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I've inherited a rifle (photo attached) that is either an Oesterr Waffenfabr or a Mannlicher Schoenaur (or both?) manufactured in Austria. The rifle is in horrible shape, but I'm planning on restoring it as I think it could be a beautiful piece. I had a few questions I'm hoping someone can help me answer:
  • I'm confused as to the two names stamped on the receiver - is one the make (Oesterr Waffenfabr) and the other the manufacturer (Mannilicher Schoenaur)?
  • According to the patent mark, it looks like it was originally a 7x64, but may have been modified to shoot Rem 280? Is a casting the only way to confirm this?
  • Stamped on the barrel and on the receiver is a "3500" - what does this number signify? Is this a model or lot number?
  • I've seen a lot of postings about 1910 and 1908 models, but there is nothing to indicate the actual year of manufacture of this gun. Is there any way to tell when it was originally made and/or imported? I did find something on-line that indicated the 7x64 was manufactured around 1925, but would like to confirm, if possible.
  • Again, I think this could be a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, and am not interested in selling it at this point. However, is there anything I should keep in mind while I'm restoring it, so as not to affect its value any more than the existing modification(s), i.e. should I fill chips in the stock? Any finish options other than re-bluing (durakote?). I think a gloss finish on the stock would be really nice, but maybe a hand-rubbed finish would be more historically accurate? Should I leave it with open sights, or would it be ok to mount a scope?
  • How might the caliber modification and barrel stamp affect the collectability of this gun?
  • On each side of the fore stock, there are two retractable tines. Someone PLEASE tell me these were used as spikes to anchor to a tree to stabilize the gun for long shots! What a simple, neat, and elegant advancement!
Thanks in advance to anyone who might have some insights. This is only one of a number of guns I'm working on, and I'm hoping this forum will help me with some of the other projects as well!

Sancho
Oesterr Waffenfabr.jpg
Bolt_Receiver.jpg
Manfacture Stamp.jpg
Patent Stamp.jpg
Butt_Storage.jpg
 

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I'm sure someone will be along soon to help you.

In the mean time, welcome to TFF, and

how deep was the saltwater you found her in?
 

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I'm sure someone will be along soon to help you.

In the mean time, welcome to TFF, and

how deep was the saltwater you found her in?
Thanks for the welcome! Yes, it will definitely be a project.

The guns came from my godfather, who asked me to take them before he passed. He had them hidden in a secret compartment, which hadn't been opened in over 20 years. This gun is by far the worse off, but also the most unique, so I'm hoping I can restore it to something he would have been proud of.
 

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Oh, this rifle is in a wretched situation, but I'm shure, you can restore it.
Manufacturer is the " Oesterreichische Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft Steyr", a famous factory in Steyr, Austria, existing up to 1926., than changing the name often.
The system is Mannlicher-Schoenauer, also very famous, chambered in cal. 7 x 64mm
3500 is the serial no.
If you will see more information about this gun you must dismantle the stock (skrew behind the trigger and skrew in front the magazine).
Why you think the caliber has modificated? 7 x 64 is a very usefull caliber for hunting big game in the whole world.
Retractable tines? I can't see? I think it's the holder for the rifle sling in front.
 

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Oesterr is Austria. Waffenfabr is an abbreviated form of Waffenfabrik which means "weapons maker or fabricator". So, that means Austrian Weapons Maker/Fabricator". I can't remember what Ges. is an abbreviation for but Steyr is the city.

Mannlicher is Ferdinand von Mannlicher the designer of the action.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Mannlicher

Schoenauer is Otto Shoenauer the designer of the magazine thus the "Mannlicher/Schoenauer".

http://www.steyrscout.org/steyr2.htm

Your numbers as described are meaningless without being in the context of the rest of the proof marks. Remove the barrel and action from the stock, carefully, it will be tight. Somewhere near where the barrel screws into the action should be the full compliment of proofs. GOOD pictures of those will tell the whole story. The "3500" is not a model number to my knowledge. Within the proof marks should be a date code as well as whether or not it was proofed in Wien, (Vienna), or Ferlach.

It appears your rifle was originally chambered for the 7 X 64 Brenneke. Whether or not it is still is anyone's guess. Perhaps your godfather can answer that question. For an "out of thin air" guess it seems unlikely to me it would have been re-chambered to a nearly identical cartridge. The 7 X 64 Brenneke was introduced in 1917 so your rifle will post date that. The two cartridges in the butt trap should tell you something.

