Third Party Press

Steyr M.95/30 - Austrian 1st Republic

A new piece has arrived in my collection - a Steyr M.95/30 rifle in calibre 8x56 R M.30.

It remains in its original condition as issued by the Austrian Bundesheer in the interwar period, and it still has the somewhat rare front sight protector.
According to the markings on the receiver and the barrel, it has been made by the OEWG in Steyr and accepted by the Austro-Hungarian army in 1917. Then in 1932, it has been transformed to the new "S" cartridge (8x56 R). According to the stamping on the buttplate, it has been issued to the Steirisches Alpenjägerregiment Feldmarschall Conrad v. Hötzendorf Nr. 10.

The rifle has been found after the war near the village of Böhmisch Petersdorf - Ceske Petrovice in Czechia, right on the border with today's Poland. How it got there is at anyone's guess. Some 10 years ago, it has been legalized.
It is in "as found" condition, but will be restored. The rust will be removed, the remains of the finish on the metal parts will be conserved, the stock will be cleaned. All by a gunmaker with experience in restoration of antique firearms.
 

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Excellent looking rifle! I must warn against "restoration" though. That rifle doesn't need anything more than a gentle wipe down with a rag and some oil.
 
I tend to be very careful when it comes to firearms in original condition. Yet, I am quite afraid of the rust spreading. The buttplate is literally covered with a layer of rust which I'd like to remove and to stabilise the surface. However, I don't want to refinish the gun. I just want to keep it from getting worse.
 
Normal austrian proofed Repetier StutzenKarabiner M95/30, reworked like mentioned in 1932 probably, AJR10 unit stamp as correctly mentioned, the finding position could be easy explained, 1. possibility of Sudeten Freikorps in late 30ies equiped with obsolete rifles of Austria in end of 1938, which were covered for long time period there and remained there after germans moved away in 1945. Or secondly last resistance of germans in 1945 before overflowing by soviets in spring 1945 in that area used already obsolete austrian equipment, and it was hidden there by a czechs anywhere,
i would only oil the areas but there is probably no need to heavy cleaning.
 
I'd say it's just a 8 mm Repetiergewehr M.95/30. The Bundesheer wasn't differentiating between a Karabiner, Stutzen and Stutzenkarabiner in case of the M.95/30. According to Steinböck, some official interwar-era documents even refered to the standard M.95 infantry rifle as "langes Gewehr M.95".

However, the explanation regarding how it got to the Eastern Bohemia is an interesting one. It would have been interesting if it were a Freikorps gun, but I would doubt that due to the unit stamp. The Bundesheer has been rearmed to the German standard only after the Sudeten crisis. The Austrian firearms supplied to the Freikorps came from the reserve stock as far as I know, so they wouldn't have been unit stamped. The last resistance in 1945 would be more plausible. However, I was thinking more along the lines of Gendarmerie/Polizei/Zoll use as that area was at the border between the Sudetengau and the Protectorate. But all that is just a speculation. The main thing for me is that it is still in its original configuration and that I know at least a little bit of its back story, even if only the part of where it has been found.
 
I dont known where You have the info anyway there exist in Austria even long rifles M95 reworked to new caliber, how they would be named when this is a RepetierStutzen?, also 1m long Karabiner with use of 2different way to attach the carbine.
But should be looked to manuals, anyway the pre 1930 manual speaks for RepetierStutzen.
The explanation could be various, i dont believe the piece was used by Zoll or Police as they were different unit marked.But as mentioned it could be only Freikorps or 1945 war emergency.
 
Do you happen to have pictures of the opposite side, showing the serial on the stock, receiver and barrel (and on the handguard, if there is one). I'm wondering if the barrel serial was scrubbed or if it is the original matching barrel.

Secondly, this was an Austrian Army rifle. It never was an Austrian Police or any other organizations rifle. How it made its way to where it was found - impossible to tell. Most of these were put aside during WWII and pulled out to equip the Volkssturm in the last days of WWII. I suppose it could therefore originate from the Volkssturm.
 
Nice rifle, HerrWolfsberg, I like it.

Austrian small arms were apparently used by at least some German security/occupation forces in conquered countries. The attached photo is of a Slovenian partisan prior to execution. Note the M.95 carbine shouldered by the personnel securing the partisan's bindings.

Pat
 

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They sure were Pat :biggrin1:
 

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I dont known where You have the info anyway there exist in Austria even long rifles M95 reworked to new caliber, how they would be named when this is a RepetierStutzen?, also 1m long Karabiner with use of 2different way to attach the carbine.
But should be looked to manuals, anyway the pre 1930 manual speaks for RepetierStutzen.
The explanation could be various, i dont believe the piece was used by Zoll or Police as they were different unit marked.But as mentioned it could be only Freikorps or 1945 war emergency.

