War Dogs – The Classic German Luger and Mauser Part 3

War Dogs – The Classic German Luger and Mauser Part 3 Part 2  Part 1

Downrange with the WWII Mauser Broomhandle Model 712 and Luger P.08

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By Dennis Adler

Both the Luger and Mauser designs date back to the late 19th century, the Broomhandle going through numerous changes from 1896 to 1937 but remaining very similar in design, even the Model 712 with its removable box magazine. The 712 is the basis for the latest Umarex WWII version of the Broomhandle. The WWII Umarex Luger P.08 is also a solid representation of the 1908 version of the Luger, which eliminated the grip strap safety.

The idea of a selective fire machine pistol (a fully auto handgun as opposed to a fully auto submachine gun) dates back to the very early 1900s. There had been several German models, like the Steyr M1912, offering selective fire mechanisms long before the Broomhandle Mauser in 1932. The Model 712 came with a standard 10 round magazine allowing the pistol to fit inside the wooden shoulder stock and an extended capacity 20 round magazine, which was advantageous when discharging the gun on full auto.

Shown with pages from the original Mauser Model 712 instruction book (published in System Mauser by John W. Breathed, Jr. and Joseph J. Schroeder, Jr. 1967 Handgun Press) the Umarex Legends WWII weathered model fits the very description in the 1932 handbook. Mauser recommended shooting the Model 712 on full auto only when the shoulder stock was attached, in order to stabilize the pistol and improve accuracy. As a carbine the 20-shot model on full auto was a formidable weapon at 50 to 100 meters. The rear sight was optimistically adjustable from 50 meters to 1,000 meters. The effective range of the 7.63x25mm Mauser cartridge was 50 meters but it had a maximum horizontal range of 2,250 meters. The CO2 model can probably hold reasonable accuracy out to 10 meters, 15 meters with the shoulder stock.

According to Mauser literature, the Model 1932 was capable of firing 15 to 16 rounds per second. With 20 rounds and that rate of fire a full burst could only be sustained for less than 2 seconds. In the 712 literature it states, “On account of the extreme rapidity of automatic fire (15 to 16 rounds a second) the pistol should then always be issued with butt, and rested on some solid object whenever possible, in order to obtain satisfactory fire effect.” Feathering the trigger to fire in short bursts was also advised in the instruction manual.

The Umarex Mauser Model 712 has a capacity of only 18 rounds in the CO2 BB magazine, and firing full auto will empty the magazine’s .177 caliber cache in a couple of seconds. Due to the CO2 BB magazine’s design there is no way for the follower to lock the bolt open on an empty magazine and the M712 will contine to fire. This is the one design flaw in reproducing the Mauser, but considering the entire pistol’s attributes it becomes almost insignificant. The trigger pull on the M712 airgun has an average pull of 4 pounds, 12.3 ounces allowing one to manage short bursts of fire just as recommended for the 7.63mm model.

The Umarex Legends Luger P.08 is an easy pistol to shoot and handle. The toggle locks back when the 21 round magazine is empty.

The P.08

Once again Umarex has done an excellent job of recreating a legendary early 20th century semiautomatic pistol. The CO2 model is accurate in even the fine details of the trigger and trigger plate, forward and rear toggle link, safety lever, basic disassembly with operating take-down bolt, and a lower grip extension for mounting a shoulder stock. (This is one option I haven’t been able to try with the Umarex P.08 not having access to an original Luger Parabellum shoulder stock). The self-contained CO2 BB magazine is authentic in style and is one of the easiest of all magazines to load with a large follower and a dedicated round loading port that works well with an Umarex speed loader. Capacity is 21 rounds. As a CO2 model it could not be more accurately reproduced or easier to handle. The airgun weighs 31.5 ounces with empty magazine inserted. Trigger pull on the test gun averaged 4 pounds, 8.6 ounces.

Fitted with an original Mauser shoulder stock from a Model 1930 Broomhandle, the Umarex is a very manageable blowback action pistol, even on full auto. Note that the bolt is caught in motion in this high-speed photo as the author fires a six round burst at a target set out at 21 feet.

