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John Wall
Platinum Bullet Club



USA
2414 Posts
Posted - 02/28/2004 : 8:08:40 PM
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Were the rear sight assemblies from Beaumont rifles ever modified and installed on M.95 long rifles ? Perhaps during WW I? Here are a few pictures of one such long rifle, an "O" block M.95 made at Hembrug in 1916. It originally had the standard sights, as evidenced by the unblued spaces on tne barrel. The modified (shortened) Beaumont sight was installed later. The barrel is numbered to the rifle. Of course, I'm wondering if the change is a legitmate alteration or if it was done after it was sold out of service. Dutch M95 rifles and carbines have been coming into North America and the US in quantities for over 50 years, so there's every possibility that the the rifle was re-sighted here as well.
Regards,
John

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Edited by - John Wall on 02/29/2004 7:00:09 PM

PeterS
Gunboards Super Premium Member



Germany
344 Posts
Posted - 03/09/2004 : 10:13:02 AM
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Hi John,

the rifle had long Fingergrip's in the Stock? Then it must be used in the colonies, or not? May be an "native Rework", because the original sight was damaged?

best regards

Peter


John Wall
Platinum Bullet Club



USA
2414 Posts
Posted - 03/09/2004 : 2:43:42 PM
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Hi Peter,
This M.95 has the short finger grooves used on "Landmacht" rifles used by the Netherlands' home army. However, many of these surplus rifles were imported into the USA starting during the time of the Korean War in the very early 1950's. I fear that if the natives re-worked this, it was American natives!

The reason I think it may possibly be a Dutch Army conversion is that a Dutch Beaumont sight was used and the handguard and attachment were so neatly and professionally modified.

I am considering buying a spare M.95 Mannlicher rear sight and replacing this one, but if the is a legitimate variation, I don't want to destroy it by thoughtless restoration.
Best Regards,
John

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Edited by - John Wall on 03/09/2004 2:47:28 PM


PeterS
Gunboards Super Premium Member



Germany
344 Posts
Posted - 03/17/2004 : 02:03:55 AM
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Hi John,

i asked a fellow collector on an german discussion-board about your rifle. He know's "everthing" about the dutch mannlichers. Here his comments:

Eine offizielle einsatz der Beaumont visieren auf Hembrug gewehren kann ich nicht finden, wird nirgends erwähnt.
Ich vermute also auch, das hier irgendwann ein austausch des visieres stattgefunden hat.
Wer und wann wird aber schwer nachzuvollziehen sein.
Ich sehe einige möglichkeiten:
- in das letzte jahr und vor allem monate bevor kriegsanfang in Holland, sind in ein riesen tempo gewehre umgebaut zu karabiner. Offiziell zwar in eine vorgegebene ausführung, in der praxis aber wohl auch einfach mit die mitteln/teilen die noch vorhanden waren.
Vielleicht sind auf diese weise auch gewehren auf der schnelle wieder "kriegsfertig" gemacht?
- viele Holländische waffen sind während der krieg nach Deutschland gegangen und da eingesetzt. Es könnte sein das die modification daher stammt, ist aber nicht so logisch weil ich mir nicht so recht vorstellen kann woher dann das beaumont visier hergekommen sein soll.
- irgendwann nach der krieg ist die waffe geändert.

Auf die bilder sieht es mal so aus als ob die änderung recht professionell ausgeführt ist und nicht in heimarbeit.

Wie gesagt, ich habe alle bucher bezüglich die hembrug waffen die es auf der markt gibt, erwähnt wird so eine änderung nirgends.

Was ihr noch machen kann, ist eine anfrage zur Holländische Armeemusuem schicken. Das muss per post, dauert ein bisschen aber die jungs da sind sehr kompetent und helfen gerne.


tranlatet:

"I cannot find official employment of the Beaumont sights on Hembrug
rifles, am nowhere mentioned. I assume thus also, which an exchange of
the sights took place here sometime. Who and when will be however difficult to reconstruct. I see some possibilities:
- in the last year and above all months before war beginning in Holland, are in a giant speed rifles converted to carbine. Officially
into a given execution, in practice however probably simply with
average/divide were still present. Perhaps are in this way also on the
fast again "ready for war" made for rifles?
- many Dutch weapons went during the war to Germany and began there.
It could be that modification therefore comes, is however not not so
logical because I not so quite introduce itself can from where then
beaumont the visor to have come is.
- sometime after the war is changed the weapon.

