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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
One great and substantial old thread: http://old.gunboards.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5637

Even some of the pictures have survived until today. The maximum amount of only 12 pics "per posting" might make it necessary that I split up this thread into several separate replies. Bear with me :).

Alexander

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John Wall
Posted - 10/04/2003 : 10:33:30 AM
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One of the neatest finds over the past week was this Roumanian-type Steyr M1893 carbine made for Portugal, where it is known as the Model 1896. A total of 8,000 were made according to my Steyr Catalog (circa 1896/7). This one is serial number 715. It is battered, beaten, abused, slightly rusted, and pitted under the wood, but it is the only M1892 Steyr Roumanian type turnbolt action or rifle that I have ever seen for sale here in New England. It appeared at a New Hampshire auction last weekend. Again, no one else bid on it. I however, not being one to be deterred by the thoroughly rotten condition of a groady but rare rifle, made a public spectacle of my gulibility and made it my own for $50. Like my father-in-law, the later George Custer Creech used to tell me, "A fool and his money will part!".

BTW, the crest on these carbines is the same "CI" for King Carlos I that is found on the Portuguese Model 1904 Vergueiro. The same mark also was stamped on the buttstock.

I should add that one of the reasons (maybe THE reason) I got this so inexpensively is the large, crude import marks on the left side of the receiver ring. Don't look at the last pic unless you have a strong stomach.
Best Regards,
John

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JPS
Posted - 10/04/2003 : 10:55:21 AM
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Another nice find. I have owned two of these short rifles over the years and still have one of them. Provided it passes a thorough safety inspection, these are allot of fun to shoot and are very accurate. The actions are about as smooth as they come. Most of the actions were taken from the Romanian contract, perhaps as left over production, and have the Romanian Phoenix stamped on the top of the action on the right side in the boltway. These rifles were originally offered for sale by Hunter's Lodge many years ago. Most of them were without handguards, so you were lucky to find one that is complete.

There is some evidence that due to the small number purchased, combined with the different caliber, that these rifles were sent to the colonies for issue to indigenous troops. If this is true, it might explain the poor condtion of the surviving examples. They are chambered for the 6.5x53mmR Romanian (or Dutch) cartridge. Cases can be easily formed from .303 brass. My best results have come with the 160 grain bullets, which duplicate the original loading. They are very accurate.

Another nice find and again, a steal at $50!



Carcano
Posted - 10/04/2003 : 11:29:50 AM
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Not uncommon guns here around. Many have been sleeved as training carbines in .22 lr.
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Alexander Eichener
Email: [email protected]
Carcano Website: http://personal.stevens.edu/~gliberat/carcano



John Wall
Posted - 10/04/2003 : 2:35:11 PM
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Hi John,
Thanks for the Hunter's Lodge reminder! That made me remember that there was a small stream of articles about these rifles in The Military Rifle Journal in the 1995-97 time frame when these were being offerd by HL. The best of the articles is Al Castle's excellent piece entitled "The Portuguese Model 18996 Short Rifle" in the July 1997 issue. There is also a small write up on these in Don Webster's "Military Bolt Action Rifles, 1841-1918". Al Castle corrected Webster's production data based on serial number observations that he made on the Hunter's Lodge imports. Al's conclusions that at least 7,000 18" barreled carbines and short rifles (with 24" barrels) were likely made, pretty much matches the Steyr factory data indicating that they delivered 8,000 "Carbines" to Portugal.

Your remarks on the Roumanian phoenix are well taken, In fact, I noticed this mark and took several photos of it, and then forgot to post one! I'll attach it below.
Regards,
John

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John Wall
Posted - 10/04/2003 : 2:44:34 PM
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Originally posted by Carcano
Not uncommon guns here around. Many have been sleeved as training carbines in .22 lr.
Hi Alexander,
Thank you for this information. I have found some very good data on these rifles in some 1995-97 issues of The Military Rifle Journal, but none of the articles referred to a .22 caliber trainer. It's interesting how some rifles get to North America and some stay in Europe. Do these rifles have any special markings?



