This Spanish Model 1893 Mauser has had a pretty interesting life. Built in Berlin, Germany by Ludwig Loewe and sold to Spain in 1896, it was most likely captured by American troops during the Spanish- American War of 1898 in Cuba. As these were superior to the US Army's Krag Model Rifle, these captured Mausers were shipped back to the United States for careful study. Adopting many of its features, this resulted in the development of the Model 1903 Springfield. In 1899, the Springfield Armory auctioned many of these captured Spanish Mausers at a public auction. The winner of these prized Mauser was Francis Bannerman, a large military surplus dealer located in New York. See link:
For years, Bannerman's sold these Mausers from its store and mail order catalogs. This rifle is most likely one of these Bannerman weapons that eventually found its way into the Stembridge Movie Rental Arsenal. Stembridge was one of the world's largest Hollywood prop houses that specialized in weaponry. They supplied guns to hundreds of films for much of the 20th century.
In 2007, a large portion of the Stembridge collection was sold by Little John's Auction Service. In it were some very famous guns used in movies like True Grit and the Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark series. We found this auction posted online from a few years back. The Little John's auction is dated June 2007 and titled, "The World Famous Stembridge Armory Collection". It is listed on page 80, Lot 340 as follows:
Spanish Mauser Model 1893 bolt action military rifle. 7.65 mm cal. 29" barrel, #D8180. Gun is in overall good condition showing light blue and brown finish to metal parts, sharp crest on top of receiver with "Berlin 1896" stamping. Bore is dark but may clean, wood is tiger striped and in overall fair+ condition with scattered nicks and mars from studio use and storage. From the Stembridge Arms Inventory but no attribution.
The rifle is stamped with a letter "S" for Stembridge on the left side of the receiver which is the typical way in which this prop house marked the weapons in their collection. See photos. Above the Spanish crest and 1896 manufacture date is the number "30". The previous owner of this rifle told me that this could mean it was re-chambered to handle some type of .30 caliber blank ammunition. We're not sure. The serial number is D8180 and is all matching except for the bolt which is in the C block. Both the top of the receiver and left side of the stock have a clear Spanish crest dated 1896. Being a movie gun, it has numerous dings and scratches but the tiger striped walnut stock is still something to behold. The rifle is complete with the exception of the rear sight elevator and cleaning rod. At some point, the armorer at Stembridge slightly modified the bayonet lug to accept a different type of bayonet, however, it should still work fine and accept an original Spanish bayonet. As for what movies it was in, Stembridge did not know any specific ones, which is the case on many of their guns. From the looks of it however, I'd say it has been in MANY films. In the Little John's auction catalog, there were several Krag carbines used in the 1997 film "The Rough Riders" starring Gary Busey, Tom Berenger, and Sam Elliot. Given the number of Mausers that were used in the film, there is a pretty good chance this is one of them. BTW, it's a great film and Berenger's role as Roosevelt is amazing. A very unique piece of American history with connections to both the Spanish-American War in the 19th century and the American film industry during the 20th century.