The success of the Spencer and Henry repeating rifles introduced in the American Civil War, and of the Winchester rifle which grew out of the Henry and was used with terrible effect by the Turks against the Russians, forced German military officials to recognize the need for a magazine rifle which would give increased infantry firepower. Peter Paul Mauser, being very close indeed to the Rifle Testing Commission, was of course thoroughly familiar with the desire of the military for such a development. He created several rather interesting designs in box loading magazines which were the beginning of his later successful types which became world standard. The successful ones are all listed in the body of this work. There were few types, however, with which he did not experiment.
The Henry-Winchester system of carrying cartridges in a tube below the barrel where they compressed a spring which thrust them successively back into a carrier for individual loading in the chamber, was an immediate success. Hence it was promptly picked up and utilized in experimental rifles in most of the important military nations in Europe.
In the Fall of 1880, Mauser applied this cartridge carrying principle to his original Model 71 Single Shot Rifle, a very important development as it permitted the use of standardized machinery and enabled the conversion of the single shot design to repeating rifle design at a minimum cost.
One of the proudest moments in the life of Peter Paul Mauser was a day in September of 1881 when at the Württemberg, Industrial Exposition he was permitted to demonstrate his new magazine rifle to His Imperial Majesty Wilhelm I (1799-1888). It made such an impression on His Majesty, that a test by the Rifle Testing Commission was expedited. That trial was so successful that Mauser received an order for 2000 test weapons.
Those 2000 rifles were put into the field by the Prussian High Command for complete testing under field conditions. The rifle was shortly thereafter adopted under the official designation of "Infantry Repeating Rifle Model 71-84, caliber 11mm."
Serbia at that time was a hot bed of militarism. Paul Mauser's contacts were so good that he was able to obtain from the Serbian War Office an order for 4000 rifles and 4000 carbines, identical with the German type, but adapted to a special 10.15mm caliber cartridge used by the Serbians.
The Mauser Company about this time found it essential that they obtain additional work to keep the plant busy and they obtained military cooperation in the form of an order for 19,000 M71-84 rifles to arm the Württemberg Armies. The Bavarian and Prussian Governments manufactured the M71-84 in their respective Government Factories at their own expense, paying the Mauser corporation a royalty on each weapon.
The next forward step in the fortunes of Mauser Brothers & Company, was when it became a stock company on the First of April, 1884. The Wiirttem-bergische-Vereinsbank placed its assistant director Alfred Kaulla on the Board of the Mauser Company to handle financial details, and left Peter Paul Mauser in sole charge of technical developments. In later years Kaulla was the true financial genius of the organization.
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