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Hello, My first post on this Forum......after having researched my C96 with the help of System Mauser by Breathed and Schroeder, I am still left with several questions. As defined by System Mauser I'm fairly confident my pistol is either an Early Small Hammer or a Standard Prewar Commercial. This broomhandle ticks all but one of the boxes for an Early Small Hammer............late 2 lug firing pin, late first type safety, late trigger, late rear sights, 34 groove grip panels, early small ring hammer, and a serial number (38309) below the range of the Standard Prewar Commercial. However, the presence of a late extractor, which according to System Mauser shouldn't be on a pistol with a pre 40,000 serial number, makes me wonder if this sidearm is a transitional piece between the Early Small Hammer and the Standard Prewar Commercial. My first thought was that perhaps the bolt (and thus the extractor) may have been replaced, however it occurred to me that as the bolt number matches the rest of the pistol it must be original. The book states that "only the long extractor, Oberndorf proof house mark and serial distinguish it (the Early Small Hammer) from the late production prewar pistol". Googling would yield no example of an Oberndorf proof house mark and I could find nothing to identify the two stamps on the barrel heel.

I've attached several photos which I hope Forum members will help me identify the pistol (my first broomhandle).

Cheers and thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hello, My first post on this Forum......after having researched my C96 with the help of System Mauser by Breathed and Schroeder, I am still left with several questions. As defined by System Mauser I'm fairly confident my pistol is either an Early Small Hammer or a Standard Prewar Commercial. This broomhandle ticks all but one of the boxes for an Early Small Hammer............late 2 lug firing pin, late first type safety, late trigger, late rear sights, 34 groove grip panels, early small ring hammer, and a serial number (38309) below the range of the Standard Prewar Commercial. However, the presence of a late extractor, which according to System Mauser shouldn't be on a pistol with a pre 40,000 serial number, makes me wonder if this sidearm is a transitional piece between the Early Small Hammer and the Standard Prewar Commercial. My first thought was that perhaps the bolt (and thus the extractor) may have been replaced, however it occurred to me that as the bolt number matches the rest of the pistol it must be original. The book states that "only the long extractor, Oberndorf proof house mark and serial distinguish it (the Early Small Hammer) from the late production prewar pistol". Googling would yield no example of an Oberndorf proof house mark and I could find nothing to identify the two stamps on the barrel heel.

I've attached several photos which I hope Forum members will help me identify the pistol (my first broomhandle).

Cheers and thanks in advance.
PS: photo of hammer
 

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Nice overview.
You need to keep in mind the the book was written in the mid-sixties and the classification and nomenclature proposed in the book was somewhat
arbitrary and based both on the gun’s evolution(small ring hammer vs. large ring hammer vs cone hammer, for example) and the timeline of the gun’s production: prewar commercial vs wartime commercial vs early post war bolo, for example. We now know that so called wartime commercial guns shown in the Schroeder’s book were actually part of the imperial army contract. You simply have one of the earliest examples of a small ring hammer guns. And yes, there must have been a transition period where late extractors were used on the guns with the antler proof still present on right chamber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nice overview.
You need to keep in mind the the book was written in the mid-sixties and the classification and nomenclature proposed in the book was somewhat
arbitrary and based both on the gun’s evolution(small ring hammer vs. large ring hammer vs cone hammer, for example) and the timeline of the gun’s production: prewar commercial vs wartime commercial vs early post war bolo, for example. We now know that so called wartime commercial guns shown in the Schroeder’s book were actually part of the imperial army contract. You simply have one of the earliest examples of a small ring hammer guns. And yes, there must have been a transition period where late extractors were used on the guns with the antler proof still present on right chamber.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Is the antler proof the Oberndorf proof? My pistol does not have a proof on the right side of the chamber. Could you tell me what the two stampings on the barrel heel indicate? I'm assuming the U surmounted by two crowns is simply a German proof mark? Cheers, Bill
 

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Yes, the Antler proof mark is the Oberndorf proof mark. So since you do not have it on your gun, and have a late style extractor - according to Shroeder's classification. you have a 'prewar commercial' gun , albeit an early one. The 'proof marks' under the barrel are most likely inspector/assembler marks and not proof marks. That Gothic G(if that is what it is) also frequently appears on the underside of the barrel extension on the locking block lug. Crown/crown U is a proofmark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, the Antler proof mark is the Oberndorf proof mark. So since you do not have it on your gun, and have a late style extractor - according to Shroeder's classification. you have a 'prewar commercial' gun , albeit an early one. The 'proof marks' under the barrel are most likely inspector/assembler marks and not proof marks. That Gothic G(if that is what it is) also frequently appears on the underside of the barrel extension on the locking block lug. Crown/crown U is a proofmark.
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and time with a novice broomhandle collector! Cheers, Bill
 

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We now know that so called wartime commercial guns shown in the Schroeder’s book were actually part of the imperial army contract
Can you elaborate on that point a bit? I have a late pre-war or early wartime commercial serial number 275199. I've never really known how to classify it exactly. My father and I bought this in the mid-1950's.

Gun accessory Wood Gun barrel Metal Fashion accessory
Automotive tire Gas Wood Font Auto part
 

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Yes, the Antler proof mark is the Oberndorf proof mark. So since you do not have it on your gun, and have a late style extractor - according to Shroeder's classification. you have a 'prewar commercial' gun , albeit an early one. The 'proof marks' under the barrel are most likely inspector/assembler marks and not proof marks. That Gothic G(if that is what it is) also frequently appears on the underside of the barrel extension on the locking block lug. Crown/crown U is a proofmark.
Purely FYI, the antler mark is the proof mark of the Ulm proof house.
 
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