ID these very odd Mauser markings (confiscated in Iraq)


May 12, 2006, 05:36 PM
Was going through some of my old deployment photos from 2003 and 2004, and ran across one that I'd always meant to post, but never got around to.

This was one of many Mauser rifles that ended up in the confiscation room at a FOB in Ramadi, Iraq (capitol of Al-Anbar province). This one jumped out when we were checking serial numbers.

The marking are extremely odd, does anyone have any clue what they would be?

Before anyone says "Russian", this is definitely not Cyrillic script: Cyrillic does indeed have a backwards N and R, but not upside-down R, or reversed E.

All that I can think of is that this might be the Mid-East equivalent of a "Khyber Pass" rifle. That is to say, a reasonably competent local copy of a European rifle, which is then stamped with pseudo-European markings to be sold to other locals. I've read that many Khyber Pass Martini rifles can be ID'ed by the many misspellings on the ordnance stamps. Perhaps this Mauser was made by an Iraqi, and then he simply stamped random Latin letters onto it so that a gullible buyer would think it was German?

Let the jury decide:

P.S., as a bonus, tossing in a pic of an Iraqi Nat'l Guardsman going through a U.S. taught marksmanship course with his confiscated-and-reissued SKS.

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1 old 0311
May 12, 2006, 05:55 PM
The numbers appear to be hand stamped.


May 12, 2006, 06:02 PM
It appears that none of the letters are actually backwards, just upsode down. I think whoever stamped it had a set of English stamps, and just stamped them one at a time into the receiver.

The question is whether he did it randomly (possibly with no knowledge of how the characters actually should be oriented), or intentionally put some upside down trying to mimic cyrillic.

May 12, 2006, 07:08 PM
The markings have all the flavor of a Khyber Pass rifle.
Dharra region is infamous for the mountain gunsmiths who crank these things out with fairly primitive tooling.
Getting better up there I hear.
Electric powered lathes and floor mills are common now and I have heard there is even a complete and functioning CNC vertical mill.
The quality of the steel they use is getting better.
The 'smiths are beginning to understand what good gun grade steel is all about and they are pretty decent woodworkers.
Too bad you couldn't bring that one home.

What was the Nationality of the person you confiscated the rifle from??

May 13, 2006, 01:17 AM

Not sure who it came from. It was taken by another unit and dropped into the base confiscation room. I would go there regularly to rummage up gear to issue to our allied-Iraqi cops and guardsmen (such as the fella in the pic), and that's where I found it.

Aside from this one, the majority of Mausers were either German (complete with Eagle/Swazi) or Persian (with the Shah's lion, or rising sun). Saw a couple Steyr straight-pulls, and a few Enfields, couple P-14. Never saw a single MNagant.

Too bad you couldn't bring that one home.
Don't get me started. If they'd have left me, I'd have dumped all but one set of cammies and packed my seabags until they burst. Starting with the Sterling and Moschetto Beretta subguns, then probably a collapsing-stock G3.


May 13, 2006, 10:16 PM
Matthew I hear ya.
The leaders of men want us to walk in harms way but god forbid if we bring home the spoils of war,,,,
Oh yeah, I forgot, nobody bothered to officially class this thing as an actual all out war,,,,,
Keep your head down and your ass out of the free fire zones. Happy trails.

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