I.G. Mod. 71. (M1871) German Mauser

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GENERALLY:   The I.G. (Infanterie-Gewehr) Mod. 71 German Mauser was the first of what would become literally millions of rifles manufactured to the design of the brothers Paul and Wilhelm Mauser and the first regulation brass cartridge rifle of the German Imperial Army.   Almost every good original feature of the metallic cartridge, turning bolt action design, was the work of design genius Peter Paul Mauser who systematically developed his basic design over an extended period of time and, while based on the Dreyse action, was innovative and one of the first successful metallic cartridge, bolt action rifles.   During 1870-71 trials with many different rifles took place, with the M1869 Bavarian Werder being Mauser’s chief competitor. The Mauser was provisionally adopted at the end of 1871 pending the development of an appropriate safety.  The now universally recognized "wing" type safety lever on the back of the bolt was developed to fill this requirement and the Mod.71 Mauser was adopted by Germany in early 1872.  The Mod.71 Mauser is a rather plain and conventional looking bolt action single shot chambered in typical 11 millimeter.   The design is a split bridge, single shot, bolt action developed from the experimental Mauser-Norris of 1868 at the royal Wurttemberg Armory in Oberndorf, and very similar in functioning to the French Chasspot, forerunner of the Mle 1874 French Gras.  The action included only a bolt guide rib as its single locking lug, locking forward of the receiving bridge.

Rifles were manufactured in Spandau, in Oberndorff by Mauser, in Erfurt by O.W. Styer (OEWG),  in Danzig and even initially by National Arms and Ammunition Company in Birmingham, England.   (Anton Polz has a brief but very interesting article at the Military Rifle Journal website, with photos on the NA&A Mod.71).   Additional rifles were also manufactured in Amberg (Bavaria) after conversions of the Bavarian Werders to the M1871 standard were completed (those rifles becomming the M1869 n.M. Bavarian Werder) .

The barrels were finished browned, trigger guard finished either iron in the white or in bronze, receiver and bolt in natural white, the butt plate in bronze and remaining hardware fire blued.
The Mod.71, the subsequent I.G.Mod.71/84 and all their variations use a two-piece bolt.

PHOTO: The rifle shown is an I.G.Mod.71. (M1871) German Mauser.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS:   The left receiver flat is marked I.G. Mod. 71. (Infanterie-Gewehr) in highly Gothic script.  There is a Monarch's Cypher which could be F.W. (Fredrik Wilhelm of Prussia), L. for King Ludwig of Bavarian,  or W. (for the  Wurttemberg Kingdom).   The most common varieties seem to be those manufactured in and marked "Spandau" and "Amberg"

MISC NOTES:   Interestingly, the Mod.71 is the first rifle firing metallic center fire cartridges produced on an assembly line basis.  Quantities of the Mod.71 were also sold to China, Japan and Uruguay.  A variation of the Mod.71 was also sold to Serbia and Transvaal. (I have no information on the Transvaal rifles and would sincerely appreciate any info anyone might be willing to pass on to me.  Thank you).

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Muzzle end of the Mod. 71 Mauser showing nosecap and rod.

The famous mauser wing safety lever at the back of the bolt.  This classic feature differentiates the Mauser design and line of   rifles from about all else.
 

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The highly Gothic scriptt reads:  I.G. (Infanterie-Gewehr) Mod. 71.
 

This particular rifle bears the Monarch's Cypher of King Ludwig of Bavaria and
  the top flat is marked "Amberg."  Just ahead of the receiver, stamped sideways
  into the receiver flat to the right of the "Crown over L" is the figure "10.95"
  This is the rifle's caliber in millimeters.  Note that nominally the same, the later
  Mod. 71/84 Mauser is slightly different.  Ammo is interchangable, but accuracy
  suffers shooting later ammo in the Mod. 71.

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 Unit markings deisgnated on the buttstock.

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Excellent quality rear sight for its day.  Note extended range slide in photo below.

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Extended range slide in partially up position.

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Open bolt.  Extractor, no ejector, Year of manufacture.  Screw at the top of the
   bolt is the bolt retaining screw & washer, removed to remove the bolt.

Page first built: February 3, 1999
Revised September 21, 1999
Corrected January 6, 2001

Updated: Oct 29, 2021