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
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
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.
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 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.