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Old December 4, 2017, 10:08 PM   #1
dakota.potts
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My Mauser HSc project

I posted another thread earlier about a Mauser HSc that I found sitting, abused, in a used gun shop near by. I bought it for the princely sum of $145, intending to use it as a refinishing project. I haven't done many personal gunsmithing projects lately, and I am working on some instructional material regarding home restoration of firearms - so regardless of what comes out of this gun as a shooter or collection piece, it will have been valuable to me.

Before moving on to pictures, I'd like to post a YouTube video I did showing off the gun. Viewers and subscribers on YouTube are very helpful to me in growing an audience for future pursuits, so consider following if you're of that persuasion. I will be showing all of my refinishing techniques both in video and in written posts (with pictures) here on the board. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/cDhjTRjIquA

That out of the way, here are some pictures of the gun.


Looking lonely in the store just after I bought it, and had to leave it for Broward County's 5 day waiting period. The rough condition is apparent. The bluing actually has some decent color left where it has not been taken over with rust and pitting.


Safely at home and field stripped. Field strip on this gun is pretty cool. There is a little plunger pin inside the trigger guard. This pin is depressed, and the whole slide assembly can then be lifted forward and upward off of the frame. It's somewhat complex for a straight blowback pistol, and not the only complexity in the design.


Roll marks from the Oberndorf factory. This one has a waffenamt proof mark which indicates it is proofed for either military or police use. The area underneath where the identifying letter would be to differentiate between different police or military forces is covered in rust, so I cannot tell at this time. The serial number is in the 8xx,xxx or 9xx,xxx range (hard to tell which until it is cleaned up some) which indicates that it is either very late WW2 production, or (more likely) some years after the end of the war.


Right Side View


A view of some particularly heavy rust on the barrel. The bore is in decent condition with clear rifling but this spot of rust is potentially going to be a challenge. I'm not too concerned though.


One particularly irking thing is that a previous owner carved their initials into the checkering.

The plan with this one:
Strip it completely
Polish the metal back to white
Blue at home using a rust blue or belgian bluing process
Salvage and re-cut the checkering, if possible. Sand smooth and polish if not.
Find a replacement grip screw for the right panel
Refinish the wood
Potentially nitre blue or straw color small parts including the grip screws and extractor.

I know this is a huge post, but I love to get in depth and break things down.

I will be updating regularly, hoping to start sometime this week with a full detail strip and rust removal.
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Old December 5, 2017, 02:50 AM   #2
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either very late WW2 production, or (more likely) some years after the end of the war.
if it is a wartime production gun, it should have the WaffenAmt stamp on it. The usual spot is the flat space where the triggerguard meet the grip frame.

The marking (a stylized Nazi Eagle and a number) may be very faint.

My HSc is WaA marked, and is #9xx xxx.

I don't think any guns made after WWII would have Nazi markings, but its not impossible that some Nazi marked frames could have been assembled into pistols after the war, but if so, there couldn't have been many.

There is a German commercial proof that also looks like a bird (eagle, I assume), but it is different than the Nazi marking.

Naval Jelly will save you a lot of work getting the rust off, but it will also eat bluing (which, is also a form of rust). If you're planning on taking all the metal down to the "white" let the jelly work a while.

Good luck with your project!

Oh, just FYI, about all those "quirks" in the HSc design, Mauser did it that way, at least partly because they had to work around Walther's patents.
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Old December 6, 2017, 10:07 PM   #3
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There is a mark that looks like the WaffenAmt stamp but it is difficult to see what it is in its current state.

Today I did the detail strip. This is not the hardest gun I have ever field stripped (actually it was fairly uneventful). Took maybe a half an hour with the help of a book that gave some tips.

First, got the grips off. Very cool mechanism inside.





Got the skeleton sorted. All the parts in multiple bags to keep them together with other parts of their operating group.



Very interesting milling as well



Also got a decent(ish) picture of the bore. This is the best I could grab. There are a surprising amount of grooves in the rifling. They look to be in pretty decent condition.

Now for the bad news. The firing pin is a very smart two piece system. Unfortunately, the front firing pin is very small and it appears to be damaged. It seems slightly bent and slightly deformed. Don't know the past history of it. I will hope it works and keep an eye on a source for a new one if not.
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Old December 7, 2017, 02:47 AM   #4
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Before you strip the finish off, why not do a general cleanup with a carding wheel (if you have one) or some 0000 steel wool-dry.
You might even be surprised at how good the gun looks.
If it doesn't meet your expectations, you can still show what you did, and nothing is lost except a little time and labor.
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Old December 7, 2017, 07:09 AM   #5
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I'm really looking forward to seeing how this project works out. Thanks for keeping us updated, dakota.potts.
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Old December 7, 2017, 05:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
I'm really looking forward to seeing how those project works out.
As am I.
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Old December 8, 2017, 11:22 PM   #7
dakota.potts
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44 AMP was close with the Naval Jelly suggestion, but I had another option in mind to try as it's something I'd heard of and wanted to verify the results. Vinegar (Acetic Acid) is a gentler acid than naval jelly (phosphoric acid) and is supposed to produce the same results.

I went to Wal-mart and got several large tupperware containers that were different than anything I had at the house so they wouldn't get re-used on accident. I also picked up a gallon of the cheapest vinegar they had, I think under $3.

All of the parts that I wanted to strip completely, I dropped in the vinegar bath. This took about half a gallon, a smaller container would have helped preserve some.