DocAV
Posted - 10/04/2003 : 6:59:17 PM
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The Portuguese .22 cal M1896 training Carbines were on sale in France as far back as 1975 ( Gazette des Armes) from a company called "Universal Armes"; obviously onselling part of the rifles acquired by Interarms in 1967, when they bought out the ENTIRE Portuguese Bolt action inventory ( Kropatscheks, Vergueiros, Mausers, and also LMGs and Pistols). Also, Labbett notes in his "Cartridge Notes" (in "Guns Review", a now-defunct UK Journal) the existance of Portuguese "Cartouchoes M.1897 com bala, cal. 6,5mm" (M97 6,5mm ball cartridge), which was made by both AE (Portugal) and GR (Georg Roth, Austria), and was identical to the M93 Roumanian & Dutch cartridge.

It seems the "M96" carbines were issued to the Portuguese Police after the initial Trials by the Army; given their small numbers, they were also relegated to re-calibration to .22RF ("6mm Flobert") for Indoor training use. For this reason were they freely available in France in 1975 (Not a "Military calibre" )
Another possible use was the Small Portuguese Contingent in Portuguese East Timor, where commonality with the neighboring Dutch West Timor would have solved ammo re-supply problems (My wishful thinking). By 1975 Independance in East Timor (and Indonesian Invasion), most Portuguese rifles seen on newsreels were H&K G3s and Portuguese Mausers (M37, M04/39 conversions).

An interesting sideline BTW, what ever happened to the 400 M1900 6,5x54MS Steyr Mannlicher-Schoenauer trials rifles supplied to Portugal (even before the Greek M1903 MS rifle was trialled by Greece)



John Wall
Posted - 10/05/2003 : 1:37:14 PM
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Hi Doc,
Many thanks for this excellent write-up on the history of the Portuguese M.96 .22 trainers. If one ever turns up here, it will certainly be a rare item. At leat now, we'll b able to recognize one!



Carcano
Posted - 10/19/2003 : 06:27:47 AM
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A couple of years ago, I bough two deactivated Portuguese .22 trainers without bolts from Hege's junk bin (literally: it was a round metal bin with junk rifles, barreled actions, assorted rust conglomerates). They cost $ 10 each, and I acquired them either for spare parts or as project guns. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask: so far, the guns don't seem to have any additional markings. One has the serial G 582 (and the stock serial H 480), the other I don't know.



Krag
Posted - 10/19/2003 : 09:07:09 AM
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Maybe one of you guys can clear up something for me. I understand that the original Md. 1892 Rumanian Mannlicher bolt used an ejector mounted in the left locking lug identical to that of the Gew. 88 rifle. Is this correct?

On the Md. 1893 I have examined, the left locking was solid and the ejector is mounted in the bolt raceway, at the rear of the magazizne well.



GregW
Posted - 10/22/2003 : 1:08:52 PM
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John,
I have one just like that one including the big, ugly import mark. Mine did come from Hunter's Lodge. By the way, I seem to recall reading somewhere that these were made for Portugual but Portugual never paid for them so the factory sold them off to Romania.



Krag
Posted - 10/23/2003 : 12:57:37 PM
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FYI, I was at my friend's house last night, he's a shortwave radio ham. He was talking to guy in Rumania so I took the opportunity of asking him some firearm terms.

Rifle - Pusca (plural, Pusci)
Carbine - Carabina
Cartridge/Ammunition - Cartus



John Wall
Posted - 10/23/2003 : 4:31:04 PM
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I have a Steyr sales catalog from around 1896-1898 which actually lists the sale of these "carbines" to Portugal as a done deal in 1896. My friend Al Castle in TX did some neat serial number research in 1996 or 1997 which he published in The Military Rifle Journal which still sems viable. Al proposed, based on a limited number of rifle numbers, that there were at least 7 letter blocks i Portufuese M.1896 Mannlicher serial numbers: a, b, c, d, e, f and g as I recalled, with 1,000 rifles (not 10,000) per letter block. My rifle has no letter. If there were 1,000 rifles in the "no letter block' too, that would make a total of 8,000 rifles, which Steyr claimed in the catalog.

