Portuguese contract Vergueiro 6.5 caliber Model 1904 - Jon Speed & John Wall
John Wall and Jon Speed were friends that collaborated on research projects together, and Jon Speed thought it appropriate to post up some of their projects they were working on or that were never completed. He asked me to post this material on Gunboards-Mauser as that was John Wall's favorite forum. I will do several of these by topic, so they can help researchers of these specific models, Jon Speed wants this material publicly displayed and will work with any serious researcher that inquires.
Follows is Jon Speed's comments and pictures:
Paul, Thanks to Lockhoven, who is the only person ever to have the chance to handle and photograph many of the rifles returned to the Mauser firm in early 1970 period by the French. Lockhoven was asked by the Mauser firm to go through all these and make inventory of the models, calibers and time period of production etc. Hidden in this pile of some 800 rifles were many one of kind (MUSTER) examples from black powder days to WW2. One of the Muster examples was Made by Mauser Oberndorf in 1902 and 1903 for the up coming Portuguese contract to make what became the Vergueiro 6.5 caliber model 1904. Even though actual production was done by Mauser Berlin (DWM) the first series of Prototypes (Muster examples) were made by Mauser. This rifle had many features similar to the well known Mannlicher rifles of the same period.
1. Top view action to show Mauser name and date 1903 serial number 10
2. Right view action
3. Right view rifle, as can be seen the push button magazine box release that was used on production rifles is not included in this example. Also in this pile were a little known Portuguese 1904 carbine which is rarely encountered
4. Carbine right / left
5. Early version production rifle 1904 top below later version with new front sight unit
Paul, Still on the Portuguese subject we have an unknown Mauser carbine in a special configuration and caliber .303 British.
In the 1929-32 period Mauser firm was going through a tough financial period during the 1929-32 World crisis. After heavy investments on 2 pending contracts for Chile and Paraguay for Standard Modells, these 2 contracts fell apart due to political events in both lands. Portugal asked Mauser to make up some special carbines in caliber .303 British. These carbines had full length stocks with Nose ends looking similar to those on some British Enfield rifles. The rifles had special magazine boxes with push button release floor plate. 2500 of these were made for Portugal in 1932. To date no carbine like this has ever surfaced.
1. Target data with title, date etc.
2. Right / Left view of special Carbine
These images come from Lockhoven Mauser files. In other docs for the specail carbine there was interest shown to make this carbine with a new type of Rotary magazine .We have parts listing that indicate this Rotary magazine. Mauser mysteries never stop comming along. Jon
Injteresting the "SMLE'd" Mauser Carbine>
The Portuguese Navy, after WW I, had taken over the SMLEs and Vickers/Lewis Guns of the Portuguese Expeditionary Force equipped by the British during WW I; Portugal started making their own .303 ammo in 1922 (called the Mo.923), although earlier Ammo supplied by Britain (US Contract & British MkVII and VIIz) was packed as "Mo.919" ( from boxes and examples from a Crate, ex-Mozambique, and Century Arms).
Such a small Lot (2,500 ) would seem just right for a Marinha Portuguesa order. Maybe they are still in some forgotten Port. Naval Warehouse...Never been seen on the International Market since WW II (Not IA, CAI etc).
BY 1937, Portugal had adopted 7,9mm with Mauser M937 (aka Kar98k modified), so .303 was limited to Aircraft Guns; The Army Vickers were converted to 7,9mm (Dolf Goldsmith "Lady of No Man's Land"), and the Navy kept .303. at least until the 1960s.
The "P.07" Muzzle cap would be to use existing stocks of P.07 Bayonets already on hand with the WWI SMLEs, and to reduce cost and stock problems by having another (Mauser Style) Bayonet.
Any info as to the design of the mag well --slanted? as in the sporting rimmed "British" actions? The sling band has Two loops (one loop, closed for sling, one loop, open-- 'stacking swivel'). So the intention is that these short rifles (musketoons)
were for Fanteria do Marinha (marine infantry), and could be "stacked" when on shore. I take it that the clip guide is shaped to take the normal Mk 2,3 or 4 charger.
Is it a "large ring" or "small ring" action?
here for comparison, the Portugese 1904 long rifle, as it looks now. It's an original 6.5 mm version (long), not the 1904/38 conversion.
The main difference seems to be the bolt:
the early production rifle in post #1 still has a cut-out in the bolt (pics #4, 5), which is similar to later Haenel rifles. The final Portugese production rifles didn't have this cut-out.
