After a month-long tour of the western US courtesy of the morons at the Post Office, it finally arrived--my latest Mauser acquisition. (Click on the pictures to bring them up to decent size.)
Pretty, eh? Original blued finish is still 90%+, and the laminated stock is still in excellent shape.A World War Two German rifle originally, this one came out of the Steyr factory in Austria in 1941 according to the factory code and date on the receiver below. But look-someone's cut a notch in that receiver just below the date...and shaped the left side of the receiver to put new markings on! Yep. This one wasn't done serving when the war ended in May of 1945. The Norwegians kept it and re-issued it to their own troops. This one in particular went to the army, as can be seen by the "HAER", which is the code for Hæren, or Army. The notch is there to allow the rifle, originally chambered in 8mm, to accept .30-06 cartridges after the Norwegians converted it to take advantage of all of the free .30M2 rounds that the Americans were giving away to new allies after the war. All Norwegian Army and Air Force rifles were converted over and marked "KAL 7.62m/m", as shown here.In both these pictures, you can see where the original German serial number was just struck out with a line through it and the new Norwegian number added. Even the German eagle was left intact and unmolested.All of the other parts are still original though, shown here is the serial-numbered magazine floorplate, the screw that holds it on, and the screw that keep that screw from going missing.(Obsess much, Germans?) All are still original to the gun as it left the Steyr plant.Even the stock still has the German Eagle proof stamps visible. They've been sanded a bit, but they were never removed during the rifle's Norwegian military use.Sometime along the way though, the stock cracked. Rather than just replace it, a Norwegian armorer patched it by drilling four holes through the broken area and fixing these weeden pugs into it, making it as strong or stronger than it was before. Thrifty people, those Norwegians.
Me assessment is that I'm quite happy with the rifle. It's only real flaw is that the bolt does not match the rifle's serial number, but alas, that's the norm with these Norwegian Mausers.
These rifles are a nice addition to a World War Two collection due to their identification with the Norway occupation and subsequent re-issue. There were only a couple hundred thousand of them maintained by the Norwegians as war reserve into the 1970's, and while some, including this one, were eventually sold as surplus in the 1980's, the bulk of them sadly were destroyed when Norway decided to join in a United Nations arms non-proliferation program. (Stupid U.N.. Grumble, grumble...)
Norway, if you will recall, was one of the first countries that Germany invaded in April of 1940, capturing it almost as easily as they did France. (Of course the Norwegians actually fought back, and they did inflict some casualties on the attacking Germans, including the sinking of the heavy cruiser Blucher, which got a bit too close to the shore batteries of Oscarsborg Fortress as it approached Oslo.
This rifle serves as yet another reminder that many military rifles continue on in use by other nations after war's end, even if the nation that created them fares badly in that war, as Germany did. Now it joins my Israeli Army ex-German Mauser (That would have vexed Hitler to no end, I'm sure) and my Yugoslavian "Preduzece 44" ex-German Mauser on the rack here at the Lair. I'll try to blog about that one in the future, since I apparently haven't done so yet. Meanwhile, this one's got a date with the range on my next day off. I can't wait to see how it shoots.