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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here are two pics of (to me) unknown markings on one of the Steyr so-called ‘1888/24’ short rifles. Does anyone know what these signify?

The first is on the upper right side of the receiver/barrel interface, and the second set is on the top of the stock just behind the receiver tang and to the rear of the bolt raceway.

Thanks,
Pat


 

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Nick should help probably, looks like cyrilica or azbuka the last letter on barell rand.b.r.Andy
 

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The barrel is obviously milled down and reused from something else. Looks like a partial roll mark from an early Tula M91 (Императорский)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Nick,
I'll try and get pics up later today or this evening. Thanks for eye-balling it-
Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, I was able to get to this quicker than I’d thought. Here are some pics of the rifle that will hopefully answer a question or two. There are matching numbers on the receiver, outside of stock, inside of the stock at the receiver tang, inside of the hand guard (both stamped and penciled), the inside of the trigger guard and the bolt ball.

Both the barreled receiver and bolt are FN proofed, with FN’s ordnance bomb above a cursive ‘L,’ denoting a foreign made item that passed testing at FN. There is also the 7.9 conversion stamp legend on the left side of the receiver. This appears to be the same legend used on a German-occupation completed Greek Model 1930 Mauser rifle I own.

Aside from where it is screwed into the receiver, the barrel is completely straight with no observable taper at any point. The only marking on the underside of the barrel is an upper case ‘M.’ There is a Cyrillic ‘P’ at the top of the rear sight, which appears to be adapted from a Model 1891 Mosin-Nagant, like other examples observed. While there are some clues about their lineage, it’s still not clear by which country these were intended to be used, and I doubt there will be much clarity on that until some documentation surfaces.

Pat






 

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Well, now we know why the rear sight is Russian - cause the barrel is Russian. I measured my barrel (simple calipers), the groove diameter is around 8.03 mm, correct for a 8 mm bullet. If mine were Russian, they were definitely re-bored & re-grooved. But I can't tell, no markings are left on them. Can you measure yours?

I know that the Germans & the Austrians initially re-bored the barrels of the captured three-line rifles. Obviously, the Belgians did the same, but why? The obvious answer would be that they used shot out M.88s , but I mean something else - the cost. Using a new (or made as new) barrel makes the whole conversion very elaborate and costly. Curioser and curioser...
 

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Well, now we know why the rear sight is Russian - cause the barrel is Russian. I measured my barrel (simple calipers), the groove diameter is around 8.03 mm, correct for a 8 mm bullet. If mine were Russian, they were definitely re-bored & re-grooved. But I can't tell, no markings are left on them. Can you measure yours?

I know that the Germans & the Austrians initially re-bored the barrels of the captured three-line rifles. Obviously, the Belgians did the same, but why? The obvious answer would be that they used shot out M.88s , but I mean something else - the cost. Using a new (or made as new) barrel makes the whole conversion very elaborate and costly. Curioser and curioser...
Not only curiouser and curiouser, Alice, but very cool and interesting. Not to derail the thread, but I thought you would like this pic, Nick, and it sort of relates. British picture of ‘Venizelos’ bodyguard’. Interesting rifles for that group.
DDF6DD9F-2F17-4D07-AE64-BC608A5239A2.jpeg
 

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Very interesting, especially the first picture, which shows what appears to be shortened M.88! Thank you!
 

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Very interesting, especially the first picture, which shows what appears to be shortened M.88! Thank you!
Oops, second picture was posted here by mistake. Thought I had removed it, but an interesting picture nonetheless. I was wondering if those were shortened M.88s in the first photo, though.
 

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Too bad we can't see more details; this would have probably answered the question on the 88/24 customer.

Those bodyguards are armed with non-standard weapons, M.95, M.88 - why? One would expect them to carry Mannlicher-Schoenauers embellished with sliver, mother-of-pearl, red coral, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
While there's very little info on these and few photographs of those that survived, it seems they're in pretty nice shape overall. Has anyone seen '1888/24's' in anything like worn, used condition?
 

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The top one shows wear and has a "duffle cut". I don't know when they occured, though, could be post-war.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Very cool, Nick!
The fact that the top example is duffel cut narrows the possibilities of where this was when it was captured, IMO. I think it would be safe to assume that your duffel cut rifle is an ETO bring-back, and was likely seized by German forces at some point. That could have been from a conquered nation’s armed forces or simply from taking completed but undelivered contract rifles out of storage at Liege.

Pure speculation here, but the interwar period of the 1920s-1930s saw a great deal of caliber conversion of older weapons, like the many Yugoslav conversions, the French re-use of older Lebel rifles for new designs, and the Polish Model 91/98/26 Mosin-Nagant to name a few. These so-called ‘1888/24’ short rifles appear to fit that same trend, and some obviously saw use, like yours. I didn’t show a photo of it, but mine has a three digit number stamped into the top rear of the stock comb near the butt plate edge. If other rifles are any indication, this suggests issue and assignment of a ‘rack number’ or something similar. My guess is that these were converted for and remained in European countries. The ‘Who’ part of that is still unknown, and the steps necessary to convert these don’t make much economic sense, but skilled labor was much cheaper then, and it wasn’t until the late 1930s that most countries accelerated their push to re-arm for what they saw as the coming war.
 

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Question is how old are the barells, from what is visible the sights are for ogival cartridge to 1908, i dont known the cyrilica stamp to date it, anyway it could be the barells were from german or austrian captured russian early Mosin91, later rebored or replaced to older M88 avialable there in Belgium ? or shortened for a unknown country in 20/30ies, the measurement and belgian proofs should be compared what period are possible to determine.br.Andy
PS:Any austrian proofs on the rifles visible?, or army units, is more real the bunch is of export sale.?
 

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Question is how old are the barells, from what is visible the sights are for ogival cartridge to 1908, i dont known the cyrilica stamp to date it, anyway it could be the barells were from german or austrian captured russian early Mosin91, later rebored or replaced to older M88 avialable there in Belgium ?
This barrel at least is an pre-WWI Tula, this roll mark being used until just before the war.

I agree that German/Austrian captured rifles, possibly issued to units serving in Belgium, are the most likely source of these parts.
0109.jpg
 

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German/Austrian captured rifles
That would be the only source. Many rear sights remained unconverted well into WWI according to Fyodorov's memoirs (Fyodorov, the gun designer, known for his Avtomat).
 

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PS:Any austrian proofs on the rifles visible?, or army units, is more real the bunch is of export sale.?
The markings and stamps were already posted and discussed in posts, for which links were provided.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
the measurement and belgian proofs should be compared what period are possible to determine.
Good idea, Andy. The star over the 'N' stamps on mine indicate it was inspected and stamped by Henri Florkin, who was an inspector at Liege from 1927-1958. That at least fits into the general trend of conversions from the 1920s-1930s.

Pat
 

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On the end of reciever where works the secure lever by safe position is there a letter?, this is on H.H. pictures, is on the pictured piece too?, and what for serial number have the pictured piece here? its enough a range? as 5000 pcs were estimated by Heino H. thanks.b.r.Andy
 
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