Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers

  1. Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers
  2. Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers List
  3. Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers Identification
  4. Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers Search
  5. Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers For Sale

In 1960-61 Stoeger listed a 1960 MC model with the same stock as the 1956. MC models are also observed with MCA series stocks. Pre-WWII Mannlicher-Schoenauers existed in three action lengths, small (1900, 1903), medium (1905, 1908, 1910), and large (1924, 1925). Post WWII actions are of the M1924/25 standard size, or the M1958 magnum. Steyr Mannlicher Schoenauer 7x57 Custom GI#: 101557025 ON LAYAWAY THRU 12/2/20 Single trigger rifle, probably a 1952 (markings removed SN 24xxx), with custom scope mounts and custom scope safety. Rebarreled in the UK with modern proof marks, cal 7.Click for more info. MANNLICHER SCHOENAUER. Location: Steyr, Austria. Model 1956 Carbine Model 1961 MCA Rifle Model 1961 MCA Carbine. Key to the Mannlicher-Schoenauer's action was its detachable, rotary-style 'spool' magazine, shown here loaded with 6.5 mm M-S cartridges containing their characteristically long projectiles.

Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers 3,8/5 7419reviews Mannlicher Schoenauer Model 1952 General Rifles and Shotguns. Without having the serial number, does anyone know dates of. Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers. By sweredypfi1986 Follow Public. The right side of the barrel shank is marked with the serial number. Pre-WWII Mannlicher-Schoenauers existed in three action lengths, small (1900, 1903), medium (1905, 1908, 1910), and large (1924, 1925). Post WWII actions are of the M1924/25 standard size, or the M1958 magnum. The 1925 is also called the “High Velocity” model.

