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Heterogeneity Of Red Nine Broomhandle Grips

NOTE ADDED: AN UPDATED LIST OF ALL PISTOLS PRESENTED ON BOTTOM OF THIS POSTI
How many grooves are found on original grips of the Mauser 9mm C96 WW1 contract? Also known as the red nine broomhandle. Recent discussion on this forum prompted a review of some available grips.

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Figure 1. Here are the typical red nine grips from a late 9mm C96 serial number 139358, one of the last to be made in this WW1 contract using serial numbers from 1 to 140,000. Typical 23grooves on each side (23/23).

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Figure 2. Red nine grips from an early 9mm C96 serial number 175, with 31 groves on both grips (31/31). The grove pattern on this grip is similar to that found on the 7.63 wartime commercial C96 that was concomitantly in production by Mauser. Note the shallow grooves on top and bottom that may be lost during finishing or refinishing.
During WW1 Mauser made two C96 models for the Military. The 7.63 wartime commercial starting around serial number 280,000 in November 1915, and then early in 1916 they received an additional contract for 150,000 9mm C96, starting at serial number 1. Subsequently it was found that two similar C96s with dissimilar ammo was a problem in the field, so on 12/14/1917 Mauser was directed to burn a nine into both grips the 9mm C96 and fill the number with red paint. Those 9mmC96 already produced and issued by December1917 were to be marked in the field.
Below is a list of original red nine matching grips with number of grooves and type of nine(factory or field applied).Data added from WW1contract 9mmC96s supplied by forum members .The obvious field applied nines are noted.

This minuscule examination suggests a change during production in 9mmC96 grips from a fine to a course pattern. The fine grip pattern (30-34) prevails in the red nine series below serial 50,000 whereas the course pattern grip ( 22-24 groves) appears characteristic in the red nine series above serial 50,000.

For the purpose of generating discussion and data, I will speculate that the change from a fine (30-34) to a course groove pattern was prompted by and perhaps coincided with orders for the Mauser factory in December1917 to apply red nines to the grips of 9mmC96 during production. The nine is deeply etched by burning/carving and there may be less chipping-out with a wider ridge of wood as found on the course 22-24 groove grip.

The big question is- What was the serial number of 9mm C96 in production in December 1917 when Mauser started applying red nines to grips of C96 during production.
Can the nice red nines, that appear to be from the factory, be used to identify the post 12/1917 production? Apparently not, because most grips of the early production 9mmC96 were marked with what appears to be a nice factory red nine (e.g. look at red nine #175 in figure 2). Were they returned to factory for their red nines? No known directive supports this idea. Or were new red nine grips sent out from factory? Doubtful, as these grips are routinely numbered in factory style and would have also required individual fitting.
On the other hand, some of the 9mmC96 that were issued before 12/1917 with unmarked grips were never marked with a nine on the grip, or were marked in the field with a small nine or an obvious non-factory nine.

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Figure 3. Grips from red nine serial number 27706, an early 9mmC96 presumably made before 12/1917. The crude red nines on these grips (33/34 grooves) were obviously applied in the field. Other variations include smaller 9s and various colored-uncolored nines. Also some of the early imperial accepted 9mmC96 grips were never altered in the field (non red nine).
Therefore the serial numbers of early 9mmC96 that are not marked with a nine or marked with a field applied nine may provide an estimate number of guns produced before December 1917.
Information from forum members about original matching grips may provide enough data to make some meaningful conclusions from this very preliminary survey. Data should include serial (or range), imperial accepted?, 1920 rework?, number of grooves and presence of apparent factory nine or field nine or no nine marking.
Questions about the grips of the red nine contract to be answered:
1. What is the highest serial number in this series that does not have an apparent factory marked red nine grip (i.e. grips with no nine, or obvious field applied small/aberrant nine) and are these found only with the fine (30-34) grip pattern?
2. What is the earliest serial number with course (22-24) grip pattern? Do these grips all have the red nine that appears to be the nice factory nine?
3. What is the latest serial number with fine grip pattern?
4. Perhaps other subtle grip variations/transitions will become apparent with more data.

