Rifle: Belgian Mauser Model 1935

Belgian Rifle Mauser Mle1935 tilt

Rifle Modèle 1935 Manufacturers FN, MAE
Cartridge 7.65x53mm Overall Length 43.5″
Action Rotation Bolt Barrel Length 22.8″
Magazine 5 rnds, stripper clip Weight 9 lbs


Despite a rich history of arms manufacture, the Belgians were a neutral nation and did not always put much into modernizing their military.  With German re-armament they finally got the ball moving on a new standard short rifle in 1935.

Back during the Franco-Prussian War, Belgians lived in fear of being drawn into the conflict directly.  In reviewing their military massive deficiencies were found.  They learned a lesson without paying a heavy price and soon rearmed with the then-modern Mauser Model 1889 rifle.  However, old habits die hard and by the mid 1930’s the standard rifle of the Belgians was still the Model 1889.

In a bit of irony, the Belgian arms manufacturers were some of the best and busiest of the times.  Germany’s defeat in WWI and the punitive Treaty halted major commercial exports of weapons.  With conflict or expectation of conflict across the globe, FN was supplying modern bolt action Mausers in every direction but at home.  With rapid German militarization and aggression suddenly a new rifle was a more pressing matter.  But, as usual, there would be a nod to thrift.

Belgian Rifle Mauser Mle1935 leftWe’ve had a bit of trouble finding any details about the Belgian Model 1935 and while we usually reach for two sources we’re running a bit light on those this time.  So forgive us if the facts change as more study is revealed.

Working from the standard Mauser Model 1889 platform, the Mle.1935 was assembled from new made receivers provided by FN.   Receivers were also produced from MAE, which we have not had much chance to examine, and several sources disagree on whether they were new or refurbished components.  New production by MAE could be questionable as they were usually a repair facility, however they did have the ability to manufacture parts.  Bolts and many of the small parts are apparently built from reparation guns, or perhaps contract overflow parts from other orders.  The matching example here displays a few Serbian marked bolt components by example.  It has been said the stocks were taken and modified from Turkish Model 1903’s but this is unconfirmed.

Belgian-Mle-1935-crestThe Belgians retained the curved extension on their bolt release lever.  The front sight protector is sturdy like the Polish wz.29, with a projection in the base to help retain the cleaning rod (sadly missing on our example).  The barrel band is a unique top hinged design and the handguard is shaped to protect the hinge from impact and keep it from the line of sight.  Bayonets from the original 1889 were modified along with new made replacements so the Mle.1935 features a lowered lug to allow for the old pattern.  These rifles were provided with new barrels still chambered in 7.65x53mm but now fitted with a pointed spitzer cartridge.  The metal is finished in a heavy black lacquer-like finish, somewhat similar to British arms.  FN’s receivers bear the mark of King Leopold the III.

Nearly as soon as they were in place the Belgian 1935’s were put to use defending the country during the German invasion of 1940.  Sadly they were too little too late in the face of modern Blitzkrieg warfare.  Because of their scarcity they are uncommon rifles in the US and so should be given extra attention when encountered.

Belgian Rifle Mauser Mle1935 top


6 Responses to “Rifle: Belgian Mauser Model 1935”

  1. Phillip Allen says:

    I have an 1891 argentinian mauser 7.65×53 and can find ammo for it I also have a 1935 belgian mauser is it the same 7.65×53 carteidge. The Belgian has been in my family since the end of ww2. Can’t find anything on the 7.65×54 belgian cartridge that it calls for but my reserch shows they may be the same cartridge. Just want to verify the 7.65×53 is ok to shoot in it

  2. Bill says:

    The 1889 Belgian Mauser was the forebear of the 1891 Argentine (for example), which featured a magazine extending well below the lower profile of the rifle, and which had a uniquely styled action. This 1935 Belgian Mauser is NOT similar to the 1889 and gives every sign of being a more or less normal 1898 pattern Mauser, a much more modern and strong design. Considering manufacture in the late 1930’s, using the 1898 design for this rifle makes much more sense than the old 1889.

  3. Paul Lericos says:

    I have a Belgian Mauser my father brought bake from Europe, It looks exactly like the photo above. The marking on the receiver is Le Armes de etat which led me to believe it was French when I was younger, All metal parts have matching serial numbers as well as the stock. The stock was damaged so I had it replaced but still have the original.It still shoots great even though the bore looks raggedy looking.Finding surplus ammo is getting harder , may have to reload my own.

  4. GAVIN says:

    Hi,i do not know if this is of any interest to you,but i have a canvass colour school class room style wall mount roll out quite large poster ww2 era of this rifle with parts list etc.

    Regards Gavin

  5. John says:

    These saw a short use by the British Expeditionary Force support troops in France and Belgium in 1940 as the cooks, clerks. drivers etc. were formed into an ad hoc force under Brigadier A.J. Clifton to plug the gap left by the surrendering Belgian Army. Some of these second line troops picked up discarded Belgian Mausers, ammunition and accoutrements to arm themselves and made a gallant and vital advance and defence to seal the gap allowing Operation Dynamo to lift off the British, Indian and French troops. A particularly gallant feat was the five cooks who occupied a cottage for several hours holding off company size attacks.

  6. paul Lericos says:

    found I could reform 30-06 brass to 7.65 x 53 without to much trouble. Much cheaper than buying Norma or Pervi partisan brass. Can buy RCBS dies cheaper than 50 rounds of new brass.Now have 100 cases to reload.

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