Erwin Steinböck's book Österreichs militärisches Potential im März 1938 includes an inventory of the firearms and equipment of Austrian military in March 1938. It includes firearms of the Bundesheer and the Frontmiliz. There are two kinds of M.95 rifles in 8x56 R listed:

1. 8 mm Repetiergewehr M.95/31 (the 31 was probably a typo) - Repetierkarabiner, Repetierstutzen and Repetierstutzenkarabiner-type guns converted to the calibre 8x56 R M.30 S in Repetierstutzenkarabiner length and swivel configuration after 1930. The long rifles were not being converted.
2. 8 mm Repetiergewehr M.95/37 - M.95 rifles of the Frontmiliz in all lengths and configurations, that were converted to the calibre 8x56 R M.30 S in Repetierstutzenkarabiner length and swivel configuration. These conversions only started in 1937.

So, there can't be a Repetierstutzenkarabiner M.95/30 as with the M.95/30 pattern the Austrian army has done away with the system of a long rifle and three different short rifles for different kinds of troops. There was just one kind of the M.95/30 rifle for all kinds of troops.
The long rifles in calibre 8x56 R M.30 S belonged to the Sicherheitswache (Austrian police). Their official designation is not known to me. The army also had M.95 long rifles, but they were still in their original calibre of 8x50 R and were kept in reserve.

Regarding the German Zoll or Polizei use, would they have unit marked their rifles in the post-1938 period? I'm not sure if I ever saw a M.95/30 with a German police unit mark even though they weren't exactly rare in police use.

Do you happen to have pictures of the opposite side, showing the serial on the stock, receiver and barrel (and on the handguard, if there is one). I'm wondering if the barrel serial was scrubbed or if it is the original matching barrel.

Secondly, this was an Austrian Army rifle. It never was an Austrian Police or any other organizations rifle. How it made its way to where it was found - impossible to tell. Most of these were put aside during WWII and pulled out to equip the Volkssturm in the last days of WWII. I suppose it could therefore originate from the Volkssturm.

The pictures are attached. The barrel and the receiver are matching. The stock is matching too, even though the number is somewhat hard to read. But it might have been changed at some point as there seem to be some remains of another number stamped with larger stamps. However, that must have been done a long time ago as the surface of the stock is consistent there, ie it shows no signs of recent sanding or similar operation.
The handguard is not numbered at the usual place (left sight, under the rear sight).

I am quite sure it was an Austrian Army rifle. The unit marking says so. I was refering to the German police post-1938. However, weren't most of the Austrian army M.95/30 rifles sold to Bulgaria after the ex-Bundesheer units were rearmed to the Wehrmacht standards in autumn of 1938?
 

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Note the M.95 carbine shouldered by the personnel securing the partisan's bindings.

Nice find on that photo. Not to pick hairs but rather an honest question... would this be a Stutzen variant since it has both the side and bottom mounted swivels?
 
It would have been a Repetierstutzenkarabiner M.95, were it still in 8x50 R. A Stutzen had bottom mounted swivels, a Karabiner had side mounted swivels, and a Stutzenkarabiner had both. But were it in 8x56 R, which is more probable, it would have been just a Repetiergewehr M.95/30.
 
This indeed is the original matching barrel from WWI, not reserialized to match. However, the number on the stock is odd, it is smaller than it shoud be, plus it appears to have a former serial on the stock. Thank you for the pictures (I‘ll btw reply your PM tomorrow, sorry - no time today).
 
I hope I'll get to my other Mannlichers this week. I believe I have another one with a similar small serial on stock. But I moved recently and most of my guns are still in storage. I'll have to see whether it also bears some traces of having been renumbered.

However, I believe the stock was replaced. My guess would be that it was replaced at the time of the conversion to 8x56 R.
 
However, I believe the stock was replaced. My guess would be that it was replaced at the time of the conversion to 8x56 R.

The ones that went through S conversion and didn't have a matching stock got a new stock with matching serial in the same size as during WWI. The serial on your stock is stamped much smaller than originally.

Check the very rear of the handguard on the left side. It should also carry the last two digits of the rifle serial in this area next to the rear sight base.
 
I started disassembling the rifle. When I removed the buttplate, I found that the stock is hollow. I don't remember ever seeing one like that. I also checked the handguard again and it is not marked with a serial.

I also found a strange stamp on the underside of the bolt handle. I am attaching the pictures. Is it a repair mark?
 