On the pictures it sees times in such a way from as if the change is
quite professionally implemented and not in home working.

How said, I have all more books concerning hembrug the weapons it on
the market give, so a change is not mentioned anywhere.

Which more you still to make knows, is one inquires to Dutch
Armeemusuem to send. That must by post office, lasts little however a
those is very competent young there and helps gladly."


Here the adress:

Legermusuem
z. Hd. Herr Willemsen
Korte Geer 1
2611 CA Delft
Niederlanden

best send, good pic's ,best of all details and the
entire weapon.

BTW. The germans captured in the great war huge quantities of surplus parts in the belgian "weapon centers" and dutch beaumont-rifles too.

best regards

Peter



medion
Gunboards Premium Member



Netherlands
138 Posts
Posted - 03/17/2004 : 06:27:55 AM
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Hi John,

I did some research on your curious Mannlicher rifle. I did not find any information on a rear sight conversion for Dutch Mannlicher rifles. I also discussed this with some Dutch collectors. We all agree that this was not an official conversion nor a trial. There was simply no need for it. During WWI the Dutch increased production of rifles. In 1918 total production was nearly doubled to about 470.000 rifles. On jan. 1st 1937 the Dutch Army estimated their need for rifles at about 77.000. So there was a surplus of nearly 400.000 rifles. Lots of rifles were to be converted into different types of carbines. Still there were a lot left. In my opinion, and knowing the Dutch, the Dutch Army would not have spent time nor money in a rear sight conversion of a "modern" rifle with an obsolete beaumont rearsight.

Kind regards,
Jan

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Edited by - medion on 03/17/2004 12:35:55 PM


JPS
Moderator - WWI Arms & Militaria Collector



USA
4436 Posts
Posted - 03/17/2004 : 10:37:28 AM
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Yo John, Medion and Peter,

Hello Gents! Interesting rifle, John. Here is my best guess based on circumstantial evidence. The Germans acquired an unknown quantity of Dutch Mannlicher rifles during WWI. The Germans also acquired substantial numbers of Dutch Beaumont rifles both from commercial arms dealers in Germany as well as additional rifles captured in Belgium. Both the Dutch Mannlicher as well as the Beaumont are known to have been issued to German troops.

Based on the quality of workmanship, I seriously doubt that this rifle was altered here in the States. Most folks here, particularly in the 50s and 60s, would have chopped the stock, converted it into a sporter and put a scope on it if it was simply missing the rear sight. In addition, there have been spare M95 Dutch parts here as long as there have been M95 rifles in the States. You would think that anyone in this country who would have attempted to restore this rifle would have looked for a M95 Dutch rear sight. I would imagine that it would actually be harder to find a spare Beaumont sight than it would a Model 95 sight.

The Dutch never entered WWI. They were able to remain nuetral. They increased their weapons production during the war just in case the Western Front spilled over into Holland. It would have been easy enough for the Dutch military to have simply replaced the original sight. Had it been a trials rifle, why bother installing a sight from an obsolete rifle? For a trials weapon, they would have simply produced a new sight, not employed an old one.

I don't believe that this is likely to be a post WWI conversion. Europe was awash with millions of surplus rifles after WWI. Why bother arsenal reworking a conversion like this when you could pick up original issue, unaltered weapons for almost nothing?

This brings us back to Germany and the fact that most rifles of this period, which are reworked with parts from another model, generally turn out to be wartime emergency reworks, altered at a time when there were tremendous shortages of war materials, particularly rifles. The Germans used Gew 88 nosecaps and 98 H band/nosecaps to convert Mosins to accept German bayonets. The Austro-Hungarians used Model 95 rear sight leaves on captured and reworked Type 30s and 38s. To me, this looks like the wartime work of a local German depot.

The Germans did not like to issue non standard weapons to front line troops. When ever possible, captured and purchased foreign weapons were issued to rear eschelon troops behind the lines to free up regulation weapons for service in the front line trenches. It is quite possible that a depot was servicing troops who were equipped with both models of these Dutch rifles. Local efforts would have potentially seen this type of conversion performed on a small scale.

