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 Post subject: Mauser shotgun?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:52 pm 
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What can you tell me about this shotgut I got today. It is marked Remo Cal 12 and Germany on the butplate. All the numbers match and it is in good shape. What were they used for?Image[/img]


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 Post subject: M98 Mauser shotguns
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:02 pm 
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There are two "brands" of guns, Remo And GECO. They are made from surplus WW1 mauser rifles and were imported here in the 1920's. Perfectly safe to shoot, but they kick like a mule due to the light weight. They ARE NOT military issue. Get some trap loads and have a little fun with it.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:49 pm 
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I thinking of making a shooting match gun out of it. I tried last night and a Timney trigger fits perfectly and it will fit in a sporter 98 stock with very little work. I guess these don't have much collector value as it did not cost very much. I do need to add some weight though as it will kick very bad off a bench. I will try it out tomorrow night but I doubt it will do any good the choke is way too lose on it. I will probably have a gunsmith put screw in chokes in it.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:10 pm 
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Hey, I'm actually doing a survey on Remo, GEHA (not Geco, although Gustav Genschow was a manufacturer of GEHA shotguns), and Hard Hit Heart shotguns. You have a late, Remo Economy Model introduced to compete with the GEHA. It's a bit more elegant than the GEHA, and a nice shotgun. PLEASE DON'T MODIFY IT!!!! Remo Economy Models are actually quite scarce. They had a cylinder choke unlike the regular Remo, which is full-choked. They also retain the surplus stock of the Gewehr 98, whereas the regular Remo is fitted with a higher-grade sporter stock. With light loads, they're perfectly safe to fire, although I'd not go shooting baby magnums in one anytime soon. I posted a history of these guns over at milsurpshooter.net, as well. Here's a revised version...

The history of the unique GEHA bolt-action shotgun and who designed it has been somewhat unknown up until now. Using various sources from the internet along with guns I've seen come up for auction, I have managed to find out what firm designed these guns, when, and when manufacture ceased. Read on to find out!

The first thing you may be asking yourself is “what on earth is a GEHA?” Simply put, it’s a converted Mauser Gewehr 98 rifle bored out for a 12, 16, or 20 Gauge shotshell, with 1 shell in the magazine plus 1 in the chamber capacity. It’s half-stocked, and the wood is usually military grade and was never changed from the Gewehr 98 to the GEHA. It uses a sprung, detachable bolthead that fits over the old Gewehr 98 bolthead, and also utilizes a receiver strengthener/shell deflector that was added because so much metal was removed from the original rifle action. A new trigger assembly and triggerguard were also fitted so as to be more suitable to a shotgun. For one, the triggerguard was quite beefy. For another, the trigger itself was single-stage (as opposed to the two-stage military rifle trigger of the Gewehr 98). These trigger and triggerguard features are shared by the Remo and Hard Hit Heart, the two other Mauser conversion shotguns. Another feature of these guns is that the bolt handles were bent.

The first GEHA shotguns were not GEHA's. Rather, they were made by an optics company (they built components for Zeiss) and guild sporterizer known both as Gebrueder Rempt and alternately as Remo-Gewehrfabrik (Remo Rifle Company). Located in Suhl, Germany, Remo realized that they would go out of business without military contracts during the Weimar Republic if they didn't think of something pretty quickly. An unknown someone at Remo-Gewehrfabrik then suggested buying surplus Gewehr 98's (and possibly Karabiner 98AZ short rifles) from what was left of the German Army, and converting them into 12 Gauge shotguns. The earliest Remos were comparable to most Guild Guns, and were heavily engraved in a Mauser sporter-style stock with cheekpiece. A second gun in 16 Gauge (referred to officially as the Remo II) was soon released. The first 12 Gauge Remo was made in 1919.

