TFB Armorer's Bench: C96 Grip Fit & Stock Repair

by Sam.S

Welcome everyone to the TFB Armorer’s Bench! As mentioned in the little blurb below, this series will focus on a lot of home armorer and gunsmith activities. Today we get to dive into a rather spontaneous project. This is one I’ve had on my list for a while but have been very busy and even been a little under the weather lately. I need to fit some C96 grips to pair with my stock and I need to fix the stock so I can confidently use it with the C96. Let’s dive into the C96 Grip Fit & Stock Repair!

Note: C96 Broomhandle Mauser pistols are listed as an exception when it comes to putting a stock on them. They are not regarded as SBRs. I have heard mixed reports on whether the stock that is attached may be a reproduction one or not but I think that comes down to a given acronym agent vs actually being mentioned in any rule. The rules I have seen seem to be conflicting. Regardless, my stock is the real deal and its age shows. Let’s fix her up!

Recent TFB Armorer’s Bench Content:

TFB Armorer’s Bench: C96 Grip Fit & Stock Repair

Here, we at TFB hope to inform, entertain, and even inspire any would-be gunsmith or armorer out there. Ideally, with the information I provide and with the help of our sponsors, you can have some useful knowledge about the conservation and improvement of firearms technology while at the same time sharing experiences and teaching each other new tips and tricks along the way in the comments. Digging deep into what it is to be an armorer or gunsmith has significance but what is important is what those people do to show they’ve earned that title. I am happy to share my experiences and knowledge and hope it is informative!

Make your personal safety a priority:

  1. Practice proper gun safety. Always make sure before the firearm hits your bench that it is unloaded and safe to be handled.
  2. Wear the proper safety equipment. The main one would be safety glasses (decent ones) since parts are often under spring tension and you may work with high RPM tools. Other honorable mentions would be latex gloves or a respirator when working with potentially harmful solvents and oils. Also hearing protection when working with loud machinery or test-firing firearms.
  3. Modifications, alterations, and customizations will void your firearm’s warranty 9.5 times out of 10. Please take that into consideration before attempting any at-home gunsmithing.
  4. If you are unsure about proper safety practices, disassembly procedures, or warranty standards, stop, put down the tools, and consult a competent gunsmith.

Necessary Context: C96 Grip Fit & Stock Repair

So for the sake of some necessary context let’s start with the fact that not only is my C96 what is commonly referred to as an M1930 or 1930 C96 but the stock is not matched to it. In fact, the stock (though original for the time or even earlier) is a Chinese-made one. In the 1930s some of Mauser’s biggest customers were in places like China. My C96 actually has Chinese characters on the lower portion of the receiver which translates to something like “Made in Germany”. These characters were put there by the Mauser company before a given export order was shipped.

All of that is a long way of saying that this particular gun was not hand-fitted to fit this particular stock. The original grips for one thing are a little too wide so inserting it into the stock offers some difficulty. Upon inserting however I revealed an existing crack which only popped up because those wide grips parted the base of the stock.

So, two things need to happen for these to perfectly cohabitate together. The grips need some work to fit properly in the stock and the stock needs to be repaired to prevent further damage from the gun living in it.

C96 Grip Fit

The goal with the grips is to essentially shave down the outside diameter so that it will properly fit into the stock. I had actually bought aftermarket grips just to see if they would fit by default. It turns out they acted the same as the original grips, although they were a little bit thinner.

The darker pair are the originals.

So in this situation, what should a person do? The answer may seem obvious to some but it wasn’t to me at first. It was one of those where I had to sit and think about it a little bit. It seems unnecessary to do hours of sanding, refinishing and etching on the outside of the grips for them to be thinner. And then it hit me. Why not go from the back?

That is exactly what I tested on the reproduction grips, and it went well. So I started on the original grips, and I was much more careful than I was on the reproduction grips because I noticed that if I worked too fast, I could get some choppy-looking results for lack of a better phrase. I took time to use a relatively aggressive wood file and fit it slowly putting them on the C96 and putting it into the stock over and over again, looking for gaps, looking for places where it touched until it was slim enough where it would no longer spread the stock and reveal the crack

C96 Stock Repair

Next up was repairing the stock. We have already covered the process of Acraglas when we talked about the Remington model 10 hand guard (sorry that project has been put on hold). A refresher would be that it comes with a resin and a hardener, and they are mixed in equal parts and dyed with black dye. You use black dye because it matches the color of the grain. If you use brown dye, it would look very strange.

The process is simple. Lather it on and inside of the crack. Typically the thicker and more coverage is better. Less is more doesn’t apply here.

After the application of Acraglas, it needs to cure and harden. This is best done in warm dry environments. I have heard some people even go as far as putting their projects in the oven. My home is heated with a woodstove and it’s winter time so I just put it in the basement with the woodstove and left it overnight. A notable tip here is to leave the mixing tray, plate, bowl, or whatever you used to mix the Acraglas with your project. This way you can test how hard or how much the Acraglas has cured simply by touching or poking the leftovers on the tray.

The remaining steps take some care but are fairly simple. Excess Acraglas is chiseled, filed, and sanded. This will almost always result in some existing finish loss around the affected areas. In this case, it adds a bit of character, and if someone wanted to they could go through the whole thing and refinish it. I opted not to.

When I saw that my normal application of Danish oil did not darken it to my satisfaction, I used the heat gun method. This method is where you apply heat to an existing finish, and the oils present around that area will pop out and can be re-wiped onto the area that needs to be finished.

When I achieved the extent of dark I was happy with, I applied Feed-N-Wax. At first, I tried Flitz wax for the fun of it to see how well it would do and it had pretty pathetic results. Feed-N-Wax remains the go-to.

Final Thoughts: C96 Grip Fit & Stock Repair

There you have it here successful project that has been on the back burner for some time. I swear without this series, my own personal projects would rarely ever get done. Always happy to share whenever they come about. As always, feel free to share any tips and tricks with each other and continue to enrich the series with information. See you next time!

As always, thank you for reading TFB! Be safe out there, have fun while shooting, and we will see you next time for the TFB Armorer’s Bench! Also, let us know what you think in the comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.


Writer | TheFirearmBlogWriter | AllOutdoor.comInstagram | sfsgunsmithOld soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.

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2 of 11 comments
  • Scott K Scott K on Dec 14, 2023

    Looks great!
    Thank you for sharing that repair with us.
    Now someone needs to take the absolutely worst C96 that can be found and go full tactical on it.
    For science.

  • MadDog MadDog on Dec 16, 2023

    This is by far my favorite series on TFB. Sam, you are a craftsman. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and skills. Most of the things you show I probably wouldn’t try myself. But this is like my wife watching Food Network or HGTV. It’s relaxing.