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CatgutViolin

WE Mauser M712 Review

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Back in early November, I ordered this from Evike. As their preorder date repeatedly slipped, I decided to cancel and order from JKArmy instead- who then went radio silent for three weeks, until a Paypal dispute goaded them into shipping this week, finally getting this gun into my hands over two months after my initial order.

 

So it's been a bit of an ordeal, but I'm glad to finally have my hands on a:

 

WE Airsoft WE712 (AKA Mauser M1932 AKA M712 'Schnellfeuer')

 

First, some context about the real weapon.

 

The M712 was developed in 1932 as a variant of the Mauser 1896, which at that time was nearly forty years old. The C96, despite never achieving much military success due to its high cost and complexity, had been sold on the commercial market and been fairly successful. During the 1920s, the largest buyers were by far the various warlords fighting for control of China. While the Chinese were forbidden from importing weapons of war, namely rifles, pistols were exempt, and semi-automatic pistols with detachable shoulder stocks became popular as carbines. In the late 1920s, several Spanish firms producing copies of the C96 began selling fully-automatic variants, and their success prompted Mauser to design and develop one of their own, christened the model M1932. Despite being primarily intended for export, some of the 98,000 produced were sent to the Wehrmacht, who gave it the military designation M712.

 

It's a weird gun. It's a selective-fire, detachable-magazine, stocked adaptation of the world's first commercially successful self-loading handgun, designed and released in the heyday of proper submachine guns primarily to exploit a loophole in export laws. Its actual utility on the fully-automatic fire setting is questionable as it blows through its 20rd magazine in a little over a second, and is impossible to control without the shoulder stock, but as a semi-automatic carbine the use of detachable mags was a significant improvement over the clip-fed C96. I highly recommend checking out Forgotten Weapons for a more in-depth look at the real thing.

 

Okay, now the review.

 

Box Contents and Overview

 

7gHMOpo.jpg

 

The box comes with the M712 itself, a single long magazine, shoulder stock, a manual, and a small bag containing a lanyard ring, which attaches to the loop on the base of the grip, and a dry-fire adapter, which can be loaded into the magazine to keep the follower depressed.

 

PpqVups.jpg

 

One of the more notable features of the gun is that the shoulder stock doubles as a holster. The button releases a latch, allowing the top to swivel open so the pistol can be drawn. This works for storage, or for carrying the gun in a backpack, but the gun obviously will not fit if a long magazine is loaded, and the lack of any sort of carrying apparatus for the whole ensemble prevents it from being carried on gear or on a belt. Unless you want to use the sling loop to just carry it on a sling, letting it flop around, a leather carrying rig is necessary. There's another problem with that, but I'll get to it in a bit.

 

rbbdQHR.jpg

 

So here's the gun in fully assembled configuration, with a long magazine loaded. The stock is extremely long, with a length of pull of exactly 16". For comparison, most M4s with collapsible stocks have a LOP of around 15.5" with the stock fully extended. It's perfectly usable, but it's definitely not very compact when in this configuration.

 

5nhBAja.jpg

 

As a pistol it's much more handy. Although it's a bit front-heavy, and has a very high bore axis relative to the grip, it's lighter than the real thing and easy to stabilize with the off-hand in front of the magazine well. While the stock does make aiming at longer range easier, in airsoft we don't have to worry about recoil, so as an automatic sidearm this is perfectly viable without the stock.

 

6FphyCX.jpg

 

Let me be clear- when I say 'much more handy', that's strictly in relation to with the boat oar of a stock attached. This is a big gun, dwarfing the full-sized WE G17 on top of it.

 

deDBrSj.jpg

 

The magazines, however, are fairly normal. Note that the gun only comes with the long magazine, and I bought the short one separately. The short magazine is actually pretty tiny, while the long one is dimensionally very similar to the Glock magazine. Carrying a bunch of magazines is a must for any significant use of the full-auto setting, so it's good that they're not humongous compared to their capacity. Speaking of capacity:

 

Performance

 

EtGN136.jpg

 

The short magazine holds a whopping total of 11 BBs. The long magazine, on the other hand, holds 27. For practical use the long magazine is the way to go, but a short magazine is the only option if you want to have a mag in the gun while it's loaded, or emulate the earlier C96 for impression purposes.