Pic: Haenel Mod. 1908 (from the net)
Another difference: the numbering of the rear sight side plates is different: in the pre-model, even numbers are used on the right side (like on the Mauser M1907 Export model, which has even numbers on left and right side). On the M1904 production model (pic #4), odd numbers are on the right side! (and even no.s on left side). This would match with the odd no.s on the right side of the rear sight. Maybe a specific Portugese requirement.
The Haenel 1908 also has even no.s on left and right side of the rear sight side plates.
@ Mod: since we're discussing only rifles of 'pure' Mauser blood in this forum, a shift to another forum is recommended. On the other side, the rear sight markings are also relevant for the Mauser community.
I have been doing a little research on these rifles and am failing miserably. There really is not much out there on these rifles. Rumors, anecdotes, misc trivia.
I have had my eye out for an original 6.5 for awhile. This rifle ties in directly with some of the Haenel research I am doing as companies desperately tried to compete with the Mauser 98 design. I keep coming back to this rifle though. Why? Why was a basically schlegelmilch action used, by Mauser and DWM, to produce a product arguably inferior to their proprietary system. It is what the customer ordered? That is what I have read. You do not go to Ford and ask them to produce a Chevy!
Loewe of course produced Gewehr 88 rifles, so in some regard the tooling and processes would have been available for DWM to produce them. The Verqueiro of course is unique in almost as many factors as it is similar. From a business standpoint it is interesting that Mauser/DWM would have been competitive compared to Haenel/VC Schilling (ie SC) or Steyr that were producing rifles based on this action. Of course, we have no idea if Portugal received bids from anyone other than Mauser/DWM.
In 1904 Mauser/DWM would have been seemingly quite busy to invest in tooling up for production for a new rifle. Mr. Speed (hopefully you are reading this!) were you and Mr. Ball able to determine actual production figures from DWM documents? Any other interesting documentation germane to this topic? I am sure there is likely more than is feasible to post, but I would be interested in seeing more information if you are willing/able to take the time to share it.
From my understanding, the M1904 is what the customer ordered, and so DWM made it:
Portugese point of view:
- the M1904 receiver "combines the best features of Gew.98 with a split-bridge receiver and a modified Mannlicher-Schoenauer bolt" (acc. to Ball). Since it's Portugese design, it has to be better than Mauser M95 or M98 design (customers point of view !). Customer wants and customer pays for it.
- DWM/Mauser and Steyr are the only companies who can do large contracts; Haenel would be too small (my guess for the M1904 contract is 100,000 rifles, based on the highest serial block 'J' i have seen). Additionally, DWM doesn't have to pay royalties for M95/98 features
DWM point of view:
- the years 1901-1903 didn't bring much business: the large M93/M95 contracts were done; large other contracts were still pending. So, why not make an exotic rifle? The tools for barrel production are the same as for the M95; the M1904 bolt is easier to produce than a M95 bolt (due to the extra bolt head), so no large investment necessary.
Finally in 1904, a large Gew.98 contract came from the German army (500,000), shared between DWM and Oberndorf.
- i don't think that DWM had to pay royalties for the M1904, since they didn't use a Mannlicher type magazine
As a hint for the economical situation, here a sketch with employees no. of Mauser Oberndorf (out of 'Mauser Geschichte' by Wolfgang Seel). In 1900, there is a large drop in employees no. (less than 1000), until the Turkish M1903 contract starts. I assume this to be similar for DWM. Attachment 1905769
Thank you for posting that. Interesting takes on the why. I wondered about Mauser/DWM business at 1904.
Thank you for posting the picture as well. I will always remember a copy of Mauser Geschichte that was up for sale on Gunbroker. I was "flat broke" at the time and bid the book up to $175 as that was all the money I had at the time. It sold for $180.
From looking at the 1904 receiver in comparison with the 88, Haenel 1900, and MS 1903, other than small unique aspects, the parts are mostly interchangeable. The receiver, to me, is straight schlegelmilch with minor improvements, of course, bottom metal is Mauser, and as mentioned, since Loewe already made 88's it is likely the knowledge and technology was already present.
here a bolt comparison of Portugese M1904 (1904/39) and Mannlicher-Schönauer 1903 (Greek 1907)
Result: the bolts are completely different, except the fact that both have a seperate bolt head and a split receiver bridge.
Pics (top: M1904; bottom: M-S)
Comparison M-S 1903 (top) with Gew.88 (bottom) (the Gew.88 bolt head is ground off according to German de-mil law. Sorry!)
Result: these bolts are very similar: similar length, similar size of bolt head, same guide rib for choking piece, same shape of safety
Comparison Chile M95 with Portugese M1904
Result: totally different
--> the Portugese M1904 bolt is different from Mauser M95/98 as well as Mannlicher rifles. It shares features from both 'parents', but has as well significant differences to both parents
--> some unique design !