View Full Version : Design origins of Mauser M2

October 13, 2004, 01:48 PM
Having recently purchased a Mauser M2 pistol, I can't help but think that a lot of its design seems very, very similar to the design that Nickl did for the old Mauser company back before he left Mauser and went to work for the Czechs (think vz.24)

Not quite like the Steyr Hahn, but this incorporates some design features that are the same as the original Nickl Mauser prototype (position of locking lugs, position of bolt cam, bolt cam block separately milled or cast and installed in frame).

It also seems to have features from a Walther experimental pistol from late 1945 (not the stamped one, but the rotating bolt model). Slide rails and ejector are separate pieces pinned into the frame.

Was this pistol as greatly affected by these previous designs as it seems, or am I missing something?

October 14, 2004, 10:03 AM
There isn't much new in gun design. Some features go back 100 years . It's a matter of putting together a gun , from various design features, that is economical to make and is durable and functions well.Since we don't often hear about the M2 would you give us a report after you've used it a while ?

October 14, 2004, 05:22 PM
Got a link to this WWII rotating barrel Walther?

October 15, 2004, 05:46 PM
See "Handguns of the World" by Ezell. Page 672.

The similarity between the Walther 1944 (I mistakenly said 1945 before) experimental pistol was the fact that the breech block and locking block were separate components that were pinned into place.

This is not to be confused with their 1944 vintage Walther Volkspistole which was made of sheet metal and used a Browning-style lockup.

In the current Mauser M2, the slide rails are in two sets - a forward set milled or cast into the top of the same block that cams the bolt on the barrel (and the same unit that holds the trigger), and a rear set in another block in the rear which holds the ejector and other mechanical parts.

It looks like they made the pistol with as few machined parts as possible, and only using steel where absolutely necessary. On the other hand, we never have to worry about aluminum to steel contact on this pistol - the slide rails are steel and the slide is steel. There is little or no direct contact with the frame (which is aluminum). You can see a lot of daylight through the side of the M2 between the slide and frame.

I can write more about the M2 (in fact, I have an easier reassembly trick for those who have complained on this board about how hard it supposedly is to reassemble) in my next posting. For a pistol that costs between 400 and 500 dollars, it seems remarkably robust (despite the designed-in engineering shortcuts).

The similarity I mentioned earlier about the early Mauser Nickl pistol and this current model is the exact same position (9 and 12 o'clock) bolt lug positions, the same 6 o'clock bolt cam stud position, and the same clockwise rotation to approximately 1 o'clock to unlock the bolt after about 8mm of rearward travel.

The Steyr Hahn, the recently defunct Colt rotating bolt model, and a few others are not very similar - not as obviously close to the Nickl and Walther models.

October 18, 2004, 06:16 PM
One more thing before I go on the the reassembly part, or the "how it shoots" part that usually bores me to tears when I read them.

The Mauser M2 has a fully supported chamber.

The feed ramp is NOT part of the barrel.

Once the round makes its way up the feed ramp and into the chamber, the barrel will move forward until it reaches its stop and the barrel rotates to lock itself to the slide.

At that point, the cartridge is fully supported all around the head.

November 16, 2004, 11:23 AM
The Mauser M2 is a quasi-DAO striker-fired semiautomatic
rotating barrel pistol. In many respects, it bears a great
resemblance to the original Nickl design made for Mauser
prior to Nickl moving to Czechoslovakia where he refined the
design further. It also bears a resemblance to the
experimental Walther rotating barrel pistol from late WW II,
especially in its use of pinned blocks for mounting pieces in
the frame.

The Mauser M2 is only made in 45 ACP (as far as I know at
this point).

Barrel and Locking System

The stainless steel barrel does not incorporate the feed
ramp. It has a cam lug at the 6 o'clock position, and two
locking lugs at the 10 o'clock and 12 o'clock positions.

Pinned blocks

There are two steel blocks pinned into the aluminum frame.
The forward block contains the bolt cam track and the trigger
and trigger pin (around which the trigger rotates). It also
serves as the mount for the forward slide rails.

