Model 71-84 Mauser—The First Successful German Repeating Rifle

The following information on the Mauser Model 71-84 comes from Chapter 7 of Mauser Rifles and Pistols by W. H. B. Smith. Mauser Rifles and Pistols is also available to purchase in print.

The repeating rifle developed by Mauser from his original bolt action single shot rifle was formally adopted by the German government in 1884. Officially designated as “Infantry Repeating Rifle M. 71-84,” it used the self same 11 mm (.433) cartridge as used in the earlier single-shot model.

Mauser Model 71-84 full

Model 71-84 German Infantry Rifle, Right Side View With Action Closed: This is the Model 71 action modified to utilize a tube magazine below the barrel to convert it to a repeating rifle. The lockwork is essentially that of the Model 71 single shot. Photos and drawings are reproduced from early Mauser originals.

The new Mauser was adopted after gruelling field tests following trials by the Army Commission which in 1884 recommended the adoption for the army of this rifle. By the spring of 1886 the entire German Army was equipped with it.

The rifle weighed 10 pounds 2.25 ounces (about 14 ounces heavier with bayonet) and measured 4 feet 3 inches over all (5 feet 9.5 inches with bayonet).

Mauser Model 71-84 phantom closed

Model 71-84. Right Side Phantom View Showing Details Of Action After Firing Cartridge In Chamber: In this position, as the bolt handle is lifted it will first withdraw the striker back into the bolt away from the head of the fired case, this being accomplished by cam action. As the bolt handle is lifted through 90 degrees to the left, and drawn straight back, it will withdraw the empty cartridge case and strike it against the ejector to hurl it out of the rifle. As the bolt travels back and ejects, it will ride down the head of the pivoted cartridge elevator on which a cartridge is resting. This will lift the front end of the elevator, whose nose will block the cartridge in the magazine from moving forward under the influence of the magazine spring in the tube.

The barrel was 31.5 inches long and the caliber was the standard 11 mm (.433). The rifling was 4-grooves of .0079 inch depth with a twist of one turn in 21.65 inches, direction being to the right.

The sight setting ran from 200 meters (218.7 yards) to 1600 meters (1750 yards).

The velocity and range were the same as in the single shot, about 1425 feet per second velocity at the muzzle and a carrying distance of 3280 yards.

Mauser Model 71-84 phantom open

Model 71-84. Right Side Phantom View Showing Action Open And In Full Rear Position, Empty Case Ejected, Elevator Raised Ready To Feed Cartridge And Tube Blocked: The bolt head traveling to the rear and forcing down the rear head of the elevator has tilted it to bring the cartridge in the elevator trough up into line with the feeding face of the bolt. When the bolt is thrust forward, the head of the bolt will start the cartridge forward into the chamber and continued further movement of the bolt will ride over the elevator trough and force it down. When the hooked front end of the trough has been lowered far enough, it will line up with the cartridge in the magazine tube. The compressed spring within the tube, forcing the follower will drive the cartridge into the elevator trough ready for the next lifting movement in feeding. Closing the bolt will completely chamber the cartridge and spring the extractor around the head of the cartridge case. Turning the bolt handle down will act through the standard Mauser cam action to force the cocking-piece back to full cock and enable the sear to engage and hold the striker back ready for firing.

The magazine of this rifle was loaded with eight cartridges inserted through the action and pushed forward. The first one inserted pushed the follower forward to compress the spring within the magazine tube. Each successive cartridge inserted pressed against the base of the one ahead of it to further compress the spring. When the magazine was fully loaded, a ninth cartridge could be placed on the carrier (or “riser”), the bolt started slightly forward, and a tenth one inserted directly in the barrel chamber.

Mauser Model 71-84 action closed

Model 71-84. Right Side View Of Receiver With Action Closed: The design of the bolt way in the top of the receiver has been modified in this design

Pressing the bolt forward and turning the bolt handle down locked the breech and let the extractor snap around the rim of the cartridge in the chamber. As the motion of the bolt lever cocked the striker, the arm was now ready to fire.

Mauser Model 71-84 action open

Model 71-84. Right Side View Of Receiver With Action Open: Note that the cocking-piece design and cam surfaces have been modified in this arm.

After firing, turning up the bolt handle unlocked the breech, and pulling back on the bolt handle extracted and ejected the cartridge exactly as in the earlier type. The final motion of the bolt in its rearward travel however depressed the rear end of the riser or carrier to line up the cartridge on it with the bolt for loading into the chamber. A hook at the forward end of the riser locked the next cartridge in the magazine tube, preventing it from emerging at that point. Pushing the bolt handle forward stripped the cartridge out of the riser and chambered it. The final closing movement of the bolt depressed the riser and permitted the spring in the magazine tube to force the cartridges back and press the first cartridge in line onto the riser ready for that member’s next lifting movement.

Mauser Model 71-84 top

Model 71-84. Top View Of Receiver With Action Closed: The left side wall of the receiver was modified in this design from that used in the Serbian model. When the action is open, cartridges can be inserted through the feedway and thrust down into the magazine tube below the barrel. This design does not employ the side loading gate familiar to those using standard U.S. tubular type magazine rifles.

This model was manufactured in tremendous quantities. In 1887, 550,000 rifles and carbines were delivered to Turkey alone. As in the case of the original single-shot Mauser rifle, the 71-84 was made both as a rifle and as a carbine. The carbine had a short upper forestock. This rifle was found being used in quantity in World War II, which provides a commentary not only on the original quality and value of the arm itself, but also on the ability of a country such as Germany to hide, store and preserve arms over long periods of time.

Mauser Model 71-84 box magazine

Special Mauser Box-Magazine Built On The Model 71 System: This was one of the designs developed by Mauser as an improvement on the tube magazine repeater. Because of the changing balance of the rifle as the magazine was emptied in the tubular type, Mauser conceived the idea of this box magazine (which is curved because the heads of the cartridges had rims) which would be inserted in the rifle from below and could be used to convert the 71 Model to a large capacity magazine rifle. This general type of magazine was later widely adopted and used by practically all nations. The first patent filed on a vertical box magazine was that of the American inventor, James P. Lee, in 1879.

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Model 71-84 Mauser - The First Successful German Repeating Rifle

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