Fake 1894 Carbines
How to spot 'em
The highest price 1894 Swedish Mauser carbine I've seen in-person so far has been $995.(now very outdated in 2008!)
It was a 94/14 configuration, with a beautiful elm stock, brass trajectory plate and matching bayonet/scabbard. It was,
without a doubt, the prettiest Swede carbine I've ever seen. Coupled with the rare elm stock it presented the most ludicrous
extreme of what was once a $29.95 item.... o.k., so it ~was~ in the 60's. More information is known now than ever before about
the various Swedish Mausers, with the 1894 carbine being still being one of the most sought after curio-relic long arms.
Humanity, being what it is, has an element resident that will seize any opportunity to separate you from your money. Perhaps by
absorbing what little information I present to you here may save some great amount of grief at some point in the future.
The first and foremost identifier of a genuine carbine is the serial number range. They're separate from the m/96 serial number range,
and distinct to the year produced. By using the serial numbers of known carbine models, you may be able to immediately identify what is,
and what isn't. There are exceptions and unknowns to this formula, so we'll have to try and identify other areas that tell a story.
The bolt handle should be bent in one of two configurations, and stamped in original font to match the last three digits of the serial number. There are exceptions to this as well in that replacement bolts exist. There is one type of bolt handle bend that should not be seen on a carbine, and that is a straight handle bolt that's been bent. It leaves a distinct bulge on the underside of the handle. But even as positive an example as this is, its still possible that it was done in Sweden by military armorers as expedient depot maintenence. You have to add the factors up and make an intelligent decision when you know all you can possibly know about a particular carbine. Even more exceptions exist for a carbine with straight bolt handles as at least two models had straight handles! The school carbine and gallery carbine.
Carbine stocks cannot be made from a m/96 or m/38 stocks. The grasping grooves are too long for a carbine. But there have been carbine stocks noted without grasping grooves, notably the 94/96 fortress carbine. So let's build on the premise that the stock is original and not a modern commercial replacement. That brings us to the barrel. New Swedish military carbine barrels are available commercially (Sarco, Inc). This wasn't always the case and fake carbines have been noted with m/96 barrels lathe-turned to the carbine profile. How do you tell the difference and is it important?
If you suspect a carbine is fake, or are unwilling to pay big bucks for an unknown, its important that you know what you're buying. You have to examine the barrel under the handguard for tell-tale signs of originality. 1- metal finish, 2- blueing, 3- rear sight base solder joint, 4- stampings in barrel shank.
You should not see any lathe tool-bit marks in an original barrel. It is a rare contract Mauser that shows any tooling marks on the barrel from lathe turning. Not so with fakes. A con man will side-step what he thinks are minor details in his quest for quick profit, and he usually doesn't realize his weakness has been exposed. Lathe turning marks and the absence of stampings on the barrel are a dead give-away. But not the only one to be seen under the handguard.
Put a man to work in an armory day in, day out for years and years soldering rear sight bases to rifle barrels and you'll note one important fact. A perfect joint. You will not see bubbling or cratering in the surface of the solder joint. You will not see a sloppy job. It was not tolerated at the level of quality control that was excercised under the leadership of Peter Paul Mauser, nor was it tolerated at Carl Gustafs Stads Gevarsfaktori in Eskilstuna. Take the time to learn a little history of Eskilstuna and you'll find a society of metal workers over 700 years old. From the time of the great labor guilds, apprenticeship started in adolecence, with the Master truely knowing it all, from the crown to the buttplate screw. Not so with the fake carbine builder. Anomolies in the rear sight base method of soldering have to be examined beyond the authenticity of the barrel. And still, the exceptions apply, for many carbines were rebarreled by military depot amorers over the years, though the carbines appear to have less barrel replacement work than m/96 rifles.
The blueing on a barrel must not allow you to see the surface of the steel barrel, especially to see any lathe turning marks under the blueing. It wouldn't be particularly strange to see a different shade of blue than the receiver, as recievers weren't always reblued during rebuild. But you should not see a transparent blue, or a blue too bright and shiny. Reading the blueing is difficult, but it can be learned by observation.
The photo below is of a fake 1894 Carl Gustaf carbine, s/n 418666. This serial number range is correct for a m/96 rifle, but not a m/94 carbine. The highest serial number and date for a m/94 carbine so far known to me is #113150 dated 1932. Most carbine production ceased in 1918.
This photo clearly shows three of the factors noted above: 1- lathe turning marks on the barrel, 2- transparent blueing, 3- very poor solder job on the rear sight base.
This particular carbine had an interesting buttplate in that it was unit marked and had 666 to match the receiver. A m/96 buttplate is larger than a m/94 buttplate, so it was obviously fitted to the carbine stock. That there were file marks on the edge of the buttplate is irrelevant as buttplates were routinely file-fitted to stocks. The nose piece and rear sight parts were a mis-match, an important piece to the puzzle of this carbine, though not unheard of, when added together with all the other factors, the evidence proved the fakery.
What is it about this bolt handle?
Is it the way it bends that just doesn't
look quite right?
Or could it be those grind marks at the top where the handle bends down?
With a 1917 receiver date and
this serial number, what does
this tell us?
(hint: its a m/96 rifle receiver!)
Interesting thing about the serial number in the stock barrel channel... 90,250..
It just happens to be correct for a 1917-dated carbine ....same as the receiver date....
...while the handguard s/n 113,077 puts it in 1918 or beyond.
Don't let your desire for a m/94 carbine blind you to fakes!!
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