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Mars Air Rifle

Mars Air Rifle

Q. This airgun is alleged to be a Hitler Youth training rifle. It supposedly fires wooden pellets. The bore measures .30" at the muzzle, but the loading port on top of the barrel has a slot that appears to be about .177". The bolt creates compression on the forward stroke. (It still makes compression and fires.) The gun is marked “MARS 115” on top of the receiver behind the sights, and “Venuswaffenwerk Zella-Mehlis Germany” on the left side of the receiver. Can you tell me more about it?

A. Your Mars 115 pellet rifle closely resembles a Mauser Model 98k, Germany’s standard-issue World War II bolt-action rifle. Like the .22 rimfire training rifles that were made in the 1930s, it was sold to rifle clubs as a trainer. I have no information on its use by any specific groups or organizations. A smaller, lighter youth version, 100 cm long, was made for smaller boys. It was a smoothbore produced by Oscar Will von Mars Repetier-Luftgewehr. It shot 4.4 mm steel round balls (BB shot), was 115 cm long and held 100 BBs. The Mars company went out of business after World War II. Your Mars 115 would be both a good shooter and a collectible of special value to those interested in German training rifles. The rear sight is regulated for 6, 8, 10 and 12 meters and is similar to that on the Mauser 98K, except for the distances.

-Angus Laidlaw

Originally published July, 2006

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