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  • Deutsches Sportsmodell

    Posted By on December 4, 2016

    German Sports Model training rifles

    When I was growing up my father had a single shot .22 rifle that the family simply referred to as “that German training rifle.”  I  didn’t know much about German rifles and always assumed it was a Mauser of some kind. It was only recently when my dad suffered a stroke and I got his guns for safe keeping that I took a close look at it and did some research and learned about DSM34s.

    My father's DSM34

    DSM 34s are one of the more curious rifles that came out of WWII though didn’t actually serve in the war. It was a rifle used to train German troops prior to the war. The DSM 34 has an interesting if somewhat obscure history.

    In 1933, soon after taking power the NAZIs consolidated all shooting sports and clubs. They soon set up a consortium of arms makers to manufacture small caliber rifles that resembled the Mauser bolt action rifle which was then being developed.  The primary maker was Mauser but included companies like Erma, JGA, Geco, Walther and BSW/Simson as part of the consortium.

      Note the original leather sling

    These small caliber rifles was ostensibly to be used by the various sports clubs around Germany to teach marksmanship to the population.   By 1934 however they were primarily  designed to replicate the feel and look of the Mauser rifle which the German army would be using in the future.  To get around rearmament treaties the rifles were called Deutsche Sportmodell  (German Sport Model) now commonly called the DSM 34 for the date they were introduced.

    Hundreds of thousands of DSM34s were in use by 1935 but the German government wanted an updated and more accurate replica of the Mauser so many of the smaller companies who made them dropped out. By 1937 an updated version called the Klein Kaliber Wehrsportgewehr (roughly translated as “sub caliber sports rifle”) or KKW was adopted and replaced the DSM34,

    My dad’s rifle was made by MENZ which was a small manufacturer who was known for the Lilliput pistol prior to making these rifles.  Unlike the manufacturers listed above, Menz was not a part of the consortium but simply bought a license to manufacture DSM. While Mauser made hundreds of thousands of these trainers,  MENZ only made 5,000 rifles in 1934 & 35.  According to  “experts” on the K98 forum, only a few dozen  MENZ rifles  are thought to have survived the war.

    img_0840  Dad’s rifle is serial number 1000. Caliber 5.4mm AKA as .22 rimfire. This rifle will shoot .22 shorts, longs and long rifle ammo.

    The DSMs are single shot and are a scaled down version of the K98. They came with leather sling and a non functional short metal rod in the fore stock which is used to simulate the look of the cleaning rod found on military rifles.

    The origin of this particular rifle is somewhat obscure. During and after the war many rifles were liberated from Germany or sold as surplus.  It is unlikely that many DSM34s were actually used in combat as .22 caliber ammo was not a high priority when larger calibers were needed. It may be that Hitler Youth groups were armed with them or perhaps civilians used them as last ditch weapons. There is no evidence of that happening that I’ve found. Rather it is more likely that these rifles, like most other weapons after the war were simply rounded up and stockpiled.

    Many were taken by GI’s returning home.  Those were sometimes called “duffle bag” guns. “Duffle bag” rifles often are recognizable because in order to fit inside a duffle bag when disassembled the last 11″ of the forearm of the stock had to be cut off. As such the end of the stock, the top wood hand guard and the rod were often missing.   GI’s were interested in them as souvenirs not collectibles.

    Vintage rear but not original peep sight

    Vintage rear but not original peep sight

    Many rifles were simply destroyed and many others were saved and sold as surplus after the war. Surplus rifles were very abundant and cheap well into the 1960s. My dad seems to think that his cousin, who was in the army brought this one home and that he got it from him. Other times he says he may have simply bought it at a hardware store.   He did say the when he got it, it had a rear peep sight on it which he kept (thankfully).  Rear peep sights were not original so this one was likely added after the war. Not good for collecting but certainly good for shooting. These rifles tend to be very accurate and a good peep sight helps.

    So, what’s it worth?

    Vintage peep sight has some value in itself

    Vintage peep sight has some value in itself

    Value can be all over the place with these types of rifles. MENZ was a small manufacturer and only made 5000  with only a couple dozen are thought to have survived. That makes this one more rare than some others and thus desirable to some collectors.

