Using the model 1893 rifles, Spain developed the Spanish Civil Guard, M1916 Short Rifle, a rifle that changed a 29 inch long barrel to 21 inches. According to sources, these rifles were made by the Ovideo arsenal between 1916 and 1951. Original 1916 short rifles were in 7mm Mauser (7x57). The Guardia Civil rifles, marked with the crest of crossed sword and fasces, apparently were converted to 7.62 from both 1916 and 1893 rifles in the 1960’s. The converted rifles typically have the caliber 7.62 marked on them. The two rifles are very similar except for caliber and barrel length (the 7mm barrel is a hair longer). These rifles are considered to be small ring Mauser receivers and are two-lug designed bolts, lacking the third safety lug commonly found on other Mauser rifles.
This short rifle features a turned-down bolt, recessed 5 round magazine, Guardia Civil Crest on the receiver (as shown below), fixed side support and sling swivel. Barrel length is 21 inches and overall length is 41.3 inches. The sights are inverted-V front and adjustable V-notch rear.
As with any military surplus, the rifle should be thoroughly safety checked. Double check caliber markings on weapons. Both 7x57 Mauser ammo and 7.62 NATO ammunition is available through numerous sources. Note that the 7.62 NATO cartridge is not the same as .308 Winchester commercial cartridge in terms of pressure ratings. Many shooters report using commercial .308 ammo with no ill effects, however REALLY, the weapons are marked for 7.62 ammo with max pressures of 49,700 psi CUP vs. 52,000 psi CUP.
Handloading for the converted rifles is very common to keep pressures/recoil/muzzle blast down. Recoil using the 7.62 NATO ammo is quite stout and some recoil protection is warranted.
Note: These rifles are handily converted to 7.62x39mm using barrel inserts that tame the recoil quite effectively.
As we have no control over your rifle, ammo and shooting habits, there is no implied or otherwise stated fact that YOUR rifle is safe to use. When in doubt, have a qualified gunsmith check it out. Here we present information gathered from sources on the web and combine them with our OWN rifles, ammo and shooting experiences for your information only.
What about that Guardia Civil crest on the rifle?
The crest that one sees on these rifles is actually only part of the official crest or shield that is used. The whole shield includes a crown above the crossed sword and fasces. The crown would follow that it was a royal entity, the sword, as typical, would stand for power, might, and strength. The fasces is a bundle of rods bound together around an ax with the blade sticking out. It dates from Roman times when magistrates carried it as a symbol of authority. Mussolini chose the fasces as a symbol for his fascist party, although his peasant and labor union party used in its title the word “fascio”, perhaps drawing on the similarity of the words. The symbol of the fasces survives today even. The US Army military police and Inspector General insignia and coat of arms as well as many of the individual unit patches incorporate a fasces in their design.
7.62mm NATO vs. .308 Winchester
Are they the same?
In a nutshell. No. Maximum pressure ratings for the two are not the same, the NATO round is rated at 50,000 psi (Cartridges of the World, 9th Ed). The .308 commercial is rated at anywhere from 52,000 to 62,000 psi depending on the source of the information. Even the units and methods of testing are not the same.