The rear block contains the rest of the trigger mechanism
(sear, disconnector), ejector blade, and the rear slide
rails. It also contains the manual safety (the pistol is
available without the manual safety).

The slide is blued steel, and touches only the rails, not the
frame. There is a pronounced gap between the slide and the

Pulling the slide to the rear partially cocks the striker.
It is not possible to accomplish this partial cocking by
pulling the trigger alone so there is no second strike
capability as there might be in an ordinary DAO pistol.

When you load a magazine, and press the slide release, the
slide moves forward and pushes a round from the magazine, up
the feed ramp and into the chamber of the barrel. As the
slide continues forward, the barrel moves forward away from
the feed ramp, and it rotates counter-clockwise to lock.
This rotation is accomplished by the barrel cam lug, which
rides in a slot in the forward block. Once the slide is
forward and locked, the pistol can be fired by pulling the

Note that the only connection between the striker system and
the rear block is through the sear, which must pull the
striker back through an additional distance before the
striker is free to be released. Since these parts only reach
each other when the pistol is fully in battery, it is not
possible, as was the problem in the original Nickl design, to
have the pistol fire out of battery.

As the trigger is pulled, the striker is fully cocked and
released, with the connecting hook on the bottom of the
striker moving to the fully forward position at firing. At
this point, it is completely out of reach of the trigger
mechanism. The cartridge fires, and rearward motion begins.
As the slide moves to the rear, it carries the barrel back,
which turns in the bolt cam slot after about 8mm of rearward
travel. Resistance to rearward motion is provided by the
recoil spring under the barrel and the mass of the slide and
barrel. After the barrel completes its slight rotation to
the 1 o'clock position from 12 o'clock, it unlocks, and the
slide continues to the rear on its own. The barrel remains
in position during extraction.

The pistol has an internal slide mounted extractor, with
about twice the grab area of the standard 1911 extractor.
The ejector is a large fixed blade mounted in the rear
pinnned block. The position of the extractor claw and the
ejector blade tip are set up to provide a 2 o'clock ejection
of the empty case. Due to the very wide ejection port, no
contact is made by the empty case with the slide on ejection,
and the ejection is very brisk to 2 o'clock and slightly to
the rear. As the slide completes its trip to the rear, the
striker is again partially cocked for the next firing cycle.

If you were holding the trigger down through the cycle (which
is likely, given the speed of the cycle), you must release
the trigger to let the sear assembly go forward enough to
pick up the connecting hook of the striker assembly. Because
the striker must again be fully cocked by the action of the
trigger, the weapon cannot double or go auto.

The weapon has a magazine safety - it cannot be fired without
a magazine inserted into the weapon. The connection between
the trigger and the rear pinned block that contains the sear
is out of position if the magazine is not in place.

The manual safety can be manipulated on the rear of the
slide, and it blocks the movement of the sear assembly,
preventing the striker from being completely cocked and


The pistol has a heavy trigger pull compared to a single
action pistol, but not compared to a full DAO pistol
(especially compared to a revolver). The pull required to
complete the cocking of the striker is relatively short and
sharp. So, to describe the trigger pull - there's a long
takeup with almost no pressure, the short sharp stackup of
the cocking, and then a sudden release. Some might consider
the stackup sensation to be a creep - but in anything except
slow fire, it's not noticeable. Those of you who like a
finely tuned single action trigger will HATE it. Those of
you used to a revolver will like it.

The gun feels safe enough. I don't think it needs that
useless safety on the back.

It looks like a SIG. Some people think that's ugly. It's
definitely fat looking. The grip is completed by the
magazine, as if there were some effort to make the weapon
more compact, but as in the case of the HK USP Compact, it
ain't compact.


The grip is wider and more square in the back than a 1911. I
believe this gives it a wider area to recoil against in the
hand. I also believe that the brief rotation makes the
firing cycle last just a tad longer than the ordinary 1911.
So, in felt recoil, the firing is noticeably gentler. My
wife thought that the felt recoil as compared to her compact
38 and her compact 357 revolvers was much more moderate
(well, the 357 compact isn't a fair comparison), and she
perceived the muzzle flip to be non-existent with the 230gr

The pistol digested a wide variety of 45 ammunition (lead SWC
target stuff, hardball, Golden Saber (185gr and 230gr, normal
and +P), Federal Hydrashoks, and some Speer Gold Dot. There
were no malfunctions (I'm now up to over 3000 rounds with no

It shoots where you point it. It's not an accurized Gold
Cup, but I can keep the groups roughly hand sized out to 25
yards in double taps. I needed no sight adjustment (white
dot front, single white dot slot rear). The "pointability"
at least for my hands, is excellent.

