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Old February 23, 2020, 20:57   #1
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Mannlicher straight pull rifles: anyone with experience?

How good or bad are they for those of you who've had experience with them?

I know that they were used by Austria-Hungary during World War I, both countries adapted them for a more powerful round (8x56R with a spitzer bullet instead of 8x50R with a round nose bullet) in about 1930. I also know that Italy got tons of them as war reparations following WWI, and used quite a few of them in Italian East Africa during World War II.

Any thoughts, opinions or experiences?
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Old February 23, 2020, 22:14   #2
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stright pulls

Hello, I have owned 3 of these rifles. Mine were the carbine not the long rifle.
They are neat but tend to kick hard. After about 3 or 4 rounds you flinch before you pull the trigger. They were ok on accuracy.
The bolts can be hard to open when the action is closed and trigger pulled whether there is a round in the chamber or not.,there are some web sites that talk about this problem and how to address it. All 3 of mine did it and could never get them to work smooth.
If you like a nice light carbine and a hard kick these are just the thing. Ammo is kind of pricey now. PPU makes new stuff but never had any trouble with the surplus.
Hope this helps you.
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Old February 23, 2020, 23:18   #3
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I'm mostly researching World War II era firearms and I know that Italy used a lot of them in East Africa and for training in Italy itself.

I also know that Yugoslavia and Bulgaria rebarreled a lot of them in 7.92mm Mauser.

Just wondering if they were any good, because I read that Austria-Hungary planned on getting rid of a lot of them in favor of Styer built Mausers before World War I, though beyond one source I haven't found anything to back that assertion up.
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Old February 29, 2020, 12:09   #4
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I never found the "buttlickers" all that appealing. Only one I ever had I liked was a pre 1900 8x50 long infantry rifle. It was pleasant to shoot with original 8x50 ammo , but accuracy..meh not so much. Had one in 7,92x57...was fun , but it was sporterized. You find one of the 7,92 conversions the boltheads and extractors are scarce. Seen a couple that had boltheads for the rimmed ammo and these cannot be reworked to use the rimless easily.
Had several that would every now and then slam fire when chambering a round...and the kick would drive rifle back into shoulder and not pleasantly either. Not as slick as the canuck Ross actions , but better built than them.
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Old March 09, 2020, 15:19   #5
Milsurp Obsession
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I’ve got 3 steyr built examples. Two long rifles (one in original 8x50 and one in 8x56) as well as a stutzen carbine. I happen to enjoy shooting my M95s a lot, and I think they are beautiful firearms with a very neat design. It would be my opinion that the design was nearing obsolescence by the start of the Great War, mausers being much more user friendly with the box magazine vs enbloc system. Also most mauser designs were chambered in more ballistically advanced cartridges and case designs (no rim). The sights aren’t the greatest, but no worse than a mauser. Field stripping can be a pain at times, when removing the bolt on well used examples, the bolt head will retract into the bolt body and can sometimes be a pain to slide back out and maintain the proper position for reinsertion into the rifle. My bolts aren’t rough by any means, although I did strip them and grease the inner surface of the bolt head mechanism. They are not as smooth as a Swiss rifle if that’s what you’re comparing to, and the bolts must be worked with authority, no pussyfooting around.

Would definitely suggest an 8x56 chambered rifle if reloading and load development is outside of your realm of comfort. As mentioned above, the original 8x50 round is mild to shoot and the 8x56 long rifles aren’t too bad, but the lightweight carbine length rifles in 8x56, coupled with the steel buttplate results in one of the greatest felt recoils of any of my rifles, including magnums. Perhaps only rivaled or matched by a French berthier carbine with 8mm Lebel. It’s important to load these rifles only from the enblocs, as the rim slides into the extractor groove from the bottom. Trying to chamber a loose round can make the extractor push over the rim and can cause damage to the extractor. My rifles aren’t tack drivers by any means but I would bet they could hit a man sized target at 500 without too much issue.

PPU is pretty much the only game in town for this ammo if you don’t reload, which is quality ammo, but far from match grade. If you do reload, you are stuck with either hornady or ppu .329/.330 pills or if you are feeling frisky, some have successfully sized down .338 bullets with a lee .329 bullet sizing die, lots of lube, and a stout press with. If loading for 8x50, the barrel diameter is the same (they only teamed the chamber when upgrading calibers, no changes were made to bore diameter) though most dies come with expanders designed for use with .323 bullets. Original 8x50 rounds had bullet that was mostly .323 in diameter with a slightly larger heel (.326-7) that would expand and fill the groves of the bore. I would suggest only using flatbased bullets if you do use .323 pills in an 8x50 but others (myself included) have also used horn .329 or ppu .329 (slug your bore first, my 8x50 bore was .330) with success and greater accuracy. Mine all function great with full metal jackets, but have had issues with feeding soft points...sometimes the tips want to catch on the action or feed ramp.

Last edited by Milsurp Obsession; March 09, 2020 at 15:24.
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Old March 09, 2020, 16:28   #6
K. Funk
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The full size rifles kick like mules as well!! I traded through a few until I found an all matching carbine with an excellent bore. The rifle I have has a worn finish, but excellent bore. I haven't reloaded for them yet as I have about 1500 rounds of surplus. I'll get to it eventually. I enjoy shooting both.

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