Steel and air downrange

Beginning with the M712, average velocity clocked 373 fps with a freshly inserted CO2 cartridge. Out of 10 rounds, high was 380 fps with two shots at 378 fps, and consecutive shots at 373 fps, 374 fps, and a low of 363 fps. The manufacturer’s average rated velocity is 360 fps, which was exceeded by every test round.

The Umarex Legends P.08 Parabellum is a little anemic compared to the M712 delivering an average velocity of only 275 fps with a high of 284 fps, and a low of 265 fps. The manufacturer’s average rated velocity is 300 fps.

Fired offhand on semi-auto, a best 10 rounds covered 1.68 inches, with a best 5-shot group measuring 0.75 inches.

The 21 foot test for the M712 fired offhand on semi-auto netted a best 10 rounds at 1.68 inches and a best 5-shots measuring 0.75 inches. The sights are not easy to align and at 21 feet the M712 shoots a little high. My hold under was 2 inches. I shot a second target at 21 feet on full auto using the Mauser shoulder stock. I was able to manage what I estimated as 6-shot bursts, with a few seconds pause in between, and with two magazines in succession I put all 36 Umarex .177 caliber steel BBs in the center mass of a Shoot-N-C silhouette target. My hold under for the gun on full auto was about 4 inches and this put a majority of rounds inside the 10 and X, which on this target is an area measuring 4×6 inches. My total spread for 36 full auto shots was 5.25 inches with multi-round groups (an average of 3 shots per) at 0.5 to 0.75 inches. The shoulder stock definitely helps to keep the M712’s groups reasonably tight. (The average price I have seen for reproduction shoulder stocks is from $50 to $60, all made in China. As to a perfect fit, it is not guaranteed. A real German Mauser stock, which is quite a bit more expensive, will absolutely fit.)

With an original Mauser shoulder stock mounted to the Umarex M712 and firing full auto in roughly 6-round bursts, two back to back magazines deposited 36 shots on the target with most in the 10-ring and bullseye. With the shoulder stock the Umarex M712 can deliver the goods. The Broomhandle is worthy of the additional investment.

The P.08 magazine holds 21 rounds; I loaded and fired 15 rounds at 7-3/4 inch diameter Shoot-N-C targets. My best group (using a two-handed hold) had a spread of 3.25 inches starting with a bullseye but as I continued to shoot what would be my best target for the P.08, I started hitting to the right with consistency and continued until the toggle locked back. Out of the 15 rounds a total of 11 were at 1.75 inches with a best 5-shot group clustered into 0.94 inches. Not a great target but the P.08 is no target pistol, even at 21 feet. However, the feel of this airgun when it shoots, the bump of the toggle action, and decent accuracy for a CO2 blowback action semi-auto pushing steel downrange under 300 fps, is good enough for this historic looking air pistol.

Best groups with the P.08 from 21 feet measured 0.94 inches.

Out of the two I would definitely call the WWII edition Umarex Broomhandle Mauser Model 712 a solid keeper. It looks, handles and performs like a Mauser, and still ranks in my book as the best historic blowback action air pistol you can own. The WWII finish is icing on the cake.

5 thoughts on “War Dogs – The Classic German Luger and Mauser Part 3”

  1. Another great review!
    I am leaning more and more to buying a Model 712; just need to sneak it into my collection so the GF doesn’t notice it…
    One of these days; for sure!

  2. I found the sights on my 712 to be a little tough to use as well , but they get the job done. It is surprising how much power is lost in moving the toggle action . The P08 is as bad as the Ppk/ s but still is fun to shoot. Surprised the test pistol is not more accurate . My standard 08 and WW2 pistols are almost as accurate as my Commander.

    • I find the P.08 is always a little twitchy. I have done better and I have done worse with the airgun at 21 feet. I know a lot of energy goes into working the toggle; it is a pretty intricate design copied from the real pistols and that took a 7.65mm or 9mm Parabellum round to operate. All things considered, just under 300 fps is pretty decent.

  3. Hi Dennis, the picture above with you shooting the Luger shows the very conspicuous brass ferrule at the end of the barrel on this airgun. I applied some of the Birchwood Casey Aluminium Black with a cotton swab (Q-tip) and it does a great job of blending in that part. All the best, Marlon…

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