Another example of this type of practice can be seen in the odd ball variations that were generated by the Belgian arms repair depot, which was set up in Calais right after the retreat across Belgium in the early stages of the war. Calais was a short distance behind the Belgian sector on the Western Front. In a similar fashion, the Belgians used an odd array of spare parts and alterations to keep weapons operational and in the field. Bayonet conversions, rear sight conversions, etc. were performed through out the war at this facility.

Based on this line of reasoning, I believe this to be a WWI German depot alteration. Please keep in mind that this is pure speculation which is simply based on deductive reasoning combined with knowledge of WWI wartime practices. In my opinion, the rifle should be left as is and then sold to a prominant WWI collector who lives in the greater San Diego area. Mind you, this is just my opinion!

Neat rifle John!

Warmest regards,

JPS


bayoned
Gunboards.Com Silver Star Member



USA
743 Posts
Posted - 03/18/2004 : 2:11:38 PM
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John, very neat rifle.
Re: your request for dutch slings. I may have an extra, if in fact it is dutch. Can you post some pics. of a dutch sling?
Regards, Ned

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bayoned


John Wall
Platinum Bullet Club



USA
2414 Posts
Posted - 03/19/2004 : 12:18:40 PM
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Hi Peter, Jan, John and Ned,
My sincerest thanks for your thoughtful responses and the time you spent researching this rifle for me! Your posts have been very enlightening and instructive. I wish I had asked this question several years ago when I bought the rifle.

John, your theory about the sight being perhaps a WW I German repair sent me up to my wintery attic to get the rifle. I disassembled it and checked every part, on the odd chance that there might be a German property or repair mark of some sort, but alas it has only its original Dutch markings. I think I will take it out and shoot it soon. If the present rear sight makes it shoot 2 or 3 meters high with service ammunition at my 200 meter range, that will give me clue as to whether the sight work was done in an military armorer's shop or Bubba's basement!

Thanks again to all,
Best Regards,
John


JPS
Moderator - WWI Arms & Militaria Collector



USA
4436 Posts
Posted - 03/19/2004 : 12:41:54 PM
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quote:
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Originally posted by John Wall

Hi Peter, Jan, John and Ned,.............................

John, your theory about the sight being perhaps a WW I German repair sent me up to my wintery attic to get the rifle. I disassembled it and checked every part, on the odd chance that there might be a German property or repair mark of some sort, but alas it has only its original Dutch markings. I think I will take it out and shoot it soon. If the present rear sight makes it shoot 2 or 3 meters high with service ammunition at my 200 meter range, that will give me clue as to whether the sight work was done in an military armorer's shop or Bubba's basement!

Thanks again to all,
Best Regards,
John

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Yo John,

I would not be surprised regarding the absence of depot markings on this rifle. When the Gew 98 bayonet adapted Mosins surfaced out of the Mosin shipments from the Balkans, some of the rifle did indeed have a variety of German markings, including what appear to be Depot codes. However, other identical rifles out of the same lots did not have any additional German markings at all. A lot of the depot work during WWI went unmarked for a variety of reasons.

Regarding the rear sight setting, don't be shocked if the replacement battle sight is set for 100 meters. This would depend entirely on the timing during the war that the rifle was reworked. Once the fighting settled into the trenches, the Germans quickly realized that the battle sight settings on their rifles, which were designed for open mobile warfare, were of little use in the trenches. They started producing and issuing ersatz sight adapters that were regulated for 100 meters. I am not certain that the battle sight setting will give you a definite answer as to the originas of this alteration.

Once again, please keep in mind that my opinion is based on speculation and deductive reasoning. I just think that based on your photos, the workmanship put into replacing the rear sight looks to be of far better quality than most Bubba's are capable of. In addition, both the Germans and Austro-Hungarians are know to have done similar field repairs to captured and purchased foreign rifles. Either way, it is an unusual and interesting rifle. Please let me know if you should decide to part with it.

Let us know how she shoots!

Have a great weekend.

