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Glenn
Gunboards Premium Member



USA
153 Posts
Posted - 02/14/2004 : 10:36:05 PM
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Just got my first Werndl rifle. The rifle appears to be in excellent condition although the finish is turning plum. Bore is excellent. Wood has a few dings but no cracks or gouges. The gun does not have much in the way of markings on wood or metal. 869 is stamped on the lock, WERNDL on top of the receiver, St 70 and G.a on top of the chamber and 65 L St over 1532 on the top of the buttplate. On the wood the only marks are what looks like a proof mark or inspectors stamp over 22 and what looks like a small crown on the underside of the buttstock. Can anyone tell me anything about what these marks mean or anything else about the rifle?

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JPS
Moderator - WWI Arms & Militaria Collector



USA
4436 Posts
Posted - 02/15/2004 : 01:21:43 AM
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quote:
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Originally posted by Glenn

Just got my first Werndl rifle. The rifle appears to be in excellent condition although the finish is turning plum. Bore is excellent. Wood has a few dings but no cracks or gouges. The gun does not have much in the way of markings on wood or metal. 869 is stamped on the lock, WERNDL on top of the receiver, St 70 and G.a on top of the chamber and 65 L St over 1532 on the top of the buttplate. On the wood the only marks are what looks like a proof mark or inspectors stamp over 22 and what looks like a small crown on the underside of the buttstock. Can anyone tell me anything about what these marks mean or anything else about the rifle?

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Yo Glenn,

Here is the quick once over. Does your rifle have a finger spur behind the trigger guard? If it does, it is a Jaeger rifle, designed specifically for the Jaeger Batallions. If there is no finger spur, then you have a standard infantry rifle.

The "869" on the lock is a shortened version of 1869, the year your rifle was produced. It was made by "Werndl", which was later to become famous as Steyr. This rifle started life as a Model 1867 Werndl. It is now most likely been altered to the Model 1867/77 configuration. Please post a photo or detailed description of the rear sight leaf and I can confirm this. In 1877 most Werndls, which were still in service in the Austro-Hungarian Army, were rechambered to the more powerful M77 11.15x58mmR cartridge. This rechambering required a new rear sight leaf.

The "St 70" mark is the Austro-Hungarian acceptance mark, the "70" indicating the year in which the rifle was accepted. I may have the meaning of the "G.a" in my notes, but off the top of my head, it escapes me. "St" was later to be replaced with the more familiar "Wn" found on the M95 Mannlichers.

The unit mark on the buttplate tang, "65 L.St./1532" stands for 65th Landsturm Battalion, Waffen (weapon) 1532. The Landsturm were the third class reserves in the Austro-Hungarian Army. They were composed of all able bodied men between the ages of 23 and 42 who were not active members of the Regular Army or the Landwehr, the active reserves. When a regular Army soldier completed his service, he passed onto the roles of the Landwehr. When he completed his duty with the Landwehr, he was then entered on the roles of the Landsturm and remained on it's muster list until his 43rd birthday. This was ultimately extended to the age of 60 during WWI.

There were 19 Line Regiments of Landsturm during the war, all of which saw regular front line service in the trenches. However, there were a large number of additional independant Battalions on detached duty, the 65th being among them. The unit mark on your rifle dates to the opening days of WWI when the shortage of weapons upon full mobilization required the reissue of large numbers of obsolete rifles. The majority of these weapons were Werndls, but these issues also included large numbers of Wanzls as well, a trap door conversion of the rifled A-H muskets produced in the 1850s.

The remaining marks are to the best of my knowledge, inspection marks as you have suggested. There is usually an Imperial double headed eagle in a circle stamped on the leading edge of the rear sight base.

Your rifle accepts one of a number of bayonets, including the original M1867, the more common shortened M67, the M70, M73 and a variety of ersatz bayonets and converted foreign bayonets.

I'll review the finish of one of my better examples and post the original finish details tomorrow. If I list it strictly from memory, I'll probably make a mistake. I will also add some photos from my PC. I am on my laptop right now and it's getting late.

Hope this helps.

Warmest regards,

JPS


DocAV
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



Australia
3278 Posts
Posted - 02/15/2004 : 04:34:12 AM
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Dear JPS and all,
I have had a couple of Werndls for some ten years now, with a vaiety of markings: Locks date from 867 (Greiner) and 871 (Werndl); Greiner was a Hungarian Locksmith even though the name Greiner is germanic; most of the Greiners in Aussie are Hungarian in origin.
The problem with my two is that the relative position of the rear sight is different (Note that both my Werndls came out of East Africa) but there is a definite impression that one of the rifles may have been rechambered by setting back the barrel. Both will take the more modern of the 11mm Werndl cartridges. There is no sign that the rear sight was moved and resoldered on. The "funny" rifle is also shorter than the standard rifle, by some 2 inches; the woodwork may have also been modified in Africa at some later date, but overall the shorter rifle does not correspond to any of the standard "Short Werndles" known.

