This is one of the better examples of a Spanish Mauser Model 1893 rifles we've had in several years. This amazing bolt action rifle impressed the Spanish military so much that they awarded Paul Mauser their Grand Cross of the Order of Military Merit. During the Spanish-American War, the Modelo 1893 proved superior to the US Army's Model 1896 Krag rifle and led to the development to the 1903 Springfield. Even more interesting is that it's one of the few early antique examples we've found produced at Spain's Oviedo Arsenal. The majority of early Spanish Contract 1893's were produced by Ludwig's Loewe in Berlin. Between 1893 and 1897, this plant built a quarter of a million Model 1893's for the Spanish military followed by smaller contracts by DWM of Berlin for the Spanish navy and marines. "Spain began production of their (own) Modelo 1893 in 1896 at Oviedo Arsenal in Asturias province, the heartland of Spain's iron ore mining industry." pg. 329, Mauser Military Rifles of the World, 4th edition. Spain continued producing the Model 1893 well into the 1920s; long after it was discontinued in Germany in favor of improved models. These rifles saw service all over the world from the jungles of Cuba during the Spanish-American War, the Philippines, the Riffian Wars in Morocco in the 1920s, the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, all the way into the 1950s when it was finally declared obsolete. Today, most of the 1893s we encounter, especially the early ones made before 1899, show tremendous amounts of use as well as the ravages of tropical climates.
This example is quite exceptional in that it retains 65% of its original blued finish with the balance darkened to a brown patina. 75% original fire blue on bolt latch. Magazine charger has 90% brilliant fire blue while the rest shows 30% original blue, mainly on the profiles. The metal is smooth overall but has a few pits on the barrel along the wood-line and edges of the band springs where it was exposed to moisture in the stock of the rifle...often indicative of a hot and humid tropical climate. The markings are excellent (but uncleaned with lots of dirt and dried grease down in the numerals) with a Spanish Crown on the top of the breech along with "FABRICA DE ARMAS....OVIEDO...1898". Left side of the buttstock is marked with a circular crest consisting of the same crown as found on the receiver, "OVIEDO...1898." The serial number is in the E 1100 block with matching numbers on the frame, trigger guard, magazine floor plate, buttstock, rear sight, etc. The only non-matching numbers are the bolt and cleaning rod...which is typical of most captured Span-Am War era Mausers we've encountered. According to Bannerman's catalog, which sold captured Model 1893's that were surrendered by Spanish troops at Santiago, these guns had small parts removed before turning them over to American troops. I've always wondered if this explained why so many of these early 1893's that turn up in the United States have mismatched bolts. Nice action with a Very Good bore. The wood is in Very Good condition with various handling marks indicative of military and combat usage. It has never been cleaned or sanded and still retains 80+% of its original oil finish. Plenty of nicks and dings but zero cracks, chips, or repairs. This would make a nice representative Spanish Modelo 1893 to pair with an 1896 Krag or Spanish-American War collection. Given their 30+ years of manufacture, these Oviedo 1893's are plentiful, but only the first three years of production, 1896, 1897, and 1898, qualify as antiques and would be early enough to have seen use in the Spanish-American War of 1898. The fact that this rifle is in such good condition when so many early Spanish 1893's show considerable wear, indicates its service life was probably cut short...likely from being captured by American troops in Cuba in 1898.