View Full Version : Need help with two old pistols

October 14, 2001, 01:11 PM
A friend asked me to help him decide what to do with two old pistols someone gave him to get rid of.

1. Mauser HSc, 7.65mm. Ser no 783,xxx, has a Nazi Eagle and Swatstika over an "M" on the front of the grip, under the trigger guard. Wooden grips, well worn, may be original? No magazine. Does this pistol have a magazine safety? How does the slide lock back and release? I can do it, but not sure what is making this happen.

2. Fabrique Nationale D'Armies de Guerre (cannot read rest), then below, Brownings's Patent- Depose. Appears to be a .25 caliber, shiney chrome (nickel?) finish, well-worn, no magazine, clear plastic grip panels, grip safety. Ser no. 46xxx.

Old pistols are not my field, I know what these are but not how valuable or rare they may be. Any help out there?


Herr Walther
October 14, 2001, 01:15 PM
I'm at work right now, but if no one else has posted in the next few hours, I'll do some digging when I get home.

I love old German pistols

October 14, 2001, 01:36 PM
I would appreciate any help you can give me with these. BTW, do you have any spare HSC mags?

Herr Walther
October 14, 2001, 08:58 PM
No. I don't collect Mausers. I just like 'em.

You have from your description an early pre-war German Navy HSc. This is identified by the proof mark on the front of the grip strap.

The Eagle/M proof mark is a first preliminary proof of the unfinished barrel. This was first used in 1939 so this is a bit conflicting with the placement of the proofmark and Germany's start of the war. Please look at this again closely and make sure it is not the letter "N" instead of an "M". This proof would appear on the frame of the pistol because it is an essential part of the working action of the handgun. The proof should also appear somewhere on the barrel. If this really is an "M", there should be another mark on it that is a crown/N if built before April 1st 1940, and the Eagle&swastika/N if built after this date. For it to be the early pre-war Navy model it would have to be the Crown/N.

Proofhaus marks were not used until 1952 when limited production of firearms was allowed again.

I believe the grips are original or at the least of the same era on this HSc

I'm afraid that I don't know the internals of this pistol. I would say that if you had an empty magazine inserted, that this was locking the slide back. Removal of the mag and drawing the slide back slightly would release it. But since you do not have a magazine, I don't know how it works.

If you can find a period magazine for this little pistol it could be worth up to $570 in 95% condition.

Sorry I can't help with the Browning.

October 14, 2001, 09:43 PM
It's hard to be sure from your description, but the HSc is certainly the more valuable of the pair, especially in original trim. I think the $570 is a tad optimistic, but it's certainly worth a decent amount. The Nazi Eagle sitting on top of a Swatstika over an "M" is a German Nazi naval acceptance mark.

The other pistol sorta' sounds like a Browning 1906, but having been nickled and with replacement grips, it's not worth much I would guess. A picture of these would do wonders in the identification department...

I may be interested in the HSc, depending on the condition...

October 14, 2001, 11:26 PM
Herr Walther,

The letter on the grip front is defintely an "M". There are marks on both sides of the trigger guard near the back when it blends into the frame. The mark on the right side is something over an "N". Looks like the figure could be an eagle with clipped wings over the letter. The mark of the left side is definitely an Eagle and Swatsticka over an "M", with what looks like a "/B" next to it. Cannot find any marks on the barrel except for some numbers which suggest that this is the original barrel (same last three digits as in the serial number). Whoops! Just found the Eagle/N on the barrel, on the right side of the chamber. According to the Numrich catalog, there is a magazine safety in this pistol, so that may be part of my problem.


It is a Browning 1906. Checked it against Schwing's 2000 Standard Catalog of Firearms. It dates to around WWI I believe, but cannot find a list of serial numbers to confirm this. The book also states that some were nickled, so this could be an original finish. Just don't know about these grips tho.

One of these days I am gonna HAVE to get a digital camera so I too can post pictures.

Thanks to both of you for your assistance.

