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Book Review: "MANNLICHER MILITARY RIFLES: Straight pull and turn bolt designs"

Straight pull and turn bolt designs

by Paul S. Scarlata

The Mannlicher rifle system has never been a focus of my collection; however, I have always found the line to have an interesting and intriguing history behind them. Unfortunately there have been limited resources out there for the collector in regards to these underated firearms. Most information that novice collectors have been able to gleam have come from older long term collectors passing on their own personal research and collection data. While this is a terrific source of information the amount of people that can benefit from this sort of direct input is limited. Thankfully there is a new reference work that should be a great asset to collectors both new and veteran - not to mention those in between.

Paul Scarlata has long been a friend to gun collectors as his works have appeared in a number of print materials. Paul is also a valued and trusted member of the Gunboards ever growing community of published authors. His newest work deals with the Mannlicher line and it is quite fascinating. Paul’s writing style is one that is easy to follow and he makes great use of photos and historic references in explaining the history of these arms. This fact alone makes his work appealing to a wide scale both to those collectors that enjoy history as well as the more technical gun collector. He does go into some detail on the countries and militaries that issued these arms – the photos telling the story of the growth of the military into the 20th Century. I personally enjoyed the photos quite a bit as such historic photos much to my reading enjoyment.

The outline of the book is as follows:

The Dual Monarchy Of The Hapsburgs: The divine right of kings tempered by ethnic anarchy.

Austria-Hungary’s Vaunted Military Power: Europe’s largest army – but was it any good?

Osterreichische Waffenfabriks Gesellschaft: Arms makers to the Empire

Who Was Ferdinand von Mannlicher? “Local Boy” makes good – Austrian style

The Development Of The Mannlicher Magazine And Straight Pull bolt Action Systems: Economy of motion and effort.

Die Repetier-Gewehr M86 M88 And M88-90: The ascendancy of the small bore military rifle.

Mannlicher’s M90 And M95 Pattern Rifles And Carbines: The perfection of the straight pull genre.

Interwar Modifications Of Mannlicher Rifles: Perhaps “improvements” is too strong a term.

World War II And The Mannlicher: Old soldiers never die – the just get assigned to rear echelon units.
Steyr’s Turn Bolt Mannlicher Military Rifles: The Rumanian, Dutch, Portuguese, and exportmodel variations.

Mannlicher Imitators: None as good as the original?

Shooting von Mannlicher’s Rifles:
…..and my final thoughts on Herr Ferdinand’s rifles

Conclusion – Endnotes – Bibliography - Index

Overall the text is very easy to follow and written in a manner that will keep the reader’s attention. Scarlata’s greatest attribute as a writer is his talent in creating a reference book that is straight-forward and still entertaining. Those with even a marginal interest in the Mannlicher line will find this book a must have. Also of note is that Paul is a shooter as much as a collector and I found the areas of the book dedicated to the firing of these rifles very interesting. This section further adds to the scope of reader this book will appeal to. Frankly Paul covers all the bases with this work and he deserves a lot of credit as this can be very hard to do. Often such a book will only appeal to one type of collector – ignoring the other collector type out there – but simply put this is not the case with this effort from Scarlata.

I feel this is a work that collectors will find both enjoyable and educational. Even though I am not a Mannlicher collector I truly did read this book from start to finish. It was that interesting. Also I discussed this book with a Mannlicher collector while at the Tulsa Gun Show (October Of 2004) and my favorable impressions of the book were echoed by this collector. I was very impressed with the quality of book considering the price, as most books of this sort retail at a much higher cost. His publisher did an outstanding job in creating a high quality printed reference material for a reasonable cost. Heck the book made me want to run out and buy a Mannlicher – hard for a dedicated Mosin Nagant collector to say -----.

Great work Paul – A+
I rate this as a must have to all site users. It is a winner.

One can buy the book here -

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I have to apologize to Paul as this review was delayed for almost a month due to personal issues on my end. I am sorry this took place and I hope both the author and the publisher understand. Also some of the photos from the book will be uploaded tomorrow as I am having some PC issues with my scanner.

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Another bit of useful information on Mannlicher books

I have a 95 Mannlicher long rifle and another that I am repairing, so have more than a passing interest in these rifles. Paul Scarlata's book is excellent, I agree with everything Tuco said, and here is another book worth keeping an eye out for. It is
"Repetier- und automatische Handfeuerwaffen - Der Systeme Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher", (Repeating and automatic firearms - the systems of Mannlicher)
by Konrad Edler von Kromar, first published in 1900 but in reprint form since 1976 by Journal-Verlag Schwend, GmbH. It is a BIG book, 10x13, and is beautifully reproduced in the 1976 reprint. The text is limited, and in German, and in Fraktur type, so it is a bit of a pain to read, but the line-drawings and individual parts drawings, including bayonets, of all the rifles and pistols of Mannlicher's design are just superb. It is these detailed breakdown drawings that make the book worth searching out for the Mannlicher enthusiast, no matter what model you have. I got it out of the used book room at my favorite gun shop, a lucky find, but it is worth keeping an eye out on AbeBooks or other internet used book markets.
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