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Steyr-Mannlichter M95

The Steyr-Mannlicher M1895 rifle is an early bolt-action rifle, designed by Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher. It was employed by the Austro-Hungarian army throughout World War I, and post-war by both Austrian and Hungarian armies. During World War II Romania employed much use of the Mannlicher rifle. Numbers of these rifles also turned out in World War II, particularly in the hands of second line and reservist units. Many were found in the hands of African guerrillas in the 1970s.

The M1895 is unusual in employing a straight-pull bolt action, as opposed to the more common rotating bolt of other rifles. It is also renowned for a high degree of reliability and sturdiness, although this requires decent care and maintenance with an extractor that is notoriously prone to breakage.

Rate of fire is fairly high, for a manual action weapon, as there is no requirement to turn or twist the bolt when operating the weapon, but the bolt is very stiff and there is considerable recoil, especially on the stutzen (carbine) versions.

The M1895 was originally chambered in the 8x50mmR cartridge. Between the World Wars, both Austria and Hungary converted the majority of their rifles to fire the more powerful 8x56mmR round. Greece and Yugoslavia converted at least some of their captured M1895s to 7.92x57mm Mauser, fed by stripper clips instead of the original model's en-bloc clip system. This conversion was designated M95/24 in Greece and M95M in Yugoslavia. The M95/24 is often mistakenly attributed to Bulgaria, but 7.92x57mm was never a standard caliber of the Bulgarian military. These conversions are prized by collectors for their relative scarcity and chambering in a commonly available round, but suffer from a fragile extractor and a lack of replacement parts.

Based on his previous M1890 design, this rifle was manufactured in Austro-Hungarian Empire at state arms factories in Steyr (Austria) and Budapest (Hungary). More than 3 million of M95 rifles were produced between 1895 and 1918.

Ferdinand Von Mannlicher developed his first straight-pull bolt action rifle by 1884, and by 1885 he developed the famous Mannlicher en block clip, which was inserted into the box magazine from the top, and automatically ejected through the opening at the bottom of the magazine as the last round was chambered. This significantly speed up the loading process, compared to the earlier designs with magazines loaded by single rounds; the problem was that such magazine could not be loaded with loose rounds without the clip. As a result, during the early part of the 20 century Mannlicher en bloc clip was generally replaced by the Mauser-type stripper clip. Earliest Mannlicher straight-pull rifles have had not so strong wedge-locking system, but in 1890 he introduced a straight pull bolt action with rotary bolt head with two lugs, which he latter used in M95 rifles.

Steyr Mannlicher M95 bolt has a separate head with two frontal locking lugs; bolt head was inserted into the bolt body from the front. Bolt body had internal spiral-shaped ribs, with matching spiral-shaped cuts in the tail of the bolt head. These ribs and cuts forced the bolt head to rotate on the pull of the bolt body, locking and unlocking the action. Box magazine contained five rounds in en bloc clips; as the magazine emptied, the clips were ejected from the opening at the bottom of the magazine. Non-empty clips could be removed from the top with the bolt open, by depressing the clip catch inside the triggerguard. One specific feature of this system was that the clip has specific "top" and "bottom" sides, and could not be loaded into the rifle upside down. The safety was located at the rear left side of the bolt. Large ear-shaped cocking handle at the rear of the bolt served as a manual cocking handle, to re-cock the action without operating the bolt. M95 rifles were issued with detachable knife bayonets. Other than basic rifle, M95 also was issued as Stutzen (short rifle or carbine, with bayonet lug), and slightly shorter cavalry carbine (without bayonet lug).

These rifles are generally considered as a reasonably strong and accurate, but somewhat sensitive to mud and dirt, as most others military straight pull bolt action rifles. There were several downsides, inherent to these rifles. The straight pull bolt lacked the powerful initial extraction, provided by most rotating bolt actions. Large opening at the bottom of the magazine easily collected the dirt and dust into the magazine. The en block clip loading system does not allow the partially full magazine to be refilled without removing the non-empty clip first. The use of rimmed ammunition resulted in the non-symmetric clip which could be inserted into the action only with one side down; upper side of the clip has stamped serrations to hold it while loading (this particular problem was cured in Italian Carcano rifles, which used rimless ammunition, and symmetric clips).

The en bloc clips for this rifle range in price from $10 to $20 although sometimes you can purchase original(scary) surplus ammo that is already on the en bloc clips. The clips usually available are either Austrian or Hungarian with Nazi markings. Original surplus is avaible in limited quantities and some-what rare and pricey. Hornady makes the round and it is non-corrosive and reasonably priced at around $24 rounded up. Since it's new production it is non-corrosive and reloadable.

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Steyr-Mannlichter Info

Straight Pull Bolt Action
8x50, 8x54r, 7.92x57
Barrel Length:
varies with variants
blued steel
5 rounds
fixed front fin and adjustable elevation rear

Steyr-Mannlichter Pictures (8)

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