Mauser was among the first to appreciate the value of the self-loading principle. In 1896, he introduced his famous first Mauser Self-loading Pistol in caliber 7.63mm, a pistol so fundamentally right, that it and its cartridge are practically unchanged to this day. This arm, which Winston Churchill in his History of the Sudan Campaign credits with saving his life because of its rapidity of fire and its large magazine capacity, was a startling development in the Boer War. ft is a remarkable achievement in that all the parts interlock and no screws or pins are used in the assembly of the weapon, with the exception of the screw which fastens the stocks to the arm.
Mauser demonstrated this new pistol to his Imperial Majesty Wilhelm the Second, at Katharinenholz range near Charlottenburg, on the 20th day of August, 1896. The Kaiser was extremely interested in this new arm, and did personal target shooting with it much to the delight of the inventor.
This weapon was really the first truly successful military automatic pistol. Up to the beginning of World War II, over 700,000 of these pistols had been sold. While it was never an official pistol of the German forces, it was a substitute-standard used during both World Wars by Germany. It is highly prized in the Orient and is to be encountered anywhere in the world. On August 20, 1896, during the course of the test by the Kaiser, Mauser promised to turn his energy to the development of a self-loading infantry rifle, promising the Kaiser to have such a development within five years.
With all the energy left, this untiring worker, whose sole thought was the expansion of German military might, devoted himself to producing semiautomatic arms. The range of his developments in automatic systems may be found by examining the contents of this book. Most of his rifles were either cumbrous or complicated. However, he did.lay the basis for many designs, one of which turned up during World War II as the prototype of the essential locking system of the ultra simple German Gewehr 43, and of the famous Russian Degtyarov and German Model 42 Light Machine Guns.
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