Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

East of Here
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Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #1 by East of Here » March 19th, 2014, 10:45 pm

Around St. Valentine's Day, Cupid decided that I had been a good boy, and he left me this beauty under my pillow:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/Mauser_zpscee962e6.jpg[/thumbnail]

She is a Yugoslavian Mauser, which is evidenced from the receiver crest:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/mauseryugocrest_zpsaaa85524.jpg[/thumbnail]

And by the "Preduzece 44" mark:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/mauserprezedeuce_zps7616c4c5.jpg[/thumbnail]

Preduzece 44 is Yugo for "Factory 44" (not an exact translation, but basically that is it). It does NOT mean 'produced in 1944'. But what would make such a Yugo Mauser rifle historically interesting?

East of Here
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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #2 by East of Here » March 19th, 2014, 10:59 pm

What would make this Yugoslavian Mauser historically interesting? Yugo Mausers are not exactly rare. In fact, they are generally quite common. It seems that after the War, Nazi Germany owed reparations, and the Yugoslavians got a bunch of their old rifle tooling and used it to produce Yugo Mausers. They used that equipment to make M24's and M98/48's - both of which are fine rifles. And this is definitely a Yugo stock, because it is hardwood and does NOT have the usual Mauser takedown disc embedded in the stock - it is plain:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/mauserightstock_zps28ed117f.jpg[/thumbnail]

But it is marked simply as a Model 98, not a Model 48:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/mauser98stamp_zpsa3f26e5e.jpg[/thumbnail]

The serial number looks good:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/mauserserialnum_zps886a2c95.jpg[/thumbnail]

And it matches the bolt:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/mauserboltnumber_zps52fc656d.jpg[/thumbnail]

Or does it?

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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #3 by East of Here » March 19th, 2014, 11:11 pm

That serial number on that bolt looks a bit suspicious:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/mauserboltnumber_zps52fc656d.jpg[/thumbnail]

A look underneath confirms the suspicion:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/mauserboltbottom_zpsdb41814a.jpg[/thumbnail]

That bolt was re-stamped from the original (ending in 201) to match the receiver number. No biggie there. Serial numbers are often force matched on old military rifles during the re-arsenal and refurbishment process. But, upon closer inspection of the underside of the bolt handle, there is something even more suspicious. These:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/mauserboltwaf77_zps322c3bd1.jpg[/thumbnail]

Those look a LOT like tri-planes. Or, war eagles. In slang, they are called "Dirty Birds". Officially, they are called Waffenamts. Basically, they are German military inspection marks used by the Third Reich. But, they are not found on post-war Yugoslavian rifles. Unless...

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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #4 by East of Here » March 19th, 2014, 11:53 pm

Let's take her apart and look around for more evidence. Yep, there it is:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/mauserwaf77_zpsd5190485.jpg[/thumbnail]

That is a confirmed Waffenamt 77. And on the sight, we find the confirmation:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/mauserwaf623_zpsc430241e.jpg[/thumbnail]

That is a confirmed Waffenamt 623.

So when is a Yugo Mauser historically interesting? When it isn't actually a Yugolavian Mauser after all. This rifle is not a Yugoslavian M48 Mauser. It is a German Karabiner 98K (K98 Mauser, in layman's terms). To be precise, it is a 1940-44 German K98 produced by Steyr-Daimler-Puch. Yes, THAT Steyr, Daimler and Puch. The same corporations who still make rifles, cars and mopeds to this very day. This rifle was a German issue rifle in WW2, which was either captured by, or turned over to Yugoslavia after the war as reparations. It was then scrubbed of all its original and obvious German markings, and re-arsenaled by Factory 44 into a Yugo Mauser; complete with a new Yugo stock and the Yugoslavian Crest stamped over where the original German manufacturer's code had once been.

Interestingly, this factory (and many others in the area) used slave labor from the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp to supplement its work force. These prisoners were often literally worked to death. And thus, a seemingly common object is found to conceal a profound and interesting history...

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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #5 by East of Here » June 27th, 2014, 6:06 pm

More history:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/side2_zps839284ee.jpg[/thumbnail]

It's an original Russian 1943 Ishevsk Mosin Nagant PU sniper rifle.

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/reticle1_zps3a113211.jpg[/thumbnail]

This rifle was a German's worst nightmare in Stalingrad - and elsewhere in Russia, come to think of it...

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Bill Bryan
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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #6 by Bill Bryan » June 27th, 2014, 7:01 pm

Where'd you find it?
"My presidency is entering the fourth quarter. Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter."
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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #7 by East of Here » June 27th, 2014, 11:54 pm

Foggy wrote:Where'd you find it?


I picked this one up through a small independent importer/distributor out of Florida. Since I hold an 03 FFL (Federal Collector's License), I get dealer pricing through some distributors, I don't have to go through a dealer for transfers and can have weapons shipped directly to my house. It really saves money to cut out the middleman.