There are also some Regimental numbers ( can't remember them) but they follow the pattern of the one you interpreted.

Regards, Doc AV




Glenn
Gunboards Premium Member



USA
153 Posts
Posted - 02/15/2004 : 08:16:45 AM
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Thanks for the info. The rear sight does have the eagle stamped on it and also a very small stamp on the inside of the base that looks like an old german W or maybe M, can't make it out. The site base has a stepped ramp at the front and is marked 23456 on the left side. The leaf is graduated from 6 to 14. What kind of sling would go with this rifle?

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JPS
Moderator - WWI Arms & Militaria Collector



USA
4436 Posts
Posted - 02/15/2004 : 10:15:50 AM
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quote:
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Originally posted by DocAV

Dear JPS and all,
I have had a couple of Werndls for some ten years now, with a vaiety of markings: Locks date from 867 (Greiner) and 871 (Werndl); Greiner was a Hungarian Locksmith even though the name Greiner is germanic; most of the Greiners in Aussie are Hungarian in origin.
The problem with my two is that the relative position of the rear sight is different (Note that both my Werndls came out of East Africa) but there is a definite impression that one of the rifles may have been rechambered by setting back the barrel. Both will take the more modern of the 11mm Werndl cartridges. There is no sign that the rear sight was moved and resoldered on. The "funny" rifle is also shorter than the standard rifle, by some 2 inches; the woodwork may have also been modified in Africa at some later date, but overall the shorter rifle does not correspond to any of the standard "Short Werndles" known.

There are also some Regimental numbers ( can't remember them) but they follow the pattern of the one you interpreted.

Regards, Doc AV



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Yo Doc Av,

Sounds like you have a couple of vary nice rifles, one in particular being just a tad unusual. In reviewing my Werndl rifles (nine Model 67/77s and one Model 73/77), there are some very slight variations in the location of the rear sight on some of the 67/77s. Why, I don't know. My best GUESS is that they may have been made by different subcontractors. As is evidenced by the different manufacturer's locks, which appear on many of the Model 67s, some percentage of the full scale production of the Werndl was farmed out to sub contractors. The windfall of cash generated by these contracts allowed Wendl to expand his facilities into what was to become known as Steyr. However, when the initial contract was first issued, Werndl's shop could not handle the entire production in the time frame required by the Austro-Hungarian Army.

This might explain the variation in my rifles, but all of the barrels are of the same length. Your unusual variation might very well be a rework performed by setting the barrel back. However, there are several variations that do exist and if yours happens to be an unusual variation, I should be able to find it after wading through Joschi Schuy's excellent work, "DAS WAFFENSYSTEM WERNDL". It is very thick and quite comprehensive. I just wish I could read German! I'll plough through it this afternoon and see what, if anything I can find out.

I am sure that it is not a extra-korp-gewehr stutzen or cavalry carbine as these are MUCH shorter than the rifles. I have seven carbines ranging from an original, unaltered Model 1867 cavalry carbine, several stutzen variations and the extremely rare Model 1873/77 Finanz-Gewehr, which is one of only 1,149 carbines produced for treasury guards.These are ALL substantially shorter than the rifles.

There were two external contracts for Werndl rifles, one with Persia for 23,000 rifles and the second with Montenegro for an additional 20,000 rifles. However, your shorter rifle cannot be one of these variation since both contracts were for the Model 73 Werndl, not the Model 67.

Another possibility is that the rifle could have been reworked by one of the various Balkan countries who bought fairly large numbers of Werndl's as surplus to arm their reserves. Or, it may have been reworked at either an arsenal or depot during WWI. As you know, Doc, unless this is an identifiable pattern, then God only knows who performed the rework? Sounds like an interesting rifle! If I find anything in Schuy, I'll let you know. It's always nice to hear from you. How is the new law practice going?

Warmest regards,

JPS


JPS
Moderator - WWI Arms & Militaria Collector



USA
4436 Posts
Posted - 02/15/2004 : 11:44:39 AM
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quote:
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Originally posted by Glenn

Thanks for the info. The rear sight does have the eagle stamped on it and also a very small stamp on the inside of the base that looks like an old german W or maybe M, can't make it out. The site base has a stepped ramp at the front and is marked 23456 on the left side. The leaf is graduated from 6 to 14. What kind of sling would go with this rifle?

