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doughboy
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108 Posts
Posted - 01/18/2004 : 9:06:36 PM
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Some years back, I purchased an 1893 Mannlicher short rifle from Hunter's Lodge (the less said of that outfit, the better!), and I've a question about it. These Mannlichers contain both the Portugese crest on the receiver top, and the Rumanian Phoenix of the receiver side rail. Does anyone know why? I've seen these refered to as used by the Portugese navy, but I've never seen any reson given for the dual markings. Did Rumania sell them to Portugal? Did Steyr make an overrun for Rumania and then sell some to Portugal? Did Rumania inspect and then refuse the rifles? If anyone could tell me the definitive reason for the markings, I would be most appreciative.

John Wall
Platinum Bullet Club



USA
2414 Posts
Posted - 01/19/2004 : 07:47:22 AM
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Hi Doughboy,
There was a long thread on these rifles in this forum in October of last year which you might find helpful. Here is the URL:
http://www.gunboards.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5637

I don't think we answered all the questions you have, particularly about the eventual ownership of these rifles, Romania or Portugual, but there is some intersting information here. I wish I knew where they were imported from!
Best Regards,
John


doughboy
Gunboards Premium Member



108 Posts
Posted - 01/19/2004 : 1:35:55 PM
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Interesting thread, although you are right, it doesn't really answer my questions. Seems like anything to do with pre-WWI era Rumanian rifles is somewhat clouded. Those so-called Irish Mannlichers crop up now and again, as well--quite often with Rumanian markings. I've read some authors ascribe these to captured Rumanian rifles, and desribe them being smuggled in by the German U-boats and used in the Easter rising of 1916. The sticky point is, of course, that Romania didn't enter the war until 1916, so any capture of Mannlichers from them would be too late. It doesn't preclude later shipments, after Romania was overrun, but they weren't used in the Easter rising unless Romania was selling them to Germany. Pretty unlikely since Rumanian leaders were plotting to go to war. All in all, a very interesting conundrum. Thanks for the info.


Krag
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



3553 Posts
Posted - 01/19/2004 : 7:39:01 PM
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RE the "Irish Mannlichers." The Prostestant Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) purchased the Mannlichers (in addition to Vetterlis and Gew. 88s) from two arms dealers, Benny Spiro and A.L. Frank, in Hamburg before WW1 and smuggled them into Ireland. While some 6.5mm rifles were apparently obtained, most were in fact Steyr M.1904 Exportmodell rifles chambered for the 7.9mm Patrone J and used the Gew. 88 clip.

When war broke out the British managaed to confiscate most of them but enought survived in the underground that they saw some use in the "troubles" that wracked Ireland during and after WW1.

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"Use up all your ammo and have fun."

Starship Troopers
Robert Heinlein



doughboy
Gunboards Premium Member



108 Posts
Posted - 01/20/2004 : 1:56:53 PM
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Iteresting. I knew about the 1904's being used by the Red Hand of Ulster (opposite side of the Easter rising), but what puzzled me were obvious Rumanian rifles with Irish markings. I've examined two of them, one had the UVF stamp, the other had a marking (wish I had taken a picture to refresh my memory) that was ascribed to the IRA. Strangely enough, both had come out of Canada within the last few years. My suspicion with the IRA rifle was that it may have been added to increase value. I suppose the same could be said for the UVF, as well, as they seem to command a premium with arcane markings. As you may have guessed, I collect WWI rifles and pistols, and I'm still looking for a good, straight Rumanian Mannlicher infantry rifle for my collection.


JPS
Moderator - WWI Arms & Militaria Collector



USA
4436 Posts
Posted - 01/20/2004 : 4:16:59 PM
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Yo Doughboy & Company,

There are allot of us looking for Model 1893 Romanian Mannlichers! Join the club and get in line!

It is my opinion, and only that, that the magazine rail where the Phoenix appears was a mark that was applied by Steyr during serial production of the Romanian contracts. With the small number of Portuguese rifles ordered, it may very well be that the parts used were overuns from the original Model 1893 Romainian contract. The features of the magazine are identical.

By the same token, the Model 1904 Export rifles known as "Irish Mannlichers" appear to be based on left over production parts from the Model 1892 Romanian Mannlicher. This is evidenced by the lack of a reinforcing rib on the sides of the Model 1904 magazine housing.

To me, this is the ONLY scenario that makes sense. Had the parts been newly produced, there is no reason what so ever that Steyr would have wasted time or money adding Romanian markings to export rifles that were intended for other customers.