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I known the page of Steinboeck, strange even on that page that he declare the modell to M95/31? as this was hungarian version, and this is a short table not to say its original manual of 1.republik, is known that long rifles were used even in army possible by reserve, anyway there are in HGM presented as still used in 1929. The change to new caliber was fullended in 1932/4 period.
So i personally would look more for real army manuals, anyway the short rifle /carbine also Stutzenkarabiner called since 1914-1929 was the major weapon used. I assume Standartgewehr was the official name since rework to M95/30 short rifles, as majority long rifles were converted to 1m lenght configuration.
Anyway its only nomenclatury, and as austrians probably other countries used similar designation even that weapons with 1m of lenght could be not called as Rifle in previous decades. Rifle was minimum 120cm long and has special configurations. The Zoll and Grenzschutz were used not army weapons. There probably exist similar items with correct stamps.
The buttstock was there reserialed there are visible large correct digits so the buttstock is not from metall and the matching serials could be added later,maybe changed in war, same as bolt was probably overhauled.
 
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The M.95/31 was not the Hungarian version of the M.95 in 8x56 R. That was the 31.M. The list in Steinböck is not exactly short. It is actually quite long and lists all the Austrian military equipment available in March 1938 as listed in the official documents. I'm inclined to think that the M.95/31 designation is simply a typo. But some other period documents refer to the converted weapons as "8 mm M.95-S-Stutzen". I've however never seen the designation "Standardgewehr". The long rifles were of course in use in 1929. The question is how widespread their use was then, and how widespread it was after 1930. Should I take my collection of original photos as a reference, they are nonexistent in the photos of the Bundesheer post 1930.

Regarding the period manuals, it is going to be a bit difficult. The new "Ausbildungsvorschrift für die Infanterie" has not been properly published in the interwar period. There was only a draft available in 1937. The relevant previous manuals came in 1923 ("Allgemeine Gefechtsvorschrift") and 1928 ("Algemeine Dienstvorschrift für das Bundesheer") and therefore do not list the converted rifles.

Regarding the conversions, they were mostly done before 1934, yet you will find quite a lot of later ones. The army would have gladly converted more of the rifles, but the budget did not allow that. Plus, the conversion of the rifles of the Frontmiliz has only begun in 1937 and in March 1938, most of them were still in their original lenght and calibre.

Regarding the nomenclature in other countries, the Czechoslovak "Puška vz. 24" was a "puška" (rifle) even though it was only 110 cm long. And the "Puška vz. 33" was only 99 cm long. Also the Hungarian Mannlichers were called "Gyalogsagi Hosszú Puska 31.M" and "Puska 31.M", or Infantry long rifle 31.M and Rifle 31.M. The "puska" or rifle was of course the Stutzen/Karabiner/Stutzenkarabiner length one.

Regarding the stock, it has quite obviously been replaced some time before 1945. But I'd love to know where or what it came from originally as it is hollow.
 
Yes the nomenclatory is different pre WW1 and interwar period.
In czechoslovak designation was the Vz.24 on start called Krátka Puška Vz23 ,98/23 and Vz.24 as their precedessors is in original Franek ZB book, same i assume in Smid book on beginn. Very short rifles or carbines were called Musketons by ZB. So it fully standart to the nomenclature used in early 20 to 30ies, as there was still long rifle VZ.98 used.
So the change of nomenclatury was realised in period of 30ies, as the carbines and short rifles were declared as Rifles.
The buttstock when corectly reworked by austrian be recalibrating should be lined out old number probably and added large new serials on buttstock, i tend to opinion this could be done by refurbishment and using the rifle by Freikorps. You should compare other M95/30 S conversions how are marked. but similar small serialing i have never seen, even with still old large number remains?
 
I'd say that the interwar nomenclature was far from standardized. The Czechoslovak "puška vz. 33" was almost the same gun as the "musketon vz. 12/33" made for Brazil. So we could refer to the Austrian pre-WW1 nomenclature, the Czechoslovak interwar nomenclature or the Hungarian nomenclature, and we would be no wiser than before. I'll have to see if Urrisk mentions something about this in his book on the Bundesheer armaments.

Regarding the stock, the large number must have been almost completely sanded away as only ghosts of the numbers remain. The surface of the stock there is consistent with the rest of the stock, so it was not a recent thing. I don't believe that Sudetendeutsches Freikorps possesed such repair infrastructure and to an extent, I don't even believe that they cared that much about the serial numbers. Plus I don't give much credibility to the Freikorps story to be frank. On the fully original M.95/30 rifles, I've seen new numbers stamped not above but right over the old ones. However, I've only seen the crossed out numbers on the Bulgarian conversions.
 

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