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The Magnificent Mauser

The Legends line of air pistols and rifles has been extremely popular among collectors and backyard plinkers alike. This is no accident. Many Hollywood movies and popular military based games have kept the firearms used in conflicts at the forefront of consumers’ minds. So when we launch a product like the Legends M712 replica, the response is enthusiastic, to say the least. 

The Story

This Mauser semi-automatic design has an interesting tale. Its story reaches back into the Gilded Age of the 19th century. Or simply stated, about 122 years ago. Smokeless powder was a recent invention and the metallic cased cartridge had just been in use for militaries across the globe for around 20 years. Most military arms were either single shot rifles and officers’ sidearms were revolvers. This Mauser creation was revolutionary, cutting edge technology and its looks spoke to this. In fact, as you may already be well aware, George Lucas used a cosmetically treated Mauser C96 as Hans Solo’s blaster in the Star Wars movies. 

Let’s not get carried away into the future just yet. The Mauser C96, a name giving in honor of its year creation, 1896, was given also the nickname of “broomhandle” due to its unique grip design. The C96 uses an internal box magazine that is located in front of the trigger guard. In fact, the design looks much more like that of a modern carbine than a pistol. Rather than adopting a revolver style “square” grip, the C96 was given a straight round grip that was best described as looking like a broom handle.

These design features made the C96 a versatile and effective sidearm for a soldier. The first iterations held 10 rounds of the powerful 7.63X25mm cartridge.  This convenient firepower advantage could mean the difference between life and death. Reloads were relatively quick with 10 rounds pre-loaded onto a stripper clip. No other firearm of the time else came close in reload speed and capacity. But, as I alluded earlier, the C96 had a carbine look to it. The engineers at Mauser made a stock kit that would convert the handgun to a carbine for accurate fire at longer ranges.

Indeed the C96 became an inspiration for military weapons designers’ years later. We can see homage to the C96 in various carbines that came afterwards.

From its beginnings before the turn of the 19th century to its end of production in 1937, the C96 saw several variations, calibers, and barrel lengths.  It was in service from its inception until 1961, a period of 65 years! 

One of those variations, the 1932 M712, had some features that separated it from all the other C96 variants. This version used a drop free box magazine and it had the capability for Schnellfeuer—rapid fire. Yes, this version of the C96 was a select fire handgun. 

When Umarex set out to design a replica of the C96, they wanted very much to make the M712 a part of their Legends line up. While they didn’t build the carbine stock for it, they did build a version of the Mauser that shooters and collectors have been proud and excited to put into their collections. The Legends M712 takes down, shoots, and looks just like its historical inspiration did in 1932.

Plinking tin cans in the backyard with steel BBs is great fun and made even more so with the Legends M712. The CO2 is easy to install in the drop-free magazine and the pistol itself is easy to operate. However, if you use the select fire feature, you will be loading BBs quite often! The cyclic rate on the CO2 M712 is very fast.  You can go through an entire magazine of BBs in just about 2 seconds! You don’t have to shoot in that mode, but it sure is fun to flip the switch on occasion.

One of the reasons Umarex did not produce a stock for the M712 is that it already exists. There are several manufacturers who produce replica C96 stocks already. Why re-invent the wheel? The original stock will fit, if you happen to have access to one, and the replica stocks will also snap into place on the Legends M12. The Legends M712 has to be the coolest replica air pistol ever!

I mentioned earlier that George Lucas used the C96 as the basis for Hans Solo’s DL-44 Blaster in the Star Wars film series. The original C96 was cloaked under some cosmetic treatments, but the foundation for the Blaster is plain to see. Given the continued popularity of the that film series, the DL-44 Blaster is a very coveted piece of movie memorabilia today, 41 years after the original movie was published. If you want to build your own Blaster, our M712 is the perfect building block to start with. UpNorth Airgunner has made a YouTube video on his conversion. Watch the epic build.

People’s interest in the historical legacy of the C96 spans a broad spectrum from films and movies, or video games, and, of course, history itself. The C96/M712 replicas are truly fascinating CO2 powered air guns. If plinking is your game, or if you are just looking for one amazing conversation piece to add to your collection, the Legends M712 is your huckleberry.

Mark Davis, avid outdoorsman and family man, is the Social Media Specialist at Umarex USA.

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