​A Mannlicher Introduction

Mannlicher-Schoenauers and their proprietary cartridges have lived in a world of song and story since 1903, and they are still going strong today as can be discerned by the advent of the .376 Steyr in the 1990s and the addition of the impressive .450 Marlin to the product line in the early 2000s. Traditional interest remains high concerning the 6.5x54mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer of 1903, the 8x56mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer of 1908, and the 9.5x57mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer of 1910, even in this day of high velocity ammunition, new stubby magnums and high intensity cartridges. So, what is the mystique of the Mannlicher that keeps these 110 year old firearms in the sporting interest? A writer can launch himself into page upon page of superlatives, legends, old hunting tales, personalities, and notorieties, such as Bell, Taylor, Stigand, Hemingway, and Sheldon, but, the mission of describing the mystique of the Mannlicher remains elusive, for there will always be one more incident, one more person, or one more characteristic to describe and discuss. After all, with so many years to develop an intense following from a world often populated with intense and energetic people, the chance for a specific firearm to gain a famous and peculiar niche in history is only natural.
This commentary is not intended to be a historical account of the Mannlicher-Schoenauer (M-S) and Steyr-Mannlicher (S-M) cartridges, but rather a listing of the cartridges chambered for these rifles and a description of the assorted models for information purposes, nor does this writer profess to describe every variation of these Steyr rifles and carbines, as the factory continually produced uncatalogued limited production runs for special customers. Various models of commercial Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifles and carbines were officially manufactured at the Steyr factory in Austria from 1900 to 1968, with clean up production adding approximately two years (1969 and 1970) of additional production to the noted manufacture dates. It may be argued that the origination dates should be extended into the early 1890s, as far as cartridges go, for the 6.5x53mmR, rimmed, was indeed the first of the famous 6.5mm Mannlicher rounds to be sold commercially. However, these earlier rifles did not utilize the rotary magazine for which the Mannlicher-Schoenauer and Steyr-Mannlicher firearms are famous.
What then, are the “Mannlicher-Schoenauer” cartridges? The pure Mannlicher-Schoenauer proprietary cartridges as chambered in the firearms of the SteyrWerke are as follows, (1) 6.5x54mm M-S of 1903, (2) 9x56mm M-S of 1905, (3) 8x56mm M-S of 1908, (4) 9.5x56mm M-S of 1910 (more on the names of this cartridge in its own section.) Other cartridges that are reputed to be Mannlicher, such as the 9.3x57mm, 10.75x57mm and 10.75x68mm, are more likely Mauser developments and rarely if ever seen in the M-S or S-M. The 9.3x57mm and 10.75x57mm being mentioned largely because some sources believe they were once Steyr cartridges, although specimens of such rifles have yet to emerge.
The total listing of known chamberings for M-S and S-M is given in Table 1, with an additional list of chamberings for the pre-M-S style firearms of 1890s vintage. Please note that this listing may not be all inclusive, as new chamberings for all models continue to appear, some catalogued and some uncatalogued.
Now to examine the Mannlicher-Schoenauers and their cartridges. The original 6.5mm examples are interesting because of the difference and compatibility of the same. The 6.5x53.5mm Rimmed and the 6.5x54mm are the only example of a rimmed and rimless cartridge being loaded to the same performance level, something that probably explains the use of the 6.5mm Rimmed by explorers such as Charles Sheldon well into the twentieth century, when the more modern rimless 6.5x54mm was already well established. Somehow, I don’t believe that modern power or design ever entered into Sheldon’s mind. He wanted performance and CHEAP, and the 6.5x53.5mm rimmed gave both to him, there is no accounting for taste! On the other side of the coin, the 6.5x54mm was widely accepted by the hunting establishment when they discovered the potency of the long nosed 160 grain FMJ bullets when used upon dangerous game. Of course, a large part of this success was also related to the changes in firearms, marksmanship, and hunting styles as well. The changeover from big bore black powder arms, to the modern small bore power house rounds like the .375 H&H and the .416 Rigby was tantamount to a complete changing of the rules in Africa and India, with the highly effective Mannlicher successfully hanging on to the coat tails of the larger bore cartridges. The main feature of the Mannlicher was that the users of the Mannlicher had to be excellent marksmen to achieve the goals they wanted. The professionals, and indeed, these men were professional, did achieve their goals with the 6.5x54mm Mannlicher.
Going past the 6.5x54mm, one starts to find another set of examples. The 8x56mm made a very successful image of itself in what a North American hunter would describe as a woods rifle, a bolt action .30-30 Winchester, and it did this work in both North America and in Europe. There’s not a lot to say about the 8x56mm, except that it was, and is, a superb deer rifle cartridge.
The M1905 rifle in 9x56mm is another case. A rifle designed for heavier European game, although its use was just too insular to become a world class player. Instead, the 9x56mm seems to have been a popular Austrian item, with little service outside of that zone.
The 9.5x56mm (9.5x57mm) provided another peculiar case. It is also known in England as the .375 Rimless Nitro Express 2 1/4, .375 Mannlicher and 9.5mm Mannlicher, but wait, there is another cartridge called the .375 Mannlicher Rimmed which is entirely different and made for the M1895 Sporting Mannlichers, just to muddy the waters a bit. Somehow this M1910 Mannlicher-Schoenauer became a de rigor firearm in a proper African safari suite of weapons. It was not an all around choice like a 9.3x62mm which was indeed its running mate in those early African days, but the rifles were light weight and inexpensive, which endeared them to the hunting fraternity. The 9.5mm could take any of the popular plains game antelope, and possibly a Lion if the shooter was proficient, and lucky. You can pick out the 9.5mm Mannlichers in the old movies by looking for the mannlicher stocked rifle with the BIG hole in the muzzle. They just stand out that way.
Finally, the pre WWII Mannlicher-Schoenauer tops its chamberings with a Mauser product, the 10.75x68mm. I purchased one in 1972 and sold it off in 1974 because I could find no ammunition for it. A well-known gun dealer and often outspoken Mannlicher-Collector once even went on record that the M-S could never have been chambered in the cartridge. Too bad he did not explore the issue in more detail. The MCA archives have photos of a 10.75x68mm Model 1910 in Australia, and another has been reported floating about in collections in the Pacific Northwest. You can also see them for sale in the European version online gun auctions. See the Mannlicher characteristics section for a complete listing of catalogued chamberings.

The Zephyr
This is the very classic .22 long rifle version of the Mannlicher family, cataloged from 1954 to 1969, but don't look for it in The Shooter's Bible under any listing as a Zephyr. It was cataloged as the Steyr Custom .22 Carbine. As .22 rifles go, there is hardly a more comfortable or more accurate sporting .22 sporter than the Zephyr. Unfortunately, they arrived on the market to compete against Winchester and Remington rifles selling for far less, not to mention the H&Rs and Mossbergs of the day, thus the Zephyr is quite rare in the USA, and if you lose a magazine you are going to pay most dearly for a replacement, if ever you find one. Once the shooter does have the opportunity to handle and shoot a Zephyr, they are then stricken with a terrible case of 'I gotta have one!', it's a sad state of affairs. Fortunately Steyr introduced the Zephyr II line a few years ago in case you cannot get one of the old ones.

​Date of Manufacture

Many people have contacted us to find out when their rifle was made. For Post WW-II models it is very easy. The number marked on the barrel and receiver in line with the proof marks is the two digit year of manufacture. For Pre WW-II models it is more difficult.

