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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I would like to show off my recent acquisition. And I want to ask some questions from the community. Initially knowing nothing about the gun, I fell in love with this Manny at Cabel's, Fort Worth Gun Library. It remained there in stock for several months seemingly waiting for me to find the cash to buy it. Hopefully it's not a case of me being the only person appreciating the rifle. Or maybe no one wanted to contend with the rarity of the ammunition; it's chambered for 8x56mm M-S, not to be confused with the somewhat more available 8x56mm R. A mystery to me, I thought the rifle beautiful and wanted to discover more about it.

I am commonly curious as so many gun enthusiasts about the age of the firearm. Research indicates that not everything can be known about production dating by the serial number visible on barrel and receiver. There should be numbers beneath the stock that translate into production number and year of manufacture. But before I remove the stock would you take a shot at assessing the approximate year or range of years when you think the rifle may have been made? The serial number is middle 7000's.

There is a bit of gunk built up on areas of the rifle, and I do not think it to be corrosion. Also, I don't think its harming the metal or wood and I would kind of like to leave it alone. What are your thoughts? I have not fired the gun yet as I am awaiting the delivery of a very expensive 10-round box of ammunition. However, those functions that can be checked appear to operate perfectly. The action of the bolt is unbelievable how smooth it is. Some of the gunk gets in the way of the fold up 300-yard rear leaf sight that I would probably never use, but I might clean that area. Is there anything so far that you would ask for me to check?

Circling back to the rarity of the ammunition issue; does anyone have a resource where I could purchase 8x56mm M-S?

Advanced thanks for your comments and thoughts.

Dennis
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I also have a 1908.

You can't speculate on a year beyond 1908 other than sometime between 1908 and 1940-ish.. The proof marks will have to be examined. If/when you pull it down don't forget the front sling stirrup screw and the screw that holds the nose cap on. Inletting is usually TIGHT so be careful or you'll break, crack or split the forearm. I think you have to remove the trigger guard to get to the rear action screw.

The reputation of the 1903, '05, '08 and '10 M/S rifles is impeccable. Hemmingway owned and used one and wrote of the use of a 1903 in one of his novels. Walter Dalrymple Maitland Bell, (Karamojo Bell), used the 6.5 M/S with 156 gr., RN, solids on elephant before he settled on the 275 Rigby for his elephant rifle. The 1910 was in 9.5 M/S cartridge. It had another English designation I believe but I forget what it was. 375 Express maybe? To call them a delightful rifle is understatement. Yours appears to be a nice, unaltered example, as is my 1908. My 1903 has claw mount bases.

BACO used to carry 8 X 56 M/S ammo made from 35 Whelen brass. It was too hot for my rifle so I pulled the bullets, weighed the powder charge, resized and reloaded the cases with 2 grains less. It was fine then. PPU and/or Sellier & Bellot might have some in stock. I think one or both still load it. Cases and/or ammo might be available from Huntington's. I made mine from 30-06 brass and I think I had to turn the necks. The standard bullet is 196 grains. 8 X 57 will chamber in some 1908's, though it isn't supposed to but, don't shoot it. The 8 X 57 is quite a bit hotter.

The 8 X 56 M/S is, like many other obsolete cartridges, under rated and under appreciated. The rifles have never been inexpensive and I can assure you, they are neither under rated nor under appreciated. There is a Mannlicher Collector's Assn. that is worth belonging to and, they used to have a web site, maybe still do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I had to take the rifle to a gunsmith because I could not break the main bolt free and feared I would tear up the head. Can we tell from these stamps the year of manufacture of this rifle? They do not look the way I thought they would with a unique ID number, a dot, and the year. At least it's not as cleanly laid out as that.
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Hey Dennis, as per my PM to you, I was right, wonder of wonders! 1919, straight from Axel Eichendorff in Saxony and if he doesn't know, no one knows.
 

