War Dogs – The Classic German Luger and Mauser Part 2

War Dogs – The Classic German Luger and Mauser Part 2 Part 1

The WWII Broomhandle Mauser Model 712 and Luger P.08

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex Legends WWII series now includes the Mauser Model 712 Broomhandle. The enhanced finish on both CO2 models gives them an even more realistic appearance, especially the P.08 with its aged dark brown grips. The Model 712 is again so accurate in detail that an original Mauser wooden shoulder stock will mount and lock into the rear pistol grip channel.

You didn’t have to be a German soldier or a member of the French underground to have a Model 712 in the 1940s. The Broomhandle Mauser design transcended wars, ideologies and nations; it was one of the most advanced handguns of its era. The Model 712 Broomhandles had been used by explorers, adventurers, expeditionary forces, and individuals everywhere in the world from 1932 until well after WWII, even though all Broomhandle manufacturing at Mauser had ended in 1937. In addition to other Broomhandle models, Mauser produced nearly 100,000 Model 712 pistols, a great many of which were sold to the Chinese in the 1930s, but the Model 712 and other Broomhandle models in 7.63mm and 9mm were also being used prior to, during and after WWII in countries as far flung as England, France and Italy, Austria, Turkey, Persia and the Middle East, in Finland, Norway, Indonesia, Siam (Thailand), Russia, the United States, and South America. Not as ubiquitous as the semi-auto models, the 712 was in that same rare category as the fixed magazine 20-shot models introduced in the early part of the 20th century and long before the 712 with its detachable box magazine. (Two years earlier Mauser had built a small number of Model 1930 semi-autos with the same removable box magazine that would be used on the selective fire Model 1932). The Umarex Mauser Model 712, particularly the WWII limited edition with weathered finish, looks even more like a real Model 1932 Mauser.

Although of German design and among the guns carried by German soldiers from the mid 1930s to WWII, the Model 712 was being sold around the world and was carried by explorers, adventurers, expeditionary forces, and individuals on almost every continent. The Umarex Mauser Model 712 looks every bit the part in this period style photograph. The combined belt and shoulder strap provide excellent support and make drawing the gun almost effortless.

The Umarex Mauser is easily drawn from the Chisholm’s Trail Broomhandle holster by pulling down on the Sam Browne stud strap and raising the flap. Note the Mauser wooden shoulder stock in its leather harness slung over the author’s right side. This combination of separate holster and shoulder stock made the gun faster to draw and the stock less cumbersome without the pistol inside. Reproduction stocks and harnesses are readily available.

Putting the M712 into action

There are so many features I like about this air pistol it is hard not to sound like a pitchman but there is almost nothing that needs to be changed on the WWII model because the weathering addresses so many of the minor authenticity issues with the standard model’s finish. And before anyone comments, yes, I would have aged the grips to match. They did it for the P.08 and should have done the same for the 712. (I might even take a crack at aging them myself and follow up with an article on fine tuning weathered finishes. There are a couple of areas on both the 712 and P.08 models that can be addressed). Aside from those very minor points, everything about the 712 feels right.

I once had a semi-auto version Model 1930 with removable box magazine. These were not original Model 1930s, which are exceedingly rare, but Mausers built off reclaimed 712 models, refitted to semi-auto and sold in the 1980s as the Model 714 by Federal Ordnance in South El Monte, California. I also have access to several original Broomhandles for comparison of features (like the 1930 Commercial Model in Part 1) and Umarex has done excellent work in keeping this air pistol right with its history.

The best features, other than the correctly designed selective fire control, is the frame, barrel and bolt design, which superbly duplicates the original 1930’s Broomhandle models, including the later design thumb safety. In fact, right up until you pull the trigger on this CO2 model everything works and feels exactly like the 7.63mm Mauser pistol.

The thumb safety on the Umarex M712 is identical to the cartridge model with the lever pushed into the upright position to place the gun on SAFE. The letter S shows on the lever. The safety can be applied with the hammer cocked or lowered and locks the hammer in either position.

For weight and balance the Umarex Legends Model 712 is a hefty 3 pounds, 2 ounces empty with the magazine inserted. Without magazine the 712 weighs 2 pounds, 4 ounces, so this is one heavy magazine. Average weight for a Commercial Model 1930 Broomhandle is 2 pounds, 8 ounces (of course, this includes the cartridge feeding mechanism in the integral box magazine, which accounts for the slightly heavier weight compared to the Umarex M712 without the magazine).

To fire the M712, lower the safety. In this position the letter F is exposed at the top of the lever just below the back of the bolt handle.

Like the 7.63mm Mauser model the safety on the Umarex 712 can be set to lock the hammer cocked or lowered, and with or without a round chambered. The safety is set by pushing the thumb lever up; this reveals the letter S on the safety lever. When lowered an F is exposed. The selective fire mechanism is set to semi-auto or full auto by pressing in on the release and rotating the selector from N (semi-auto) to R (full auto). To fire the first round the bolt is pulled to the rear, which also cocks the hammer. If this has been done and the hammer manually lowered and put on safe, simply release the safety and re-cock the hammer, just as was done on the cartridge models.

The Mauser M712 was a handful on automatic and was not very accurate. As a semi-auto it was a far more reliable pistol.

