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WW1-used Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904

Article about: I just received (after a month-long mixup in shipping) this Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904 in 6.5 x 58mm. The Mauser-Vergueiro was an interesting rifle - the Portugese army wanted the Mann

  1. #1
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    Default WW1-used Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904

    I just received (after a month-long mixup in shipping) this Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904 in 6.5 x 58mm. The Mauser-Vergueiro was an interesting rifle - the Portugese army wanted the Mannlicher-Schoeneuer (see above) but couldn't afford it, so they went with a native design that combined a simplified Mannlicher-style bolt and receiver with a Mauser style magazine and stock. It's very rare to find original M1904s, as almost all were converted to 8mm Mauser and had the barrel shortened in 1939 after Portugal adopted the Mauser 98K.

    What makes this even more interesting is the DMGLM mark on the stock, which stands for Direçao General Militar de Lorenço Marques, the main military depot in Mozambique when it was a Portugese colony. As Portugese troops on the Western front carried British equipment, the ones used in East Africa are to my knowledge the only Vergueiros that were ever actually used in combat.

    Interestingly, the German Askaris apparently prefered captured Vergueiros to anything else they had on hand. I assume because East Africans tend to be fairly small and they appreciated the lighter recoil compared to a Mauser or Lee-Enfield.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: WW1-used Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904

    Hello-I have one of these as well-the Verguiero was also used by South Africa during the Great war-24,000 were sold by Portugal to the South Africans as, like all Commonwealth countries, they were short of military arms at the start of the war-the rifles were used in the campaign against the Germans in their colony of South West Africa (now Namibia). As to the German use of them, this was mostly because they were even more in need of modern rifles-the Askaris were equiped with single shot clapped out black powder 11mm Mauser G 71 rifles of various models. The less than great performance of Portuguese troops in Mozambique meant that many V-Ms fell into German hands. Mine is also marked as yours- Rack No.1024.

  3. #3

    Default Re: WW1-used Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904

    I can confirm Lithgow's info.

    For further info see:

    "http://www.saaaca.org.za/links/mausers.htm"

    There are a fair number of 1904s in SA collector's hands, some sporterised and others mismatched. If either of you are ever tempted to strip the bolt - rather don't. It's a bitch!

  4. #4

    Default Re: WW1-used Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904

    Nyles, Super nice M-V.. And a very historical little know rifle....BILL
    "As long as there are brave men and warriors the halls of Valhalla will never be silent or empty"

    In memory of my father William T. Grist December 26, 1920--September 10, 2009..
    901st. Ordnance H.A.M. North Africa, Italy, Southern France....ETO
    Also in memory of my mother Jane Kidd Grist Feb. 22, 1920-- September 27, 2009... WWll War bride May 1942...

  5. #5

    Default Re: WW1-used Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904

    Yes indeed they are very elegant, well made rifles-the history with South Africa was little known until recently- even the great Robert Ball in his 'Mauser Military Rifles' made no mention of this in the Portugual section-the first reference to it I saw was in 'British & Commonwealth Bayonets' talking about the supply of the M1904 bayonets to SA. I believe the rifles may also have seen active service during WW2 when the Japanese occupied the then Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1942.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: WW1-used Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904

    Yeah, I'm pretty familiar with the SA use of the Vergueiro, I've seen a couple of SA marked examples over the years. I suppose I should have specified that the East African campaign would likely have been their only use in Portugese hands.

    I do however have to disagree aomewhat with your comment about the Askaris being issued Mauser 1871s - Ball states that six of 14 companies of Askaris had been issued Gewehr 88s or 98s by 1914, and that a further 1800 Gewehr 98s were salvaged from the Kronberg. Most of Lettow-Vorbeck's troops ended up carrying captured long Lee-Enfields by mid-war, but I've seen several sources stating the Vergueiros were particularly prized.

  7. #7

    Default Re: WW1-used Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904

    Hello-have a look at 'Mauser Military Rifles' 4th edition pages 155-157-it was not the policy of the colonial powers to equip the majority of native troops with 1st line weapons unless actually at war with other advanced opponents-a combination of 'doing it on the cheap' and an eye to possible mutinies and uprisings.

  8. #8

    Default Re: WW1-used Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904

    Sorry Nyles
    DMGLM, means, Depósito Material Guerra de Lourenço Marques

  9. #9

    Default Re: WW1-used Portugese Mauser-Vergueiro M1904

    Nyles, that is a really great example. Great rifle.
    Cheers.
    Nuno

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