Broom-Handle Mauser: 30 Mauser or 9mm Luger?

One of my regular FFL stores popped up with a Broom-handle Mauser also known as the C96. I have been casually paying attention to them for a while, so when this showed up at the shop, it caught my eye.

C96 Mauser for sale.

Off the top of my head, it’s in 30 Mauser. Is refinished. And the stock / holster kit with it is a reproduction. All of which is actually perfect in my book, since we would be shooting it. But here’s my dilemma:

C96 Mauser. Is that a good price? Probably ok. Likely not a bargain.

If given the option, I try to keep the calibers we support in the armory as simple as possible. It’s basic logistics and cost. A common or standard caliber weapon is easier to feed. Which means it gets more chances to be shot. This is especially true if the weapon is checked out last minute with other weapons of the same caliber.

It also needs to be mentioned we have a German Luger. A P08 German Luger. In layman’s terms that means it’s a 9mm Luger, Luger. Sounds funny, but true. Also, we have a Steyr Hahn. That is also a German P08 conversion. So no, it’s not in 9mm Steyr. It’s in regular ole 9mm Luger just like your Glock. See what’s going on here? Given the choice between two calibers, I tend to always choose the common caliber.

Even though the C96 has a reproduction stock, it is my understanding attaching is exempt from the NFA regulations. At least I think, I think that!

What’s the problem you ask? Well…The Germans being German did it to me again! The Broom-handle Mauser comes in two caliber choices. The 30 Mauser we are discussing here. Or the more rare and expensive, 9mm Luger version known as the, “Red 9”. Thus denoted by the big 9 on the grip. Seen Here:

Example of a RED 9 C96 Mauser Pistol.

So…do I buy a shooter grade C96 in 30 Mauser and treat it like a boutique caliber bolt gun? I mean, seriously. How many rounds will the C96 actually get fired through it? Semi-auto or not? Or do I stick with the logistics precedent and treat it like a “standard caliber” semi-auto?

And before you answer. If I deviate? Why did I work so hard for the P08 versions of the Luger and Steyr-Hahn pistols to begin with?!? CLICK HERE to see a pic of the Luger. CLICK HERE to see a pic of the Steyr-Hahn.

Your feedback is appreciated.


“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

Marky Mark

Marky Mark

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Writer for Co-Host of the John1911 Podcast. Video content provider for John1911-TV.

Areas of focus: Defense and National Security, Modern Light Weapons, Analysis of the Geo-political / Military Relationship in the Context of Strategic Goals.
Marky Mark

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  • Yes, my OCD is kicking it. Perhaps this would be an easier decision if the Mauser shown here was a, “Smoking Deal”. But I haven’t really researched it yet, since I am stuck on the caliber argument.


  • MickeyG

    Wow, nice weapon, wish it were mine, congrats !! 🙂

  • Bryce Mibeck

    I would pick it up, because I may not see another one. You, however, seem to have more connections and hang around gun stores more than I do, which means you stand a better chance of eventually finding one in 9mm.

    I agree that guns should be used, even collector’s items. I fail to see the point on having a good quality firearm that is never fired.

    Just as an aside, what is the NFA rule on the stock/holster? I seem to recall a “curio or relic” exception in the NFA, but I also remember a lot of collectors being told after NFA passed to weld closed or otherwise disable the grip slot where the stock connects to the handgun.

    • The specific NFA rule is putting a stock on a pistol makes it a SBR: short barreled Rifle. This requiring a tax stamp.

      But I could always just get a brace!


  • Brennen Munro

    That is kind of “pricey” for a refurbished with a reproduction holster/stock, and it is in 30cal to boot! If you are looking for more than just a boutique gun, I would try to hold out for a “Red 9” if at all possible. You will get much more use out of it, you will have a much greater choice of ammo for it, and you will have much less of a possibility that someone will screw it up if you are using a common caliber like 9mm. Also, on the stock thingy, it has been granted an exception because it is a very old design. Not sure if it would matter that it is a reproduction, but from other stuff I have read you should still be okay. I had looked into this because at one time I was jonesing something terrible for a Red 9… but could not find one before my gun money got allocated to another project! Life does that.

    • Buy then while you can!!!

      I suspect you are correct on the price analysis. Freeze was looking at it and telling me it appears to be a beat-to-hell Chinese import that came in during the late 80’s or 90’s. While made in German, these “Chinese ” guns were in rough shape with completely shot-out barrels.

      He also feels the re-blue is a home-job done with Cold Blue. His tell-tale indicator, as far as I can remember, is the color-case-hardening look the rear sight has.

      He says HIS top dollar on it as it sits is $800. For the pistol without the re-pop stock, $600. Max.

      Buyer beware.


  • Mikial

    Go for it.

    Better to have one that isn’t exactly what you were looking for than to not have one at all. You can always sell it if you find the 9mm version. That’s my take anyway.

    A fellow captain had a Red 9 when I was on active duty, and we used to go out to one of the many ranges at the old NTC in the Mojave and shoot. Loads of fun, and there were so may ranges you could always find one that was not being used. It really shot well.