Warmest regards,

JPS

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Edited by - JPS on 03/19/2004 12:48:22 PM


John Wall
Platinum Bullet Club



USA
2414 Posts
Posted - 03/19/2004 : 4:23:15 PM
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Hi John,
Thanks for all the great background information on the use of foreign rifles in Imperial German service. Very, very interesting about the casual and haphazard nature of markings found, and not found, on rifles. Is there any information known on the number of M.95 rifles sold by Holland to Germany and when this occured? Presumably, there are bayonets and other Dutch accoutrements in collector hand which saw German use during WW I.
Best Regards,
John


JPS
Moderator - WWI Arms & Militaria Collector



USA
4436 Posts
Posted - 03/19/2004 : 8:13:13 PM
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quote:
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Originally posted by John Wall

Hi John,
Thanks for all the great background information on the use of foreign rifles in Imperial German service. Very, very interesting about the casual and haphazard nature of markings found, and not found, on rifles. Is there any information known on the number of M.95 rifles sold by Holland to Germany and when this occured? Presumably, there are bayonets and other Dutch accoutrements in collector hand which saw German use during WW I.
Best Regards,
John

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Yo John,

I am happy to help to the extent that I can. My own gut feeling is that this is a German conversion. But beyond the reasons already discussed, I wish I could give you iron clad proof, but I can't.

Regarding the information, I have two sources for the use of Dutch Model 1895 Mannlichers during WWI. The first is John Walter. In his book, "Central Powers Small Arms of World War One", Walter quotes a German wartime document, published in 1915 entitled, "Kurze Beschreibung der an Ersatztruppen und Rekrutendepots verausgabten fremlandischen Gewehr". Walter translate this document as follows, "A short description of the foreign rifles given to supplimentary units and recruiting depots".

Rather than type the entire paragraph, I will pick up the commentary where it begins to talk about Dutch rifles.

"........ The Dutch Beaumont rifle, a Dutch Remington Gendarmerie carbine and - surprisingly - Dutch 1895-type Mannlichers were also listed...................The source of the older Dutch guns was presumably the stocks of major German arms dealers such as A.L. Frank and Benny Spiro. The Dutch Mannlichers are the most difficult to assess: were they purchased from the Hembrug factory when World War One began, even though the Dutch professed to be nuetral?" (Page 167 & 168)

Please keep in mind that when speaking of Dutch nuetrality during WWI, remember that Anthony Fokker was not German.

The other source is from a Russian museum collection and their catalog. In the Sverdlovsk Regional History Museum catalog, item number 39 in the collection is a 1915 dated Model 1895 Dutch Mannlicher produced at Hembrug. The catalog does not mention how the Russians came by Dutch Mannlichers during WWI, but it does mention that the Dutch Model 95s were issued to both police and army units in the Southwestern district of what we would call the Eastern Front. The catalog implies that the rifles were issued in quantity, but does not list the total number of rifles issued. All of the correct technical data for both the rifle as well as the cartridge is listed. The photo illustrations in the catalog show two different examples of the Model 1895 Infantry rifle.

There are two options here. Either the Dutch were selling weapons to both Germany and Russia, or either the Russians or Germans managed to capture the weapons on the battlefield from one of their opponents.

I have long sought additional information regarding the sale of Model 1895 Mannlichers by the supposedly nuetral Dutch. There is little doubt in my mind regarding the accuracy of the information. For once in this instance, Walter actually mentions the source for his information. The Russian museum has both rifles and detailed information regarding the weapons along with technical data and ballistics as well as the units the rifles were issued to and the sector of the front on which they were used. I have a hard time believing that the Russians simply made up this information. It must be based on surviving records since there is enough detail to list which types of units the rifle were issued to and where the units were deployed.

For the past umpteen years, I have looked at every Dutch Mannlicher I have seen for some tell tale mark that would indicate either German or Russian issue. Unfortunately, both countries issued large quantities of Foreign weapons that were never marked in any way. Your rifle is the first one I have come across that may actually be attributed to either side in the conflict. SPECULATION ONLY!!!!!

I hope this info helps. I wish I could tell you more but that's all I have. I'm still looking and hope to unravel this one some time in the future! If you want to part with that rifle, I have an interested party, even if the connection can't be proved. It can sit on display in the rack until more research data hopefully comes along.