Here is a link to some excerpts from TMC newsletters that hopefully will help you identify when your rifle was made.

​About Mannlicher Links

​Mannlicher Gallery

World famous Kynoch ammunition in various Mannlicher calibers. The British were very fond of Mannlicher rifles. Note the two bottom boxes are for rimmed and rimless chamberings. The Mannlicher being rimmed and the Mannlicher Schönauer being the rimless variety.

Mannlicher-Schoenauer Improved Model 1952 Deluxe Carbine

By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff

Mannlicher-Schoenauer Model 1952 Deluxe Carbine. Photo by Chuck Hawks.

Regular Guns and Shooting Online readers probably realize that the classic Mannlicher-Schoenauers are among our favorite rifles and the Carbines are our favorite M-S models. They are so beautifully manufactured and finished, not to mention extremely accurate, it would be hard for any serious rifleman not to appreciate their quality and performance.

Many Mannlicher-Schoenauer aficionados consider the Improved Model 1952 (as it was officially known) to be the premier M-S sporting rifle. Heavily influenced by the US distributor, Stoeger Arms Corporation, the Improved Model 1952 was the last M-S with a straight comb stock. Its features included the absence of the military inspired stripper clip cuts in the receiver, steel safety lever at the right rear of the receiver (in addition to the traditional wing safety at the rear of the bolt) and swept-back bolt handle.

Improved Model 1952 carbines were offered in calibers .257 Roberts, 6.5x54mm M-S, .270 Winchester, 7x57mm Mauser, .308 Winchester (new 1953) and .30-06 Springfield. Full length rifles were also available in 9.3x62mm. The 6.5x54 came with an 18-1/4 inch barrel, the other calibers with a 20 inch barrel. Of these, the .257, 6.5x54 and 7x57 are our particular favorites, because they are highly effective hunting cartridges and their moderate recoil and muzzle blast make them particularly suitable for use in a carbine.

Our copyright 1954 Stoeger Shooter's Bible shows the Improved Model 1952 Carbine's list price as $205.75. This seems absurdly low by modern standards for a rifle with a full length European walnut stock, carved cheekpiece, hand checkering, high luster bluing, contoured barrel, mirror polished bore, adjustable trigger, rotary magazine, controlled feeding, timed screws, hand fitted and polished action. However, bear in mind that same year a Winchester Model 70 Super Grade rifle carried a $179.45 list price.

In addition to standard grade rifles and carbines, Mannlicher-Schoenauers were available in Deluxe and Super Deluxe grades from 1952-1955. Custom guns, made to measure, were also available to special order. These high grade M-S rifles and carbines are seldom seen and naturally command high prices on the used market today. In 1954, the Deluxe Carbine that is the subject of this article carried a list price of $245.75, or only about a 20% premium for a hand engraved rifle with upgraded walnut. Those were the days!

Deluxe receiver engraving. Photo by Chuck Hawks.

M-S Deluxe models were advertised as featuring unusually fine, select grained walnut. Light English style scroll engraving was found on the receiver, bolt, bolt release, magazine floor plate, bottom tang, trigger guard and all screws. This hand engraving was very well executed on our rifle; we were impressed.

Deluxe magazine floor plate engraving. Photo by Chuck Hawks.
Steyr mannlicher schoenauer serial numbers

Stoeger summarized the Deluxe model this way, 'Where a man not only wants the finest in a firearm, but also something which he can enjoy as a thing of unusual beauty, we offer the Deluxe model.' Today, M-S Deluxe Carbines are so rare that four hours of online research for this article failed to find even one for sale. Fjestad's mentions the Deluxe models, but does not include prices for them.

The example featured in this article was discovered at an estate sale. The deceased owned an extensive firearms collection and Guns and Shooting Online Gunsmithing Editor Rocky Hays was enlisted to help evaluate the collection, which included several M-S rifles, including this Deluxe 7x57mm Carbine.

The Mannlicher-Schoenauer action

The Mannlicher-Schoenauer action has been described in previous articles, but for those who are not regular G&S Online readers we will review it here. If you are familiar with the M-S action, feel free to skip down to 'Specifications.'

The M-S is a cock on opening, controlled feed, turn bolt action with dual front locking lugs. Bolt rotation is approximately 90-degrees.

The extractor is a large claw mounted at the right front of the bolt, while the sliding ejector is mounted at the front left side of the bolt. The ejector flips the fired case clear of the action when it contacts the husky bolt stop in the left side of the split rear receiver ring. The force of ejection depends on how hard and fast the bolt is operated, so fired cases can be thrown well clear of the action or deposited gently in the hand, as desired.

