This is an outstanding example of the Deutsches Infanteriegewehr 71.84, better known as the German M1871/84 rifle. The rifle was a Mauser design and was the first magazine fed, repeating bolt-action rifle adopted by the German states. The M1871/84 was in improvement over the earlier M1871 Mauser rifle, as that gun was a single shot rifle. The M1871/84 utilized a tubular magazine in the forend, similar in design to that found on Swiss Vetterli rifles of the era. While the Swiss rifle incorporated side mounted loading gate on the frame, much like a Winchester, the German magazine was loaded through the breech. The M1871/84 rifle retained the Mauser bolt and safety design of the earlier M1871, and added a magazine cut-off which allowed the rifle to be used as a single shot gun, leaving the ammunition in the magazine for use when rapid fire was essential. The rifled weighed in at about 10 pounds, and the tubular magazine had an 8 round capacity. The rifle was 50 ““ in overall length, with a 30 ““ barrel. It was chambered for the centerfire 11x60R cartridge, which used a round nosed bullet and black powder as the propellant. The rifles were produced at various German state arsenals, including Prussia’s Spandau, Danzig and Erfurt armories, and Bavaria’s Amberg armory. Waffenfabrik Mauser produced the guns manufactured for the state of Württemberg. The rifle was manufactured from 1884 through 1888 and was replaced by the M1888 Commission Rifle. During its relatively short manufacturing lifespan, about 1 million M1871/84 rifles were produced. Although the rifle was rendered obsolete rather quickly by smokeless powder cartridges, it saw a significant post-production service career with the Landwehr (active reserve infantry) and the Landsturm (local reserve militia). With the coming of World War I, the M1871/84 again saw service with these lower priority reserve units, to free more modern weapons for use on the Western Front.
The Infanteriegewehr M1871/84 offered here is in EXCELLENT condition, and is quite close to mint. The rifle retains about 95% of its original brilliant blued finish on the barrel, with only some minor fading and tiny patches of lightly oxidized freckling. The barrel bands retain about 80%-90% of their bright blue, with slightly more fading and some light storage wear. The triggerguard retains a similar amount of blued finish. The buttplate and receiver are in their original, unfinished state, “in the white”. They remain relatively bright and show only some scattered tiny patches of minor oxidation and light pinpricking, most of which is confined to the buttplate. The rifle was produced in Berlin at the Spandau Armory and is clearly marked with the (PRUSSIAN CROWN) / SPANDAU on the top of the receiver. The left flat below the Spandau mark is stamped with the royal cypher of Frederick Wilhelm IV (even though the ruler at that time was Frederick’s brother William I), which is a (CROWN) / F.W.. The cypher is flanked by a pair of inspection marks of a (CROWN) over the Gothic letter D. The right upper receiver flat is marked with four inspection marks, of a (CROWN) over the Gothic letters R, S, G and D. The rifle is serial number 7122 and is all matching, with all parts bearing either the complete serial number or at least the last two digits, 22. The right side of the receiver is marked in Gothic script: I. G. Mod 71/84 for Infanteriegewehr 71/84. The right side of the breech is clearly marked with the year of production, which was 1888, the last year these rifles were produced. All of the markings on the metal remain extremely crisp and sharp and are in fantastic condition. The action of the rifle works perfectly, with the bolt opening and closing smoothly and the famous Mauser safety and the magazine cut-off working as they should. The bore of the rifle is EXCELLENT and remains brilliant, with perfect rifling. The bore shows only some minor accumulations of old grease and dust and will likely clean to about mint. The rifle is 100% complete and correct, retaining its original sling swivels, rear sight and magazine tube cap, complete with stacking pin. As previously mentioned, all of the parts of the rifle are matching. The stock rates VERY FINE to NEAR EXCELLENT and were it not for a couple of surface scrapes on the obverse buttstock would rate excellent to near mint. The wood of the stock is crisp and sharp with wonderful markings. The stock shows numerous inspection and ownership marks, all of which are deeply stamped and very crisp. The stock is full length and free of any breaks, cracks or repairs. There are some minor light handling and storage bumps and dings, but other than the two scrapes previously mentioned, there are no detractions at all to the stock.
Overall this is simply a fantastic example of Germany’s first repeating military rifle. The gun is simply in wonderful condition and is extremely attractive. With the excellent bore, it would no doubt shoot wonderfully, and reloading for the rifle would certainly be a fun project. For any collector of early bolt action military rifles, the Infanteriegewehr 71/84 is a must have, and this one is in a state of preservation that would be very difficult to improve upon.SOLD