Gratuitous Gun Pic: Argentine 1909 Mauser (7.65x53mm)

As any fule kno, I have a love of All Rifles (Mauser), and the 1909 Argie is no exception.  Yeah, it’s chambered in the offbeat (and wonderfully-powerful) 7.65mm Argentine — how offbeat? the “53mm” cartridge casing is actually 53.6mm in length — but like all Mausers of the Gew. 98 or K98 family, the action is almost indestructible and I would have absolutely no hesitation in picking up one of these to go into battle, hunt at medium ranges, or blow away a goblin.  In terms of power, it’s roughly equivalent to the British .303 Enfield of the same era;  in terms of recoil, it’s worse.  I once did a side-by-side shoot-off with two rifles thus chambered, starting with a mag load (10 rounds) from my old SMLE .303.  Then, after three rounds of the 7.65mm, I put the 1909 down gently and had to have a soothing shoulder massage from a maiden of the Orient  a Swedish girl named Hanna  my girlfriend of the time.  The .303 was a pleasure, by comparison.

Another reason not to plink with the Argy rifle is the ammo.  While it’s not especially uncommon (from vendors who specialize in such cartridges), you’re not going to find it at Bubba’s Bait ‘n Ammo Shack.  But thank goodness for those erstwhile Commies at Prvi Partizan, where the cost per squeeze is about a dollar (actually quite reasonable, given the obscurity of the cartridge).  Shooting a serious hunting load from Norma will treble that, but hunting doesn’t require thousands of rounds to be touched off — if you know what you’re doing, of course.  Hornady also makes cheap-ish 7.65mm ammo, but the bullet is much lighter (150gr vs. the “normal” 174gr), which means you’ll have to adjust from your practice ammo to your hunting cartridge — always a little problematic with iron-sighted rifles.

Also, the 1909’s straight bolt handle makes mounting a scope problematic, and if I were to advise against anything to do with the Argie, it would be attempting this yourself.  If you just have to have a scope-mounted old 98-type Mauser, start with one of the later (e.g. M48 Yugo) models.  Even that can require very tall mounts:

As for the 1909 rifle itself:  it never saw combat with the Argentine armed forces but even so, most of them are pretty battered by now, and all-number-matching rifles are a rare find.  There’s also a lot of stuff said about the Argentina-made 1909s vs. the German-made (DWM) ones, but I’ve fired more than a couple of the Argy Argies, and they’re fine.  In any event, DWM made nearly three times the number of the others, so mostly you’ll find it’s a DWM.

The Argentinians (not DWM, as I recall) also made a carbine model (like this one), but that is even less pleasant to shoot.  When it comes to recoil, heavier is better.

Current prices seem to run anywhere from $300 (gun shows) – $750+ (FFL), but those at the lower end need to be very carefully checked over by a gunsmith — I wouldn’t risk getting a cheap one, myself.  One inherent problem is that damn rifles are most often the target of amateur gunsmithing — usually converted into a more common chambering.  These should be avoided like the plague.

All that said, however:  the 1909 Argentine Mauser is a sound, effective rifle, and I do regret selling mine.  [exit, kicking self]


  1. If you would like the older brother Argentine Mauser in 7.65 you can purchase an 1891 Argentine Mauser without paying the FFL, I have read that it is the last antique rifle made and it shoots that same powerful round. I have one of those and being lighter, with less wood than the younger ones that 129 year old Mauser made in Berlin shoots very well and has a rather stout recoil. To my knowledge the 7.65 is the first rimless military cartridge, 1889, while the Brit .303 1889 had a rim.
    The bolt on my Mauser does match as well as every metal part, lots of matching serial numbers, but the serial number on the wood does not match.

  2. Have a Brazilian model 1908 in 7 X57mm. Rifling is strong, but the bore is dark and kinda rough.

    Had chance at a very nice Peruvian 1909 in 7.65, however at the time, I was put off by the thought of having to spool up to load yet another more or less 30 caliber bottle neck cartridge. That said, my next will sound down right silly.

    Instead, being a glutton for punishment, I went for a very clean 1879 Argentine Rolling Block in .43 Spanish. Yeah, I’ll spool up for that one instead. Got 20 rounds of Bertram brass, which to my knowledge is the only brand that correct in all dimensions. In today’s market they run about $3.50/ea. Bullet diameter is .379. After owning the rifle for a decade, I just recently got around to loading 20 rounds. Am looking forward to shooting it.

    1. Tough question.
      Actually, not. I once got a sporterized Swedish Mauser for the Son&Heir, and it couldn’t shoot for shit. (When the S&H is capable of shooting MOA with iron sights at 400 yards with my old M96 and he could barely get 6″ groups at 100 yards with this one, you have to KNOW the rifle was total shit.)
      What’s worse is that I couldn’t bear to sell it to someone else, so I traded it in towards something else for $100, losing $250 on the original price I’d paid.

      Others…? Usually, it’s when I got the right rifle in the wrong chambering, e.g. my Savage 99, which I absolutely LOVED, except I should have got it in .250 Savage and not .308 Win. Couldn’t bear to shoot it because it kicked the hell out of my shoulder.

      I’ll think about it a bit more, and make a post out of it.

  3. Never got to play with the rifle, but a shooting buddy of mine used to have one of the cavalry carbines which, my love of turn-of-the-century military rifle profiles aside, has some of the most intriguing lines of any martial bolt gun ever built. I can’t say that particular configuration does any favors for recoil or accuracy…but it was a good range day nonetheless.

    Shame to see what import restrictions have done to the availability of these old warhorses. Moreso to think of the unmolested large-ring Mausers we were required (with great protest and dragging of heels) to sporterize our first year at school.

    Leaves a bad taste in the mouth just thinking about it.

  4. I have one of these Kim from the auction house rated @95/98% of course matching the only thing it did not come with was the bayo.I have only put about 10/15 rounds of Norma through it Tack Driver at 50yds(better be) but went out to 100 could never touch the paper the rear site starts @300m so back into the display case,beautiful rifle.

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