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C-96 Disassembly
Revised 2007Mar01

Cone Hammers and Large Ring Hammers have some different features, but the vast majority of all Mausers made during the gun's 41-year production history will match these photos just about exactly. The photos are of an assortment of guns - a Prewar Commercial, a Postwar Bolo, and a couple of M-30s.

See the parts explosion and part names here.

GUN - field strip
Pull back the bolt to check that the old girl is unloaded.
To close the bolt again, the cartridge follower has to be pushed down. There's no fancy provision for doing this - so hold the bolt back with one hand while pushing the follower down an eighth of an inch or so with the other hand, then ease the bolt closed.
Push in the floorplate catch. Slide the floorplate forward slightly to remove. As shown, a suitable tool for pushing in the floorplate catch is a bullet (that's the Mauser factory's idea, not mine). The cartridge follower and magazine spring will, ideally, come out with the floorplate.
Sometimes the spring doesn't attach well to the floorplate. Original springs often fracture, and the end which holds onto the floorplate may be missing. And some modern replacement springs aren't formed correctly on their ends. Pull the spring and follower out of the gun.
Push up on the takedown latch. The hammer must be cocked as shown. When the hammer is down, it locks the takedown latch down - a thoughtful safety feature to ensure that the gun doesn't disassemble itself when fired. Sometimes the latch is hard to push up and takes a bit more than thumbnail pressure. This one happens to work easily.
A push on the muzzle should slide the barrel/lock frame assembly out of the frame. Sometimes this requires a judicious tap on the muzzle to get it started. Do the tapping with a block of wood so as not to damage anything.
Here is the barrel and lock frame. It a gun is in decent condition, these parts should hold together by themselves, as shown.
Pull the lock frame downward. It will separate from the barrel, and the bolt lock will fall out.
Use a suitable screwdriver to push the firing pin in about 1/8 inch, and turn a quarter turn clockwise (to the right).

The proper tool shape is much like a flatblade screwdriver, but rounded. The Mauser factory takedown tool/cleaning rod combo has the right shape. Lacking the takedown tool, use either an old screwdriver with a blade which has worn a bit rounded, or a screwdriver with a narrow blade. In the photo I am using a screwdriver which was issued with the Soviet Nagant pistol, which has a blade not much more than 1/8" wide.
NOTE - The earliest guns (conehammers and early large ring hammers) have firing pins retained with a little lock plate, much like the arrangement on the 1911 and 1911A1.
The firing pin will pop out slightly, just enough to pull out with your fingernails. If not, pull the bolt back about a half inch, then let it go. It will slam shut, usually leaving the firing pin sticking out a bit.
Push the bolt stop forward, then tip as shown and pull it out.
Once the bolt stop is out, the bolt can be removed. Tip it up like so, and the recoil spring should fall out the back.
A very old spring may have taken a set - that makes it shorter than normal. Here's a real oldie in an M-30.
A spring which has taken a set is not only too short, but may be too wide as well. As the spring is compressed the coils increase slightly in diameter. They may have increased too much to fit out the hole in the back of the bolt. In that case, pull the spring out like so.
The gun is now stripped.