 

Through testing with the included blank fire adapter, I found that the short magazine could fire 40 times on semi-auto from a fully gassed magazine in a 70 degree environment. On the long magazine, I lost count after 70. Suffice to say they hold plenty of gas.

 

When firing 0.25g BBs through a chronograph, the M712 started at 330FPS with a fully-gassed magazine, which quickly dropped to 310-320, and dropping as low as 300 by the end of the magazine. In terms of 0.2g BBs, that's 370FPS down to 335FPS over the course of the magazine. As much as I'd like to use it at my local CQB field, their hard limit is 330FPS so this gun doesn't pass.

 

The hop-up uses a VSR type bucking and works pretty well. The main issue is that, as with most GBB pistols, due to the variance in muzzle velocity the hop-up is inconsistent. It's fine at typical pistol ranges and a hit on a man-sized target is easy enough at 50yds, but this gun isn't suitable for long-range use. Full-auto can, of course, compensate for deficiencies in marksmanship, and the rate of fire is about the same as the real thing.

 

Lastly, the recoil is quite satisfying. Since this gun doesn't have an external slide I was expecting it to be weak, but it kicks harder than my G17 despite also weighing more, and clearly not at any cost to gas efficiency.

 

That's it for performance, so the rest of this post will be talking about the external features, stock, and realism of the replica.

 

Exterior

 

slzDPnM.jpg

 

For comparison, here's my actual C96, built sometime during WW1 for commercial export, and later rechambered to 9mm and refinished. I'll be using it as a general point of reference, but note that the M712 did feature some visible differences from the earlier C96.

 

rqxwtFW.jpg

 

First, the surface finish is obviously quite different. The C96's finish is a greyish rust blued finish typical of those guns, while the M712 is a very different glossy black. If a buyer wanted to use the M712 as a stand-in C96, a refinishing job would go a long ways towards selling it as a C96.

 

Note also that this M712 doesn't have any markings at all. Most of the WE M712s I've seen online have Chinese markings, presumably to replicate one of the many runs of knock-off copies (of wildly varying quality) built in China from WW2 to at least the 1980s.

 

p9b6c9M.jpg

 

This reference photo of a real M712 shows that the deep, glossy blue finish is actually reasonably accurate. While the C96s were almost all rust blued, the M712 was exclusively hot salt blued, giving it a much deeper and glossier appearance.

 

wcGxwQY.jpg

 

However, note that the bolt, hammer, and rear locking assembly on the real M712 are left unfinished, while on the WE M712 they're the same black as everything else on the gun. Since WE makes a silver M712 they obviously had the capability to produce the parts with a shiny metal finish, so I'm not sure why they cut corners here. I'll be looking into giving the relevant parts a bath in paint stripper to get the finish a little more authentic.

 

One other thing you may notice here is that the bolt is significantly farther back on the real one than on the airsoft one.

 

AClV9Es.jpg

G4jX0Si.jpg

 

Note how the entire upper slide assembly is slightly retracted on the real C96. That's because the C96 is a delayed-blowback design, where the upper slide assembly recoils about 6mm before the bolt unlocks and continues to travel to the rear. On the airsoft M712, the upper slide is fixed in place, and only the bolt moves at all.

 

It's not completely realistic, but I can live with it.

 

4QONR3d.jpg

 

There are some dimensional differences on the bolt and rear sight assembly, but all the important functions are properly duplicated.

 

N7OXZXA.jpg

 

And here's a reference photo of a real M712. You may notice some of the parts on the real C96 are a light blue color, which is the result of a process called nitre bluing. For the real M712s, those parts were blued identically to the rest of the gun, which makes duplicating the real finish significantly easier.

