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This is the first Mauser designed for the Ottoman army.

To begin, it will be necessary to present a little the state of the relations between the sublime door and Guillaume 1st to explain the genesis of the Ottoman Mausers.

Turkey had very good relations with the Second Reich, the Turks already ordered heavy armament to modernize their artillery and regularly called on German military instructors. Agreement which will later turn into a real military alliance for the First World War (1)

The Mauser firm having been noticed with the adoption by the German army of the very powerful model 1871, the Ottomans approached the company based in Oberndorf am Neckar for a rifle which would equip the army of Sultan Abdulhamid II, until there equipped with Peabody and other Henry Martinis that have become obsolete.


It is with the 1887 model in 9.5x60r that the first contract is concluded. This weapon is close to the 1871/84 more or less. Smaller caliber (last regulatory PN cartridge in history) and the rifle is shorter and less massive. The contract will be for 500,000 rifles and 50,000 carabiners. (1) The Turks had wanted to find a good compromise by trying to create a cartridge that was smaller and more efficient than the 11mm Mauser, and a bullet large enough that the barrel would not clog too quickly from a barrel too narrow. In the idea it is a good initiative but which will not prove as effective in practice.


As said before, this 1887 model is quite close to the German 1871/84 rifle which itself is already an improved 1871.

The receiver is relatively the same as its German brother. It is even quite likely that it is exactly the same boxes.

In 1887, this Mauser system nevertheless arrived relatively late with its 9.5x60R caliber black powder cartridge. This rifle will be quickly rendered obsolete by the new smokeless powder rifles (Komission 88 or French Lebel one year younger). Be that as it may, the Mauser Model 1887 will know several tests of fire, in particular through the conflicts which the Ottoman Empire knew. It is an effective rifle which has the tactical advantage of having a tubular magazine under the barrel (Kropatschek system) as well as a relatively flexible breech for the time.

The case of our model is a bit special compared to the most famous Mauser versions. On the left rear side of the case is a power selector button. In the forward position, the rifle operates single-shot (like a Gras or a Mauser 1871). But once the button is pushed back, the lifting board lowers into the case to pick up a cartridge from the tubular magazine.


In the rear position (tubular magazine engaged) it will be necessary to pull the bolt sharply in order to eject the fired cartridge case, thus the lifting board will have enough momentum to bring up a cartridge previously recovered from the tubular magazine. This system gives a significant advantage over other rifles of the same era which often reloaded piecemeal. Loading the store is simple  by pushing the lifting board down and inserting the cartridges one by one into the tube. The cartridges are kept under tension by a long spring which will house them in the board one by one when it is in the low position (breech closed, cartridge chambered).


View of the breech box removed from its butt to distinguish the Kropatschek mechanism. Many small parts are used for this weapon. Some are quite fragile, such as the clipboard locking spring and the fire selector button, which tend to break.


On the left side of the case, the distinctive marking of the Mauser Ottomans. It is written: "Oberndorfda Mavzer silah fabrikasi: "Mauser Arms Factory in Oberndorf" year 1302 H or 1888  of the Gregorian calendar. Below is the serial number. All in Osmanli script (official imperial language). This side marking will be present on the other versions of Mauser Ottoman 1890 and 1893.


Above the thunder is the seal (tougrah) of Caliph Abdülhamid 2. On the right side (photo below) are the various reception and control hallmarks. These punches will no longer be directly visible on the following models because they will be hidden by the butt.


The rise is model specific. It has a quick acquisition rear sight tilting up to 200m, a fixed rear sight for 300 and in the tilted position, from 400 to 1600m in increments of 50m. The maximum graduation of 1600m is directly machined on the frame of the sight. A screw blocks the elevation slider at the end of its travel. This operation will be relatively preserved on the 1890 and 1893 models and will be replaced on the 1903 model. Needless to say that at 1600, and even well before, the shooting is only "theoretical" with this cartridge loaded with black powder of caliber 9.5x60R .


The butt, in walnut, is rather fine. A butt plate is aimed at the rear. At the muzzle of the barrel, a plug is present for dismantling the tubular magazine spring. It will be necessary to press the central button of the magazine in order to be able to unscrew the cap. The bayonet mount is machined on the  right flank of the mouthpiece of the weapon.

This 1887 model is therefore the first of a long series marking close collaboration between Germany and the Ottoman Empire. Real upgrade of the armament of the imperial army, this rifle will nevertheless be quickly replaced thanks to a Turkish contract clause which stipulates that the technological advances of the Mauser firm will have to be integrated on the total order of the weapons over the evolutions manufacturing research. 3 years later, Mauser therefore manufactures for the Ottoman Empire, the 1890 model rifle which has a much superior mechanism and which above all, fires a modern smokeless powder cartridge.

Model 1887s are rather rare rifles in good condition. The cartridge today is totally unobtainable and makes them models little appreciated by shooters and little known to the general public.



A presentation case of the 1887 Ottoman Mauser rifle pictured in the Istanbul Military Museum. All parts are numbered and translated from German to Osmanli on the upper part.


Wreckage of Mauser 1887 rifles recovered around Çanakkale during the ANZAC invasion attempt (1915-1916). Although the Mauser 1887 was obsolete, it was still used during the First World War in the Ottoman troops.

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