these guns had generated since hitting the North-American surplus market.

Whenever I acquire another surplus gun, my first endeavor is always to research its origins and uses. Here in Canada, research material is hard to come by in this subject. My initial readings in ``Rifles of the world" came up pretty well empty. I then began to search across the Internet for information.

I started reading huge threads of arguments in past postings of the newsgroup ``Rec.guns". I read them all but was still left with a lack of FACTUAL knowledge on the history and uses of my ``new" FR-8.

I started reading huge threads of arguments in past postings of the newsgroup ``Rec.guns". I read them all but was still left with a lack of FACTUAL knowledge on the history and uses of my ``new" FR-8.

Although the newsgroup threads were helpful, the amount of interpretation of facts by well-meaning and often very knowledgeable people, only left me confused and more intent on finding out more.

After several searches of libraries and conversations with fellow collectors turned up nothing new, I contacted the Embassy of Spain in Ottawa, Canada. I lucked out here, as the Colonel I spoke with has a brother in Spain who as well as being in the Spanish forces, also is a avid collector. Unfortunately, this fellow has not yet come ``online" and so our discussions took a bit of time to travel back and forth across the Atlantic but he was able to fax me some interesting articles relating to the Cetme program and the subsequent conversion of Spain's arsenals of model 1916 and 1943 Mauser rifles to the FR-7 and FR-8's...

By 1960, the Cetme assault rifle program was well under way. Spain and Germany had signed joint development agreements for this project. This program led to Germany's development of the H&K assault rifles. In fact, as early as 1956, parts made in Spain (barrels and others) for the Cetme program were being sold to Germany and used in their own rifles using the U.S.30T65 cartridge.(7.62x51 NATO)

In 1964 , the Cetme model `C' was in full production. Also at this time, Spain adopted the 7.62 NATO round for standard issue. At this time, Spain decided to rejuvenate their stores of light arms. Enormous stores of Mauser rifles in excellent condition were on hand. A revaluation was done in order to put them to the best use so they could be used serving Spain's auxiliary corps of engineers, communication personnel , drivers etc. An examination of resources found that enough parts produced for the Cetme `C' rifles could be used in the refurbishing of the 1916 and 1943 model Mausers.

This unusual but practical combination, gave birth to a new bolt action rifle affectionately known as ``El Cetmeton". Conserving all the virtues which made the Mauser so legendary for its reliability, but cutting its dimensions and improving in areas of mobility and in aiming mechanisms, it looks more like an assault weapon. This esthetic impression is due to the tube situated underneath the barrel , which looks like a gas tube, but in reality is only a space for a cleaning kit and part of the sight protector and the bayonet mount.

I also wanted to decipher the meaning of the model number designations of these guns (FR-7 &FR-8) .My sources agree on Fusil Reformado 7 & 8 , That's fine but do the 7 & 8 stand for? I heard two different theories. Some people claim the 7 & 8 come from the original caliber's (7mm & 8mm Mauser) , But another source in Spain claims the numbers correspond to the 7th and 8th Military regions of Spain at the time, which was where the weapons were modified.

Summary of Transformations...

--Stock and handgaurd shortened to 28.9" & 8.8" respectively.
--- Cetme `c' barrels modified to fit and shortened to 17.75"
--- Cetme front sight housings (inverted ) and a cleaning kit housed in the lower hole and stabilized by the rear of the kit resting in a recess of the front stock band.
--- Various modifications to the magazine for proper feeding of the 7.62x51 cartridge.
--- ``mixed" rear sight welded to the receiver, with a open `V' notch and 3 diopter apertures (settings for 100, 200, 300 and 400 meters)
--- ``NATO" style muzzle flash hider with machining for grenade launcher

AMMO SQUABBLES...

The biggest controversy today concerning these rifles is , what ammunition are they designed to use. I urge anyone to consider common sense in this matter. ANY surplus firearm should be inspected by a competent gunsmith before firing. And even then you must still be aware that shooting guns of this kind can be risky. They were never designed for civilian use, they were often produced with substandard materials in wartime conditions and by sometimes less than experienced craftsmen. THIS BEING SAID, LETS GO ON...

From what I've learned, I believe that by 1965 when the FR-7's & 8's were being made, that Spain was using basically standard NATO ammunition. My Spanish source quotes a spec. page listing FR-8 using a 147gr. bullet with a velocity of 2700fps. He also points out the worldwide sales of a Cetme sporter in .308 Win. that uses the same barrels and the Germans use of the NATO round as early as 1956.

He speculates that if a lighter bullet/velocity cartridge WAS used it would have been developed to aid in control when using full-auto fire with the Cetme type guns, as his experience was that they were quite a handful when used as such with the NATO ammo.

Again as I stated above, you must assume a ``use at own risk" attitude when firing these guns. Moderate handloads would be my recommendation to anyone considering a rifle converted from one cartridge to another.

And so the FR-7 and FR-8 served Spain from 1965 to around 1980. By then the 5.56 Cetme models had been adopted and the older model `C's filtered down to the auxiliary forces.

Most of the FR-7's & 8's were seldom used But some saw use in various campaigns including N. Africa as Spain tried to hold onto colonialized Spanish Sahara.

Today Spanish collectors are having trouble finding these guns. All were sold for export. My Spanish friend paid 200 German Marks (about $160 Canadian) for his FR-8 on a trip to Nuremberg in 1993. He said at that show he saw several that had been sadly sporterized.
Thanks go out to the many people that helped on this project, especially Angela Laird who learned all about rifles while translating pages of Spanish text and the Spanish embassy in Ottawa for taking an interest in this project!

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