Neat rifle. Have a great weekend.

Warmest regards,

JPS


medion
Gunboards Premium Member



Netherlands
138 Posts
Posted - 03/21/2004 : 08:43:25 AM
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Hi JPS,

Thank you for the info on Dutch Mannlichers in foreign service. This is new to me. I will try to get a copy of John Walters book. Is it possible to post pics of the two different types in the Russian museum? I am always interested in any information regarding the where abouts of Dutch Mannlichers. There were almost half a million made, but not that many survived in the Netherlands. I know that a lot of surplus was sold to the US. I found some info that Winfield Arms was offering both carbines and rifles in the early fifties. Any idea how many were imported? I do not believe that many were scrapped after WWII.
Thanks again and kind regards,
Jan

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John Wall
Platinum Bullet Club



USA
2414 Posts
Posted - 03/21/2004 : 12:33:01 PM
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Hi John and Jan,
John, many thanks for this fascinating data, especially about the find in the Russian museum and its catalog. As soon as I read this, I went to Walter's book and read the full 2 page write-up. That immediately sent me to Gerald Howson's "Arms for Spain". In the back of this book, in Apendix III, pages 278-303, there is an extensive listing of arms of all sorts provided by the Soviet Union to the Spanish Republican side during the two and a half years of the Spanish Civil War. The appendix is very important because it documents the trail which traces whereabouts and ownership of many of the foreign arms purchases by the Czar during WW I. Approximately the first 204,000 of the total 414,645 rifles acounted for were delivered before July 1937 and were mostly old obsolete types. I thought for sure that his cargo manifest might list the Dutch rifles.

Unfortunately, Howson's cargo listings are often generalized and covers only major categories of arms, although some models of major aircraft or naval weapons systems are listed. The originals of the documents cited by the author are from the Russian State Military Archives (RGVA). The first entries do mention a number of types by name: Winchester M.95, Lee-Enfield, Arisaka, Vetterli, Lebel, Kropotcheks, Mauser, and Mannlicher, but the manuafcturing country is not noted. The Mannlicher entry simply says "Mannlicher rifles, 8 m/m, 10,000". Other entries simply say "Foreign rifles", "Rifles, or "Assorted Foreign Files".

If Dutch arms found their way to Russia during WW I, they could have been exported to Spain as many other types were. If so, they could have been amoung the many tens of thousaands of old rifles imported to the US and Canada when Franco sold everything to Interarms in 1959. That adds a whole new range of possiilities to where reapirs to a Dutch M.95 could have taken place.

Howson's book also contains the cargo manifests of the Polish SEPEWE arms sent to Spain and lists many captured Russian rifles, as well as several references to "Mannicher M.95" rifles". I would guess however that these were most certainly Austrian straight pull service rifles.

I also checked the Dutch and Mannlicher rifles listed in Adolph Frank's 1911 Alfa catalog. Frank lists three types of Beaumont rifles, and a total Beaumont inventory of over 14,000 rifles. Also listed and shown the Austrian Steyr M.1892/3 rifle and carbine. There is no mention of them being Romanian or Dutch, but the types shown are Romanian. He also lists and illustrates the Model 1904 8x57 m/m export "Austrian Mannlicher". (The so-called "Irish" Mannlicher) This opens the possibility that if Walter is correct and these dealers were the source of the "Dutch" rifles, his German source document may have been referring to the pattern or model, rather than the actual source country. The further we dig the murkier it gets!

Jan, I have been told by older collectors that during the time of the Korean War and therefter for a few years, that Dutch Mannlicher rifles and carbines were sold in large numbers by Winfield Arms Corp. in Los Angeles. The "American Rifleman" magazine recently ran an old Winfield Arms Corpp advertisement from 1952. The ad showed a No. 2 New Model carbine without the folding bayonet. The carbine's price was $22.50. The ad also listed Dutch M.95 long rifles with a price of $18.75. Last week, I was talking to my friend Robert W. D. Ball, the author of "Mauser Military Rifles of the World" about Dutch Mannlicher rifles. Bob told me that when he was in Korea, he purchased, by mail from Winfield Arms, one of their Dutch Mannlicher long rifles, which he had sent to his home in the US. When he returned from overseas, he found a new, unissued M.95 waiting for him. He later traded it for a Mauser, which he now regrets. Forty years ago, I did the same with a nice No. 1 Old Model cavalry carbine. If only I had known...
Best Regards,
John!