Early Remo shotguns are beautiful. They lack the bluing on the receiver of later guns (a feature shared with the military Gewehr 98 rifle), but set some early precedents. Firstly, a notch was cut in the receiver ring to allow proper sighting of the guns. The safety was also filed down a tad to get a proper sighting plane (though this was omitted from later Remos). In addition, the magazine was modified to hold one shell on each model. The magazine floorplate was also screwed on. Another early feature of these guns was that the receiver wall strengthener/shell deflector was not screwed, but rather welded on. The Remo also had a fully choked barrel. Other features included a cheekpiece and sling swivels.

While the Remo would eventually adopt the screw-on strengthener/deflector and blued receiver (although not in that order...I have seen a Remo II with a blued receiver and welded strengthener, along with sling swivels...perhaps this was a "transitional" model?), it would retain the fully-choked barrel and a more elegant stock (albeit sans engraving and cheekpiece) throughout the rest of its manufacture. Eventually, to compete with the lower-priced GEHA, Remo introduced (possibly in the mid-1920's) a lower-grade shotgun with a fancier stock than the GEHA, but that retained the Gewehr 98's military wood. I call these guns "Remo Economy Models." I've only heard of these shotguns appearing in 12 Gauge, but if you can find a 16 Gauge, please email me. Remo stayed in business until 1941, but dropped their shotgun around 1933.

With the success of the Remo shotgun, Gustav Genschow, Erma, and several others began manufacturing two lower-priced alternatives to the Remo and gave the base model the acronymized name of the distributor...GEHA. The GEHA was simple. It retained the basic features of the Remo (including the filed safety of the early Remo), but the barrel was simpler. It was cylinder-bored, as opposed to the full-choke bores of the Remo. It also retained the military Gewehr 98 stock, and was a no-frills gun without any provisions for a front sling swivel (although it retained the rear swivel mount from the Gewehr 98). The hole for the Gewehr 98’s bolt takedown donut was filled with a medallion reading "GEHA" in script. It was put on the market around 1920 or 1921.

The GEHA came in three barrel lengths, 26.5", 27" (which either replaced or was displaced by the 26.5" model), and 32". Taking advantage of the cylinder bore, a few of the guns were made with rifled bores as slug guns. I have seen very few of these even mentioned. Many GEHA's were produced, and they are the most common Mauser conversion shotguns. They also introduced a 20 Gauge model to stay competitive with Remo (Remo never produced a 20 gauge shotgun, to my knowledge, although if you see one, don't hesitate to contact me). Like Remo, these larger companies bought surplus Gewehr 98's and possibly Kar98AZ's from the arsenals for conversion.

Spandau Arsenal seems to really have been selling its rifles, as some late-War, 1918-dated Spandau receivers turn up with either Pieper of Liege or Siemens & Halske subcontractor marks under the barrel. A lot of these turn up on the receivers underneath the wood on the GEHA’s, and because Pieper also made low-end Belgian shotguns in the 1890's-1910's under the name Bayard, some people mistakenly assume that the GEHA was made by Bayard. The last GEHA's were produced a little before the Remo was phased out, possibly around 1932 or 1933. To make an educated guess, this is because the manufacturers of the GEHA were far more important, militarily, to the German government than Remo-Gewehrfabrik.

The higher-end model of the GEHA was the Hard Hit Heart, although I'm unsure where the name has its origins. It differs from the GEHA by usually having a finished stock, a heart instead of "GEHA" on the insert in the stock (which was made not of sheet metal, but rather of well-carved wood), a stock cartouche saying "Hard Hit Heart" in a circle over a smiley face heart (did these guys have a bizarre sense of humor or what?), and, finally, a fully-choked barrel as an option. The Hard Hit Heart is not as common as the GEHA, but certainly not as uncommon as the Remo. It was made by the same companies the GEHA was made by, but period of manufacture was uncertain. It was probably introduced a little after the GEHA, and may have died off around the same time as the GEHA did. But these now-scorned shotguns kept Germany's arms industry alive. Surviving on Guild Sporters, high-end shotguns, and a few rifles for the Reichswehr alone would have been nearly impossibly for all but a few (Merkel and Sauer, namely). Even the much renowned Heym is said to have made GEHA shotguns.