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Yo Glenn,

As is pretty much the norm for surviving Werndl's, your rifle has the Model 1867/77 rear sight. If you look very carefully at the very top of the sight leaf, you will notice that there is is a secondary sliding section of the leaf set inside the regular standing leaf. This extension, many of which are hopelessly stuck in the down position, pulls upward for use during plunging volley fire at ranges out to 2200 schritt (the Austro-Hungarian pace). If yours is stuck, try some penetrating oil and after a good soaking, use a small dowel and lightly tap the slide extension upward by tapping on the little platform on the back of the slide extension.

You will win the lottery before you find an original Werndl sling, so that leaves you with two options. Either you can simply use a Mauser style button and buckle sling, which looks fine, or you can buy one of the repro A-H slings made by several people, the best of which are produced by our very own T.P. Either would be correct for your rifle since both types of sling were in use during WWI.

The original finish on the Werndl is hard to determine. Based on surviving examples, the model 67 barrels may have been either blued or browned. My personal belief is that the ORIGINAL finish was most likely finished in a plum brown, as even the nicest surviving early examples I have seen do not appear to have been blued. However, I have seen other examples which appear to have been 100% blued? Since these rifles were used in active service for 50 years, it might be that some rifles were arsenal refinished with 100% blueing at a later date when they went in for repair or refinishing.

In addition, large numbers of Werndl's were purchased as surplus and may have been refinished by one of the large arms dealers for resale. It's really hard to say?

The Model 73s were definitely blued. Every surviving example of the 73 that I have examined has been blued. Place the two models together and look at them and it supports the theory that at least the early Model 67s were indeed browned. I wish I could read German as the actual finish may be recorded in Schuy's book.

Here is the finish that I BELIEVE was used on the original rifles.

Plum browned (or blued if I'm wrong!) - barrel, receiver, front and rear sights, barrel bands and swivels, nosecap.

In the white - drum breech, lock and hammer, trigger and trigger guard, buttplate, receiver tang and cleaning rod.

(there is some evidence that the rear sight might have actually been blued as they frequently appear to be a different color than the barreled receiver and other parts)

This is the finish which has appeared on the majority of rifles that I have examined that have definable color differences as opposed to the rifles that appear to be 100% patina.

I'll switch over to IE and post some photos which should help those of you out there who are not familiar with the Austrian Werndl.

Warmest regards,

JPS


JPS
Moderator - WWI Arms & Militaria Collector



USA
4436 Posts
Posted - 02/15/2004 : 12:17:25 PM
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Yo Glenn,

Here are a couple of photos I have on file. I don't have a really good full length photo of a Model 67/77, so this rather poor example taken with my old Casio will have to do.


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Model 1867/77 Werndl standard Infantry rifle shown with a WWI vintage ersatz bayonet.


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Model 67/77 Sidelock action


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Model 67/77 drum breech closed


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Model 67/77 drum breech open


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Model 77 rear sight


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Model 77 rear sight with extension raised


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Model 1873/77 Werndl Jaeger rifle

I hope this info has been of help. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Warmest regards,

JPS


Glenn
Gunboards Premium Member



USA
153 Posts
Posted - 02/15/2004 : 1:17:24 PM
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Thanks again. As usual this site is a font of information about old rifles. A couple of more questions. How common are these rifles? I found a reference to 250,000 being produced. I have never seen one in this neck of the woods (north Florida) at a gunshow and only a few on the internet. I got interested in them after I bought one of the Steyr M1886 straight pull rifles a few years ago. Thought it would be a great addition to my collection of rifles from the period when armys were converting from muzzle loaders to cartridge arms. Does anyone have any drawings or information about how the breech block goes together? I would like to do a detail strip and cleaning of the gun but am afraid I would never get it back together if I take it apart.

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JPS
Moderator - WWI Arms & Militaria Collector



USA
4436 Posts
Posted - 02/15/2004 : 2:16:39 PM
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quote:
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Originally posted by Glenn

Thanks again. As usual this site is a font of information about old rifles. A couple of more questions. How common are these rifles? I found a reference to 250,000 being produced. I have never seen one in this neck of the woods (north Florida) at a gunshow and only a few on the internet. I got interested in them after I bought one of the Steyr M1886 straight pull rifles a few years ago. Thought it would be a great addition to my collection of rifles from the period when armys were converting from muzzle loaders to cartridge arms. Does anyone have any drawings or information about how the breech block goes together? I would like to do a detail strip and cleaning of the gun but am afraid I would never get it back together if I take it apart.

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Yo Glenn,

While I would say that the Model 1867/77 Werndl is not a "common" rifle, it is not exactly rare either. I just ran a quick Google search and found two for sale without going past the second page of the search. I would expect that you can turn up a Werndl for sale somewhere on the internet at almost any given time. But you won't be tripping over them at your local gun shop either.

