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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I was visiting a very local gunsmith. When waiting I checked through the shelves of used guns - only hunting rifles. And worth mentioning in this context, the guns are stored in a way that you look at bottom of them, not from top down. For whatever reason when pulling out a simple but yet nice looking Mannlicher Schönauer rifle I nearly got a heart attack when reading the receiver inscription. It was consigned and priced at the higher end for what it was, but we made a deal by him pulling the scope from the rings (which fortunately were split rings) and keeping it, so I took home the rifle complete with rings. At home, first thing I did was to disassemble it. Then I removed the rear scope base and removed the barrel (was tight but not very tight, but I had to improvise with my toolings since there was nothing really made for that rifle).

I'm planning on fully restoring it, though this will mean a hell more work than I've done so far on any other rifle. Not only has the bolt handle been altered, but also the trigger modified, plus I'll also need to produce a new barrel, barrel bands and a new stock and handguard with rear sight as well. Fortunately a friend of mine has all blueprints (they had survived all the years!), so that will at least make it easier.

Since the discovery was such a huge surprise to myself, I thought I should turn this a bit into a quiz and see who in here can identify the rifle based on the action only shown from the left side. The identification is possible based on this. Once it got unveiled, I'll post more pictures of it.
 

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Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est
A Sword does not kill anyone; it is a tool in the Killer's Hand.
Seneca, c.63 CE

DocAV
Hoplologist & Bolidologist
 

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I don't know enough about the variants to say, but am curious,

action was made in 66 (If I am reading the numbers correctly)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I‘ll resolve what it is on Monday. Until then only small tips: yes, it has a firing proof from 66 - but this does not mean it was made at this time. Secondly, it once was a military rifle until it got sportered. Check the picture closely, there is a particular and certain difference to normal Mannlicher Schönauer rifles. This will make it very obvious what it is…
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm surprised no one wants to make a suggestion, then maybe continue and point out the tip a bit more: take a very close look at the bolt release/catch. Secondly, as I had noted, it was sporterized and twice commercially proofed (the second proof is on the opposite side and dates to 1925), but these have no connection at all to the identification. The action dates to WWI and is military, serial #51. I hope this will help to get a few guesses!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh well, no one seems to dare to make a guess, therefore now all pictures, including one showing the full receiver inscription.

This originally was one of 300 ever made Steyr M.15 trials rifles. It was supposed (by Steyr) to replace the Mannlicher 1895 straight pull rifle. The M.15 was a Mannlicher Schönauer action, but in 8x57 caliber and with the Mauser 98 style bolt release/catch. Note the additional thumb hole for stripper clip feeding. This rifle was the ancestor to the Steyr M.17 rifle (basically the same, but in 8x50R configuration) which was later updated to M.17/30 configuration (a M.17 in 8x56R caliber).

I am only aware of a single complete Steyr M.15 rifle still existing, serial #33 which is in possession of the Austrian Army Museum in Vienna. This one, being serial #51, therefore is now known to be the second one known and was converted to a hunting rifle in 1925, rebarreled and scoped in 1966. I'll try to do my best to restore it back to M.15 configuration. I'll most likely try to get ahold of a Greek 1903/14 M-S rifle and see which parts are interchangeable, since they are very similar except for caliber, rear sight, barrel bands and bayonet lug and front sight.
 

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Interesting rifle, hard to say it was refurbished in 1925, evidently commerzially reproofed in Vienna 1966 as mentioned, but for this was prepared a trial bayonet, so bayonet lug of M03/14 would nt help here.
 

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fascinating stuff,, I'm not that fluent at all in M/S stuff,
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Andy, I know. But you also know a guy in Upper Austria as I do, and I'll get the original M.15 blueprints from him. So all there to reproduce the missing parts. And for rough dimensions/comparison the Greek stock will be fine, if not the difference at all will be the handguard and bayonet lug - I'll find out! Was surprised you didn't want to make a guess on this rifle and waited until I unveiled what it is ;)
 

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Here is the actual gun:

3854585


3854586
 
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Personally i am not interested in hunter rifles,when i saw doubble trigger and late proof,so i dont looked exactly as the hunters rifle are not my focus.
Thanks for sharing it, nice rifle and very rare trial piece.
 

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Andy, I know. But you also know a guy in Upper Austria as I do, and I'll get the original M.15 blueprints from him. So all there to reproduce the missing parts. And for rough dimensions/comparison the Greek stock will be fine, if not the difference at all will be the handguard and bayonet lug - I'll find out! Was surprised you didn't want to make a guess on this rifle and waited until I unveiled what it is ;)
The book doesn't do the rifle justice. Attached some pictures a dear friend took of it years back and he gratefully had provided to me a few days ago.
Heino Hintermeier's In der Stunde der Not: fremdländische Gewehrmodelle in Österreich-Ungarn 1914 - 1918 (2003) has a couple pages devoted to this M.15 Mannlicher-Schoenauer in 8x57mm... My German is execrable, but I thought there were some 300 or so made, and some ideas about a future joint German-Austro-Hungarian service rifle were bandied about?
 
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