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Nice MS you have there. I bought a near mint one back in1975 for $250 from a local guy who lived in a house behind a machinist friend of my brother.
I sold it to someone who would become one of my oldest and best friends for $300 with the understanding if he were to ever sell it I would have first choice, Well fast forward 33 years and my friend tells me that he had an offer for $4,000.00 for the rifle that he was going to take.
I was a little PO at the time as that was the rifle that started our friend ship so many years ago.
Well he did the deal and I still did not fully get over it. A few years later he passed and a mutual friend of mine and the executor of the will called me and were were talking and he said I had pick of the litter. When I said what do you mean, he said you don't know? and I said know what?
My friend had put in his will I had the choice of any gun in his collection.
My friend only would buy a gun for his collection that was near mint, he would actually look for a reason not to buy it.
When I was told of this I did not even think about what gun I wanted, It was a Martin Hagn falling block in 7x64 Brennecke with a claw mount scope in, owned by John Amber editor of Gun Digest for over 40 years.
The rifle was hand made by Martin Hagn in 1982? he did it all the wood metal and had the action engraved by H. Funk.
I still miss my friend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey Dennis, as per my PM to you, I was right, wonder of wonders! 1919, straight from Axel Eichendorff in Saxony and if he doesn't know, no one knows.
Hello there, Sharps.

Sorry I have not replied before this. I have been working new assignments. Thank you for the information you discovered and shared.

I had joined the Mannlicher Collectors Association and while I posted some pictures of the rifle, I never asked about the date. At that point I felt pretty confident that it was from 1919. The chambering alone seemed to indicate that the rifle was of an era before the manufacturer was catering to the US market.

Post WWII the German and other European bolt action rifles seemed to catch traction in the US, at least among those who appreciated them and could afford them. I have to wonder if the souvenir guns brought back by US troops wasn't at least partially if not mostly responsible for the introduction of these guns here in the states, as well as popularizing the Mauser chamberings.

I know I am getting way of the topic of dating my M-S. But the inadvertent marketing campaign that took place via souvenir guns being brought into the US by the many thousands piques my interest. After more than 4 decades in existence, finally 9mm pistols are in the hands of the average everyday American shooter for their own review.

D
 

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Glad I was able to help...even though you had it "figgered out."....lol! You should have received one or more of MCA's little newsletter, yes?

Well, I can tell ya something about those war trophies. A LOT of them were chambered in cartridges never heard of or loaded over here and, I have a few. A lot of them were also chambered in cartridges long known and loaded in the US, since the 1920's. The most common obviously the 7 X 57 and the 8 X 57 but, Winchester, Remington and others loaded the 6.5 X 54, 9.5 X 56, 9 X 57 Mauser and quite a few others not well known today. On another forum, last week I think, there was a thread by a fella who had just inherited a box or two each of Remington 6.5 X 54 and 9.3 X 57 that are pre-war. He was ignorant of both cartridges.
 

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I also have a 1908.

You can't speculate on a year beyond 1908 other than sometime between 1908 and 1940-ish.. The proof marks will have to be examined. If/when you pull it down don't forget the front sling stirrup screw and the screw that holds the nose cap on. Inletting is usually TIGHT so be careful or you'll break, crack or split the forearm. I think you have to remove the trigger guard to get to the rear action screw.

The reputation of the 1903, '05, '08 and '10 M/S rifles is impeccable. Hemmingway owned and used one and wrote of the use of a 1903 in one of his novels. Walter Dalrymple Maitland Bell, (Karamojo Bell), used the 6.5 M/S with 156 gr., RN, solids on elephant before he settled on the 275 Rigby for his elephant rifle. The 1910 was in 9.5 M/S cartridge. It had another English designation I believe but I forget what it was. 375 Express maybe? To call them a delightful rifle is understatement. Yours appears to be a nice, unaltered example, as is my 1908. My 1903 has claw mount bases.

BACO used to carry 8 X 56 M/S ammo made from 35 Whelen brass. It was too hot for my rifle so I pulled the bullets, weighed the powder charge, resized and reloaded the cases with 2 grains less. It was fine then. PPU and/or Sellier & Bellot might have some in stock. I think one or both still load it. Cases and/or ammo might be available from Huntington's. I made mine from 30-06 brass and I think I had to turn the necks. The standard bullet is 196 grains. 8 X 57 will chamber in some 1908's, though it isn't supposed to but, don't shoot it. The 8 X 57 is quite a bit hotter.