The M-S controlled feeding system is completely different from the familiar Mauser 98 system. The machined M-S extraction/ejection parts are smaller, tidier and probably stronger. As with a Model 98 Mauser, cartridges should normally be fed from the magazine, not single loaded directly into the chamber, although the extractor is beveled enough to allow it to over-ride the rim of a chambered cartridge if the bolt is closed smartly.

Total war: attila - viking forefathers culture pack 1.8. The Schoenauer rotary magazine is easily removed, without tools. Depress the recessed, steel button with a cartridge tip (or something similar) and rotate the magazine floor plate 90 degrees, then lift the magazine out.

Mannlicher Schoenauer 1950

It holds five standard diameter (7x57mm in this case) cartridges and is loaded from the top, through the receiver's generous ejection port. Load in a straight line downward, not in staggered fashion as with a Mauser type box magazine. The rotary magazine's design positively retains each cartridge in place, preventing the battering of bullet tips due to recoil.

Cartridges are fed from directly below the bolt in a straight line for optimum feeding reliability. Schoenauer rotary magazines are machined for a specific cartridge, in this case 7x57 Mauser. They are not 'one size fits all.'

A button at the top right side of the receiver's ejection port allows ejecting all of the cartridges from the magazine at once. Depressing the button allows the rotary magazine to spin backward, ejecting the cartridges from the ejection port.

The bolt release is a convenient lever at the left rear of the receiver. Bolt disassembly can be accomplished without tools, merely by removing the bolt from the receiver and turning the cocking piece.

Mannlicher-Schoenauers were known as, 'The Gentleman's Rifle' for a reason. All screws, even on standard models, were indexed and this was done throughout the entire production life of M-S rifles and carbines. The barreled action, including the bolt, wears a highly polished, blued external finish, while the interior of the stepped barrel is hand lapped to a mirror finish.

All models came with a flat 'butter knife' bolt handle that was located forward of the trigger guard. This was due to the design of the action, which has a split rear receiver ring through which the bolt handle passed as it was drawn back. This mostly eliminated the bolt wobble that plagued Mauser 98 pattern actions.

However, the split rear receiver ring was to cause trouble later, when the use of telescopic sights became widespread, as it prevented the use of conventional scope mounts on top of the receiver. Scoped M-S 1952 Carbines are usually fitted with side mounts, of which there were several available.

Our Deluxe came with a Paul Jaeger side mount that is rigid, detachable and extremely cleverly designed. It holds the scope low and centered over the top of the receiver.

The buyer had the option of an externally adjustable double set trigger, or an internally adjustable single trigger. (Stock removal is required to adjust the single trigger.) The double set trigger was the more popular option and this is how our Deluxe is equipped.

The set trigger is externally user adjustable for pull by means of a screw and we set ours for the maximum pull weight, which turned out to be 1.5 pounds per our RCBS trigger scale. (The set trigger can be adjusted so light the weight of the trigger itself will fire the rifle if the muzzle is pointed up!)

Like all M-S rifles, there is a wing safety at the back of the bolt that blocks the striker. Mounting a scope blocks this safety, so the Model 1952 also has a scope friendly, two position 'shotgun' safety at the right rear of the receiver.

The front receiver ring and the top of the striker wear very fine stippling to break-up light reflections that might interfere with using the open sights. Both the front and rear sights are dovetail mounted, allowing great latitude for drift windage adjustment. Index marks allow centering both the front and rear sights.

The open rear sight has a low, fixed blade and a taller, folding blade, which is all the elevation adjustment provided. The taller of the two rear sight leaves is marked '300,' supposedly indicating yards/meters.

Mannlicher-Schoenauers were supplied with European walnut stocks that do not need slenderizing. The fore end and pistol grip are oval in cross section and petite in circumference. The three panel, hand checkering wraps around the forearm on both standard and Deluxe models.

The hand finished stock incorporates a shadow line cheek piece, fluted comb and a moderately curved pistol grip with a black cap. There is a grooved, black bakelite butt plate. 1.0 inch sling swivels are supplied.


