Rifle: Mauser Model 1889/36

Rifle Mauser Model 1889/36 Manufacturer MAE and Pieper
Caliber 7.65×53mm Overall Length 43″
Action Rotation Bolt Barrel Length 23″
Magazine 5 rounds vertical Weight 8.31 lbs


Despite massive exports of modern military Mausers, in 1936 the Belgian military reached for a WWI work horse to arm its soldiers for the next fight.  With a massive overhaul the Mauser Model 1889 was brought mostly up to date.

During the Interwar Period, the nation of Belgium became the foremost exporter of 1898 style Mausers.  Surprisingly, Belgium’s own military rifles lagged behind their commercial sales.  This lack of modernization is blamed on Belgium’s neutral status and large stockpile of WWI German rifles and parts.  They did, however, begin producing the Mauser Model 1935 Short Rifle at home.  Shortly after, perhaps sensing a threat from growing European nationalism and rearmament, Belgium began to convert their large stocks of WWI Mausers Model 1889 to the Model 1935 configuration.  These ‘new’ rifles saw use in the desperate defense of Belgium during the opening of WWII and by Congolese troops throughout the conflict.

Stock shims from barrel conversion

The Mauser Model 1889/36 rifles began production in 1936 at Manufacture d’Armes de l’Etat (MAE) and ran until 1940 using existing full length 1889 rifles.  Original carbines were not fit for this transition and this may be why they exist in such quantities today.  Another contract was filled by the commercial firm Anciens Establishment Pieper during 1939/1940.  The Pieper rifles appear to have used Model 1889 carbine parts as well as rifles, showing spliced stocks and occasionally bent or checkered bolt handles.

Changes to the Model 1889 were severe.  While the receiver was kept, almost everything else was replaced or altered as listed below.

  • The jacketed barrel was tossed and replaced with a Model 1935 barrel and sights.
  • Stocks were shortened to accommodate the new barrel length.
  • Wood shims were installed to support the smaller, unjacketed barrel.
  • Handguards were made to match.
  • Plugs were inserted under the bolt release with new serial stampings.
  • New barrel bands, sling swivels, and bayonet lugs were installed.
  • In an incredible display of recycling the original bolt bodies were kept and modified to accept the Model 1898 style bolt sleeves.  This creates an interesting two lug bolt with a modern looking Mauser sleeve and safety at the rear.

Operation is pretty standard for a 98 style Mauser.  7.65 ammunition is fed into the vertical stack magazine singly or by stripper clip with the bolt open.  The magazine as a whole can be removed by pressing on a release inside the front of the trigger guard.  This release is shaped to catch the tip of a bullet, much like a 98 style Mauser floor plate release.  Extraction throws to the right.  The rear sight is a tangent leaf graduated to 2000 meters.  I have had the pleasure of handling both the original carbine and the 89/36 rifle and the most remarkable trait I’ve noticed is how smooth the bolt operates, most likely because of its simple lugs and lower cocking spring weight.

Bayonets for this model are mixed.  Old Model 1916 T-back bayonets were modified to fit both Model 1935 and 1889/36 rifles.  Model 1924 double edged bayonets were also bushed to fit both rifles.  Either would be appropriate.


9 Responses to “Rifle: Mauser Model 1889/36”

  1. Chuck M says:

    I have a gun exactly like the one pictured above. It is stamped Manufacture d’Armes de l’Etat. It has one serial number located on the bottom of the magazine. The rest of the gun is stamped 1886. It has a splice in the stock around the rear sight area. Can you help me further identify this rifle. All help is greatly appreciated.

  2. Nagao says:

    My first thought is that it may be a serial number. I’d need to see pictures to be sure of what you’re describing. To my knowledge, there is no Model 1886 Belgian Mauser to be converted.

  3. Chuck M says:

    I can email you photos if you will send me an email to
    cmrobinson1980@ yahoo dot co m . I will send them to you.
    Again I appreciate all your input.

  4. Sherrick says:

    From what I understand this rifle was issued along with the M35 equally, without regard to unit. Essentially it was just another M35 to them. Is this what you have found in your research? Also have you found any SN to year of rework info? I would like to know what year mine is. It is 28,9xx.

  5. James C. Murphy says:

    I am hoping someone is still monitoring this site. I just acquired what appears to be a Belgian 1889 / 36 Short Rifle Mauser. While over all it has the appearances for being an 89/36 there are distinct differences that make me question its origin. The receiver indicates is was made, or converted, by MAE. The serial number on the receiver matches the one on the right side of the stock just under the receiver. The barrel has a new 1935 serial number and Belgian proof marks. The main difference is the front band…. it is plain metal (not the 1935 hinged band or the typical “H” type front band), 1 1/2 inches wide, is held in place by a M24/30 type spring system and it is a perfect fit to the shape of the stock and barrel. There is no front sling swivel. The rear band is German style grooved (not hinged) with the swivel held by a screw. This band is held in place by a short band spring.. The front sight is the 89/36 type. The bridge of the receiver has the Argentina “revolution hat” proof marking. The bayonet lug is the close-to-the-barrel German style , but this rifle has a “Lug extender” installed so it can accept the Hopkins and Allen bayonet (which I currently have displayed on it). Can you tell me some thing about this rifle??? I look forward…with anticipation…to a possible response. Thank you.

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