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Mauser Ottoman Cavalry 1887

With the adoption of the Mauser model 1887 rifle and the new 9.5x60R cartridge, the Ottoman Empire placed an order for 50,000 carbines of the same caliber for the cavalry corps (Sipahi). Indeed, the Mauser 1887 infantry rifle is a bulky weapon and difficult to use for a rider. The Germans had the same problem with the Mauser 1871. For this, Mauser developed a shorter version of the model 1871 rifle, specially designed for cavalrymen as well as gunners. Same concept for the Yugoslav Mauser 1884 "Koka". Shortened rifle, different sight to accommodate the 11mm projectile which does not have as much time to build up pressure as in a long barrel.

The same idea was used to adapt the 1887 model for Ottoman riders.


Photographed in the Istanbul Military Museum, a Mauser Model 1887 cavalry rifle with the butt engraved. You may notice the angled bolt handle which will be better suited to carrying the rifle on a rider's back. Also, the typical cavalry Mauser mouthpiece that wraps around the muzzle and supports the sight. Other models of Ottoman cavalry will have the same type of mouthpiece (Mauser 1890 cavalry, Mauser 1905).

Our model presented in detail does not have its original walnut stock. The low production of these rifles and the tumultuous past of the Ottoman Empire only accentuated the rarity of these models. We can therefore only show you the mechanical part and the different markings.

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As for the 1887 infantry model, the cavalry variant has the side marking of the Mauser Oberndorf factory, namely: "Oberndorfda Mavzer silah fabrikasi: "Fabrique d´Armes Mauser à Oberndorf" year 1302 H or 1888  of the Gregorian calendar. Below is the serial number. All in Osmanli script (official imperial language). Our model has the production number 93. It is therefore probably an early production example.

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The gun of the Mauser 1887 of cavalry being shortened (45 cm against 74cm for the  Mauser 1887 infantry), the ballistics of the 9.5x60r cartridge used in the two models are very different. Indeed, as stated above, the black powder of the calepined 9.5x60r cartridge has less time to ignite completely. This results in a loss of pressure and therefore a less tense trajectory than on the infantry model.

The rise of the cavalry model is graduated up to 1200 meters (متره marking) 

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The rear sight features two rapid fire sliders. One set at 300 meters, the other at 350. Surprising choice. Choosing two sliders with so little difference in distance probably demonstrates how much the 9.5mm bullet had to lose power with such a short barrel.

The breech lever, as on all cavalry models, is bent at 90° so as not to interfere with its wearer when the rifle is behind the rider's back. The magazine tube is also present. Our copy being incomplete, we are only allowed to estimate that it could contain around 5 cartridges. The kropatschek mechanism is identical to the infantry version.


Another peculiarity that seems to belong to the cavalry model only: the marking of the magazine button spring is different. It has not yet been impossible for us to understand this inscription "طوى". On the infantry model (photo below, a simple crescent is present).

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This completely atypical rifle is not common. the only other specimens that we could observe were presented at the military museum of Istanbul with an identification error on the cartouche of description (marked "Mauser 1891). It was not possible for us to find either photos of period equipping a soldier. Built in only 50,000 copies, these cavalry rifles were probably dispersed in different countries during the many battles of the empire. We will only have to find a stock and the specific parts to resuscitate our copy.

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