  • Model: 1952 Deluxe Carbine
  • Caliber: 7x57mm
  • Magazine capacity: 5
  • Barrel length: 20 in.
  • Trigger: Adjustable double Set
  • Metal finish: High luster blue
  • Sights: Dual leaf 'U' notch rear, hooded bead front; removable side plate for scope mounting
  • Safeties: Bolt wing and receiver mounted 'shotgun' type
  • Stock: Full length, select European walnut
  • Stock finish: Hand-rubbed oil
  • Weight: Approx. 7 lbs. (empty)
  • Overall length: 40.5 in.
  • Country of origin: Austria
  • 1954 MSRP: $245.75

Finding a Riflescope

Our Deluxe Carbine came with a low Paul Jaeger scope mount, but no riflescope. Scopes were very different in the early 1950s. In particular, they typically had much smaller objective and ocular bells and the Jaeger scope mount on our test rifle was designed for such scopes, rather than the bloated models popular today. We were unable to find a modern riflescope with an ocular bell of sufficiently petite diameter to clear the bolt handle when the bolt was cycled.

Fortunately, we had an old Bushnell Sportview 3-9x32mm variable that we had pulled from another rifle. This inexpensive scope barely cleared the bolt handle, but it worked, so we went with it.

As it turned out, the Sportview's windage and elevation adjustments worked properly and the optics were entirely adequate, as long as the magnification was not increased above about 4.5x. Above that level, the optical clarity rapidly degraded, which is typical of vintage zoom optics. Fixed power 4x scopes were the best sellers when this rifle was manufactured, so we set the Sportview to 4x and left it there for all of our test shooting. 4x magnification is, in fact, appropriate for almost all big game hunting.

Mannlicher Schoenauer 1952 Serial Numbers

Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers

Shooting the M-S Deluxe

This Deluxe Carbine is a collectors' rifle, but we believe fine things (and especially fine firearms) should be used. High grade Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifles were meant to be used and enjoyed.

Mannlicher Schoenauer Scope Mount

Consequently, we looked forward to getting the Deluxe Carbine to the range. We did our shooting at the Izaak Walton rifle range south of Eugene, Oregon. This outdoor range offers target stands at 25, 50, 100 and 200 yards and covered bench rests. Guns and Shooting Online staff members Chuck Hawks, Rocky Hays, Jim Fleck and Bob Fleck were present to shoot the M-S Deluxe.

After optical bore sighting, we refined the rifle's zero at 25 yards. This took only three rounds to accomplish. We then moved back to 100 yards for final zeroing and to see what this Deluxe carbine could do. As usual with centerfire rifles, we fired three shot groups, allowing the barrel to cool between groups.

For most of our 100 yard shooting we used a Lead Sled DFT and Redfield Precision Sight-in targets. We also fired a few groups using just a Caldwell sand bag for support.

The factory loaded hunting ammunition we use for our personal 7x57 rifles is the Hornady Custom load using a 139 grain BTSP bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2700 fps. Since this is the ammo we had on hand, it is what we used in the little Mannlicher.

From the very beginning this rifle shot tight groups. The average three shot group size was about 1-1/16 inches, but half of our groups were under one inch at 100 yards. This is superb performance, especially for a carbine manufactured in the early 1950s. The Deluxe actually out-shot a new Weatherby Mark V Sporter we were reviewing at the same time.

Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers For Sale

The Mannlicher's accuracy can be attributed primarily to a beautifully made barrel and the superb double set trigger that makes accurate shooting easy. A super clean 1.5 pound trigger certainly makes it easier for experienced shooters to get the most out of a hunting rifle!

The 7x57 is a relatively mild, although potent, cartridge. Its moderate recoil and muzzle blast allows shooters to do their best work. Although slender and compact in overall length, the M-S Carbine is not particularly lightweight. With a sling, Bushnell Sportview scope and mount it weighs 8 pounds 5.3 ounces (empty). We enjoyed shooting the rifle directly from the shoulder, without the Lead Sled.

As is typical of classic Mannlicher sporting rifles, the Model 1952 Carbine feeds very reliably from its Schoenauer spool magazine. It is also easy to load and unload. We wish that all bolt action rifles could incorporate this superior magazine system.

The M-S action has a comparatively slow lock time by modern standards, but that is more of a theoretical, rather than practical, consideration. The sling swivels are of the permanent type, installed by the factory, rather than the detachable sling swivel studs common today.

The handling of Mannlicher-Schoenauer Carbines is legendary. The short overall length and slender stock design definitely contribute to fast handling and sure pointing, as does the little gun's excellent balance. It is a rifle designed to be fired offhand.

Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers Diagram

The Mannlicher-Schoenauer bolt action is the smoothest ever made and even when fully retracted there is very little bolt wobble. It is the only bolt action we know of that will close and lock itself if the muzzle of an empty rifle with an open bolt is swung down to point at the ground while the trigger is held back.

Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers Chart

This is partly because of the outstanding workmanship put into these rifles and partly because the Schoenauer spool magazine does not drag against the bolt, as does the follower in the box magazine of a Mauser style rifle. As we commented in an earlier M-S review, shooting a classic M-S rifle transports one to an earlier, more gracious age.

TypeBolt-action rifle
Place of originAustria-Hungary
Service history
In service1903–1941 (military)
Used bySee Users
WarsFirst Balkan War
Second Balkan War
World War I
Greco-Turkish War
World War II
Greek Resistance
Greek Civil War
Production history
DesignerOtto Schönauer &
Ferdinand Mannlicher
ManufacturerSteyr, Breda
No. built~350,000
Mass3.77 kg (8.3 lb) (1903/14)
3.58 kg (7.9 lb) (1903/14 Carbine)
Length1,226 mm (48.3 in) (1903/14)
1,025 mm (40.4 in) (1903/14 Carbine)
Barrel length725 mm (28.5 in) (1903/14)
525 mm (20.7 in) (1903/14 Carbine)
450 mm (18 in) (Model 1903)
Cartridge6.5×54mm Mannlicher–Schönauer (military and Model 1903)
8×56mm Mannlicher–Schönauer (Model 1908)
9×56mm Mannlicher–Schönauer (Model 1905)
9.5×57mm Mannlicher–Schönauer (Model 1910)
30-06 Springfield, .243 Win and .270 Win (Model 72)
Actionbolt action
Muzzle velocity2,223 ft/s (678 m/s)
Effective firing range~600 metres (660 yards)
Feed system5 round rotary magazine
Sightsfront barleycorn; rear tangent
adj. from 200 to 2000 m

The Mannlicher–Schönauer (sometimes Anglicized as 'Mannlicher Schoenauer', Hellenized as Τυφέκιον/Όπλον Μάνλιχερ, Óplon/Tyfékion Mannlicher) is a type of rotary-magazinebolt-action rifle produced by Steyr Mannlicher for the Greek Army in 1903 and later was also used in small numbers by the Austro-Hungarian Army. It was the main rifle of the Hellenic Army during the first half of the 20th century. Post war use was for civilian use, such as hunting and target practice.

Design characteristics[edit]

In the late 19th century, the classic Mannlicher designs for the Austro-Hungarian army were based on the en-bloc magazine, a straight-pull bolt mechanism and were designed for obsolete large caliber cartridges. Following the introduction of smokeless powder in the Lebel rifle at the end of the century, the Steyr factory worked on new Mannlicher designs, using more effective modern cartridges. These were offered for the consideration of the Austro-Hungarian Army, for export to other armies and for the civilian market.

Sketch showing the magazine system of the Mannlicher–Schönauer

The Mannlicher–Schönauer rifle was one of these novel designs. The rifle action was designed by Ferdinand Mannlicher and the rotary magazine by his protégé Otto Schönauer of the Österreichische Waffenfabriksgesellschaft (Austrian Arms-Manufacturing Company; now Steyr Mannlicher). While the more famous Mannlicher M1895 used the less common straight-pull bolt, the Mannlicher–Schönauer had a conventional turn-bolt, more reminiscent of the Gewehr 88 and other typical military bolt-action rifles. At first sight many confuse it with a Mauser rifle, due to the similar bolt and handguards. The Mannlicher–Schönauer may be identified by the split in the rear of the receiver which allows the bolt handle to pass through, and double as an emergency locking lug when closed, in case of failure of the primary locking lugs. The characteristic that sets this design apart from others of the era though was the innovative Schönauer rotating spool magazine.

The original design, introduced at the World Fair as the Model 1900, allowed the development of either service or sport versions depending on market response. While small sporting concerns, such as William Evans of London, purchased actions for their rifles, only the Greek Army expressed interest in the design for military use. Their specifications may have dictated some of the rifle's characteristics. The Greek Army requested two main versions, one long rifle of 1230 mm (this length is the total length of the arm, not the barrel) length and a carbine of 950 mm (length of arm, not barrel) length for use by cavalry and non-infantry troops. Both types were termed Model 1903. The weight was around 3.75 kg, the magazine capacity was five rounds and was fed by a stripper clip system, or by single rounds if need arose. The 6.5×54mm MS cartridge had traits of a hunting round; even though it had a projectile with a rounded point, it was ballistically efficient, improving accuracy at moderate ranges. The rotary magazine contributed to the smooth feeding and high rate of fire without jamming. The rifle was manufactured to a high standard and was made with tight tolerances, raising costs but improving reliability and durability. The 1903 Mannlicher–Schönauer carbine's light recoil, familiar iron sights—similar to those of the Mannlicher M1895; graduated up to 2000 m—and its quick-handling properties brought it widespread praise.