As for these particular rifles, they turned up another batch of snipers in storage in Russia a few months back, and they've been slowly filtering into the market ever since. This batch was returned to the arsenal post-war (WW2), and then refurbished before being placed back in long term storage. My particular rifle has a scope that was originally mated to an SVT-40; but was probably removed and then mated to my rifle during the refurbishment process. The funny thing is, to knowledgeable collectors, the SVT scope and mount alone would bring more than I paid for the entire rifle. Luckily, the distributor simply put them up for sale, grabbed and shipped - and did not pick through the crates to hide the good stuff before offering them for sale.

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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #8 by Bill Bryan » June 28th, 2014, 5:54 am

That is so cool. If only that rifle could tell the story about what it went through in WWII. 8>
"My presidency is entering the fourth quarter. Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter."
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East of Here
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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #9 by East of Here » June 29th, 2014, 10:06 pm

Foggy wrote:That is so cool. If only that rifle could tell the story about what it went through in WWII. 8>


Yep. I'd like to hear the tales also. The only thing that is truly certain is that it saw a good bit of action in WW2. What I like most about it is that it was refurbished, but not refinished. So it still maintains some "patina" and "character".

It is kind of funny, but my collection has taken a definitive, yet unintentional turn into the Communist block:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/PUA1_zps9b696958.jpg[/thumbnail]

I blame Finland:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/finpic2_zps290a4a2c.jpg[/thumbnail]

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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #10 by East of Here » August 16th, 2014, 12:11 am

Stumbled onto yet another rescue project. It is a Chinese Type 53 carbine that I picked up for cheap at a pawnshop I stumbled upon. What is lucky is another guy there was thinking of buying this, so he could cut it up and throw it into a cheap plastic "tacti-cool" stock and drill holes in it to mount a cheap scope and turn it into a confused piece of crap. He decided to pass that day, so I swooped in and saved it from the indignity of being turned into a butchered abomination. It is a good thing too, because that guy had no idea what he was about to ruin. It ain't exactly pretty:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/china1_zps76498e51.jpg[/thumbnail]

It doesn't look like much. But it is one of my favorite rifles, nonetheless. On the surface, it is simply a rough-as-a-cob Chinese Type 53. But when you look closer, this one is a bit different - and special. First, it is an Arsenal 26 1960 production:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/recv1_zps1367a107.jpg[/thumbnail]

Second, and most importantly the bolt number matches the receiver number:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/bolt1_zps3639e56a.jpg[/thumbnail]

Adding to the allure, the stock is even matching numbers:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/stock1_zps07fceef1.jpg[/thumbnail]

That is VERY rare. Numbers almost NEVER match on Chinese Type 53's. They are almost all in rough exterior condition, but they are usually in great internal condition. This particular example is rough on the outside (as usual), but it is also a bit rough on the inside (a bit unusual). Factor in the fact that it is a rare 1960 production (the majority of them you find were made from 1953-1956 - then production stopped until they were produced again for one year in 1960) and you have an extremely rare bird. And to make it even more rare, it is missing something. It has no import markings. And that little detail tells the story. There is only one possible explanation for this particular set of facts. This particular rifle was a veteran wartime bring-back from Vietnam.

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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #11 by East of Here » August 16th, 2014, 12:27 am

Needless to say, this one is going on the wall. Unlike the WW2 era weapons, you just don't find that many Vietnam Vet bring-back rifles. And you almost never find a rifle like this still in the same condition it was in when it was picked up on the battlefield. But for me, what really makes it sweet is knowing that I saved it from some nimrod who was probably going to ruin an awesome piece of history.

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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #12 by optimusprime » August 16th, 2014, 11:41 am

Good reads - I learned some things with this thread
:-bd

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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #13 by East of Here » August 29th, 2014, 11:29 pm

I was doing some rambling out west of here, and dropped in on a seedy little pawnshop that I like to drop in on periodically. It is just one of those odd, random places that always seems to generate good finds. And this visit was no exception. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to have it. It is the one on the very top of the rack:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/westy1_zps92188f65.jpg[/thumbnail]

I know what you are thinking and it is the same thing everybody else is thinking - why in the world do you need ANOTHER old Russian Mosin Nagant rifle? Well, beyond the collector's mantra of 'because you can never have too many', it's kinda complicated. It is a Russian Mosin Nagant, but it also kinda isn't:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/westyrec1_zpsf5b78145.jpg[/thumbnail]

Yep, you read that correctly. That's an AMERICAN made Russian rifle. Complete with the Imperial Eagle of Peter the Great. It's an interesting story, actually...

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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #14 by East of Here » August 30th, 2014, 12:08 am

You see, in 1914, World War 1 was all the rage. All the cool kids were there. Except the Russians were not exactly the cool kids, and they were getting 'pantsed' pretty thoroughly and regularly by the jocks - er, Germans. Which is to say that they were getting their not-yet-commie asses handed to them. In fact, they were losing a quarter million rifles a month (due to attrition, damage and/or capture) for a spell. They needed help desperately.

