Mauser M712 "Broomhandle" - HFC
If you read the review of the Marushin version of this gun, you will know that I have always really liked the look of this gun (I must've been the only one who said "Look, Han Solo's got a Mauser!" when Star Wars came out - Yes I'm THAT old...), so I am always interested in anything Mauser related.
When the HFC all-metal version was launched I was very tempted, but it seemed a little expensive, initially (although it came down in price over time) and the trade-marked "Collector's Version" was far too expensive at nearly $170.
Fortunately, airsofters are a fickle bunch (me included) and, eventually, a second-hand, but mint, example came available on the forums at a good price and I snapped it up to review.
In the Box
Inside the box, you will find the gun, a small allen key to adjust the Hop-Up, a small bag of 6mm BBs and the usual collection of manuals, target and catalogue.
The lid is quite nice with smart box art (although there's no mention of this being a Mauser, just a 'Box Cannon'(!). The base is polystyrene, with the long magazine only fitting into a separate cut-out in the base, it cannot be left in the gun when stored.
My first impressions were good. This looks just like the Marushin variant, but is much, much heavier.
The grips are plastic, but infinitely better looking than those on the Marushin and the adjustable rear sight is very good and the overall look of the gun is excellent, being nicely cast with no roughness or softness and a evenly applied gun-metal grey paint finish.
The magazine is longer than the well-lengthed one provided with the Marushin gun and holds a more usable 26 rounds. Unfortunately it features the trademark Marushin hoop at the top, making carrying spare mags difficult as the BBs just fall out!
Everything, except the grips, on this gun is metal.
Overall, the look, feel and proportions of the HFC Mauser M712 are as good as the Marushin model it is based on. Having seen and handled a few deactivated Mauser C96s recently, I would say this is very close in dimensions and balance to the real thing, unloaded.
The unusual design of the Mauser (nearly unique in handguns, having the magazine ahead of the trigger) is excellently replicated with the selector switch, hammer and safety all replicating the real thing (the selector switch, however, doesn't work in any way).
The frame and barrel are painted, very evenly, in an attractive gun-metal grey (although one reviewer complained that it looked plasticky to them, which seems almost incredible to me) and the fit and finish is at least as good as the Marushin gun, with the hammer and safety working with a precise movement.
The fake wood, plastic grips are much better than those on the Marushin, looking, if not 100% so, much more like wood that the horribly toy like ones from the Japanese manufacturer.
The nicely made magazine holds 26 rounds and sits ahead of the trigger (making this a long gun for its barrel length). Like all the Marushin automatics I have ever seen, it requires a lot of care to load BBs as there's no 'claw' on the top of the magazine to hold BBs in and they will simply roll out if you do not angle the mag back slightly.
The markings, in stark contrast to the Marushin version are completely absent - Only the markings (N and R) on the selector remain of the original markings on the receiver.
The Collector's Edition costs around twice the price of this version, but features extensive trades (as shown above, courtesy of Hells Knight Airsoft).
The rear sight is full metal and adjustable for elevation. It is marked between 50 and 1000 (metres, presumably) as per the real thing, but such figures were highly optimistic, even for the real thing!
The hammer works with the double action mechanism of the trigger or you can cock it with your thumb for a lighter single action. The hammer has casting marks on it, but they are not very noticeable in general use. I only really noticed they were there when reviewing the photos for this review. The safety, to the left of the hammer, looking forwards, is marked S and F and locks the mechanism with the hammer lowered. You cannot lock the hammer back (as with, for instance, a 1911) and the double action trigger is heavy enough to work as a safety in its own right, making the safety a replication without any greatly useful benefit in the airsoft version.
One nice touch of detail is that when the gun is cocked, the firing pin retracts (see picture above) into the rear on the slide, but this pops back out and is struck by the hammer when the trigger is pulled.
The real firing pin is below this, within the frame.
HFC also make a wood stocked, long barrel Carbine, which promises extremely good performance. There is also a short box magazine and they have also just released a combined wooden stock/holster, which is considerably cheaper than the Marushin one. Some specialists (mostly in the USA, unsurprisingly) make leather holsters for the C96 at quite affordable prices.
I have never found a way to strip down the M712, not that there's any great reason to want to being an NBB. If a BB should get stuck it will only be in the barrel and that is easily cleared by pushing something down the muzzle and letting it drop from the mag well.
I had read reviews suggesting the HFC version of the Mauser Broomhandle was very inaccurate.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, I got a best five grouping exactly on a par (at 30mm) with my Marushin Mauser - These were achieved single action and there is little doubt that getting such (good) accuracy firing double-action would be very hard to do, not least because of the heavy trigger pull.
The trigger pull is heavy compared with any GBB and, I have to say, quite heavy for an NBB.
Over 10 shots, the M712 averaged 287fps (using 134a gas) indoors (around 26C), which is plenty powerful enough for skirmishing, but not the wildly high figures a few reviews have 'estimated' the power at.
The trigger pull weight test produced a figure of 1520g (53 ounces), which is medium weight by NBB standards.
Overall, the HFC M712 is a nicely made NBB. It's powerful and accurate and feels incredibly solid and well made.
The finish is extremely good, with the gun metal finish being even and, I think, attractive.
The total lack of trades is a shame and the premium for the version with trades seems steep.
However, if you want a reasonably priced, distinctively different airsoft pistol, give the HFC 'Box Cannon' a look.
Weight : 1,220g (370g magazine).
Realism : ***
Quality : ****
Power : ****
Accuracy : ****/*** on double action
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