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The hills are alive...

 ...with Austrian expats.

From top to bottom - and I screwed it up, I just realized, from the chronological perspective.

On the top, is the Werndl rifle. Which should actually be second, as that is where it fits in the chronology.

Next, the Wanzl - which should be on top, and is the oldest of them - being the conversion of a percussion Lorenz rifle to cartridge - like our Trapdoor series and the Brit Sniders.

Then I got it right - with the M1886 Mannlicher, Austria's first magazine fed rifle, shooting 11mm black powder rounds using Baron Von Mannlicher's famous clips (which feed the magazine, dammit!) and straight pull bolt. Too bad it was introduced when the French were introducing everybody to small bore smokeless powder, and within two years would be converted to same. This is an original M886, unconverted. It was also just in the door this morning... It is sporting a WWI rod grenade, which... it really wouldn't, because it's not an 8mm, but I wanted to get the grenade out in the light, so there.

Then the Baron's M95, in 8mm, which took Austria-Hungary into WWI and later. That one sports a rifle grenade launching sight near the muzzle, and has a relatively rare flare grenade inserted.

Close ups of the actions.

The Werndl, on top, is a 'turning block" with the breech block moving axially to the bore for loading and unloading.

The Wanzl is a "trapdoor" aka "lifting block" action, where the bolt tips up in line with the bore on that pivot at the front of the breech.

Then Mannlicher's first "straight pull" bolt, so-called because you don't lift the handle and then pull back, as on Mauser- and Lee-Enfield style rifles. You just pull it straight back - like the Swiss Schmidt-Rubins, though the method of locking the bolts differs.

On the bottom is the ultimate refinement of Mannlicher's straight-pull design, which changed the method of lock-up in order to reduce weight as well as shorten and speed up the action.

Both of these items are relatively rare. The flare grenades were pretty reliable, so there are few battlefield finds, and unexpended live ones got dangerous over time as the flare materiel degraded and thus were disposed of. This is the rarer of the two types, with an aluminum body vice the more common brass.

About as rare as the flare is the add-on rifle grenade sight.


Very good stuff, even though Austrian items are not as popular as some.

The early cartridge era is a fascinating maze of competing ideas, some very practical, some not so much, but all innovative in their time.    An interesting and somewhat affordable collecting niche.
 The 1895's bayonet is interesting in that the blade is "edge-up" from the handgrip.  The Armorer better be careful with that!

Indeed, Austrian-speakers one and all.