Robert Hϋbner Rifle Questions for Experts
Gentlemen - as you can probably see I'm new to this forum and it seemed like the perfect place to go for answers to my questions. I have a rifle and matching scope from Robert Hϋbner of Darmstadt. I got it in a rather convoluted trade deal years ago but I don't know much about it. It's obviously pre-WWI and is in fantastic condition as the photos show. The blue appears to be original and does show some wear. The buttplate is horn as is the nosecap. The one sling swivel is obviously a later replacement but other than that eveything appears original. Oh...it was also re-chambered to accept Roberts .257. Can any of you learned gentlemen provide informaiton on Mr. Hϋbner, provide a more specific date of manufacture, and take a stab at a "ballpark" value in today's market? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!
This rifle was retailed by Robert Hόbner, Ernst-Ludwig-Str.11, Darmstadt, but it was special-order made (caliber, stock, octagonal barrel, engraving) by Schmidt & Habermann, Roschstr.1, Suhl, trademark ESHA, see magazine floorplate. The Schmidt & Habermann company built many guns for "name" gunmakers, f.i. all the highly regarded "Wilhelm Brenneke, Leipzig" bolt action rifles bear the ESHA trademark in a hidden place. The rifle is built on a Schmidt & Habermann M21 short action. In 2009 I wrote an article on this action for "Der Waffenschmied # 40", available from the GGCA bookstore:
A reprint of a contemporary catalog (in German and English) showing this action is also available:
Your rifle was proofed 4/24 = April 1924. Originally it was chambered either for the 6.5x52R aka .25-35 Winchester or the 6.5x52 aka .25 Remington. The rifle has lost the patented ESHA M21 latch that was mounted in the slot in the right side of the cocking piece.
This latch, used by S&H instead of a wing safety, allowed these rifles to be carried uncocked, the firingpin tip off the primer.
Your rifle is mounted with a small, 7/8" tube, Zeiss "Zielviermi" 4x scope. These smallish scopes are quite rare and sought after by collectors.
My own standard grade M21 in 6.5x54 Mauser carries a similar Zeiss "Zielmi" 2 1/2x scope.
These Schmidt & Habermann M21 rifles are quite rare, more so than even the coveted Mauser Kurz actions. But as nobody seems to know about their existence, they are usually not sought after as are the commercial Mausers.
Last edited by Axel E; 03-31-2013 at 04:41 PM.
Note that it was proofed in Suhl and has a ledger number, a protocol that was used from September 1923 to say April 1924.
In "Bolt Action Rifles" Frank de Haas wrote about the Savage M 1920: "..., the rifle was made very light and sporty.And so it was, becoming one of the sportiest bolt-action, high-powered hunting rifles ever produced. Weighing only about 6 pounds, the Model 1920 Savage was extremely light for a high powered rifle." My Schmidt & Habermann M21 rivals or even beats this. Without scope it weighs 5.8 pounds only, with the small scope mounted 6.4 pounds.
Thanks again for the information...all very interesting. Just one thing though - it sounds like I have a fairly unusual rifle so this might not be an easy question to answer. What do you gentlemen think a reasonable market value would be?
I don't usually get into pricing other peoples guns, but what ever the value is, it would be enhanced by having a replacement for the "ESHA M21 latch"(see Axel's comment above) made. With dimensions from your rifle and the photo Axel provided, it should be pretty simple for one of the gunsmiths that are members to duplicate the latch. In my opinion, the best thing to do with the rifle is use it .
Thanks for the advice and I understand about not being keen to "value" something like this. In all liklihood it's going to stay with me no matter what and even though it's not my area of collecting (which is Imperial German militaria), it's such a wonderful and unusual piece I'd hate to part with it. As for replacing that latch, can you recommend anyone I might want to contact through this forum or elsewhere?
Look in the Trade Directory, in WAIDMANNSHEIL, and any one of those that advertise as gunsmiths(see right hand colum) can do the job. Just pick the one nearest to you, I have no idea where you live.
Just to ease reproduction of the uncocking latch, here is a photo of the missing parts:
The latch is a flat plate .122" thick, length oa .829", widest at rear end .485", front end .268"
Atiny coil spring under the rear end, .11" diameter
A pin .08" diameter to hold the latch.
The nail visible is used for disassembly of the bolt only, just like on post-WW2 FN/Browning commercial Mausers.
Fantastic...thanks for the detailed photos and dimensions. With that information I'll take care of it myself.