LOCKWORK - detail disassembly
Lift out the takedown latch. Push the safety lever up about 40 degrees, as shown, and remove by lifting straight up.
If the gun has the New Safety (standard on guns made between about the start of World War One and 1930), the hammer must be pulled back a bit past the full cock position before the safety lever can be moved. Guns with the New Safety are invariably marked with an intertwined NS monogram on the back of the hammer.
On the right-hand side of the lock assembly, compress the sear spring slightly (it's mostly hidden under my thumb in this view) and lift off the disconnector.
Very late guns have slightly simplified disconnectors. This has only a trivial effect on the takedown procedure - the sear spring may have to be compressed slighty further to remove the earlier type disconnector.
(Lower right, disconnector from a Prewar Commercial. Upper right, disconnector from a very late M-30)
Pull back the hammer a bit to take pressure off the sear. Pivot the sear up as shown, and lift off.
This bit here takes a slight knack. I position the lockwork frame and hammer as shown on a table top, and use a rod to compress the mainspring as far as it will go. A screwdriver with a round blade is a convenient rod. The face of the rocker plunger has a semicylindrical cutout which will help position the rod.
While the mainspring is compressed, pull out the rocker coupling. Then relax the pressure on the rod or screwdriver or whatever. This releases the mainspring.
Pull the rocker plunger, mainspring, and mainspring plunger out forward. On occasion, the mainspring plunger won't go forward, because the head of the plunger is mushroomed very slightly due to long use. In that case, pull the mainspring out forward, and let the plunger drop out backward once the hammer is out.
Pull the sear spring out to the right. The hammer pivot pin is part of the sear spring, so the hammer will fall out when the spring is removed.
LOCKWORK - reassembly
Assembly is the opposite of disassembly .... with a few caveats.  
After installing the rocker coupling, be sure it looks exactly as shown. Any other position of the rocker coupling will cause a lot of grief.
The sear can be installed incorrectly. This is incorrect.
This is correct. Be sure the locating tab on the end of the sear goes in the slot in the lock frame.

BARREL & BOLT - detail disassembly
The extractor can be removed from the bolt by pushing it upward slightly with a screwdriver, and pulling forward.
Removal is probably the most common cause of broken extractors, so if you have to do it, don't overdo it.
The extractor is a moderately complicated little part.

TANGENT SIGHT - disassembly
The tangent sight is by far the most difficult part of the gun to remove. The sight leaf on a Cone Hammer or early Large Ring Hammer pivots on a pin. All later tangent sight leaves pivot on lugs machined as part of the leaf. To disassemble, push downward against the sight spring - a strong leaf spring - then push/pull the sight leaf aft to remove. Here is the pivot. The little lugs on the sight leaf have to be pushed down into those cutaways visible under the pivot holes.
I take sight leaves off by hand, without tools. But until you learn how to do it, give yourself a break and use a clamp. A 10 inch handscrew, as shown, is a good type of clamp for this. Handscrews are commonly used in woodworking shops. Use the clamp to push the sight leaf downward and compress the sight spring.
Use the sight slider to raise the sight leaf a bit. The aft end of the sight leaf has to be high enough to clear the top of the barrel extension when the sight leaf is slid back.
Put the barrel assembly close to the edge of a table or workbench. Put some sort of spacer on top of the sight leaf, in the position shown. For a spacer I'm using a plastic wire nut, of the type used in electrical wiring. Just about anything of the right size will do. Plastic is good as it's less likely to scratch anything.
Clamp the whole thing to the table. Squeeze the sight leaf downward until it stops, then back off slightly. There is enough room in there to get your fingers in and wriggle the sight leaf aft. Some fiddling with the tightness of the handscrew will be needed while doing the wriggling. This is another job where three hands would be useful. Once the leaf has moved back an eighth of an inch or so, the handscrew can be released, and the sight pulled entirely off.
Here he is, on his back and defenseless. Note that some sights, such as the one shown, are serial numbered to the gun (022 barely visible in the photo), but many aren't.
Refinished pistols have sometimes had the sight slide reinstalled backwards. The button should be to the right, as shown here.
Push in the knurled part of the slide button and push the sight slide forward and off the sight. Then pull the slide button straight out to the right. Don't lose that little spring, as the sight slide won't lock without it.

TANGENT SIGHT - reassembly
Put the little sight slider spring in the sight slider.
Maneuver the sight slider button into place.
Squeeze the sight slider button, and slide the sight slider onto the sight leaf.
The sight spring goes in rounded end first.
Ready to go back on the gun.
Put the barrel extension near the edge of the table or workbench. Set the sight leaf on top of the barrel extension. Put something under the aft end so that it doesn't scratch the finish on the barrel extension as you wrestle it into place. Here I'm using an index card.
Balance some sort of spacer on top of the sight leaf. There's that old plastic wire nut again.
Use the handscrew to compress the sight spring. Get your fingers in there to push the sight leaf forward. Adjust the handscrew pressure as necessary.

