|Rifle||Mauser Model 1889/36||Manufacturer||MAE and Pieper|
|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.
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.