    In addition, the fact that it is intact, has the cleaning rod, top wood hand guard and originalleather sling adds to the value.

    On the other hand, the peep sight necessitated drilling holes in the top of the receiver. Those are not original and are unsightly which detracts from the value.  However, the vintage rear sight itself is collectable in itself.

    I have not had it appraised but I would guess the value to be around $800 give or take a C note.

    The value to me of course is that it belongs to my father and is an interesting part of history. I am unlikely to ever part with it.


    Posted By on December 3, 2016

    Frank-en-guns: Noun, a firearm pieced together with parts from various sources in reference to the Frankenstein monster.

    I’ve been in the process of redoing, re-furbishing, updating and upgrading some of the AR15s I built in the 1990s. Those were all pretty much standard rifles and carbines using carry handle receivers in either A1 or A2 configuration. Over the years barrels, upper and lower receivers, stocks and such have been moved around. The quest was to update some of those with more modern components such as new stocks, pistol grips, sights, optics and/or free float railed hand guards. In essence all of these are Frankenguns.


    Parts from all these guns were used for my full length rifle. None of them are now as they appear in this photo


    When all was said and done I realized I had a bunch of carbines but no full length AR rifle to shoot in CMP Service Rifle Matches. Looking around I then realized I had enough parts to put a rifle together.

    Barrel:   20″ heavy barrel (shown on the top AR in the photo above) taken from an A1 upper I bought during the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban (AWB 1994-2004).  Near the end of the ban people were dumping those post ban configured parts so I gobbled them up for future projects. The barrel had a 1:9 twist and a pinned on muzzle brake (flash hiders were banned). The barrel was very accurate but the muzzle break was obnoxiously loud. I had put it on the flat top upper in the above photo.

    Upper Receiver: The upper receiver I chose to use was from a well used Colt M16 surplus rifle brought back from the Philippines as parts kits. Second AR from top. The guy originally hacksawed the barrel to remove the banned flash hider.  As a result I bought it pretty cheap.  I removed the barrel, had it recrowned and threaded for a flash hider and made a carbine out of it. You might recognize the lower receiver on this as being an original once piece long (stock, pistol grip and receiver) plastic receiver from Cavalry Arms. That stock was sold and replaced with their upgraded shorter model 2 stock.

    Stock: The rifle stock and pistol grip shown on the top AR in the photo was originally on the AR on the bottom. That AR on the bottom was a pre ban Olympic “SGW stop sign” marked lower. That lower with the rifle stock was the first AR I ever built. As you can see I turned it into a carbine but eventually sold the stripped lower to a guy in  the socialist republic of New York who needed it to build a pre ban gun.

    Lower Receiver: The lower was taken from the third AR from the top. It is a Stag Arms lower. I bought 3 stripped receivers in the early 2000s and used them to build various ARs including a pistol. That one was taken from that carbine when I was redoing it into something else.

    Miscellaneous Parts: Internal parts pretty much came from the donor rifles. That includes lower parts kits, hand guards, buffer and spring, front sight base. The pistol grip was a basic A2 from my parts box.

    Barrel donor. Notice the muzzle comp on the end of the barrel.

    Assembly was pretty straight forward with a couple exceptions. The barrel originally had a pinned on muzzle compensator which was removed.  I also had a scope on it at one time. To see through the scope I cut down the front sight base. At the time, low profile gas blocks weren’t available like they are now.  To make it as original as possible I had to get the barrel threaded for a flash hider and replace the front sight base. I have a friend to did the barrel for me at no cost and I took the FSB from the old Colt upper (second AR from top).

    End Result:  Though well worn, a pretty nice full size rifle. The heavy barrel makes it very stable. With AR carbines being so popular, people tend to forget how nice a full size AR feels.

    It's ALIVE! The finished Frankengun


    Marlin 795- Part V

    Posted By on January 8, 2016

    I kind of like my Marlin 795s.  In part IV if you remember, I converted the Marlin 795 to a long barreled hybrid using a Model 60 upper. That was interesting but on the other hand I already have a long barreled Model 60 and having two became redundant.

