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In the early 1930s, Republican Turkey launched a program to modernize its arsenal of small arms. With the First World War over, the Turks found themselves with a set of different weapons and varying calibers. This modernization will therefore aim to standardize weapons and calibers as much as possible (as the French did with the transition to the French 7.5 caliber, totally obsolete weapons, in a different context).

Turkey therefore finds itself with weapons in calibers 9.5x60R , 7.65x53 , 7.92x57, .303, .577 and others.

The goal is to have the same cartridge between all these rifles. Too old models will be put aside like the Ottoman Mauser 1887 (intrinsically incompatible PSF).

This leaves the old Ottoman Mausers chambered in 7.65x53 as well as the English Enfields.

So we are talking about the "38" modification of the Ottoman Mauser model 1903 in order to make the modifications easier to understand. The "standard 38 having started in 1930-31.

To differentiate a 1903/38 from a simple Turkish Model 38, it will suffice to observe the shape of the breech ejector: Argentinian type (see photos below) going up on the loader blade guide for the 1903/38 and gewehr type ejector 98 for the 38 model.

The receiver of the 1903/38 will also be reworked at the level of the thunder to leave room for the voluminous cartridge of the 7.92x57. We observe this same type of modification on the old Komission 88 converted to the S ball.


The seal (tougrah) of the former caliph Abdülhamid 2 will be ground to be replaced by the marking of the factory in charge of the modification. To my knowledge there are two different types. The most common (left)  :Marking  : TC ASFA ANKARA means Turkiye Cumhuriyeti (republic of Turkey), Askari fabrika (military factory) of Ankara, like our presented weapon as well as an early marking of the same factory but of a different style (photo on the right).


As explained above, the thunder will also be machined to be able to be supplied by the ammunition of 7.92x57 (8x57IS) which is a little longer than the 7.65x53 initially designed for this rifle.

The barrel will naturally be changed for the transition to 7.92x57. Same profile as the old one. The target will be  also preserved (presence of the Ottoman star marking). These barrels will be specially designed for the transformation, because as presented on the page of the Ottoman Mauser 1903, these specific receivers have a small ring type tapping so that the barrels of the models 1890,1893 and 1903 are interchangeable. It is difficult to know the origin of these guns. Some sources speak of Czechoslovakia.


The original cylinder head will be kept. It will be retyped with the serial number at the base of the bolt handle. We can also easily differentiate the 1903/38 from the M38 by the pear shape of the bolt handle (the M38 is round).

The back of the case will also be stamped with the serial number. This time in Western characters (which will delight our prefectures on our atypical weapons).

Note that the cylinder head and the case do not have the same serial number on this specimen as well as an old unerased osmanli marking present on the flag.

The rise board will be replaced. The ballistics of the 7.92x57 being different from the 7.65x53 . The rise cursor is on the other hand kept (that of the M38 is square) but will be retyped with the new number of the weapon.

190338 crosse.jpg

The stock will also be replaced.

A striker disassembly eyelet is added as on the gewehr 98. This improvement is a real asset for rapid disassembly on a battlefield. At the front of the receiver, a recoil stop crossing the mount from side to side, and resting under the receiver is added. We also find this feature on the G98.

The new stock, adapted to the short case of the 1903, has a western marking under the thunderbolt as well as at the front of the trigger guard.

All "38" modified rifles got a new butt (not to mention the 88/05/35). For this, the Turks had to adapt their machines to these different models whose measurements are different between each other.

See appendix at the bottom of this page: a lathe to copy sticks used in Turkey.


These weapons being relatively common and inexpensive (less interest than an original Ottoman model and  less than an original German G98) we can sometimes come across some on stand in the form presented here or modified by adding a bezel in order to take advantage of the performance of the common 7.92x57 cartridge at a lower price. This model is a very good simple and robust "shooter". Few shooters  realize the journey they have made before landing in their hands.



Lathe to copy the sticks photographed in the military museum of Istanbul, (operating originally with gas and modified later) with an electric motor. The example stock in gray and the blank to be machined in parallel. It is certainly these towers which allowed the manufacture of all the new sticks for the "38" standard.

All it took was one entirely hand-made model to reproduce it endlessly.

I bring my special thanks to the teams of military students who manage the museum, some of whom are surprisingly connoisseurs of the pieces presented.

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