Captured Mauser Rifles Get Me Thinking

I recently saw this photograph of captured Mauser rifles stacked like kindling. I thought it was very interesting.

The first thing that struck me was the volume. That’s a lot of Mauser rifles! Looking at the picture, I don’t know what timeframe it was taken. But if I were to make an uneducated guess, post WWII? But frankly, I could be dead-ass wrong. If Freeze were in the office today, I’m sure he would know.

The second thing that I find interesting is what this photo means or represents in the mil-surp collecting circles. Frequently, when you look around the high-end collector circuit a reference to a small blemish or mark on an otherwise “perfect” rifle might be a, “Stacking blem” or something similar.

The logic being the owner is trying to convince himself, or a potential buyer, that the scuffs or dings are somehow “legitimate”, “correct”, or “period original” and should not detract from the rifle’s value. Having been in some very large mil-surp warehouses in the last decade, I find that thinking dubious at best. Neat. But dubious.

That's a lot of Mausers.

That’s a lot of Mausers. You mean all those bumps and bruises didn’t come from The Battle of The Bulge?

The third thing. Buy the rifle, not the story. There are too many rifles with fake stamps and markings and too much money to be lost unless you know exactly what you are doing. Don’t doubt me on that. We have seen some dealers in the US and overseas using fake military stamps to fluff up their products. Freeze, our resident military-surplus expert has a policy that could serve our readers well in this regard,

“I don’t care what it is, I only pay repro prices. That way I can’t get hurt”.

That comment is sure to hurt some asses, but here is the back-story. Freeze was one of this countries largest mil-surp dealers within certain, very specific, markets. About 15 years ago he looked at the business and decided to cash out. He was seeing too many fakes coming to market and predicted a crash. Even some smaller museums were starting to buy and display (unknowingly we hope) fake items.

How long would it be until markings alone weren’t enough to establish authenticity? And only items with long paperwork trails would be sellable at higher prices? It has happened before. Go out and try to buy a US Confederate sword or firearm? Most are fakes. Or Singer 1911 pistols? Most are fakes.

You don’t know the joke about Singer 1911’s? Of the hundreds made during the war, thousands have survived and are for sale at your local gun show!
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

  • Mikial

    I live in a southern state famous for a great many Civil War battles. All I have to do is take a walk in “Old Towne” to find an amazing selection of “authentic” Civil War memorabilia. Mini-balls, swords, old pistols, clothes, etc., etc.

    Caveat emptor.

    • Yup. Honestly, the next crash is probably going to be in “authentic Nazi” stuff. Mitchell’s Mausers, among many others, fake’s the hell out of stampings.

      Pay reproduction prices and you won’t get burnt.


      • Conner

        I agree with paying repro prices. Many years ago I bought what at the time was one of Mitchell’s collector grade M-48 mausers. I can’t remember exactly how much but I do remember it was not more then $300-$400 at the time, which obviously was a repro price. I was just a kid when I was waiting for it to arrive and remember being really excited. Even with it being advertised as an “Authentic Unissued” mauser and with all the so-called certifications I knew better. But, what I got and still have today is a beautifully refurbed Mauser. I don’t know what they are like today but the one I have is really mint condition including the furniture (replacement stock), metal and the barrel bore. I have a really nice Hensoldt Wetzlar scope that was given to me by a good friend not to long ago. After buying an “original repro” mount for damn near what the rifle cost me, when I’m done I will have a very nice sniper type repro set up that by the way shoots very nicely. When I’m done it will go back up on it’s wall mount. Should someone naive look at it and ask ‘wow, is that real? I’ll tell them; Oh hell yeah! This was used by Erwin Konig during the battle of Stalingrad! 🙂 Kidding aside, for what I paid I feel I got more the what I paid for. No way I could have reconditioned it myself for the price I paid. You did get me thinking though. Any weapons that weren’t crated right after the war will have some kind of shipping dings and dents. Knowledge is key in collecting and assuming everything is fake until proven otherwise is a good start. Thanks for the discussion even though I’m a year late. Love the picture.

        • Conner!!!!

          We would LOVE to see photos of the scope and mount! Maybe I’ll even make it a official post on the blog?


          • Conner

            I’d be happy to Marky. I think I’ve sent one pic before but since then my son has set up my PC with windows 10 and I’ve played hell doing anything with photos. Full disclosure ‘I’d do much better with a Kodak’ 🙂 With your offer to show it I will get some assistance to get this done. I have a ton interesting projects that I’d really like to share. I’ll get that up asap. Thanks a bunch!

          • Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. It’s been a zoo around here. Do you have my email address?

            Let’s take this to email.


  • Outlaw

    I wonder just how many rifles are in that room……….

    • Using a sampling method and just counting stacks that one can ACTUALLY see, and assuming the far away stacks of rifles are mausers, the count is 11,180 rifles you can physically see.

      Now you know.


      • Outlaw

        I just wonder how many aren’t shown to the left of the photo? Probably twice as many or perhaps more. We’ll never know will we. Wonder what happened to all of them?

        • Actually, I wouldn’t be AT ALL surprised that somewhere in the War Department / DOD records, there is a count on captured Nazi weapons. Such numbers would be standard practice. Even if they were broken down by military districts and not given as a single total. –Marky

  • Gary

    In 1958 my father told me that when he went into Germany, what he saw, convinced him we would have still been fighting to that date had we not been successful in cutting off their supply lines. The clothing and fact that there are no palettes visible, that surly is a WWll period photo.

  • Conner

    Before i started collecting and gunsmithing well over 20 years ago I was advised by a very experienced collector that a good (or great) library on both subjects is the most valuable collection one can have. His advice has served me well over the years.