 

X2ZNOmm.jpg

 

A less-than-ideal image of the breech. On the top of the hop-up unit, right below the flat chamber area, you can barely see the grub screw which adjusts the hop-up. I'm kind of impressed that they actually managed to squeeze a functional and reasonably effective hop-up unit into the gun, which is more than I can say about their Luger.

 

ktmWrEL.jpg

 

This shot of the breech shows another slightly-unrealistic-but-ultimately-irrelevant discrepancy, which is that the bolt can't traverse behind the stripper clip guide. I had some ideas about making a speedloader to look like a stripper clip of ten rounds of 7.63x25 and reload with the magazine still in the gun, to take advantage of the short magazine's high gas capacity, but that seems to be a no-go.

 

Okay that was fun let's talk about the controls.

 

Controls

 

shB8lKA.jpg

 

The safety is the lever to the left of the hammer. It's currently set to S. For safe. Imagine that.

 

v1SqGQ9.jpg

 

And now it's on fire. Pretty easy to activate and deactivate. When the safety is on, it prevents the hammer from moving, which in turn prevents the bolt from moving. Since the gun cannot be holstered in the stock with the hammer retracted as shown, the safety is not terribly necessary, since the user will likely carry with an empty chamber.

 

BGrZIcR.jpg

 

Here's a better shot of the fire selector behind the trigger. It's currently set to single-shot. This is not a simple toggle switch like on most guns. In order to change the setting, the button must be depressed, and then the switch can move, springing back out when it reaches the new position.

 

imLg8ks.jpg

 

Now set to full auto. The mechanism is reasonably intuitive and not something I feel like I'd have to fumble with in a game, but it definitely keeps the selector secure from bumps. Spraying someone with 10 BBs at point blank when I meant to be on semi-auto is not how I make friends, so it's a handy thing to have.

 

Stocks

 

a8EqMwj.jpg

 

Now, isn't this interesting?

 

tbktXRb.jpg

 

The M712's stock is significantly longer than the C96's, and has more of a taper. Initially, I was a little annoyed that they must have done a bad reproduction job of what seems like a very simple thing to get right, but then I did some research. Here are a few images I found:

 

HMDdd5h.jpg

RQtloUr.jpg

V4Hv0t0.jpg

 

All of them are M712s (well, the second image is a prototype variant), and all of them seem to have longer stocks than C96s. That's not to say that my stock is off, because plenty of C96s on the Internet have the shorter stock profile, which is perfectly serviceable.

 

The best conclusion I can gather is that for whatever reason, the M712 was manufactured with a mile-long stock. Maybe to keep the shooter's face farther from the gun during full-auto fire? If anyone knows, I'd be really interested to hear an explanation for that bit of trivia.

 

But here's why it matters.

 

OodtykT.jpg

 

That's the C96, in its stock, in a leather C96 carrying harness. The harness itself is a Chinese reproduction, and they're widely available for $25-50, and would be the perfect way to carry this gun on your hip, were it not for the fact-

 

1KM9zFv.jpg

 

-that the longer stock on the M712 prevents it from closing. To be fair, this could be easily rectified by cutting out the bottom of the holster so that the neck can protrude out the bottom, but there also happen to be a variety of M712-specific holsters, slings, and rigs of all sorts available from China. Again, this is one of those issues that isn't a big deal, but prevents the M712 from being used as a stand-in C96.

 

Oh, and the real stock doesn't fit on the M712 either- the stock iron is too wide. I got the bright idea to try swapping the hardware, and then found that they're not the same.

 

yueoM3c.jpg

 

The real one uses a leaf spring on the catch, while the airsoft one uses a spring going into a channel on the stock. This could be rectified with some further work.

 

K1u5gYU.jpg

 

This is the real stock with the airsoft iron. It fits, albeit with a gap. The problem is when I try to holster the M712 in the C96 stock.

 

Likl71c.jpg

 

And the fire selector gets in the way and prevents it from going in. So, no pseudo-C96 without a lot of work, so I guess I'll just stick with it as an M712.