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Edited by - John Wall on 03/21/2004 2:16:22 PM


JPS
Moderator - WWI Arms & Militaria Collector



USA
4436 Posts
Posted - 03/21/2004 : 3:49:09 PM
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Yo John & Jan,

It looks like reinforcements have arrived! I hope you Gentlemen feel like the cavalry? I have been working this problem for years.

I checked Howard's book and the Spanish connection a long time ago and came up with the same results that you did. Part of the problem is that the Dutch Mannlicher just happens to have the same model year designation as the Austro-Hungarian straight pull Mannlicher. This is does not make research any easier.

Here are the two illustrations from the Sverdlovsk Museum catalog. There is no doubt that the rifles shown are Dutch as is readily apparent from the rear sight and the bayonet lug on the rifle shown in this first picture. The second rifle is also a Dutch Mannlicher, but the photo was taken from an odd angle. The notations are mine and are from Valentina's translations from parts of the catalog.


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Model 1895 Dutch Mannlicher shown with a Model 1895 Winchester



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Model 1895 Mannlicher shown with a captured German Gew 98 Mauser


It is quite possible that some of these rifles were in the hands of commercial arms dealers before the war, but I have been unable to discover any direct evidence of this. One of the Belgian dealers perhaps? But this would still not explain their presence on the Eastern Front. It also would not explain a wartime date on the rifles in Russia.

My own personal belief is that someone in the Netherlands was making money on the side and that by dealing with combatant nations on both sides, may have seen that as a potential out in the event that the sales became public knowledge. One could at least try to deflect public criticism if one is dealing equally with both sides. How else would Hembrug built rifles end up in Russia? This theory would be supported by the fact that the examples in the Russian museum collection were produced during the war, i.e. 1915, the period during which Russia was scouring the world looking for small arms. It was during 1915-16 that the Russians purchased Arisakas from Japan and Great Britain, the Gras', Kropatcheks, Lebels and Berthiers from France, the Model 1878/87 Vetterlis from Italy, etc. etc.

Had the examples in the Museum been produced at Steyr, then I would have thought that they might have been in inventory in Austria at the out break of WWI in 1914. This doesn't work either because there is no evidence what so ever of the Austro-Hungarians having any Model 95 Dutch Mannlichers when the war started. And once again, the dates and the manufacturer are at odds with this possibility.

On a side note, in the same museum collection, they have examples of .30-40 Krags purchased from the United States and used on the Eastern Front during WWI. (and yes, I have been looking Krags over very carefully for just as many years as I have been scrutinizing Dutch M95s!) These sales were most likely conducted directly on the state level since the bulk of the Krags were by then in the hands of the National Guard. Somewhere, in one of the state archives, the records of these sales are sitting in a pile of dust (or on microfilm), but that's another project!

The Russians were no better at marking rifles consistently than were the Germans. Large quantities of rifles were marked with the standard Russian acceptance mark, the Cyrillic P (looks like two capitol I's with the top joined - II). These marks are found on most Model 95 Winchesters, many of the Gras and Kropatchek rifles purchased from France and on some of the Vetterli-Vitalis. However, there are no marks what so ever on any of the known surviving rifles from the 763,400 Type 30, 35 and 38 Arisakas acquired from Japan and Great Britain. I have examined rifles in European Museums which are known for a fact to have been Russian issue during the war and there is not a mark on any of them.

For years now, I have looked at both Dutch 95s as well as .30-40 Krags for either a Russian mark (II) or perhaps one of the early rifles imported into the US from Spain where they have the country of origin preceeded by "MADE IN ______" stamped in English on the barrel or receiver. My Russian issued Kropatchek is marked in this fashion. It is also Russian acceptance marked as well. To date I have found no Dutch Mannlicher or Krag that shows any evidence of either mark.

This one is going to be tough. It will be nice to have some help!

Warmest regards,

JPS


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