Flag Mausers of Turkey and The Ottoman Empire
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Gew. 88

Several thousands of Gewehr 88's were given to Turkey for combat use during WWI. While these were slightly out of date even then, they were useable. The Turks did rebuild most of them in the 30's but some are available in the original configuration with some Turkish markings.

The single column magazine
is the first clue that you have a Gew.88.
Gew.88 Magazine

Doc AV's Comments:

Firstly, a lot of Commission 88 rifles were "Turked" (refurbished by the Turks, who put in a new, correct, 7,9x57 barrel ( one that has a .323 groove diameter).

Secondly, the use of the term "8x57" originally a German commercial sporting ammo nomenclature, wrongfully adopted by lazy Americans back in the early 1900s to denote any German Mauser (of the 7,9mm Variety), whether Military or Sporting) has led to many confused and ill informed statements regarding the Commission or M1888 rifle, its rifling, and suitability of ammo.

Thirdly, as an interim measure, the Germans themselves modified the barrels of the Gew88 rifle from .321 grooves to a long barrel lead (or throating) to accept .323 (1905 "S" Bullet); this was done at the same time that the Packet clip feed system was converted to a Stripper clip system, by a modification of the magazine, and addition of machined and brazed clip guides to the receiver walls.

A Brief history of the Gew88

1888: New Bolt action smokeless cartridge rifle adopted by Imperial Germany. Bore diameter, .311, Groove diameter .318. Bullet diameter .318 Bullet was long and cylindrical. Cartridge called "Patrone 7,9mm J" (Infanterie in Fractur script)

Early trials found that the excessive friction of the long cylindrical bullet and identical Bullet-Bore dimensions led to increase risk of split barrels and also excessive metal fouling. Rifling Grooves deepened to .321. This was noted by marking the Barrels "Z" (for "Zuge" meaning modified rifling); at the same time, new steel was adopted for the receiver and barrel ("nm" mark "neue materiel" )

In 1903-04, the new "S" Patrone (Spitzer, .323 Bullet) was introduced, and the Bore of the new barrels for the Gew98 was fitted with .322-323 Grooves. The Spitzer Bullet had less bearing surface (about 35% of that of the M88 Cylindrical round nose).

In 1905, a major program of converting existing stocks of M88 rifles to use the new "S" Patrone was undertaken ( as mentioned above.)

In 1916-17, Germany supplied large quantities of Gew.88/05 to Turkey as Military Aid. These used ammo common to the gew98s that Turkey was also given.

By the 1930s, Turkey was beginning to rebuilt its entire arsenal of Mausers to take the German "S" Patrone 7,9mm;

The gew88/05 in stock began to be converted, either by fitting new barrels, and otherwise leaving them as "Commission rifles" or rebuilding them completely to the M1903/30 style, with NO barrel Jacket, and the standard Turkish woodwork and bands. The new Barrels were proper .323 groove barrels.

Advice for use of any Gew88 type rifle, refurbished or not. As the receivers are older than 1897 (100 plus years) and built in the early years of smokeless powder development, they are not suitable for the heavy loadings of 1930-1960s 7,9mm Military ammo. Use only US Commercial so-called "8mm Mauser" ammo (it is under-loaded, and has a .321 projectile to boot), or handload with either .321 or Cast lead bullets with reduced loads.

Turkish rebarrel jobs (marked "7,91" on the barrel, usually underneath) will use .323 Bullets, but why bother. Treat the old ladies with care and consideration, given their advanced age.

Good shooting and collecting.

Regards, Doc AV


Some pictures from Mr. Ireland.