The 8 X 56 M/S is, like many other obsolete cartridges, under rated and under appreciated. The rifles have never been inexpensive and I can assure you, they are neither under rated nor under appreciated. There is a Mannlicher Collector's Assn. that is worth belonging to and, they used to have a web site, maybe still do.
So, I would like to show off my recent acquisition. And I want to ask some questions from the community. Initially knowing nothing about the gun, I fell in love with this Manny at Cabel's, Fort Worth Gun Library. It remained there in stock for several months seemingly waiting for me to find the cash to buy it. Hopefully it's not a case of me being the only person appreciating the rifle. Or maybe no one wanted to contend with the rarity of the ammunition; it's chambered for 8x56mm M-S, not to be confused with the somewhat more available 8x56mm R. A mystery to me, I thought the rifle beautiful and wanted to discover more about it.

I am commonly curious as so many gun enthusiasts about the age of the firearm. Research indicates that not everything can be known about production dating by the serial number visible on barrel and receiver. There should be numbers beneath the stock that translate into production number and year of manufacture. But before I remove the stock would you take a shot at assessing the approximate year or range of years when you think the rifle may have been made? The serial number is middle 7000's.

There is a bit of gunk built up on areas of the rifle, and I do not think it to be corrosion. Also, I don't think its harming the metal or wood and I would kind of like to leave it alone. What are your thoughts? I have not fired the gun yet as I am awaiting the delivery of a very expensive 10-round box of ammunition. However, those functions that can be checked appear to operate perfectly. The action of the bolt is unbelievable how smooth it is. Some of the gunk gets in the way of the fold up 300-yard rear leaf sight that I would probably never use, but I might clean that area. Is there anything so far that you would ask for me to check?

Circling back to the rarity of the ammunition issue; does anyone have a resource where I could purchase 8x56mm M-S?

Advanced thanks for your comments and thoughts.

Dennis
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Just a few points to add to the other comments.
Yours is a first class rifle that was not made for export, although there were US companies which did import and market them pre-war, most notably AF Stoeger of New York. The retail price in their 1939 catalog was $140, which was a significant piece of changeconsidering comparable rifles from Winchester and Remington cost between $60 and $70 at the time.

Sharps4590 alluded to the fact that you must take care selecting the cartridges you choose to shoot. Because this action is a “split breech” type, it is not designed to handle higher pressure cartridgeswhich we now too often take for granted. Please do not trust your ‘local reloading expert’ to manufacture ammo.

Another caution is to never close the bolt on a chambered cartridge! This is one of the slickest bolt actions I’ve ever handled, but it was designed to feed from the magazine. When you do so, the cartridge slides under the extractor upon chambering. Closing the bolt on a chambered cartridge requires the extractor to move out of the way of the cartridge rim and then snap back into place, which can cause the extractor to break. You don’t want to buy parts for it!

Take care and learn how to use the double trigger mechanism. Pressing the front trigger forward sets the ‘hair’ trigger and firing pressure is very light. You can practice this without cocking the bolt, so you can become comfortable with the light pullwithout dry-firing and putting unnecessary stress on the firing pin. Under most hunting conditions, the rear trigger will suffice, although the pull poundage and let-off is greater.

Lastly, your rifle is not set up for a scope mount. Please do not be tempted to have it modified to do so.
No good will come of that and you will regret it, I assure you.

You have a classic rifle of old world quality. With a little basic standard care, it will last another hundred years. Congratulations. I hope you enjoy it as was intended.
 

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Take care and learn how to use the double trigger mechanism. Pressing the front trigger forward sets the ‘hair’ trigger and firing pressure is very light. You can practice this without cocking the bolt, so you can become comfortable with the light pullwithout dry-firing and putting unnecessary stress on the firing pin. Under most hunting conditions, the rear trigger will suffice, although the pull poundage and let-off is greater.
Well...that ain't right. The 1903, '05, '08 and '10, were equipped with double set triggers. You pull the rear trigger until it "sets", then the front trigger is "hair." The front trigger will fire the rifle without being set, at a considerably heavier let off. The screw between the triggers is for sear engagement.

What you described is a single set trigger. I don't recall ever seeing a pre-war M/S with one.
 
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