Based on the late 19th Century Steyr catalog that John Wall has in his possesion, the production figures for the Werndl are as follows;


Austria-Hungary

Model 1867 Infantry rifles - 600,000
Model 1867 carbines - 11,000
Model 1873 Infantry rifles - 400,000
Model 1873 carbines - 100,000

*** Model 1867 and 73 Infantry rifles converted to the M77 cartridge - 309,000


Montenegro

Model 1873 Infantry rifles - 20,000


Persia

Model 1873 Infantry rifles - 23,000


I will check and see if I have any drawings of the Model 67 drum breech. Perhaps there is a drawing in Schuy's excellent book. I have never attempted to take any of my Werndls a part, nor do I think I will try anytime in the near future. It might not be too difficult, but you generally find out if there is a problem when you are half way into the process!

I shoot one of my Werndls on a regular basis and took a deer with it in Texas this past December. It is extremely accurate. I popped a nice buck with it from a blind on a wheat field at a range of 95 yards. Dropped him in his tracks!

Handloading is quite easy. Buy a set of dies, fireform some .348 Winchester brass and your off to the races. I cast my own bullets, but you can buy those as well if you don't want to set up to cast. I use reduced smokeless loads based on the formula in Donnalley's book. I don't like shooting black powder, too much of a mess to clean up and you can't let a rifle sit over night if you are pressed for time.

Best of luck to you with your new rifle. Scan ebay from time to time and you will find a bayonet within a month or two. Or you can do a Google search for that as well.

Warmest regards,

JPS


JPS
Moderator - WWI Arms & Militaria Collector



USA
4436 Posts
Posted - 02/15/2004 : 2:29:52 PM
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Here is a 50 yards group fired from the bench. The flyer is me, not the rifle. This group was fired using a 6 o'clock hold on the orange target dot. At 100 yards, it prints about 4" to 6" high.

I fire form the W-W .348 Win brass cases using one of the fast burning powders (Unigue, 2400, etc.) with the case filled to the top with corn meal with an Elmer's Glue cap on the corn meal, which I allow to set up over night. The cast bullet are as dropped from a .446 Mauser mold. They mic at .446/.448. I cast with soft lead and lube them by hand with Crisco. The bullets tip the scale at 415 grains. I use a 3 grain poly-fiber fill wad over the powder and a 1/4" thick parafin wad over the poly-fiber fill. Recoil is negligable due to the weight of the rifle combined with the low pressure loads.

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Regards,

JPS


DocAV
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



Australia
3278 Posts
Posted - 02/15/2004 : 11:11:02 PM
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Dear JPS,
Re: Werndl, will get a good digital photo for the board when I have finished "Boot Camp" (this wednesday night) with my last Truial for the practice certificate Course.

I have settled into Chambers, on the 20th level of a building called "Inns of Court" (naturally full of Lawyers (oops, Barristers)
which overlooks the wide Brisbane River to the mountains beyond (babout 100 klm away). The Chambers ( what you US lawyers call Offices) are single rooms on a common floor, with a shared Library, secretaries, kitchenette, etc. Certain facilities (Fax, Copiers, etc. are also shared.Barristers here are "single operators" even though "birds of a feather flock together.".. There are levels where the predominance is Crime, or Personal Injury Litigation, or property, or family(matrimonial) law...our level, a most august Chambers, has had several Justices of the Supreme Court, one Defence Minister,a whole swag of Queen's Counsel ( very high on the pecking order...needs 15 to 20 years impeccable practice) and we are a pretty varied lot...PI, Crim, Family, Contract/Commercial, Immigration, Constitutuional, etc. there are 13 on this level, and I am #13...it is also my membership number in the Military Rifle Club.

anyway, there is plenty of experience available for a young ( as in Practice) barrister to draw on. The Bar is very collegiate...over the weekend, we did our intenive Advocacy weekend workshop, and a good ten barristers (all senior Counsel) and a couple of Judges gave up the entire weekend to supervise and critique our performances.

I will be admitted to the Supreme Court Bar in late April; In the meantime I have already worked through a couple of Expert Witness cases from my chambers, done a videolink across country to give evidence in a lower court "Potato-gun" case ("when is a potato gun a weapon? when you use it as a club!!). ( 5K kms, two hour timezone differeance.)and am preparing a Attempted Murder trial Ballistic examination for early March.

No time for guns otherwise in the last two months...get my fix via the net, and info such as yours on Werndls.

regards, Doc AV, in sunny (and hot and humid) down-townBrisbane, Queensland.
 
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