Expert advice, appraisals and the fascinating stories behind your firearms
I have a completely original 1910 Mauser 7x57mm sporting rifle, serial number 34894 (above). It has a Lyman peep sight; it was never tapped for a scope mount. I was a police officer for 28 years, and I’ve never handled a smoother action. It was my father’s and my deer rifle, and it’s been in our family for 80-plus years. I’m getting old and won’t be hunting anymore, and since I have no one to leave the rifle to, I’m selling it and the rest of my collection. It was appraised 25 years ago for insurance purposes at $2,700, but I’d like your opinion on its present-day value. Thank you.
Original Mauser sporters are prized both as collectibles and as practical sporting firearms. Many were made to special order at the Mauser factory and by individual gunmakers. Mauser produced some more or less standardized models—the A, B and C versions—but even those often had special order features. Your rifle does not appear to be one of the standard models, though there is some resemblance to the C model. Most likely it was made to order by a custom gunmaker. It appears to be a quality hunting rifle, complete with high-grade wood and excellent workmanship.
A feature that looks a bit odd to me is the shape at the tip of the forearm. Most of the Mauser sporters I’ve seen had either a rounded forearm with a black horn forearm tip, or a Schnabel shape. Perhaps your rifle had a Schnabel tip that someone later reshaped, but I could very well be wrong.
The market for fine sporting rifles is going through turbulent times at present. For one thing, many of the admirers and collectors of these firearms are getting old and selling off their collections (or the executors of their estates are selling them). As a result, a gun’s condition is becoming more critical to its value. Young shooters and hunters don’t seem to care much for walnut and blue steel, preferring instead the utility of synthetics and stainless steel.
The other factor, which I hope is short term, is the tremendous damage done to the economy by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are worried about paying rent and mortgages, and are therefore not in the mood to spend on non-essentials. Until the economy turns around, I think it’s going to be tough to market collectible firearms. In normal times, your rifle would likely bring in $2,500 or so at an auction, but it may be a long while before normalcy returns.