 

Grips

 

Re9FztZ.jpg

 

On the subject of furniture, the grips attach just like the real thing.

 

2qfisu0.jpg

 

The M712 grip is in the middle, while to either side are reproduction C96 grips I got cheaply. The M712 has by far the most convincing fake wood grips I've ever seen on an airsoft gun, so I'm on the fence about replacing them.

 

EVqDFgh.jpg

 

The set on the left fit without modification as it was slightly undersized. The set on the right did not.

 

YmIJpdz.jpg

 

And a comparison with the real thing shows why. The real C96 has a cutout at the top of the grip area that some of the wood grips are designed to slot into, and the grip hole is just slightly narrower in general. Overall, though, fitting real wood grips should only take a few minutes with a rasp or hobby knife.

 

Disassembly

 

MH7FTjf.jpg

 

First, a note about the manual: Wow, an airsoft gun that actually has useful information in its manual, namely a full field strip/takedown procedure. There were a few differences from the real thing that could have proved frustrating, but with the supplied instructions it was a piece of cake.

 

vYWSsnK.jpg

 

It's dark, but there's a small latch on the back of the gun, just above the grips. Pushing this latch up while depressing the hammer releases an internal catch and allows the gun to disassemble.

 

kjK0mfS.jpg

 

The internals come straight out the back in one piece.

 

ejnGrnc.jpg

 

And then the slide assembly separates from what would be the main lockwork, but on the airsoft one is the gas valve assembly.

 

aclFgDY.jpg

 

A comparison to the real one, which disassembles the same way.

 

(continued)

Edited by CatgutViolin

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(continuing)

 

TCdYeZg.jpg

 

qcndcRm.jpg

 

I took some photos of the internals but don't intend to disassemble any further if I can help it. Contrary to popular belief, the C96 is actually really easy to fully disassemble, as everything just slots together (in fact, the only screw or pin in the entire gun is the grip screw). The airsoft one, on the other hand, angrily threatens to never go back together again if I mess with it. I do want that hammer to be silver, though. I'll figure it out.

 

Anyways, back to the slide assembly.

 

o2Uj5Tb.jpg

 

The firing pin is the round thing in the back. A screwdriver slots into the groove and rotates it 90 degrees.

 

 

 

siZCXZb.jpg

 

Releasing it and allowing it to come out the back of the gun.

 

r6XTlSS.jpg

 

The bolt stop then rotates and pulls out, allowing the bolt itself to come out of the slide, very similarly to the real thing.

 

Conclusion

 

That's all the content I have. This is an interesting gun that does a good job of staying accurate to the real thing and functionally only really fails on nitpicky details. The external finish is pretty typical to a Chinese airsoft gun, and I have to wonder again why WE didn't just two-tone it like the real thing. There's some room for improvement there, but pleasantly few things that need to be fixed out of the box.

 

PROS

-A Mauser pistol that isn't CO2 or spring, which I've been waiting for for a long time.

-Extremely gas-efficient, and feels great to shoot.

-Shoots pretty well at that, and the hop has reasonable performance.

-Comes with the holster-stock, a nice accessory.

-Selective-fire, and has a choice of short or long magazines, so it can function as a pistol or as a submachine gun.

-High build quality for the price.

 

CONS

-Huge and poorly balanced, usable but definitely a dated design.

-Holster-stock isn't very useful without a carrying rig, and it's large and awkward to carry.

-Muzzle velocity isn't as consistent as I'd like, which means it isn't a long-range gun.

-Not a good stand-in for the C96, which could be an issue for rivet-counting reenactors.

-Shoots a little hot for CQB.

-Short magazine is small for a pistol, and the long magazine is small for a submachine gun. Using it as a primary will likely require spending more on magazines than on the gun itself.

