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Austro-Hungarian Model 1895 Steyr-Mannlicher

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World War One319 of 676Model 1895 Steyr BayonetImperial German Reservist’s stein of Gefreiter Eckert
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    Posted 7 years ago

    Chrisnp
    (310 items)

    The 1895 Steyr was the standard issue rifle of Germany’s main WWI ally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. When the Empire was broken up after the war, the ’95 Steyr continued to serve with the Austrians and the Hungarians, as well as the Czechs, Yugoslavs, Bulgarians and others through WWII. Afterwards they would continue to pop up in third world hotspots like Mozambique as late as the 1970s.

    M95 has a then-revolutionary Mannlicher design feature that made it easily the fastest bolt action rifle of WWI – a straight pull action. In typical bolt action rifles, the shooter has to lift the bolt handle up and then pull it back then push bolt forward and press it down. The Steyr reduced this to two smooth movements: pull then push. The Austrian troops called this “ruck-zuck” roughly “right now.”

    I mentioned in an earlier post that a British soldier could fire an impressive 25 shots per minute with his SMLE. An Austrian soldier armed with the M95 could fire up to 35 shots per minute. The trade-off was that the Steyr required more maintenance than the SMLE, and suffered from extraction problems. Actually there was one contingent of the British Empire that did use a nearly identical straight pull design; the Canadians armed with the Ross rifle - and the Canadians quickly abandoned the Ross in favor of the SMLE.

    M95s were manufactured in Steyr, Austria and Budapest, Hungary. Mine bears the Steyr factory markings throughout, Austrian Eagle proof mark and 1917 acceptance date. Starting in 1930, the Austrians converted their M95s from 8x50R to a more powerful 8x56R and stamped the barrel and receiver with a large “S”, which mine also bears. The sling is correct post-war issue and marked “STOLLA” and “WEIN” (Vienna).

    It appears this rifle was transferred to Bulgaria, very likely under German orders between 1938 and 1940, when Austria was under Nazi Occupation. The serial number has been etched into the bolt with an electro-pencil, something unique to Bulgarian refurbished M95s. It was the Bulgarian M95s that showed up in Mozambique in the 1970s.

    Ammo: The Austrian issue 8x56R ball ammo had a velocity of 2034 feet per second. I purchased a huge quantity of surplus ammo at a bargain price many years ago, and have not needed to rely on reloads. I’ve purchased cases and dies for when that inevitably happens. I get an average of about a six inch group at 100 yards with my MilSurps, but frequently get outliers.

    WARNING: Load data is provided for information only. Many vintage firearms are unsafe to shoot and I do not advise use of this load data for other firearms since I do not know the specific firearm that may be involved or its condition.

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    Comments

    1. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      Ah, there you are! About time. Nice example. There is a nice Kraig on Rob Robles antique gun auction that just came up. Kraut is moving back in so will get back with you later.
    2. fortapache fortapache, 7 years ago
      Another interesting rifle. Thank you for the history lesson.
    3. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 7 years ago
      Thanks for the love petey, officialfuel, racer4four, AmberRose, blunder, geo26e, fortapache and Manikin.

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