    Upon further reflection I decided I would try and take the 795 the other way and make it more compact. The regular 795 has an 18″ barrel and an overall length of 37 inches. It is already two inches shorter than a standard Ruger 10/22 and a 1/2 pound lighter. Taking the barrel down to the minimum legal length of 16″ would make if even more compact and lighter still.

    In discussing it with a friend he pulled out a cut down Model 60 he had done for another friend of his. He cut the mag tube and barrel to 16″ and threaded the barrel. He added an AR15 flash hider to protect the threads. Makes a real nice little carbine and was going to be used as as Jeep gun i.e, strapped to a Jeep’s roll bar when offroading.

    Regular 22" Mod 60 vs. 16" cut down "Jeep gun".

    Regular 22″ Model 60 vs. 16″ cut down “Jeep gun”.

    After seeing how compact the Model 60 became I was convinced to let him cut mine down. Since he offered I also had him thread the barrel as well.  A couple days later he called and I went and picked up my 795 barreled upper from him. The result was a 16″ threaded barrel with a threaded barrel and  “mud guard”.   The “mud guard” is a cut down AR15 flash hider. Since the goal was compactness he cut the flash hider so that it only adds 1/2″ back to the length. It is intended as a thread and muzzle crown protector rather than a flash hider.

    Top to bottom a regular 795, my cut down 795, the cut down model 60 and a full size 60

    Top to bottom a regular 795, cut down 60 receiver to be used with the 795 guts, the cut down model 60 and a full size 60

    Close up of threads and flash hiders/thread protectors/mud guards

    Close up of threads and flash hiders/thread protectors/mud guards









    Putting the barrel back in the stock I compared it with my regular 795. Not bad but not compact enough. The next step was to take the hollow plastic stock and cut it down 2″. Pretty easy to do cut. I then tapped the screw lugs inside the stock and reinstalled the butt plate.

    Cut down buttstock. I used the screw lugs to reattach butt plate

    Cut down butt stock. I used the screw lugs to reattach butt plate

    In that the stock was narrower the shorter it got the butt plate was too large. I ground the edges down until it fit flush and used the regular screws to reattach it. (A friend of mine who cut his 795 stock down for his son simply used a slip over rubber stock pad). Overall length with 2″ taken off the barrel and 2″ taken off the stock reduced it to 33″. The “mud/thread guard” added 1/2″ back. Overall weight was reduced by 4.5 ounces but that would be offset somewhat the installation of the original iron sights.

    Regular 795 top with the cut down barrel version below it. Not much difference in length overall.

    Regular 795 top with the cut down barrel version below it. Not much difference in length overall.

    Cut down on top. Overall length reduced by 3.5 inches with the mud guard. A little bit better.

    Both stock and barrel cut down on top. Overall length reduced by 3.5 inches with the mud guard. A little bit better.









    Some people might complain that the stock is too short. My experience as rifle instructor has taught me that it is much easier to shoot a rifle with the stock too short than with the stock too long. I am a pretty big guy but have no problem shooting shorter than normal rifles.

    Bottom line is I now have a shorter, more compact version of my 795. Is it worth it? Ideally if you wanted a shorter lighter version you would probably be better off finding a Marlin Model 70 Papoose. The Papoose is a take down version with a 795 action, a half stock and a removable 16″ barrel. The problem is that the Papoose is no longer made and tends to command top dollar if you can find one.  A 795 can still be found at about $150 retail.  Cutting and threading the barrel along with drilling and tapping the front sight holes would probably set you back at least another $100. But then again you don’t have to thread the barrel and using a scope eliminates having to replace the front sight. Cutting the stock is the cost of a hack saw blade providing you don’t screw it up.

    So is it worth it?  Hmmmm……probably not unless that’s what you really wanted and had a specific need. You can now buy Ruger 10/22s with all kinds of short barrels that are already threaded and/or take down models for what it would cost to cut and thread a 795. Unless of course  you had an old beater 60 and someone to do it for free like I did.


    NOTE….Marlin has recently (Sept 2016)  offered a $25 rebate making the 795 the lowest price in about 5 years.  A local sports chain sale had them on sale for $129, the rebate put them around $106 + tax. Still a great bang for the buck.

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