Enter the Nazis. With the military buildup of the 1930's, the GEHA and Remo shotguns were eliminated from the repertoires of the larger companies and Remo-Gewehrfabrik alike. They went back to making military rifles, submachine guns, machine guns, and optics. The Germans did not go to war with the shotgun, and thus, there was no time to produce it. But it had kept the gunmakers "in practice" for the Kar98k and others. The humble GEHA probably saved much of Germany's arms industry from collapsing during the Weimar Republic.

A relatively comprehensive but by no means complete list of "remanufacturers" for the GEHA and Remo is now available for both the Remo and GEHA brands (I still can't find out much about Hard Hit Heart).

Remo and Remo II
-Remo-Gewehrfabrik, aka Gebrueder Rempt

GEHA
-Spreewerke
-Erma
-Gustav Genschow (Aka Geco; they were an early manufacturer of these guns…this company also made single-shot .22 S-L-LR rifles in the 1920’s. Due to Jewish ownership, however, the Third Reich redistributed Genschow’s assets to Nazi-friendly companies such as Gustloff-Werke.)
-Adamy Gebrueder (This company made an early over/under shotgun that was top-notch. But it couldn’t survive on the profits of that gun alone and made GEHA’s as well.)
-Heym Gebrueder (Almost certainly...I found that when the company started out in 1922 they were "producing inexpensive bolt-action shotguns" and the only inexpensive German bolt shotgun at the time was the GEHA)
-Waffenfabrik Simson (Because of Jewish ownership, Simson was disbanded under the Third Reich and had its employees redistributed to firms such as Gustloff-Werke, much like Gustav Genschow.)
-Gustloff-Werke (While this company did NOT make GEHA, Remo, or Hard Hit Heart shotguns, they did absorb the assets of Genschow and Simson, including employees.)

I've found three exceptions to my historical rule in my survey results, though. They are...

-Remo 12 Gauge Shotgun without the "Remo" marking. My guess is that this was probably a very late production model, as even the dealers I've found who've had quite a few of these guns in don't recognize it.

-GEHA 12 Gauge shotgun with a checkered forend and pistol grip-style stock. My guess? Either the work of a Gun Guild or a very highly skilled sporterizer.

-GEHA 16 Gauge Shotgun with intact military sling swivel at the rear. My guess? Someone probably added one, and this was not original to production.

-Also note that many sporterizers added recoil pads to these guns (they were fitted with steel buttplates) and/or created “GEHA Carbines” with barrels of anywhere from 20” to 24” to make the gun look more like a sporterized military rifle. Avoid both unless you’re just looking for a cheap shooter-grade gun.

One unfortunate thing about the GEHA and its technological cousins would be that it has been deemed “unsafe” by armchair “experts” because it lacks frontal locking lugs and the only lockup is the third, “safety lug” at the rear. They claim that the pressures of a 12 Gauge, 16 Gauge, or 20 Gauge shotshell is too much for these guns and that they slowly self-destruct over the years or are equated to ticking bombs, waiting for the bolt to fly out into the user’s face. They could not be more wrong. There is actually nothing fundamentally wrong with the GEHA’s design, and as it underwent re-heat treatment after it was converted to a shotgun, this should quash notions that the removal of metal destroyed the heat treating process. As for the pressures of a shotgun shell, they are much lower than that of a rifle cartridge. The safety lug is more than adequate to keep the bolt in the gun during firing. Another criticism of the GEHA that can be rather easily dismissed is that it had headspacing issues. This is due to the fact that some GEHA’s were chambered for 2 9/16” shotgun shells, not the standard 2 ¾” American types. It is advisable to get these guns bored to 2 ¾” by a qualified gunsmith or simply shoot 2 ½” shells, available from various sources, though the guns. By using the 2 ¾” shells in a 2 9/16” chamber, it will wreak havoc on the action, as the changes in pressure are quite different. Even a tough, proven, and universally respected shotgun such as the Browning Auto-5 16 Gauge can have its ejector clip blown out by using modern shells in an old, 2 9/16” chambered gun. When in doubt, have the gun checked out by a qualified gunsmith. With the old chamber length, also be sure to check the locking lug to make sure it’s not cracked. That WILL lead to a failure, serious injury or even death.