 

Well, that about wraps it up. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Edited by CatgutViolin
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WE originally made their M712 as a replica of the Hanyang Arsenal C96/1932/M712 complete with accurate markings as well as the stock which differed from German stocks both in profile and length. But when WE figured not everyone wanted the Chinese clone specifically, they made non-traded as well as Mauser traded versions but they didn't bother to make new molds for their respective stock.

FccmOrh.jpg

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WE originally made their M712 as a replica of the Hanyang Arsenal C96/1932/M712 complete with accurate markings as well as the stock which differed from German stocks both in profile and length. But when WE figured not everyone wanted the Chinese clone specifically, they made non-traded as well as Mauser traded versions but they didn't bother to make new molds for their respective stock.

FccmOrh.jpg

 

Interesting explanation, thanks. Although that does raise the question- does this mean that all the original, German M712s I see with the longer stocks, like the reference photos I posted, are actually using Chinese stocks?

 

Also, I have to wonder what the armorers were thinking making the stock even longer. I'm well over six feet tall and the stock is uncomfortably long for me, I can't imagine what it would be like for an average Chinese soldier circa 1940.

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German stocks ranged in length especially for the Bolos, but from what I can tell, the one key feature in identifying a Chinese stock is the more sloping hump leading to the comb (in front of the magwell. Also, not sure entirely if Mauser produced stocks themselves ranged in length or if being muddled by stocks of other manufacturers (and counterfeits) is what caused the variation.

 

Edit:

Not excited over trigger pull length myself, but I manage. The only reason I can think of is they're trying to emulate the sight picture of the Mauser 98 (or other similar rifles at the time) with its rear sight so far forward.

Edited by renegadecow

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Makes sense- it's hard to find authoritative sources on anything relating to these guns, as most of the Mauser records were destroyed in WW2.

 

Also, I found that if I depress the selector switch button, the pistol fits in the shorter, wooden stock/holster just fine. So, if the attachment point is modified slightly to accommodate the airsoft stock iron, then a real wood stock should work with this gun.

 

Oh, and I completed my refinishing and modifying the wood grips, so I figured I'd post it to show how much less toy-like this gun can be made to look:

 

MCkWxKv.jpg

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Not been around for ages, but I had to read such an informed and detailed review of the 712, being one of my favourite handguns.

 

Great comparison to the real thing, which it stands up to remarkably well, I think.

 

A real shame that the VCR act killed airsoft collecting, I'd have had one of these for sure!

 

Thanks for taking the time, great review!

 

Cheers!

Edited by snowman

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For what it's worth, I'm sure there are plenty of collectors who merely go through UKARA as a token rather than actual recreation.

I'm sure, but my interests have moved on too.

 

Cheers

 

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

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Not been around for ages, but I had to read such an informed and detailed review of the 712, being one of my favourite handguns.

 

Great comparison to the real thing, which it stands up to remarkably well, I think.

 

A real shame that the VCR act killed airsoft collecting, I'd have had one of these for sure!

 

Thanks for taking the time, great review!

 

Cheers!

Yet RIFs are used in less crimes than motor scooters and toilet cleaner.

Every night I pray that Diane Abbot never gets to sit in the Home Office...

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All of them are M712s (well, the second image is a prototype variant), and all of them seem to have longer stocks than C96s. That's not to say that my stock is off, because plenty of C96s on the Internet have the shorter stock profile, which is perfectly serviceable.

It's not a prototype, it's a Spanish copy. It had a different selector design and ribbed barrel, I found other photos of it long ago.

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It's not a prototype, it's a Spanish copy. It had a different selector design and ribbed barrel, I found other photos of it long ago.

 

Oh, interesting! As someone who has gotten way too into learning about all the different variants of C96 and copies, I would really appreciate if you happen to have other photos or information on hand.

Edited by CatgutViolin

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Oh, interesting! As someone who has gotten way too into learning about all the different variants of C96 and copies, I would really appreciate if you happen to have other photos or information on hand.

So happens I do:

http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums//showthread.php?t=356970

http://seriously-mike.tumblr.com/post/52632160999/this-here-mofo-is-an-obscure-spanish-copy-of-the

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