Rifles

Identifying Mauser Markings

In honor of the 125th anniversary of American Rifleman, the following is an excerpt from the January, 1971 issue: Identifying Mauser Markings.

From the January, 1971 issue of American Rifleman

Coats of Arms and other markings on Mauser turnbolt rifles and carbines are extremely varied. While they undoubtedly proved a headache for arms manufacturers who had to maintain an extensive assortment of marking dies, they now provide considerable fascination and delight for arms students and collectors. The first successful Mauser rifle was the Model 1871 made principally for Germany. Developed by Paul Mauser and his brother, Wilhelm, this single-shot blackpowder arm was superseded by a tubular-magazine repeater, the German Model 71/84. These early Mausers were produced by the Mauser factory at Oberndorf a./N., Germany,  Austria, and German government arsenals. Blackpowder Mausers were also produced for China, Serbia, and Turkey.

France adopted the Lebel smokeless-powder magazine rifle in 1886, and Germany kept pace with this important development by adopting a 7.9 mm. smokeless-powder magazine rifle was developed by a government commission, and incorporated several action features of Mauser blackpowder rifles along with a modified version of the Austrian Mannlicher box magazine and the cartridge clip. Paul Mauser was disappointed that Germany had adopted the Model 1888 without consulting him, but a 7.65 mm. smokeless-powder rifle that he developed was adopted by Belgium in 1889.

Featuring a box magazine and a one-piece bolt with dual forward locking lugs, the Belgian Model 1889 rifle served as a basis for further Mauser turnbolt rifle developments. Improved models adopted by Turkey, Spain, and various South American nations were introduced in the early 1890’s. Most important of these was the Spanish Model 1893, the first Mauser with a staggered-column box magazine.

Produced by Many Firms
In addition to the Mauser firm, leading producers of Mausers during the early 1890’s were Fabrique Nationale  in Herstal, Belgium, and Ludwig Loewe & Co., Berlin, Germany. Loewe owned a controlling interest in the Mauser Co. and also had a partial financial control of Fabrique Nationale which was founded for the purpose of producing Belgian Model 1889 military rifles. In 1896, both Loewe and Mauser came under the control of Deutsche Waffen-und Munitionsfabriken, A.-G. (German Arms and Ammunition  Co., Inc.) abbreviated DWM.

Sweden adopted a Mauser carbine in 1894 and a Mauser rifle in 1896, both chambered for the 6.5x55 cartridge. Also in 1896, Germany experimented with Mausers of various calibers. As a result of these experiments, Germany adopted an improved 7.9 mm. Mauser rifle in 1898.

Produced in large quantity by the Mauser Co., DWM, other commercial firms, and several German government arsenals, the Mauser 98 in various rifle and carbine versions was the standard German shoulder arm for almost half a century. It was adopted also in slightly modified form and in various calibers by many other nations, particularly in Central and South America.

Sporting versions with actions of Model 98 design were produced by the Mauser Co. and several other firms. The Mauser Co. called its rifles and carbines original Mausers to distinguish them from those offered by other makers.

Military arms business of the Mauser firm was curtailed greatly after World War I by restrictions of the Versailles Treaty, and the principal suppliers of military Mausers during the 1920’s and early 1930’s were Fabrique Nationale in Belgium and Ceskoslovenska Zbrojovka (Czechoslovakian Arms Factory), Brno, Czechoslovakia. Arms factories in Spain, Poland, Yugoslavia, and China also turned out Mausers in large quantity.

Production of military Mausers was resumed in Germany during the mid 1930’s when Hitler disregarded the Versailles Treaty. During this period, Mauser produced a large quantity of Model 98k carbines for Germany and Standard-Modell Mauser short rifles for export.

Many other firms also produced the 98k and various other Mausers for the German military machine during the rearmament period and World War II. In an attempt to conceal the identity of the producers, these arms were stamped with manufacturers’ code markings instead of firm names. Number codes with a letter prefix were used first, but the letter prefix later was dropped. In 1941, the number codes were replaced by letter codes, and a further change was made in the last part of the war when a new system of letter codes was adopted. Meanings of most letter codes are given in captured German code books, but reliable records on number codes are not available and apparently were destroyed. Meanings of only a few number codes have been satisfactorily determined, and there has been considerable misinformation on the subject. The same is true of later letter codes.

Military Mausers were produced in limited quantity following World War II, but are now obsolete for military purposes. Mauser sporting rifles, however, remain highly popular. Improved sporter versions are now produced in several countries, particularly Germany, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Sweden.

Manufacturers Codes on German Military Mausers*
S/42        Mauser-Werke, A.-G., 
42        Obendorf a./N.
660        Steyr-Daimler-Puch, A.-G., Steyr, Austria
945        Waffenwerke Bruenn, A.-G., Brno, Czechoslovakia
ar        Mauser-Werke, A.-G., Werk Borsigwalde, Berlin-Borsigwalde, Eichborndamm
ax         Feinmechanische Werke, G.m.b.H., Erfurt, Altonaerstr. 25
bcd        Gustloff Werke, Werk Weimar, Weimar
bnz         Steyr-Daimler –Puch, A.-G., Werk Steyr, Steyr, Austra
byf        Mauser-Werke, A.-G., Oberndorf a./N.
ce        J.P. Sauer & Sohn, Suhl
dot        Waffenwerke Bruenn, A.-G., Brno, Czechoslovakia
dou        Waffenwerke Bruenn, A.-G., Werk Bystrica
duv        Berlin-Luebecker Maschinenfabriken, Werk Luebeck
svw        Mauser-Werke, A.-G., (late code) Oberndorf a./N.