One genuine problem does, however, exist with the GEHA and its design cousins…that being the bolthead. The sprung, detachable bolthead will sometimes pop out of the gun on quick follow-up shots, and firing the gun with no bolthead is extremely dangerous. One person taking the technical/safety survey (see below) had his grandfather lose an eye in just such a mishap. When in doubt, look at the bolthead. If you’re in no rush or don’t mind using a single-shot shotgun, this shouldn’t be much of a problem. Another arguable defect is the gun’s hellacious recoil. Due to the extremely light stock, the gun sometimes kicks so hard that if the wood has not been taken care of, it will crack the stock. And while the gun is perfectly safe to use with lighter loads, pushing the limit with baby magnums and hot handloads will damage the gun (as it would with many 1920’s and before-era shotguns). Hence, it should be somewhat restricted to trap and upland game (or, if you handload lightly enough and the gun has a cylinder bore, slugs). All in all, though, the GEHA is a technological curiosity, a functional shotgun, and a piece of history. If you paid anywhere from $100-$250 (more if a Remo), you got your money’s worth! Now, I am taking a survey of these shotguns, too, and would like to know the following…

Safety and General Issues...

-How many rounds have you fired from your shotgun?
-What sort of shells do you use in it?
-Has the gun given you any problems? If so, what kind?
-How long have you had the gun?
-Have you had to take it to a gunsmith to be repaired?
-Have you witnessed, in person, or heard about from an absolutely rock-solid reliable source, one of these guns catastrophically failing and killing or seriously injuring its owner?

Technical Details...

-Is your gun a GEHA, Remo, or "Hard Hit Heart"?
-What gauge is your gun?
-How long is the barrel on your gun?
-Is your barrel rifled or smoothbore?
-While all bolt handles are bent, does yours have a flat-sided or fully round bolt handle? The former would prove the existence of the guns being converted from Kar98AZ's.
-Do your serial numbers match (while a converted Gewehr 98 or possibly Kar98AZ would in theory match completely, I'm trying to see how the guns were made up; i.e., if they were assembled from random parts or directly modified from the rifles...I've seen a mixture of both, but would like to know which is more prevalent)?
-Take the barreled action out of the gun. Under the receiver ring, are there any marks? A mounted horseman would indicate receiver manufacture by Pieper (thus originally proving the gun a 1918 Spandau) and a stylized “SH” marking would indicate receiver manufacture by Siemens & Halske (also proving the gun originally a 1918 Spandau).

Thanks in advance for your help, and I hope you liked my little article on this somehow irresistibly appealing shotgun.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:55 pm 
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I have decided not to modify it. I have shot it about a box of shells through it. They where the paper federal match loads. No. 9 shot. I will get the gun out tomorrow and check it for the other questions you ask about on your survey. I have had no problems with it at all. I does kick rather hard. All shots have been off the bench at a match. Even with the open choke it does better than expected. I would like to find one with a broken stock on pitted barrel to modify though. After shooting mine I just couldn't do that too it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:26 am 
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...something like this...

"-Also note that many sporterizers added recoil pads to these guns (they were fitted with steel buttplates) and/or created “GEHA Carbines” with barrels of anywhere from 20” to 24” to make the gun look more like a sporterized military rifle. Avoid both unless you’re just looking for a cheap shooter-grade gun."