Service history[edit]

The military Mannlicher–Schönauer was not commercially successful, in the sense that it did not attract many contracts for export. The unusual design and calibre, the high quality, high cost, and the fact that no major power adopted it, contributed to the results. Other foreign Mannlicher clients opted instead for versions of the issue rifle of Austria-Hungary, the M1895, or simpler turn-bolt rifles like the M1893 and the Dutch M1895. The Mannlicher–Schönauer M1903 though fulfilled the specifications of the Greek Army and the first major contract was signed by the Greek Government in 1903. This contract was part of a major modernisation plan; until then the Greeks were using single-shot, black powderGras rifles. Most of the Greek Gras were made by the Steyr factory and that might partly explain how Mannlicher advertised their new design.

The Mannlicher–Schönauer rifle was the main small arm for the Greek military for some of the most active years of its modern history. Greece was almost continuously in state of war between the years 1904–1922 and 1940–1948. The version history of this rifle is rather confusing. It appears that the Greeks issued four main contracts. The original Steyr-made Y1903 ('Y' stands for model in Greek), started being supplied in 1906–07 to a total of about 130,000 long rifles and carbines. This was the main weapon during the victorious Balkan Wars of 1912–13

The Greeks seemed satisfied with the rifle's performance and their armoury was increased with a new batch of 50,000 rifles from Steyr in 1914, with the model Y1903/14, presenting minor improvements, most obviously the addition of a full handguard. These rifles were used for the first time in World War I. When the war broke out, the Austrians stopped the delivery of the rifles, as Greece chose to be neutral for the first three years.

Following the Asia Minor Campaign (1919–22), the Greeks were in urgent need of serviceable weapons and tried to get Mannlicher–Schönauer rifles from every possible source in order to replace war losses (almost 50% were captured by the Turks). Starting in 1927, Greece received about 105,000 'Breda' marked Y1903/14/27 rifles. This Italian factory might have used Austrian captured parts and machinery, or more likely, might have just mediated on behalf of the Steyr factory, due to treaty restrictions with the Austrian weapons manufacturer. These rifles saw extensive use against the Italians and Germans in World War II and many passed to the resistance fighters and thence to the combatants of the Greek Civil War that followed. The last official contract was in 1930, when they received 25,000 more Y1903/14/30 carbines, this time directly from the Steyr factory.

Despite its good performance, it was only the Greek government that chose the Mannlicher–Schönauer as official service rifle. The Portuguese military also favored the Mannlicher–Schönauer, but it was deemed too expensive and the locally-designed Mauser-Vergueiro, which paired a bolt based on that of the Mannlicher–Schönauer with an action based on the Mauser 98, was adopted instead. However, due to expediency other countries made limited use of them too. At the outbreak of World War I, a significant number of 6.5 mm Mannlicher–Schönauer rifles manufactured for Greece under the 1914 contract were sequestered and, due to urgent needs, used by the Austrian Army. After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, these were passed on as war reparations to the original intended recipient, the Greek Army. Small numbers also saw occasional use by Greece's enemies as captured war booty, but mainly by reserve units.

Philippidis gun and Rigopoulos gun[edit]

The weapon was chosen instead of the Greek-designed 'Philippidis gun' ('Οπλον Φιλιππίδου), itself based on an earlier model of the same Austrian manufacturer, after intense lobbying against the Greek design in 1905. This caused a serious political crisis, with accusations about 'national treason' heard in the Greek Parliament.[1] The Philippidis gun was officially approved for a 1925 order, but, again, the Mannlicher–Schönauer was produced (by Breda in Italy), due to (reportedly) late submission of the Greek designs to the Italian manufacturer and/or cost factors.[1][2]

Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers

An improvement of the Mannlicher–Schönauer was designed by Lieutenant Rigas Rigopoulos during World War II (spring 1941), incorporating both modified and totally redesigned parts to enable automatic fire. Though approved by the Greek military to be produced in Volos, the improvement never went into production, due to Greece's invasion by the Germans.[2][3]

Sporting use[edit]