So, the Russkies worked a deal with New England Westinghouse to have them build 1.8 million M1891 rifles for export to Mother Russia. They also made a deal to acquire approximately 1.6 million rifles to be produced by Remington. So N.E.W. and Remington started pumping out American made Russian rifles. Or at least Remington did. Westinghouse was actually pumping out American made British Russian rifles because they didn't have the machinery to produce the rifles, so they had to lease it from the Brits (who incidentally co-signed for the Russians on the production contract, but I digress...). So, in 1915, Westinghouse starts pumping out American British Russian rifles. This worked well until February of 1917. That's when the Russian revolution kicked in and overthrew the Russian Monarchy - the same Monarchy who signed off on these American rifle contracts. You can see where this is heading.

The new Russian government promptly refused to pay for the American rifles, because, well, they didn't sign the contract and they didn't have the money anyway. They claimed the rejection was because the quality of the rifles was bad, but everybody knew (and still knows) that the quality of the American rifles FAR exceeded the quality of their Russian counterparts. But it didn't really matter much, because the only material fact is that Russia stopped paying, and stuck N.E.W. and Remington with a metric shitload of American made Russian rifles. Well, since he kinda got them into this mess, Uncle Sam stepped in and bought the rest of the rifles in a corporate bailout of a sort. But we won't delve into what became of all those U.S. owned, American Made, British Russian rifles (though it is a fascinating story) because this rifle isn't one of those. This rifle actually went to Russia, served in multiple World Wars (and other conflicts) and was re-imported, probably in the very early 80's.

So that would be the background story of this particular American British Russian rifle - except that I skipped the part where it is actually a Finnish rifle... :huh:

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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #15 by East of Here » August 30th, 2014, 12:45 am

So what we have is actually an American made British Finnish Russian rifle? Yep. Lemme explain. The Russians and the Finns used to be on the same team. So the Russians gave them rifles. Then, they fought each other, and the Finnish captured Russian rifles. And vice versa. But the Finns were not content to sit back and rely on hand-me-downs. The Finns would take them apart and send them through their arsenals to bring them up to their own high standards. They also invented modifications to improve the rifles during the re-arsenal process. For instance, they added this spring to remove any slack in the trigger mechanism:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/westyspring_zpsb49a1ac1.jpg[/thumbnail]

And, they did not worry about keeping the parts together - they mix and matched them, as you can see from the 'circle R' marking on the bolt body:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/westyrem_zps32fadb3c.jpg[/thumbnail]

That marking, and that bolt body, came from Remington. But the other parts on this bolt are Russian from both the Tula arsenal and the Ishevsk arsenal. You can see the Ishevsk bow and arrow marking on the extractor rail:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/westyarrow_zps703e1cbd.jpg[/thumbnail]

But what first tipped me off that this rifle was Finnish was this:

[thumbnail]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/JFK1969/archeology/westycivgrdnum_zpsce750b8c.jpg[/thumbnail]

The "S" is the giveaway. That is a Civil Guard number. This rifle was not Finnish Military, it went to the Finnish Civil Guard. What makes this rifle really odd is that they were almost always marked with the letters "SA", the Finnish military acceptance mark, on the receiver when the Finnish got them. This one has no "SA" stamp, so it was probably captured by the Finnish military, but issued to the Civil Guard - because if it had been provided by the Russians voluntarily, it would have had to have been accepted by the Finnish military. But regardless, it is indisputably a Finnish rifle, as it has the trigger spring, a Civil Guard number on the bolt, and the rear sight has been altered in the usual Finnish fashion. It also has a 2 piece, round finger spliced, WW2 vintage Finnish lower stock, but you can't really see that in the pictures of the wood due to the heavy grade Finnish finish.

So the upshot of this rifle is, the Russian Monarchy ordered it, the British supplied the machinery to build it, the Americans at N.E.W. built and shipped it, the Bolsheviks (ultimately) refused to pay for it, Uncle Sam paid for it, the Russians used it, the Finnish military captured it, the Finnish government improved it, the Finnish Civil Guard used it, and at some point, it got bought out of storage and imported back into the good old USA, where some Bubba bought it (probably at Roses), shot a few deer with it, got behind on his trailer payment and hocked it - whereupon, I happened upon it and brought it home to reside on the rack with its other Finnish brothers.

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Bill Bryan
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Re: Yet Another Interesting Historical Piece

Post #16 by Bill Bryan » September 2nd, 2014, 3:45 pm

THAT is a very cool, very fascinating story. No wonder you had to have it. Whoa.

I think my favorite part of the story -- as a political junkie, of course -- is the part about how

"They (the new Bolshevik government) claimed the rejection was because the quality of the rifles was bad, but everybody knew (and still knows) that the quality of the American rifles FAR exceeded the quality of their Russian counterparts."

At that point, the communist government was about 5 minutes old, and they were already just brazenly lying about things they didn't even need to lie about. Right out of the gate, it was like the governmental equivalent of a criminal sociopath.
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