You are correct regarding the "tree spikes" that project from each side of the stock. They were to serve as a brace.

Beginning in 1903 there was the following models of M/S sporting rifles: 1903, 1905, 1908 and 1910. All were the same rifle except for the cartridge for which they were chambered,stock configuration and whether or not they were take down. None of those were in 7 X 64 Brenneke....obviously. The Brenneke was not introduced until 1917 as previously stated. I do not know what model your may be as my knowledge is limited to the earlier rifles.

As far as collector value, yours is pretty minimal at the moment unless the cartridge for which it is likely chambered is a rarity. I don't know for certain but it appears to me the front half of the stock has been cut off. I don't recall ever seeing any M/S, carbine or rifle, with a fore end that square cut. As you mentioned its condition is.....pretty rough is as good as any description. The only way to enhance its value would be a complete and proper restoration. Most all the things you described will only detract further from what value it has left. The Mannlicher/Schoenauer's are valuable and highly sought after rifles and it would be a shame to give that one less than a complete and proper restoration. They were and are fine pieces of craftsmanship and have been called, justifiably so, the smoothest bolt action ever made. It already has scope mounts or did you know that? They are the double slotted thingy in front of the receiver ring and the rear mount should be on the left side at the rear of the rear receiver bridge, just above the bolt release. You will need the proper claw type rings and a scope that fits their height. A gloss finish on that stock has a one word answer, wrong. Durakote is wrong, filling stock dents is wrong, you raise the dents. I'll reduce this to its lowest terms. If you don't know what you're doing to "restore" a fine, Austrian rifle leave it the Sam Hill alone and let someone who does know do the work. Otherwise you will end up with just more of a hack job.
 

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Marble, we did it again....lol. Your post beat me by a few minutes. Thanks for spelling out "Gesellschaft". I absolutely could not remember.

The "tree spike" braces are below the rear sight and mid-way in the stock.
 

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As far as being rechambered. What are those cartridges in the stock? I see 2 unfired and what looks like several fired cases.
 
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Thanks to you all for the quick and thorough replies! I realized I missed attaching one of the photos, which has a view of the "tree spike" supports, as well as the 280 R stamp, which is obviously a recent (unfortunate) addition. The bullets in the butt are also 280 Rem, which was just more evidence to me that the gun had been modified. Not sure why the GF would have rechambered it, unless he had difficulty finding 7 x 64 rounds and wanted more accessible ammunition he could find in the US. Remember, its been in a secret closet for 20+ years - pre-Internet! Unfortunately, I now have the guns because he passed away this past November.

As far as repair, I'll try to find a good reputable gunsmith in my area to consult with (thanks for the candid advice, Sharps). Don't know that I'll be able to recapture any real value - especially with so many mods (didn't realize the stock had been cut, or why anyone would want to shorten it), but it is still a great looking firearm and I'd like to get it restored to a usable state. I've done a few repairs, but nothing of any historical value or interest, so Sharps is correct that this might be better left to the experts.
280 Stamp.jpg
 

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That picture and the 280 cartridges could just change things. A chamber cast would be helpful.
 

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I didn't mean to sound....cranky. Every day there are getting to be fewer and fewer original old rifles and just because one has been altered a bit doesn't mean it can't be brought back. Obviously it will never be original again but they can be made to look like they did when new. Ahhh...but now that more information has come to light I don't believe that one could ever do any more than look original. Evidently it has been re-chambered to 280 Remington. As howlin' said and you mentioned in your first post a chamber cast is the only way to definitively know. That part, the re-chambering, is the real shame here. I believe I have read of guys in Germany who use 280 Remington ammo in their 7 X 64 Brenneke's. I just checked the dimensions in COTW and the biggest difference I could see is the shoulder diameter. I would want to check the dimensions in Donnely's before I passed any kind of judgment.

Mannlicher was famous for its full length stock. I don't know for certain that one has been cut but it sure doesn't look right for a factory half stock. You might be able to give the fore end tip a close examination and be able to tell. If it has been and you wanted to take it back to original a new stock would have to be made. If you just want to make it presentable the fore end tip could be reshaped.