*Several number codes and a few letter codes are not shown since their meanings are unknown or uncertain.

About the Author

Ludwig E. Olson is a retired Army Warrant Officer who served chiefly with the Ordnance Corps. A member of The American Rifleman staff since 1957 he has written many articles on arms and ammunition and is the author of the book Mauser Bolt Rifles.

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20 Responses to Identifying Mauser Markings

Tim wrote:
April 07, 2014

Got a mauser...only numbers found is q4517

RG wrote:
March 05, 2014

I HAVE A MAUSER SN 6843 WITH THE LETTER d BELOW THE #, IT HAS ALL THE NAZI SYMBOLS AND IS STAMPED S/147/G ON THE RECEIVER.IWOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE.

Scott wrote:
February 22, 2014

Just bought Mod98 at gun show. Has 1944 stamped on breech with letters dot. Thanks for the info on markings.

Juan wrote:
February 07, 2014

I just got a k98 with BSW and date 1938 with all matching serial numbers except the bolt which has 728 and what looks like b22 stamped on it.

James wrote:
December 24, 2013

Thank you. I long wondered what the ar stamp was below the waffen stamp.

spike dubiel wrote:
September 28, 2013

i have what i was told was a mauser only markings i could find when i pulled all apart was a 6 on the barrle and X4 ? not sure on the 4 with SX under it also found in the bottom of the mag what looked like G69 it also has 2 trigers would like to find out were its from and about when it was made think it is a 6mm sniper rifle ? from sweeded? can you held the whole gun is full of very nice scroling work thank you

JAMES WILLIAMS wrote:
August 05, 2013

My father has just recieved his fathers sniper Mauser rifle from wwii. What is special about it is that when he liberated the town my grandfather pulled it from the assmebly line at the factory and had it sent home. HAS ALL MARKINGS AND IS REAL DEAL. I would like some more info and value to pass on to my father.

Branko wrote:
May 24, 2013

what the markings on the DG German gun??

anthony hollowell wrote:
March 25, 2013

I have Romanian m-69 mauser 22 rifle and love it i recently traded for a mauser 308 has 308 stamped on the receiver and several numbers as well and had been sporterized its a beautiful rifle has 3 markings U and N both have a crown stamped over them and the actual bolt has a very small crown stamped on it

Terry wrote:
March 17, 2013

have mauser wth ci377 code nan small saturn stamp wth german coat of arms an berlin 1896 below it any info on were it came or value

Bucka wrote:
March 12, 2013

I have a mauser 7.91 Cal. The serial # is D10574.Year 1937.Portugal Mauser. Werke A.6 Oberndorf a/n.Can anyone tell me some thing about this gun. Thanks

carl wrote:
February 26, 2013

i have a german m98 sporter 7.9x57 waffenfabrik mauser-oberndorf a/n serial 110447 all original...just trying to find the age and if possible the value.but age is important

charles wrote:
February 17, 2013

i have had a rifle for a longe time it is a bolt action with a magazine that you push a pin the cover turnd to remove and is a rotory style , marking apear to be a man (knight) on horse back ... it has a crown above , a shield with a + . like the cross you would see on hospital tent or ambulance the only thing other than that is a number 9747H

mike wrote:
February 12, 2013

i found a rifle that looks like it is a mauser, but is stamped 7.52 and on the chambver it has the fascist symbol on it as well as a sword, what is this?

Hutch wrote:
February 03, 2013

I have a 7mm with sporting rifle, my dad gave me. The story is "my grandfather took it as payment of a debt in the 70's, I think. The guy who gave it to him, had taken it off a german solider during WWII. He mailed the barrel and bolt etc. home, and kept it." My dad had the gun reassembled, and it is my favorite hunting rifle. The only markings on it are Q4309. I'm not finding it!? Can anyone help?

Tony wrote:
January 31, 2013

I have a Mauser rifle looking for the age.On the top there is no number codes just stamped with the name Mauser also with a straight bolt. # c7460 Thank You

David Frazier wrote:
December 09, 2012

I have a Mauser brought back in a duffle bag with all Nazi symbols still stamped and all serial #'s matching. What is it worth ?

John Thornton wrote:
November 01, 2012

I have a mauser 98k ser # 4095k how do find what year it was manufactured

Robert Norton wrote:
August 28, 2012

Wife's uncle, 3rd Army, brought back a Thuringia- made youth .22 rifle just as your Dad did. He gave it to me. Neat!

Paul S. Smith wrote:
July 13, 2012

More than overjoyed to find the above article. My father brought me a Mauser Youth rifle when he came back from Germany in 1945 after the war. Would like to contact Author. Dad was a CWO at that time inGermany. He also brought me a Lugar with all matching numbers stamped on the part. Hope I can find enough ident marks to find model of My Gun Mauser. Many thanks.