In the case of the Portuguese rifles, it is possible that they were never accepted by the Portuguese and then sold to Romania. However, this simply does not work with the Model 1902 Export rifles. To begin with, there are too many surviving examples that are in near mint condition. Had they been in Romania during WWI, they would never have escaped field service, particularly after the disaster the Romanian suffered at the hands of the combined forces of Germany and Austria-Hungary. And secondly, had they been intended for Romania, they would have undoubtedly been chambered for the 6.5x53mmR cartridge.

Like every other arms manufacturer then and now, Steyr was in business to make a profit. When ever and where ever possible, manufacturing companies try their very best to utilize any and all inventory of parts at their disposal. If there were rifles caoncelled or parts that were over run on a particular contract, what better way to convert otherwise dead inventory into profitable sales?

Just my opinion based on what we know about this period and the models involved. If you should manage to find two Romanian Model 1893s, please let me know! I'll do the same............yeah right! Either one of us will be lucky to find one!

Warmest regards,

JPS

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doughboy
Gunboards Premium Member



108 Posts
Posted - 01/21/2004 : 5:02:16 PM
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Thanks for the information, your explanation is the best I've heard so far. It really makes me wonder where all the Rumanian rifles went, as Romania had a pretty good sized army (in relation to the country's population)--probably rusting in some government building in Eastern Europe--I hope, or, more likely, scrapped.


Krag
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



3553 Posts
Posted - 01/21/2004 : 7:43:35 PM
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I have corresponded with a Rumanian gentleman who now lives here in the USA who, conviently, knows quite a bit about the Rumanian army's small arms. He said his father served in the Rumanian reserves during WW2 and that they were issued 6.5mm Mannlichers while the front line troops used 98 Mausers.

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"Use up all your ammo and have fun."

Starship Troopers
Robert Heinlein



doughboy
Gunboards Premium Member



108 Posts
Posted - 01/23/2004 : 6:01:20 PM
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Don't we wish we knew where they were. It's odd that the rifles are so scarce, but the bayonets seem to be relatively plentiful. Maybe one day they will be found---similar to that cache of Nepalese Sniders and Martinis that are just hitting the market. One wonders why the Nepalese government hung onto them for so long? Maybe they were concerned that those new-fangled Lee-Enfields might not work out?


elmer1007
Gunboards Super Premium Member



USA
376 Posts
Posted - 01/23/2004 : 6:39:07 PM
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Just to confuse the issue a little more. I have an 1893 dated Steyr Commercial Sporter. The caliber is 6.5 x 53R The receiver has the Phoenix emblem on the top of the right rail. The rifle has the following other markings. My Steyr has the number B2032 on the right side of the barrel. The stock is numbered behind the pistol grip cap on the bottom with the number 23303 The safety has a circle I, the bolt head has a circle K the ejector has a circle B The bolt is numbered 14 on the rear flat. Bolt release is circle F The magazine is numbered on the inside with 2032 no prefix. The barrel on the bottom inside the stock is numbered from the muzzle with Circle M followed by 125 then going toward the receiver. S +05 K K 2 on the bottom of the barrel boss is the letter B with the number 13 on the barrel and on the bottom of the receiver. (two places.) Between the mag well and the front receiver screw hole is the serial number 2032 on the bottom of the reciever.




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Edited by - elmer1007 on 01/23/2004 6:43:48 PM
 

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doughboy
Posted - 01/18/2004 : 9:06:36 PM
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Some years back, I purchased an 1893 Mannlicher short rifle from Hunter's Lodge (the less said of that outfit, the better!), and I've a question about it. These Mannlichers contain both the Portugese crest on the receiver top, and the Rumanian Phoenix of the receiver side rail. Does anyone know why? I've seen these refered to as used by the Portugese navy, but I've never seen any reson given for the dual markings. Did Rumania sell them to Portugal? Did Steyr make an overrun for Rumania and then sell some to Portugal? Did Rumania inspect and then refuse the rifles? If anyone could tell me the definitive reason for the markings, I would be most appreciative.



John Wall
Posted - 01/19/2004 : 07:47:22 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There was a long thread on these rifles in this forum in October of last year which you might find helpful. Here is the URL:
http://www.gunboards.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5637

I don't think we answered all the questions you have, particularly about the eventual ownership of these rifles, Romania or Portugual, but there is some intersting information here.
I will now import the afore quoted old thread to this new (fourth) forum; here is its current URL:

http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=9256

Carcano
--
Alexander Eichener
 
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