Turkish Mauser M1903 Rifles Used by Austro-Hungary
Turkish Contract, Approx. 175,000 were made by Waffenfabrik Mauser AG, Oberndorf, Germany, 1904-09
Integral charger-loaded box magazine, 5 rounds
Turning-bolt action, locked by rotating lugs on the bolt head into the receiver
The calygraphic symbol (crest) on the receiver is the Oel Gazi' tugra of Sultan Abdulhamid, part of the Coat of Arms of the Ottoman Empire
The manufacturing date on this example is 1909. The serial number is 160032.
The M1903 Contract rifles were M98-type intermediate length action Mausers slightly modified for Turkish (Ottoman Empire) specifications.
The M1903 can be recognized by the high-humped receiver bridge for the clip loading and its extended handle bolt stop lever, which are unique on this model.
Arabic numbered rear sight.
In 1935 the Turkish Army adopted the 7.92x57mm Mauser caliber as new standard to replace the 7.65x53mm caliber. During 1935-40 about 45,000 7.65mm M1903 rifles
were converted to the new 7.92x57 caliber. A new receiver legend and crest was added: 'T.C ASFA ANKARA' with Crescent Moon crest, 1936 Ankara Arsenal rebuild date. 'T.C' (Turkiye Cumhuriyeti) = Republic of
Turkey, 'ASFA' (Askari Fabrika) = Military Factory, 'ANKARA' = Capital city of Turkey. Some conversion include 'K-KALE', which is 'K. Kale' (Kirikkale Tufek Fabrikast) = Kirikkale Rifle Factory.
The conversion included a new 7.92mm barrel, a notch was cut out to clear the longer cartridge tip. The converted rifles were referred to as the M1903/35 in Turkey. The commonly used 'M03/38' designation was invented by the importers, just note the actual conversion dates prior to 1938. A small number of 1933 and 1934 dated test 7.92mm conversions can be found, believed to be made for military trials before the 1935 acceptance.
During the conversion a metric rear sight graduated to 2000 meters was installed.
Original bolts were reused and the rifle was re-serialized. Collectors note: Rifles with matching bolts are nearly impossible to find because during the life of these rifles the bolts were
often removed and stored at a 'secret' location to hinder/avoid armed military rebellions.