The Mauser V notched rear sight rail is graduated from 50 to 1000 meters and operates in exactly the same fashion as the 7.63mm models by depressing the release in the rear sight slide and moving it along the graduated ramp.

The V notched rear sight has the original markings on the rail graduated from 50 to 1000 meters and operates in exactly the same fashion by depressing the release in the rear sight slide and moving it along the graduated ramp, which raises the rear sight leaf. Of course, with the CO2 model, leaving the sight at 50 meters is quite sufficient. The Umarex Model 712 also has a correct width notch in the back of the pistol grip to fit a properly designed reproduction or original Broomhandle wooden shoulder stock. I have an original and it slides in and locks perfectly. (I have heard that some reproductions do not fit correctly, while others do. If it is loose, it is an easy adjustment by sliding a thin strip of paper into the grip channel to tighten the fit. There are a number of reproduction stocks available, nearly all manufactured in China). The Umarex Broomhandle will shoot far more accurately, as will an original M712, with the shoulder stock.

By mounting a shoulder stock to the Mauser M712 it quickly becomes a carbine and with the stock far more accurate whether fired semi-auto or on full auto.

To load a 12 gram CO2 into the magazine, use the hex head wrench to remove the seating screw, insert a lightly oiled CO2 cartridge (a drop of Pellgun oil on the tip), then replace and tighten the seating screw until the CO2 is pierced. The BB loading channel has a locking follower but you have to pull it down a fraction of an inch and hold it to load BBs. Capacity is 18 rounds. That’s a lot on semi-auto, a couple of seconds on full.

Fired on full auto the M712 was fairly stable when used in conjunction with a shoulder stock. The CO2 model is much the same but far more manageable in .177 caliber. It does in fact climb on full auto, the action of the bolt is quite brisk and the gun is fairly loud for a CO2 air pistol.

P.08 The Second Time Around   

This is the second issue of the Umarex WWII edition Luger P.08 and again this is an excellent copy of the original Luger Parabellum model of 1908. I personally find it a far more interesting version than the standard matte black finished model for looks, especially the aged dark brown grips. The entire weathering process gives the P.08 a more realistic look, and if you can’t have an authentic blued finish, you might as well have an aged one.

The WWII Luger Parabellum looks terrific with its weathered finish and aged dark brown checkered grips.

It is also a perfect fit for any period correct or original Luger artillery holster.

The Umarex P.08 has the correct proportions, weight and balance of a 9mm model and is again a decent shooter with more than acceptable accuracy considering the rear sight is integral with the moving toggle. It has a deep and wide enough V notch to center the tall ramped dovetail front sight. The self-contained CO2 BB magazine also has correct proportions and the entire pistol fits original and reproduction Luger military-style holsters. In a word, like the M712, the P.08 WWII edition is a keeper.

Saturday in the Part 3 conclusion, steel and air go downrange as these two German classics shoot it out.

6 thoughts on “War Dogs – The Classic German Luger and Mauser Part 2

  1. This shows what Umarex is capable of when they go full out. These are some of the best examples of replica air pistols, not perfect but pretty close. I have one of the first issue P08 pistols and except for a sloppy safety, it is very nice, and accurate. Especially like the grips. Have a standard issue 712, was my first foray into select fire. Except for too few shots in the mag on full auto, no complaints. Would certainly like these to become standard issue items, and see other variants as well. Nice hat. Allan Quatermain would be jealous.


    • Thanks. I wasn’t trying for any particular look, but Allan Quatermain is good, Indiana Jones, but really just a great hat that belongs on the head of someone who would have carried a Broomhandle Mauser in the 1930s.The Broomhandle has an incredible and long history in real life, literature, and film. It is a true classic.


  2. These airguns recreate some of those historical firearms you never got around to buying. I remember seeing a Broomhandle in the 90s built on a Chinese import , in 45acp. Oops, didn’t grab that one. My only Luger/08 is a Stoeger 22lr. The two in your article ,are in my opinion, must haves. Will the Mauser be shot in part 3 on horseback like Churchill?


    • That Chinese .45 ACP Broomhandle is the Shansei Arsenal model. About 8,500 were built according to the Blue Book of Gun Values, and originals in good condition go for around $6,500. There are also some newer Chinese Shansei .45 ACP models around for less, between $1,750 and $2,200. Definitely a conversation piece! As to testing the M712 on horseback, I think I’ll do it with both feet on the ground.


  3. I was looking for the Broomhandle holster a day or two ago at Pyramyd Air and didn’t find it. Has Pyramyd Air released an estimated in stock date yet for both the Broomhandle and Luger holsters?

    I also was looking for the Colt SAA and Schofield holsters you reported on recently and didn’t find those. However I did find a Western Justice Schofield holster that was similar to the one in your report but not exactly the same. Is that the slim Schofield holster we are all waiting for? Or are your pictured slim holsters not yet in Pyramyd Air’s inventory?


    • The Broomhandle holster for the Model 712 will be out later this summer. This was a preview of the holster. Check back for availability. It will be worth the wait! The Luger holster is sold by World War Supply. Just go to their website and you will find it. As for new Western holsters, those were also previews and they, too, will be available this summer. These are a heavier, period correct Slim Jim style. More costly than the current Western Justice rigs.


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