Newest Addition: Mannlicher M1895

Today we welcome our newest addition to our collection: a Budapest-made Mannlicher M1895 rifle used by the Austro-Hungarians and Bulgarians in large numbers.  Unfortunately, this particular rifle has been updated to the spitzer 8×56mmR cartridge, but most Mannlicher M1895s have been, so it’s pretty common to see them converted.  Thankfully, it has not been converted to a carbine, it is still in the long-rifle configuration, which is necessary for it to be a WWI-era weapon.

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Our full-length Budapest-made Mannlicher M1895.  The wood feels pretty good, but has a small crack at the back near where the bolt-handle is, so it is a display piece at this point.
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The markings on the barrel shank.  The “S”-stamp at the top means that it has been updated to the spitzer 8×56mmR cartridge.  The arrow below the “S”, we think, is for barrel-alignment, however neither of us have seen a marking with a full-blown arrow (they usually are just a plain arrow).  Under the arrow it reads “Budapest”, which is the Austro-Hungarian (now Hungarian) city where the rifle was made.  Only 25% of all Mannlicher M1895s were made in Budapest, so this is an uncommon marking to see.  To the right of the “Budapest” stamp there is a St. Stephen’s Crown, which is the symbol of Hungary.  Below the “Budapest” stamp it says “M.95” which means “Model 95”.  The hole in the barrel sleeve (just below the “M.95” stamp) denotes that the bolt is Bulgarian.

We think that this rifle was sent to the Bulgarians during the war because of the “S”-mark, the Bulgarian bolt, and the Cyrillic markings on the underside of the barrel.
The “S”-mark is significant in this instance because if it were Hungarian, the “S” would be replaced with an “H” to denote that it has been updated to the spizter cartridge; only the Austro-Hungarians and Bulgarians used the “S” stamps.  The Bulgarian bolt (which we can tell is Bulgarian because of the hole in the sleeve and the presence of a Bulgarian Lion near the bolt handle) also increases the chances that this rifle was sent to Bulgaria, although it is possible that the bolt was mix-matched to the rifle.  Finally, the presence of Cyrillic arsenal markings on the underside of the rifle’s barrel helps solidify the fact that the rifle was used (or at least updated) by the Bulgarians.

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A close-up of the Bulgarian Lion stamped on the underside of the bolt-handle.  Rifles used by the Czechs just after the war have a similar stamp, but the lion is encased in a square and the lion’s tail is not “S”-shaped.  These Czech rifles are pretty scarce.
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The sights are also the type that have not been updated to the WWII-era specs.  Besides the “S” mark, this is a WWI-era gun!  The weapon is sighted for a range of 300-2,600 “schritt” (246-2,132 yards), where a “schritt” is an obsolete Austro-Hungarian unit of measurement similar to a “pace”.