The vinegar bubbles right away and you can see some of the loose surface rust start to float free. After about 10 minutes, I tried removing some with a toothbrush (bought for this purpose) and a paper towel. It removed some of the looser rust, but didn't really get underneath or remove any of the stubborn stuff. So, I dug up an unused stainless steel carding brush from Brownell's used for rust bluing. I think #0000 steel wool likely would have worked just as well.

One interesting effect is that blued parts when left in here have a tendency to convert back to red/orange rust which is soft and easy to remove. It's been a while since my high school chemistry classes but I think this is because the acid is removing single oxygen atoms from the Fe3O4 form of black oxide and causing it to rebond as the simpler Fe2O3 structure hematite which is red rust. That's just a pure guess on my part.

For the next hour, I let the parts bathe 10-20 minutes at a time while I watched TV and then carded the lot with the brush. It was probably 4 or 5 cycles of this before I felt that I got everything out of it that I was going to get. The bluing on the slide was very tough, and even now retains a slight bluish hue. After I was done with the vinegar, I poured it out and put a small amount of dawn dish soap in the container, which I then filled with hot (not quite boiling) water to flush out and neutralize the vinegar. The parts will then be dried and oiled.




Here you can see that the magazine has come out much better with minimal work. I still am not sure how to go about refinishing this one as I don't know how to take it apart or if it can be done. In this picture, you can see the progress without involving any sand paper.



You can also see the heavy rust spots gone from the barrel and I can even now cleanly see proof marks which were, before, hidden.

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Old December 8, 2017, 11:28 PM   #8
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The 9mm Kurz/.380 ACP caliber Mauser HSc was problematic for feeding. Never heard anything bad about the 7.65 mm version though. Keep us informed on your progress.
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Old December 8, 2017, 11:28 PM   #9
Bill DeShivs
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The magazine base plate slides off toward the front of the mag.
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Old December 8, 2017, 11:30 PM   #10
dakota.potts
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The slide will need to be cleaned up more, but it looks much better than it did before. Some stubborn spots still remain that will probably need attention by hand. The factory markings still look fairly good.



Other side of the slide



The frame cleaned up a lot, however, there are still lots of areas which are worrying to me in the amount of pitting. There were some growths where the rust seems to have formed and then grown outward from the inside. I'll do what I can on these, and they'll likely have to be removed very carefully with a needle file.

Some areas are still pitted. I will clean these up as well as I can without sacrificing structural integrity, but some might be forever. If any rust is left in the pitting, my thinking is that the acid solution will encourage rust to form equally which will then all be converted during the boiling process to the "good" black rust magnetite, which is the finish created in bluing. This part of the process should be merciful in helping me get these areas to take to the bluing, although they are mostly internal parts that are never seen.

I have also been able to see proof marks that were obscured before. I can now definitively see the gun is proofed with the eagle and the letter "l". This, and the serial number #846 XXX puts this in the second series of police pistols produced during WWII, which is neat.



There is also this proof mark on the reverse side of the gun that I am not familiar with if anybody is able to help me out there.



Hopefully this weekend will allow some quality time for blending and polishing to get ready for the rust blue process.
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Old December 8, 2017, 11:33 PM   #11
dakota.potts
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Wow, two very fast responses!

I will have to try manipulating my mag some more. My baseplate does not seem to want to move forward. There is a little folded tab that looked like it was holding it in place, but it might just be held in pretty solidly by old corrosion.

I also note that this series of gun was originally issued with two matching serial number magazines, but the magazine I have here has no serial number. Would be interesting to know the story on that.
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Old December 9, 2017, 12:02 AM   #12
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One very effective method I have tried for removing rust is electrolysis.

-TL

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Old December 9, 2017, 07:23 AM   #13
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Wow! That already looks worlds better.
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Old December 9, 2017, 07:51 AM   #14
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There is also this proof mark on the reverse side of the gun that I am not familiar with if anybody is able to help me out there.
That mark is referred to as the 'Eagle N' which was the German commercial proof mark from 1939-thru 1945. Same proof that was stamped on the barrel and slide.

The Eagle/swaztica - L marking, or 'E/S-L' is actually an acceptance stamp, not a proof.

Nice project you've got going.
The pistol is really fun to shoot (pretty fine sights!) and is more accurate than the sights allow for me.

JT
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Old December 9, 2017, 08:38 AM   #15
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Wow! It's a Nazi era Mauser.

Don't remove the patina from the grips. Bet it was brought here as a war trophy.
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Old December 9, 2017, 09:39 PM   #16
dakota.potts
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I would like to take your advice on the grips but I am concerned about the initials crudely scratched into them. Best just to leave them as part of the history of the gun?

The salesperson told me it was a WWII bring back but I never believe those stories at the gun counter without documentation. I am confused about not having a matching holster and about the magazine not being original to the gun, but I suppose I can see how somebody would come across one in a holster and grab just the gun to save space.
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Old December 9, 2017, 10:21 PM   #17
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You can remove the initials now, or wish you hadn't later.

You can have the initials now, and be happy that you didn't remove them earlier.
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Old December 10, 2017, 03:08 AM   #18
Bill DeShivs
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You're refinishing the entire gun, so go ahead and do the grips, too.
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Old December 10, 2017, 06:17 AM   #19
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I would leave the carving. It may be from the soldier who captured it. Of course, it's easy enought to buy new grips and keep the old ones.

The grips should be cleaned lightly with a toothbrush moistened (not soaking) with distilled water. let it dry and then treat with Renaissance Wax.
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