The transition from fine to course grip pattern may be gradual and erratic considering the well known thriftiness of Mauser, and their usual practice of using up the old parts after a new modification appeared. On the other hand, if there were “left over” fine pattern grips, they could have been used in the ongoing production of the 7.63 Wartime commercial C96.
John

UPDATED INFORMATION
Serial#- no.of grip grooves

GROUP 1 fine grip pattern similar to C96 wartime commercial 7.63
9 --- 24/24 factory nine-grips not numbered
46 ---24/24 factory nine-grips, not numbered
175 --- 31/31 factory red nine
242 ---32/32 field nine
761 --- 34/33 field nine
966 --- 30/31 not nine marked
1017---31/31 not nine marked
1978---30/31 not nine marked
3527---30/30 field red nine
5179---32/32 factory red nine
6131--- 30/31 field red nine
7494--- 31/30 field red nine
9864--- 30/30 field red nine
11082-- 30/30 not nine marked, imperial accepted
11452-- 31/31 factory red nine
11470-- 31/31 field red nine
13172-- 21/21 not nine marked, not imperial accepted ?rework
13591--31/31 factory red nine, not imperial accepted
16206-- 29/30 field red nine
17615-- 29/30 factory red nine
17909-- 28/29 factory red nine
19291-- 29/29 not nine marked, imperial accepted
194xx-- 31/31 ? field red nine
20K --- 30/30 factory
2056x-- 29/29 factory
21338-- 31/31 field red nine
22K --- 28/29 factory
24372-- 30/31 field red nine
27K --- 33/34 field red nine
28199-- 33/33 field red nine
28335-- 33--- not nine marked, imperial accepted
29430-- 33/32 not nine marked, imperial accepted
31376-- 33/33 factory
32106-- 31/31 field nine
33275-- 32/33 factory
33964-- 32/32 field nine
34782-- 33/33 not nine marked, imperial accepted
34565-- 33/33 field nine
34782-- 33/33 not nine marked, imperial accepted
35580-- 33/33 not nine marked, imperial accepted
36598-- 32/32 field nine
36971-- 30/33 field nine
37238-- 33/32 field nine
38638-- 31/31 factory
38759-- 33---not nine marked, imperial accepted
38900-- 33/32 not nine marked, imperial accepted
40777-- 33/32 not nine marked, imperial accepted
43593-- 31/31 field nine
44780-- 31 field nine
44780-- 33/33 field nine
45K --- 32/32 factory
46K --- 23/23 ----------- aberrant grip
47817-- 32/33 field nine
47832-- 34/34 field nine
48809-- 34/34 factory
51010-- not imperial accepted, nonmatch grips
52898-- 33/33 factory
53906-- 33/33 factory
54353-- 33/33 factory

GROUP 2A
53976--27/27 all factory nines hereafter
55432--27/27
53998--27/27
56891--27/27
57179--27/27
57897--27/27
58553--27/27
58662--27/27
60126--27/27
60791--27/27
64060--27/27
64776--27/27
65965--27/27
68128--27
68428--27/27
68735--27/27
69335--27/27
705xx--27
71286-- 27/27

GROUP 2B
71830-- 25/25
72980-- 25/25
73075-- 24/24
74490-- 25/25
75094-- 25/25
75113-- 25/25
77190-- 25/25
77947-- 25/25
78344-- 25/25 Prussian eagle
78816-- 25/25
78840-- 25/25
80509-- 25/25
820xx-- 26/26
82500-- 25/25 Prussian eagle