Herr Walther
October 15, 2001, 12:02 AM
Thanks. That lack of the second proof mark had me scratching my head. I knew if there was a preliminary proof mark of the Eagle/M, there had to be another one for the final proof. Since that is a Eagle/N, yours was built after April 1st 1940. This is when the new German proof laws took effect and the Crown/N was dropped.

The Preliminary Proof is also called a Material Proof and is performed before the gun is actually finished.

I don't know what the /B is or what it means. Might be some sort of acceptance stamp or inspectors mark after minor repair.

Your gun was probably proofed at Oberndorf, now home of H&K.

James K
October 15, 2001, 11:20 PM
Hi, guys, the HSc and earlier Mausers use an odd lockback system which is complex, but makes sense. When the slide locks back on an empty mag, it stays back until a magazine (empty or full - doesn't matter) is inserted. If one is simply checking an unloaded pistol, this means the magazine has to be unlatched and pulled part way out, then pushed back in.

But in combat, it means that there is no need to activate a slide stop or draw the slide back to chamber the first round from a fresh magazine; that is done automatically when the magazine is inserted.

On the Browning .25, the second line should read "Herstal, Belgique", the location of the FN factory.


October 16, 2001, 10:00 AM

Thanks for the info. All I need to do now is find a .32 Mauser HSc magazine! Luckily I think I can get one from Numrich fairly quickly.

The word "Herstal" is so worn that I would never have been able to decipher it without help. I finally guessed on the Belgique part. Getting a magazine for this pistol may be quite a bit harder than the Mauser.

James K
October 16, 2001, 04:06 PM
Unless you get lucky at a gun show, the only HSc mags that you will find are repros. They are usually OK but not as good as the "real thing".


October 16, 2001, 08:37 PM

Is there any way to distinguish real HSc mags from repros? Any markings?

Herr Walther
October 16, 2001, 10:37 PM
A period magazine should have the Waffenampt stamped somewhere on it. That's the NAZI Eagle holding the wreathed swastika in its talons.

I'm not sure about the repros.

James K
October 16, 2001, 11:56 PM
I almost said, "you'll know", but this will help. The originals have a milled follower and a half-moon indent at the front of the floor plate. They also are sturdy and have a "solid" appearance. The repros are all blue, look tinny and have a stamped follower and smooth floorplate.

The repros are around $25; the originals bring around 3 times that.


October 17, 2001, 07:31 AM
Thanks for taking the time to educate me in this rather unigue and historically interesting pistol. I have made an offer to the owner (kinda low, but it does need the magazine, and the finish is pretty worn) so I am just waiting for his response. If I do get it, I'll let the both of you know.

October 18, 2001, 10:46 AM
My friend accepted my offer and the Mauser appears to be mine now. He was hoping for more money (he had another friend who was saying how much it was worth) but when I explained the wear and the lack of a magazine, he understood. Also, the amount I offered was coincidentally what he needed for a new pair of boots for his upcoming hunting trip.

If he ever finds the missing magazines, I will make him a generous offer to complete my acquisition.

Herr Walther
October 18, 2001, 08:17 PM
You mean he HAS the mags and just misplaced them??

Oh, man. I'd offer to come over and clean up his house, basement, and garage to find those mags.

October 19, 2001, 02:33 PM
Jim said:

"But in combat, it means that there is no need to activate a slide stop or draw the slide back to chamber the first round from a fresh magazine; that is done automatically when the magazine is inserted. "

One has to wonder why you'd take something like the Mauser .25 into combat, but you're right about it's operation! :D:D

October 21, 2001, 11:12 PM
"Mauser .25"???


Actually, it's a .32. That's about 28% BIGGER! :D

You have to remember, this was a gentleman's gun, not a serious gunfighter's firearm. But I bet it still smarts when it hits you.

October 22, 2001, 05:13 PM
Actually, I was thinking of the Browning .25 that you also had, fuzzy thinking. :) I wouldn't want to get shot with that one either, FWIW. :D:D