This is a super rare example of a Mondragon Model 1894 Type II A bolt action rifle that was designed and developed by Colonel Manuel Mondragon. The first rifle designed by Colonel Mondragon was the Model 1893, which proved to be unsuccessful and short lived. This is the second and improved version of that rifle. These early Mondragon rifle are extremely rare with only a very few even know to exist in the world today. Most are in very advanced, private collections, and "1 or 2" are in factory museums. It is truly a significant find especially since it's serial number "1". Manuel Mondragon as we know was a General in the Mexican Army who designed several highly advanced weapons that were unlike anything before. Mondragon trained in Mexico and was educated at the French Military Academy at St. Cyr. In his career, he played a significant part in the design and development of the French 75mm field gun, which turned out to be one of the best lightweight cannons in the world at the time. He later went on to design and develop the Model 1908 semi-automatic rifle, which was also the "first" semi-automatic rifle to be adopted by any nation. Early on in his military career, he made a close association with various engineers from the SIG factory in Switzerland, and began a long standing association with the company in which he relied on them as one of the few arms makers in the world at that time capable of producing new, modern designed arms made to watch like tolerances that he demanded. Certainly at this time 1893/94 and later on in 1908 (at the time of the development of the semi-automatic rifle) the SIG factory was one of the foremost leading weapon manufacturers in the world. The rifle itself, as noted, is a Model 1894, Type II A, and has the 30 inch barrel with the bayonet lug on the underside of the front barrel band, (this makes it an A model). It has several unique features: the first is that it has a three position, selector switch on the right side, marked "A, L and R". When the switch is in the "A" position it fires from the close bolt position firing singularly like a regular bolt action rifles; in the "L" position it is on safe and in the "R" position it will fire like a semi-automatic rifle, (when you continuously hand cycle the bolt). Second it has an "enbloc" type clip, (that probably holds 6-8 cartridges) based on the same principle as the M1 Garand, only it proceeded that rifle by 34 years! It has two rows of 5 locking lugs (five at the front and five a t the rear of the body body), which are clearly influenced by the Swiss Rubin rifles at the time. The large bolt handle rides on a machined rail on the side of the receiver, which has a small sliding pin that engages the side of the bolt. It has a two piece stock assembly, (a buttstock and "one-piece" forend that actually is more like a barrel shroud) that has two small finger grooves on each side. It has the inverted barleycorn front sight with a very late tangent rear sight. The rear sight is graduated from 4-18 (400-1800 meters). As noted, it is serial number "1" which is found on top of the bolt, under the rear sight, and on the underside of the front of the receiver ring. The consignor notes that this rifle was originally purchased in 1956 from Martin B. Retting, a well know early gun dealer located in Culver City, CA. Also included with this rifle is one of the original, rare enbloc clips for this rifle; a letter that was sent to the SIG factory in 2014 requesting information on this rifle and a hand written response (in Swiss) and photocopies of the original 1896, U.S. patent filing on this rifle design by Manuel Mondragon.
Very good as period refurbished showing wear on the exposed metal parts, and probably better finish in the protected areas. The reoiled stock and forend are both in good condition with minimal handling marks and was lightly sanded years ago and has now taken on a medium brown color overall. There is also a small stress crack that starts at the rear of the receiver and curves around and down the left side. It has not broken clear through, but it is visible. The left side of the stock also has three old dowel-pin repairs to strength that area. Notwithstanding these repairs, this is an extremely rare, very early bolt action Mondragon rifle that would be almost impossible to locate today for sale.
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