GROUP 3
85323-- 24/24 Prussian eagle
86657-- 24/24 Prussian eagle
89xxx-- 24/24
90128-- 24/24 Prussian eagle 1920
91612-- 24/24 Prussian eagle
92732-- 24/24 Prussian eagle
94671-- 24/24 Prussian eagle
96689-- 24/24 Pryssian eagle
97368-- 24/24 Prussian eagle
97623-- 24/24 Prussian eagle
98775-- 24/24 Prussian eagle
96689-- 24/24 Prussina eagle
101107- 24/24
101582- 24/24 Prussian eagle J imperial proof
102658- 24/24 Prussian eagle
101681- 24/24 Prussian eagle
104141- 24/24 Prussian eagle
1058xx- 24/24
106513- 24/24 Prussian eagle
106044- 24/24
108012- 24/24
108014- Prussian eagle
109722-24/24 Prussian eagle
108xxx- 24/24
110239- 24/24 Prussian eagle
110xxx- 24/24 Prussian eagle
1115xx 24/24
114xxx- 24/24
114603- 24/24
112648- 24/24
116121- 24/24
119xxx- 24/24
120395- 25/25 1920
120933- 24/24
127833- 24/24

GROUP 4 Final course grip pattern at end of production
130528- 23/23
133389- 23/23
133449- 23/23
133692- 23/23
134231- 23/23
135124- 23/23
135259- 23/23
135954- 23/23
136070- 23/23 1920 rework
138401- 23/23
139661- 23/23
139xxx- 23/23
140649- 23/23
140655- 23/23
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Jan,
Your data added.
I have recorded 3 other red nine sn in the 140k range, but yours is the highest.
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Peter
Thanks for data on your red nines. Do all the red nines on your grips appear to be made by factory and not in the field?
John
 

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On the two latest set of grips, the nine appears to be made by the factory.I'm not sure about the earliest. It is very much like the two others, but not identical...
 

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My red nine s/n 80509 has a factory applied red nine with 25 groves on both grips. Both grips are serial numbered to the pistol. Harry

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank You Bill,
Your red nine has been entered. It would appear from the preliminary data that 24 groves were the norm at the time 106044 was made. I assume that 106044 has what appears to be factory made red nine? Is it correct that 106044 was not imperial accepted and without "NS" mark or new safety?
John
 

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John,
The grips on #106044 appear to be factory made (old, poorly fitted & lanyard ring indentations).
#106044 not imperial accepted and without 'NS' marked hammer.
I hope this helps with your efforts on the survey.
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sorry Bill, my question was obscure; I was asking if the “red nine mark” was nice and looked like a factory applied nine in contrast to the aberrant field applied nines.
John
 

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John
Here are some grips:

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# 11470 31/31

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# 43593 31/31

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# 112648 24/24

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# 134124 23/23

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# 135954 23/23

I'll be able to find out some more serial numbers and grooves numbers.
 

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John
The #112648 is a non Imperial proofed gun(very probably a gun sent to Finland),the #134124 and #135954 are 4" 1920 rework guns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Many thanks Paolo,
I have entered your data in the list, and designated the nines on 11470 and 43593 grips as field applied nines. Your 43593 is one of the higher field nines that I have seen. So far the great grip heterogeneity of early production seems to stabilize in later production to a 24 groove pattern with a final 23 groove pattern. Interesting to see if more data is consistent with this grouping.
It is possible that many of the 1920 Police reworks used red nines that had been in storage. Storage of non-issued 9mm C96 is suggested by the presence of groups of 1920 modified red nines within a close serial range without an imperial acceptance mark. For instance, MacMahon (automag p217,vol27Dec,1994) observed 3 non imperial proofed 1920 reworks in the 119k range(119455,119866,119924) and I have seen 3 more in that 119k range.
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Bob, your data has been entered.
Could you tell if it was a field or factory red nine?
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks Dave, data entered.
I presume that looked like a factory nine?
Maybe some more 27s will show up.
John
 

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John,
I'm sorry I didn't get back to you sooner about the Red Nine mark. As far as I can tell it appears to be factory made. I matched it up with Paolo's photos and it matches up good with the 3rd photo down. Hope this answers your question.
Bill
 
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