Interestingly, I believe that these rifles came to the USA without any real Romanian Mannlichers M.1893's mixed in. I would guess they must have come from Portugal, or a former Portuguese territory, as surplus. Didn't Alexander or Doc AV report that .22 trainer conversions sold in France were Portugal? I'll have to look for that earlier thread.
Best REegards,
John



tplan
Posted - 09/13/2004 : 9:05:44 PM
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Nothing like coming in on the tail end of a conversation. I went through the process of ordering two of these things from Hunter's Lodge. I wound up with an 1896 dated B prefix, and an 1899 dated E prefix, both as ratty as described above, both complete, and both good shooters. I've also heard people say that these went straight to the Romanians, but I wonder if they'd still be marking the rifles with Portuguese cyphers on both receiver and stock after three years of production if that were the case. Attached to the earlier rifle was a grimy, little, paper tag (and yes, I know grimy, little, paper tags can come from anywhere) on which is handwritten 'Esp Steyr Mod. 1896' and the serial #. 1896 is the model year designation used by the Portuguese, but not the Romanians, and espingarda is Portuguese for rifle. I also agree with the lack of actual Romanian rifles in the Hunter's Lodge lot (and in the whole US, I'm beginning to believe) being a telling sign against these having come from Romania.
I just wonder if the Romanian proof wasn't applied at the factory because their inspectors were already there and doing the job, in the same way that some of the Boer Mausers have German military inspection marks, and the Luxenbourg Mausers have Swedish marks?
John



dg13
Posted - 09/13/2004 : 10:39:33 PM
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Hey John
I too was one who bought the above short rifle but was lucky enough to get a decent one(bolt still did not match although). But I was lucky to pick up a m1892 Roumanian rifle that is completely matched and in good shape but little blue remaining. It has a bayonet lug and a straight sided magazine. It is serialed w/o a letter in 3 digits. I've never seen another one quite like it--except the Irish mannlicher. It is in the original caliber--6.5.
dg13



tplan
Posted - 09/13/2004 : 11:53:49 PM
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dg13,
You're lucky indeed. Sounds nice. I'd like to see a picture, if you have the technology and the inclination.
John


<Following conversation and identification of DUTCH Mannlichers edited and shortened, to keep it focussed>



renega
Portugal
3 Posts
Posted - 12/10/2005 : 12:47:47 PM
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Interesting sites about the steyr M1893 can be found at
http://www.rememuseum.org.uk/arms/rifles/armagm.htm
http://www.carbinesforcollectors.com/port.html

Here goes a few pictures from my portuguese Mannlicher M1893 serial number E994 from 1899

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Discussion Starter #2
Another opinion from JPS

JPS
Posted - 01/20/2004 : 4:16:59 PM
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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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Mr. Wall wrote:
I have a Steyr sales catalog from around 1896-1898 which actually lists the sale of these "carbines" to Portugal as a done deal in 1896. My friend Al Castle in TX did some neat serial number research in 1996 or 1997 which he published in The Military Rifle Journal which still sems viable. Al proposed, based on a limited number of rifle numbers, that there were at least 7 letter blocks i Portufuese M.1896 Mannlicher serial numbers: a, b, c, d, e, f and g as I recalled, with 1,000 rifles (not 10,000) per letter block. My rifle has no letter. If there were 1,000 rifles in the "no letter block' too, that would make a total of 8,000 rifles, which Steyr claimed in the catalog."
I'm not a collector, but I have strong suspitions that I have bayonet number F 261 in my desk...
 

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After A LOT of researching I can assure all of you that the Portuguese Defense Minister Pimentel Pinto bought in 1896 4.000 mannlicher carbines for the Cavalry and an undisclosed number (maybe 3.400) short rifles for the Navy. In 1898 Minister Mário da Cunha bought 4.500 carbines for the Artillery arm (slightly different from the cavalry model). In 1916 there were 5.810 Mannlicher carbines in Army units (1.053 in the cavalry Brigade and between 360 and 572 distributed in the 4 Divisional TO & E). In 1931 there were still 2.996 carbines in the cavalry units and 2.155 in the Infantry Regiments 13, 22 and 47. There is a lapse in the information concerning the years between 1931/46 (tough I know that at least some of them were sent to the Portuguese Legion militia in 1939), but we know that in 1946 the surviving weapons were altered in Braço da Prata factories to fire "5,6mm" instructional rounds (one-shot). They STILL are used for military drill by the Colégio Militar students (about 260 for the younger classes, the older ones use the Vergueiro) and the naval short rifles were still used for exercises in the Fuzileiros Navais (Marines) in the early 60's. If anyone wants some images of the carbines being used nowadays I will be happy to send it.
Hope this helps

Cheers from sunny and broke Portugal
 

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Wow, I'd love to see pictures of the rifles being used today, that would be interesting! I think cadet rifles are interesting anyway though! Are the Verugueiro rifles the full length versions, or the cut down 7.9 versions? Also, my Portuguese Mannlicher carbine is missing a bolt, does anyone have just the bolt around??
 
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