A question I failed to ask and no one else has is, what is the bore like? If it's shot then you basically have an old Mannlicher action with a funky stock. However, that opens a lot of options. At this point, and this is purely me thinking on line, boring the barrel out and re-rifling to 9 X 56 M/S, fill in the "280R" stamp leaving the other proofs, leave the barrel at what appears to be rifle length, have a new, full length Mannlicher stock made, rust blue everything, find or have made a set of correct scope rings for a VINTAGE German scope and have an elegant, powerful, nice looking sort of historical representation of an original Mannlicher/Schoenauer sporting rifle....and have spent enough to buy two original M/S rifles...but it would sure be cool and it's definite you would have the only one on the block.
 
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I can't remember what Ges.
Gesellschaft = corporation.

I believe I have read of guys in Germany who use 280 Remington ammo in their 7 X 64 Brenneke's.
Yes, we have done this to get knowledge about the difference of both. You can do this but after firing you need power in your hands to open the chamber, the cartridge is 0,58mm longer than the 7 x 64.
The bore is is the same: 7,2mm.
7 x 64 ist one of the most used calibers in Europe. and it's only a small difference between both.
cartridge 7 x 64 / .280
shoulder diameter 10,8 / 11,25mm
neck diameter 7,95 / 8mm
neck angle 20° 13' / 17° 30'
bullet diameter 7,25 / 7,23mm
rim diameter 11,95 /n 12,01mm
base diameter 11,85 / 11,9mm
case length 64 / 64,52mm
overall length 84 / 84,58mm
maximum pressure 4150 / 4081bar

I don't know for certain that one has been cut but it sure doesn't look right for a factory half stock.
No, the stock isn't cut, only the horn close on the end is missing.
 

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Really? I knew something wasn't right with the fore end tip but not what. I suppose my suspicion of it being cut came from having seen so many carbines that were cut. If that tip is like most Mannlicher/Schoenauer parts finding one will be difficult.

Sancho, in those "pre-internet" days and especially when your Godfather probably acquired that rifle the 7 X 64 Brenneke did seem to be largely unavailable in the US. I believe it's always been available in one manner or another but has always been a cartridge one would have to seek out. A great majority of local gun shops would have been ignorant of it and unless they possessed the curiosity to find out about the cartridge and locate ammo it's unlikely they would have been of any help. If they were aware of the cartridge and had no sense of preservation suggesting re-chambering would have been their first offer. It is positive one wasn't going to run down to Wally World and pick up a couple boxes. As with a large number of fine old rifles from that era the then current owners wanted to use them and had them altered so they could. From 7 X 64 Brenneke to 280 Remington would have been a very easy and economical alteration. Much like the 8mm-06 was right after WWII. Simply run in a chambering reamer. I could regale you for hours with some of the alterations I've seen and the hoops I've jumped through to make some old rifles, drillings, stalking rifles and one Schuetzen rifle usable. Right now there is a cute little Jeffery Rook rifle in the safe awaiting being relined and chambered back to the original 255 Jeffery cartridge. The bore is shot, pitted horribly, and the rifle has been re-chambered to 25-20 WCF, another of those easy alterations. Obviously it will never be original again but it will be back to its original chambering and that is the only change I'll make. I hate doing it but it's either that, and maintain the original chambering marked on the barrel, or not have a very usable rifle. In addition the rest of the Jeffery Rook is in vastly better condition than your poor old M/S.
 

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I wonder if it would be easier to assess this rifle after a gentle cleaning. By appearances this piece is still coated with the residue from the hiding place. Would it be possible to use a 280 head space gauge to give a clue on the chambering? A clue only not the final answer.
 

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I don't know roundball. There is .03 difference in case length, advantage 280 Remington. Seems a 7 X 64 Brenneke gauge would tell more, no?

Regarding assessment....if much of the rest of it looks like the butt plate I don't know if there's much help.
 

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The 280 shoulder is further forward where the headspace is measured. It has been my experience working most recently with a 1884 TD that a good appropriate cleaning is worth the effort. We found a shootable bore and sound wood. Sometimes there is more there than originally thought. Butt plates take a beating and may not be indicative about the balance of the rifle. Wonder what the bore looks like. Also, wonder why the rifle was hidden away.
 

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I asked about the bore yesterday, no reply yet. I just checked COTW and didn't look at my Donnely's. COTW doesn't show the base to shoulder length and I wondered which was longer/shorter. Glad you did check.
 

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I know this is an old thread (just ran across it), but how did things turn out?

Sharps 4590's advice seems spot on with this. If you do make a custom stock (yours is a cut- off fullstock), do not lose the original parts. Those cleaning rods alone are quite valuable, as are original Mannlicher Schoenauer screws, et cetera.
 
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