Generally, a gun like that will go for about $100-$125. Numrich sells barrels (26.5" cylinder bore and 32" cylinder bore; both perfect for threading for a choke) for $30 or $40 each and Springfield Sporters, I *think*, sells bolt parts (if the sprung bolthead is missing).

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:46 pm 
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Ok I took it apart tonight.
The barrel is 26"
It is a smoothbore
The bolt handle is fully round
Every serial number matches from the barrel to the firing pin every one I can find matches
I find no marks under the receiver like you say.

I hope this helps. Any more you want to know about it let me know.
I hope you get some more feedback from other owners on these interesting shotguns.
I bought mine off Gunbroker for $140 a few months ago. It is the cheapest one I have found.
I you know of any that are "sporterized" or have a bad stock or barrel let me know.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:54 am 
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I actually wasn't expecting anything to turn up on the bottom of the receiver. Most GEHA's have that, but Remo purchased their guns from another arsenal (although I'm not sure, I believe they got a lot of guns from Amberg Arsenal in Bavaria). I do know of ONE place that has a "GEHA Carbine" with a shortened barrel and sanded wood (actually pretty well done for a sanded gun, but it's noticeable upon close inspection), but it's $200. It is shootable with no cracks in the receiver, has the Siemens & Halske bottom receiver stamp (indicating conversion from a 1918 Spandau Gewehr 98), and the receiver is in nice shape. If you want an original barrel for it, Numrich carries both 32" and 26.5" barrels. IM me if you're interested in this shotgun.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 10:40 pm 
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I took the Remo to the shooting range Sunday with some friends we put about 2 boxes of light shells through it with no problems it breaks clays up very well also. It actually shoots and handles very well just stout recoil.


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 Post subject: Re: Mauser shotgun?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:59 am 
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Hi,
what an interesting thread, thanks for yor research! Greetings from Sweden!

I have a GEHA that has been in the family for at least 50+ years, possibly since new. My grandfather got it, probably in the 30´s or 40´s. He died in 1961, when my father received it he soon bought a modern BRNO in around 1965 for hunting. The GEHA has surely not been fired since 1965. I intend to change that fact, since I´m taking up hunting now.

It is very tidy with barrel all shiny inside, probably only fired a couple hundred rounds or so. No apparent wear on the mechanism, some minor rust on the firing pin only. All numbers (12 or 13 stamps) match up, serial is 9676. Receiver is stamped SH (Siemens und Halske). It is barreled in 16 Gague with 26,5" and a 3/4 choke (choke is estimated based on my measurements 16,2 mm (0,64") vs. 16,8 mm (0.66") for a cylinder bore. Chamber appears to be 2 3/4" but I´m not sure. It is not rifled of course. Bolt shows filed down safety and completely round handle. The stock has one GEHA insert either side (appears to be made from pressed cork, sawdust or similar) and sling swivels, of which the rear one seems to be original military type (actual swiveling part missing). Original heavy steel buttplate. Stock has marks on the left side from carrying the gun on the shoulder, but generally in very good condition.

I believe this gun may have been made by Gustav Genschow, the reason being that I also own a GECO .22 LR single shot rifle, which according to your article was made by GG. The GECO was also in my grandfather´s possesion. In fact these were the only two guns he ever owned to my knowledge.

edit:
BTW: The GECO rifle is stamped "ORIGINAL GECO CARABINER MOD. 1919" and "CAL 22 LONG RIFLE". If both guns were purchased at the same time by old Gramps, my GEHA could be a very early one. He was born in 1904. What do you think?
Thanks
//Pontus Malmström, Sweden


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 Post subject: Re: Mauser shotgun?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:34 pm 
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Heres my 12 gauge Geha. Safety looks crosshatched and shortened. Looks to be all matching except the safety and unnumbered cocking peice. Screws are Imperial stamped but unnumbered. Barrel is nitro proofed.

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