6.5×54mm Mannlicher–Schönauer cartridge and box

Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers List

8×56mm Mannlicher–Schönauer cartridge

A civilian version of the rifle, also introduced in 1903, proved very popular with deer and big game hunters worldwide. In the UK, along with the 7×57mm Mauser, the 6.5×54 MS probably accounted for more red deer during the 20th century than all other rifle cartridges put together.[citation needed] British sportsmen generally preferred a single-trigger mechanism, rather than the double set triggers popular in Europe. The 6.5×54 cartridge fell into disfavour with British deer-stalkers after the passage of the 1963 Deer Act because the bullet's muzzle velocity failed to reach the legally required minimum when fired from typically short, carbine-type MS barrels. The rifle continued to be manufactured in various forms (full, half-stock and take-down models) until 1972, and although production was interrupted during the Second World War, it eventually re-commenced in 1950. The most significant modification to be made to the rifle, during its period of manufacture, was introduced in 1925 when the action was lengthened to accommodate such cartridges as the .30-06 Springfield, .243 Winchester (carbine models), and .270 Winchester. Additionally, a magnum length version was produced in .257 Weatherby Magnum,.264 Winchester Magnum, .338 Winchester Magnum and .458 Winchester Magnum for the U.S. market, as well as 6.5×68mm, 8×68mm S, and others for the world market. The rifle remains popular due to its aesthetic qualities, compactness, the smoothness of its action and its precision and quality of manufacture. The rifle is also known for its low recoil when chambered for the original 6.5×54 cartridge.

Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers Identification

Mannlicher–Schönauer (Civilian version)
Mannlicher-Schönauer Mod. GK bolt action hunting rifle cambered for 7×64mm

The early years of the 20th century saw what was fundamentally the same rifle being offered in various other, larger Mannlicher–Schönauer calibres including the 8×56mm Mannlicher–Schönauer Model 1908, the 9×56mm Mannlicher–Schönauer Model 1905 and the 9.5×57mm Mannlicher–Schönauer Model 1910, but none of these sold as well as the 1903 Model in 6.5mm.

Legendary American writer Ernest Hemingway frequently used the rifle, and mentions it in some of his writings, most notably The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. WDM 'Karamojo' Bell, a prominent elephant (ivory) hunter in Africa in the early 20th century, also used the rifle in its original 6.5×54 chambering with considerable success. The ability of the diminutive 6.5×54 cartridge to take the largest and most dangerous of the big game species, such as African elephant and Cape Buffalo, was due in the main to the high sectional density of the 6.5mm projectiles used in the rifle, although precise placing of the shot was imperative. Because the original factory loads for the 6.5×54 used projectiles that were long and heavy (160 grains) relative to their diameter, they proved capable (in solid form) of very deep penetration through muscle and bone. This, coupled with the relatively low recoil of the fired cartridge, facilitated accurate shot placement into vital organs such as the heart and particularly the brain.

Steyr-Mannlicher currently manufactures a rifle known as the 'Classic Mannlicher', which it bills on its website as 'a direct descendant of the world famous MANNLICHER [sic] Schoenauer models'. In fact, this rifle is available in almost every modern calibres. A limited edition called the 150 year anniversary Ritter Von Mannlicher were run in 1998 in the original 6.5×54mm M.S.cartridge. Although the modern 'Classic' Steyr-Mannlicher rifles still incorporate some original features, like the butter-knife bolt handle, the distinctive actions and rotary (spool) magazines of the original Mannlicher–Schönauer rifles are no longer used.

High production costs and the difficulty of fitting telescopic sights to the rifle's split receivers eventually resulted in a decision to terminate production in 1972. Models produced had been: 1900, 1903, 1905, 1908, 1910, 1924 High Velocity Sporting Rifle, 1950, 1952, 1956 Monte Carlo, 1961 Monte Carlo All-Purpose, Magnum.

Due to its popularity, the rifle is still manufactured by independent gunsmiths (such as Erich Schöder) in its country of origin. Spare parts are also still widely available.


  • Kingdom of Greece[4]
  • Austria-Hungary
  • Albania
  • Republic of China: Used by some warlord armies.[5]


  1. ^ abL.S. Skartsis,Greek Vehicle & Machine Manufacturers 1800 to present: A Pictorial History, Marathon (2012)ISBN978-960-93-4452-4 (p. 222)
  2. ^ abChristos Sazanidis, Ta Opla ton Ellinon (Arms of the Greeks), Maiandros, Thessaloniki (1995)
  3. ^Rigas Rigopoulos (2003). Secret War: Greece-Middle East, 1940–1945 : the Events Surrounding the Story of Service 5-16-5(PDF). Turner Publishing Company. ISBN978-1-56311-886-9. Archived from the original(PDF) on 4 September 2014.
  4. ^
  5. ^Chinese Warlord Armies 1911–30 by Philip Jowett, page 22.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mannlicher–Schönauer.

Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifle Serial Numbers For Sale

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