Fully supported chamber on firing. I'm not going to
experience a feed ramp blowout.

November 18, 2004, 05:32 AM
jtkwon, thanks for the info. I used to have a CZ24 which was a Nickl design and that seemed to work very well.

November 18, 2004, 10:55 AM
Having seen both the Steyr Hahn and the vz.24, I have always been fascinated with rotary locking. I've wondered what made it less popular than the Browning system, as it seems no more complicated. It's not a strength problem, as there seems to be plenty of lockup.

I've read that the 24 was sensitive to dirt, but I'm wondering how dirty they mean.

July 10, 2013, 12:46 AM

Sorry for my translation.

I am writing from Argentina.

Sorry to go back in time to back.

Maybe you Haban any of these 2 pistol.

One is rotating the OTHER NO.

See my blog and will have the photos


July 22, 2013, 12:42 PM




James K
July 24, 2013, 11:44 AM
FWIW, one of John Browning's patents was for a rotating barrel pistol, and the Obregon was basically a 1911 type with a rotating barrel.

There is nothing wrong with a rotating barrel lockup, except that the U.S. adopted the tilting barrel 1911, and other countries adopted the BHP so that post WWII the tilting barrel type has dominated the market. Today, again thanks to U.S. adoption, there has been a resurgence of the locking block (P.38, M9) system and there seem to be more rotating barrel pistols.

In theory, the rotating barrel is the more accurate system. I am aware that it is hard to beat a tuned 1911 type, but a lot of the tuning work is needed because of the tilting barrel and is avoided in a rotating barrel. There is a myth that the rotating barrel is not really locked, or is locked only by the torque of the bullet against the rifling. Not so; rotating barrels like the Steyr-Hahn, Obregon or Beretta Storm are fully locked until unlocked by recoil, just like tilting barrel or block locked guns.


Jim Watson
July 24, 2013, 01:25 PM
I don't know about a myth, the Searle system of the Savage autopistols assumed that torque against the rifling would hold the barrel a bit. But it was only 5 degrees rotation and was at best a slightly delayed blowback. Not to be confused with the large angle cam track rotation of the other makes listed.

The theoretical greater accuracy of the rotating barrel appears to remain undeveloped. There was a target model of the French PA15 with longer barrel and adjustable sights, but I have never seen a report on actually shooting one.

I have seen old reports to the effect that the Colt-Browning "parallel ruler" guns of 1900-1907 were very accurate as production model pistols go. Possibly even to a level requiring special attention to accurize a tipping barrel 1911 or successor.

James K
July 25, 2013, 06:47 PM
Hi, Jim,

I should have worded my comment better. The Savage pistols are, at best, retarded blowback and likely did have some slight delay in opening, but that fact caused some writers to make the blanket statement that rotating barrel designs were all the same and that they were not true locked breech. That is the myth.

In fact, the Steyr-Hahn, Obregon, PA-15, and more modern pistols are truly locked breech designs and do not depend on the torque of the bullet delaying a blowback action, as is the case of the Savage.

The Colt dual-link pistols I have fired (I have several) are all quite accurate, but I suspect that is due more to the Colt workmanship of that era than to any inherent accuracy of the system. The early 1911's are also very accurate for the same reason. But the design allows a lot of sloppiness and if not very precisely fitted, either by the factory or by a skilled gunsmith, will not be accurate. The rotating barrel design, of course, could also be sloppy, but with the barrel, slide and bushing all in the same axis, there is less chance for leeway.

I don't have a target model of the PA-15, but I do have a standard model and it is quite accurate, though gawdawful big and heavy. My Steyr-Hahns are accurate, also. Alas, I don't have an Obregon.