Swedish Mauser Rifle

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Swedish Mauser 1896 M96
The Swedish Mauser as it is affectionately called got its beginnings in 1896. The Swedish chose the 6.5x55mm cartridge and the 1896 Mauser or M96 as their rifle of choice. The rifle would remain basically unchanged until 1938, when a new shorter model would be introduced known as the M38 Swedish Mauser.

Swedish Mauser Crest StampWhile the Germans have always been known for their craftsmanship, the Sweds took M96craftsmanship to a new level with the Swedish Mauser. They required the guns to be manufactured using Swedish high-grade steel (Swedish Steel) and a mixture of various metals including copper, nickel and vanadium. This process produced exceptional strength and corrosive-resistant properties.  It was also claimed to have been made from superior steel than the normal steel of the times.  One of the reasons for the high quality of the Swedish Mauser is because Sweden never entered wars like most other nations.

Swedish Mausers were manufactured in Sweden Carl Gustafs stads Gevärsfaktori, in Germany by Waffenfabrik Mauser Oberndorf a/N and by and Husqvarna Vapenfabriks Aktiebolag.  The actual production for the Swedish Mauser didn’t really start until 1898, when the Carl Gustafs federal armory started producing them.  Due to the tooling up period and slow production, some of these earlier models were also contracted out to be made by Mauser and later by Husqvarna during WWII.

The Swedish Mauser was used by the Finnish army against the Russians (Finnish-Russian War 1939-1940 also called the Winter War).  The Fins stamped theirs with the letters “SA” for any Swedish Mauser used during the Russian War.  Finland was provided about 77,000 of the M96 Swedish rifles throughout this period, but most of them came near the end of the conflict.  There were also about 8,000 Swedish volunteers that arrived armed with the Swedish Mauser M96s.

Swedish Mauser Finish Army Marking SA M96

Overview
Name  – 1896 Mauser, M96 or Swedish Mauser
Weight – 9.2 pounds
Length – 49″
Barrel Length – 29″
Ammunition – 6.5 x 55mm
Manufactures – Carl Gustafs Stads, Husqvarna, and Mauser

Sweden eventually replaced the Swedish Mauser with the shorter barrel version (7 inches shorter) called the M38 when in 1938 the new shorter Swedish Mauser rifle was being produced.

Swedish Mauser 1896 DiskOne interesting note is each rifle comes with a brass disk fitted to the right side of the rifle stock.  The disk gives some insight as to the condition of the weapon.

There are 3 distinct pie shape slices.  The largest slice or wedge represents the level of bore erosion.   Bores were measured from 6.46 to 6.59mm and refer to the diameter of the bore.  Increments are very nearly spaced .0004″ apart, or 4 ten-thousandths of an inch.

The second biggest wedge represents how much to adjust the gun based on the M94 and M41 Swedish Mauser 1896 M96 cartridges.  “Torped” refers to the boat-tail 139gr m/41 bullet. “Overslag” refers to over shooting, and the “str” is abbreviated for streck. There are 6300 streck in a circle. One streck equals .1m at 100 meters. This is really an indication of how high a bullet will strike the target in relation to point-of-aim.

The last or smallest slice indicates what condition the rifle bore is.  The lower the number the better the bore is.  This is rated 0-4.  A rating of 0 means that the bore is almost new and a rating of 4 means the barrel should be replaced.  A rating of 0 means there are no triangle stamps next to above any of the numbers.

A little stamped triangle next to a number in each pie shape indicates deterioration of the gun.

The brass disk shown above is the latest version of the disks.  Prior versions didn’t contain as much information and Earlier models contained either two screws or zero screws.

Swedish Mauser Bayonets

The Swedish Mauser has a rather nifty bayonet that can be attached to the rifle.  The bayonets are called Swedish bayonets or Swedish 1896 bayonets.  Most of the bayonets were either made by Eskilstuna Jernmanufactur AB (EJ-anchor-AB) beginning around 1899 – 1912.  They made 280,000 of which the first 10,000 had 4 digit serial numbers.  The 3 digit bayonets numbering went up to 999.  Once the sequence hit 999, they started the numbering at 001 again.

Starting around 1913 Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori (“Rifle Factory of Carl Gustaf’s town”) (Crown/C) took over production.  The early versions had what was known as a flat locking stud and were double edged.  These were produced from 1899 – 1904.  Around 1905 the design was changed to a conical stud and single edge (One side being dull).

The last rifle to use this bayonet was the M1942 and it went out of service in 1964.

Bayonet Markings

The use of unit markings on the bayonets ended in 1933, so if there are unit marks, that most likely means the bayonet was made before 1933.  Unmarked bayonets could have been issued anywhere from 1901-1964.

The normal sequence is a company number; a regiment code; a bayonet/weapon number. Regiment codes follow a set pattern with an ‘I’ for Infantry followed by the regiment number, and a ‘K’ for cavalry, followed by cavalry regiment number.

Each bayonet and scabbard had either a 3 or 4 digit (early version) serial number that corresponds to the Swedish M96 rifle serial number that the bayonet was issued with.

M1896 Swedish Bayonet Comparison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you can find the earlier version of the Swedish bayonet with the Flat Stud or the 4 digit serial number it is worth more.  As with all bayonets, finding matching number hilts and scabbards always makes them worth a little more.  The bayonet itself is rather unique since it was made entirely from metal with a hollow tube shaped handle.  The overall length is 335mm and the blade is 210mm.  Typical prices range from $40-$80 and really is a great deal considering how well these are made.

Now of course with many antiques, countries like China, they are always producing fakes.

Fake Swedish 1896 Bayonet

Swedish Bayonet Recap

1899 – 1912 – Bayonets made by Eskilstuna Jernmanufactur AB (EJ-anchor-AB)
1913 – 1964 Bayonets made by Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori (“Rifle Factory of Carl Gustaf’s town”) (Crown/C)
Pre – 1933 – Bayonets with unit markings
1901 – 1964 – May not have unit markings

When searching for the bayonet, use the following search terms “Swedish Bayonet”, “Swede Bayonet”, “1896 Bayonet”, “M96 Bayonet”

Here is another reference website http://www.holmback.se/bayonets/Notes/SwedStamps.html

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I share a passion for collecting all things vintage and antique and love to share that passion with others.

3 Comments

  1. I am thinking about guying a Swedish Mauser, and my prefgerred ammo. would be the 6.5 x 55mm. I only plan on using this for target shooting/plinking,.and to look at. I love rifles, and your article as above , jhelped me a lot,./.Thanks very much
    Regards
    Reg

    • Hi Reg,

      You will certainly love the Swedish Mauser. Anther really cool thing about them is their bayonets. The design IMO was drastically way ahead of it’s time and much more well made than any other bayonets out there. I plan on doing a video of them to give some more detail that what I wrote.

      If you can find a Swedish Mauser with matching numbers, that will be better in the long run. Even if you have to pay a little more up front. Mine doesn’t have all matching numbers, but the ones that do will be worth more later on. I look at each older gun I get as an investment, at least that is what I tell my soon to be wife. :-)

      I am going to a gun show this coming weekend and am in the market for an Enfield No 1 Mark III Lothgow. We will see if I find one. Love the history of all these weapons.

  2. Very cool article, sir. I love all nearly all milsurps. Enfields, Schmidt-Rubins, Mausers, Krags, what have you. The only type I’ve never taken a shine to was Mosin-Nagants. That’s just me, though.

    Keep writing. Great stuff.

    Best,
    JBR

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