FRAME - detail disassembly
The trigger spring serves as both the spring and the retainer for the trigger and the floorplate catch.
Remove the trigger spring with a tool which hooks into the hole. Here is a tool I made by bending a 6d finishing nail.
Hook the tool into the hole, lift slightly and pull aft (toward the back of the gun).
The spring doesn't have to move very far. This is far enough.
Turn frame upside down. The trigger spring, trigger, and floorplate latch will all fall out. The latch may need a bit of help falling out - it is generally the least-oiled part of the gun and may stick a bit.

FRAME - reassembly
Place trigger and floorplate catch in frame.
The trigger spring orientation is important - the hook on the front end faces downward. Oddly enough, people sometimes miss this and get it in upside down.
The orientation of the floorplate catch is also important. It will only go in one way. The angled part faces aft, toward the back of the gun.
Place trigger spring in frame. Push it forward a bit so that the tabs on either side start to slide into the small cuts in the frame. The spring is not a tight fit in the cuts, and it should go easily.
Work the bent hook tool in beside the spring ...
... and twist it so that it's under the spring.
Use the tool to wrestle the spring forward a bit, so that it snaps into place in the groove in the floorplate catch.

With a little practice it's not hard to do this by using the tool to grab the hole from above, but working from underneath as shown is usually a bit easier.

GUN - reassembly
Slide the bolt into the barrel extension.
Examine the recoil spring. This is the only spring in the gun which almost certainly should be replaced if it's old.

Here are a few sample recoil springs. The one at the top is very old and tired, and is really too short to reuse. The proper length is about 4.37 inches (111 mm) free (uncompressed) length. Original springs had two squared and ground ends. Some replacements don't have squared ends, but are just spring coils cut to length. The middle spring in the photo has one square end and one cut end.
Put in the recoil spring. If your spring has one square end and one cut end, put the cut end into the bolt first. You don't want the cut end resting on the bolt stop if you can avoid it, as the loose end of the wire tends to snag in the bolt stop, making it harder to remove the next time the gun is stripped.
With a flat blade screwdriver, catch one side of the end of the spring ....
.... and push it in a bit past the point shown here.
While holding the recoil spring in place with the screwdriver, put the bolt stop in place. It won't go all the way down yet, because the screwdriver is in the way.
Put enough pressure on the bolt stop to hold it in place, but not so much that the screwdriver can't move. Pull the screwdriver out. Note that a flat blade screwdriver with a blade which is flat the whole length, such as the one I'm using in the photo, is ideal.
Push the bolt stop fully down into place.
Push in the firing pin. The two locking lugs are different - the squarer one should be at top.

It may take a little wriggling before the firing pin gets past the end of the recoil spring. If it just won't go, back up a few steps. Take the firing pin out, pull out the bolt stop, and try installing it again.
Push the end of the firing pin in and rotate a quarter turn counterclockwise (left).
Note that the two screwdrivers shown above are not the same. The one used to push the recoil spring in is relatively wide and nice and square on the edges. The one used to rotate the firing pin is narrower, so that it will fit in the end of the firing pin. Instead of a narrow blade, one with the edges rounded off works well too, but it is harder to push the recoil spring in with rounded edges.
Attach the bolt lock to the barrel. Pivot it on from forward, as shown.
This is its final position.
When the gun is assembled, the hook on the front of the bolt lock (circled in the photo) must catch on the top of the rocker coupling (also circled).
Position the lock assembly under the bolt lock.
The hook must be forward of the tip of the rocker coupling.
Push the lock assembly and barrel assembly together. There should be a nice solid click as everything goes into place.
When it's all together properly, it should hold together by itself.
The assembly can now be slid into the frame.

The hammer must be cocked as shown or the gun won't go together. When the hammer is down, it locks the takedown latch, preventing the gun from being assembled or disassembled.
Watch out for the disconnector (441 in the photo) on the right-hand side, as it may try to get loose, especially if the gun is a bit worn. If the disconnector sticks out slightly the assembly may be hard to slide into the frame. Push it back where it belongs and all should be well.
Finally, put in the cartridge follower, magazine spring, and floorplate. Then she's ready to roll.

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Some photos copied from sales sites. Photos from printed publications appropriately credited.