Mauser C96 "Red 9" broomhandle

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by psychsurf, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. psychsurf

    psychsurf New Member

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    So I've learned a lot about this red 9 I inherited from Grandpa, but most of all I've learned that there is infinite variability in broomhandle values based on different condition characteristics. That is why I leave it to the collected wisdom of the firearms forum to shine a light on the subject.

    A few things I do know... It is a genuine red 9; it has the proper magwell follower, is in the proper serial range for a red 9, and has the appropriate 50-500M sight leaf. Oh, and it fires 9mm rounds. :) It is an early import, marked only "Germany", no other importers' marks. No imperial eagle mark. It has been re-blued at some point. It is obviously missing the "Red 9" markings on the grips, but they are stamped on the inside with serials matching the rest of the gun, so they are original. All the numbers match except for the bolt stop (that's the little button on the right side of the upper, right?), and the sight slide button has been replaced at some point. That's all the bad. The good is that it is complete, almost completely numbers matching, it fires (I had to try it out!) and is pretty accurate.

    So, the $64,000 question (or $64)... What's it worth?

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    soundguy likes this.
  2. wonderwhippet

    wonderwhippet Active Member

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    Either the grips have been replaced or they have been heavily sanded and lost their horizontal grooves. Value as a shooter is maybe $350 to $400.
  3. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    If you are going to shoot it much be sure to check that bolt stop very carefully for cracks. It is the weak spot on these pistols and if it fails you will get the bolt between your eyes. (Sounds like yours has already been replaced at least once..)
    Also, I would suggest that you replace the springs if it is going to be shot.
    Wolff has kits for this.....
  4. psychsurf

    psychsurf New Member

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    Yeah, I still haven't figured out the grips. They're stamped on the inside with matching numbers, so i'm sure they're original, and they don't look like they've been sanded enough to take out the grooves- they still match the contour of the frame; if they'd had grooves sanded off, they would have wound up smaller since the grooves are the same depth all around. Also it looks like some kind of badge or insignia was affixed over the grip screws at some point, you can see where a circular impression is left and indentations from three prongs.

    I didn't expect it to be worth a ton, but that estimate was actually quite a bit lower than I expected. What specifically about the condition places it into the budget shooter category?

    EDIT: I see now that there were some red 9 grips that had grooves that didn't go edge-to-edge, so they could indeed have been sanded off.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  5. Ken W

    Ken W Member

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    I have never seen a broomhandle, especially a 9mm one, for anywhere near as cheap as $400. I would easily say double or triple that figure.
    WW, if you really can get guns that cheap you really need to start letting me in on these deals. With my lousy financial situation I certainly need it.
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The problem here is that the "Red 9" is called that because of the "red 9" on the grips, and that gun has the primary identification erased. But I certainly wouldn't put it in the $400 shooter category; in fact I didn't know there was a $400 shooter category except for those worked over Chinese imports, and that is not one of those. It is still a "Red 9" even without the Red 9 and, while the sanded grips reduce the value, I would put that one at $1500.

    Jim
  7. psychsurf

    psychsurf New Member

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    That sounds a little more like it. :) but I have to differ on the the grips being the most positive identifier. In fact, the grips are the most faked part of red nines because they're the the easiest part to fake. I understand many re-bored broomhandles wind up with re-pro "red nine" grips because they're more desirable.


    I have no doubt it's a real red nine (more accurately, a "Prussian contract broomhandle"), but I hadn't found good info on what a "shooter-grade" (refinished, not completely matching) real Nine would go for. that's really what I'm looking for here.
  8. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I agree that the "Red 9" grips are often faked and I have even seen them on 7.63mm pistols being peddled as "genuine Red 9". Apparently the seller either didn't know or figured his prospective buyers wouldn't know what the "9" part meant.

    Still, the grips really are the primary means of identification (what do you look at first if shown a "Red 9" pistol?) so the sanded grips have reduced the value. If selling that gun, I would leave it as is. The grips could be replaced with repros, but repro parts always cast doubt on the honesty of the whole gun, so I would leave things as they are.

    Jim
  9. valbehaved

    valbehaved Member

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    The primary identifying characteristics of an original "red 9" are the serial number range, a caliber(original caliber, not a resleeve job) and the german army acceptance mark on the right of the chamber. Everything else is secondary.
    This specific gun is a $400-600 item.
  10. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    Let's see, The serial range is right, the magazine follower is right, the rear sight is right, can't tell from the pictures if it is or isn't a resleeve and also can't see the right side of the receiver for the acceptance mark. So far, the only thing that can be verified as possibly not right are the grips, and even these might be OK. So what is clueing you that the gun is not a valid Prussian? (Only a fake would be worth as little as 400-600.)

    If you want to analyze a mystery C96, I have a pretty much Standard Pre-war Commercial except that it has been resleeved to ...... 30 Mauser!
    The front sight has been replaced with a much taller one and the rear sight tangent curves have been reconfigured for the new front sight.
    The mystery is that nearly all of the German proofs have been removed and the gun re-proofed with Belgian proofs.
    (I've got pictures if you are interested......)
  11. fishguts

    fishguts Member

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    id love to see pics of it deadin, im soo glad i turned down 2 gran for mine a few months back, i love the things!

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  12. psychsurf

    psychsurf New Member

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    See, if I was handed a supposed Red 9, the first thing I'd look at is the sight. A replacement is a few hundred dollars if you can find one, so that's unlikely to be used to "force" a fake 9. Then I'd look at the follower since it's a detail part that someone probably wouldn't even think to fake.


    Does anyone with a broom with unaltered grips feel like taking them off and putting them between some calipers to measure thickness? I'm certain they were standarized by those uber-efficient Germans, so a thickness measurement could give me an idea of if they were sanded. I know some have been found without the "9" on them, but I've not seen one without the grooves.

    Anyone else want to chime in on estimated value? I'm still having a hard time with $600, I don't think I could even find a chinese shooter for that much.
  13. fishguts

    fishguts Member

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    i will put the calipers to mine when i get home, you looking for the thickest mesurment?
  14. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    I mentioned earlier I have what I call a "Belgian C96". This gun is a bit of a mystery in that it appears to have been completely reworked by the Belgians. All German marks, but one, have been removed and replaced by Belgian proofs.
    The grips appear to be after-market 12 line.
    The gun has an un-numbered rear sight that has the 900 meter setting. It also has the safety lever with the hole in it, but has a NS hammer correctly numbered to the gun. The Bolt Stop and Sear are mis-matched and the Locking Block is not numbered, but is marked with large “R” (Replacement?) All other numbers match.
    The only German mark (Crown over U) is on the bolt. The barrel has been relined to 30 Mauser. (At first I thought that it may have been a Red 9 that was altered because of the treaty rules that limited 9mm possession by Germany. But that didn't pan out...) As can be seen, the front sight has been raised considerably. Not clearly shown is that the rear sight tangent rails have also been altered, apparently for a different trajectory of some sort.)
    I haven't fired the gun so I don't know if the sights are anywhere close.

    Here are some pictures.... (The one on the right is the one under discussion. The other is a standard war-time commercial.)

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    Barrel Liner:
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    Left of Chamber:
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    Right of Chamber:
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    Bottom of Barrel:
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    Top of Frame:
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    Backstrap mark:
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    Anyone have any ideas just what the history of this piece might be???
  15. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    OK, here are the grip measurements for a Red 9, taken across the screw holes.

    Right grip, .610" or 15.5mm. Left grip, .616" or 15.65mm. Both grips are numbered inside with the full serial number.

    Jim
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