Austro-Hungarian Trial Rifles 1914-15

After the turn of the Century the Steyr factory started to turn out new designs with more effective modern cartridges for export purposes. These rifles included the 6.5mm Greek Mannlicher-Schönauer M1903, the 7mm Serbian Mauser M1910 and the 7mm Chilean and Mexican Mausers. During rifle testings at Steyr they found various advantages over the Monarchy's then currently used Mannlicher M95 rifles, including better ballistics with the new cartridges. Early in 1914 the Viennese Technisches Militärisches Komitee was researching for a modern cartridge with a new rifle for the Monarchy.

Only a trial quantities of these rifles had been made. The trials were cancelled and the projects were abandoned due to WW1, and the Mannlicher M95 production was restarted. A number of M1912 Mauser rifles and other weapons waiting delivery to Chile, Colombia, Mexico and elsewhere were sequestered and issued to Austro-Hungarian troops.
Sidenote: Great Britain was also looking at replacing their .303 SMLE rifles with 7mm Mauser type Pattern-13 rifle, but did not proceed because of the start of WW1.

Four known rifle variants were entered eventually for the Austrian trials:
1. A Mauser M1914 designated Gew.98 Mauser in an M.95 stock, in 8x56r caliber
2. A Mauser M1914 designated copy of the M1912 Mexican Mauser, in 7x57 caliber
3. A Mannlicher 14.M designated straight pull Mannlicher, in 7x57 caliber, for details see below
4. A Mauser M1915 designated Mauser Mannlicher-Schönauer hybrid rifle, in 7.92x57mm caliber

Mannlicher 14.M Infantry Trials Rifle
7mm Infanterie-Repetier-Gewehr M1914
Mannlicher 14.M Gyalogsági Puska

Made by Fegyver és Gépgyár, Budapest, 1914
Caliber: 7x57mm rimless
Integral charger-loaded box magazine, 5 rounds
Straight pull bolt action, locked by rotating lugs on the bolt head into the receiver
1090mm [42.9"] overall, 4.1kg [9.3 lbs]
580mm [22.8"] barrel, rifling RH, concentric
Tangent type rear sight, graduated 300-2000 meters
Muzzle velocity 855 m/sec
Permanently attached folding Spike Bayonet

The Hungarian weapon designers at Fegyver és Gépgyár, Budapest, submitted this entry. This rifle's barrel length was in between the M95 rifle's and carbine's length. It was chambering the 7x57mm rimless Mauser cartridge. The magazine was internal, Mauser-type, with a floorplate, without a protruding magazine. The receiver is machined to accept Mauser-type stripper clips. The Tangent rear sight ladder was installed without graduation, because the Hungarians wanted to adopt the Metric system and use 300-2000 Meters, but the Austrians were still undecided between Meters and Schritt. The M.95 bolthead and extractor was altered to accomodate the 7mm rimless cartridge. The rifle's forestock and handguard reached almost to the muzzle, and ended in an SMLE type front band, which also acted as a bayonet mount and front sight protector. The permanently installed bayonet was foldable under the rifle into a slot. The bayonet was a 3-edged spike, designed by Riedl. The sling swivels were on the left side of the stock and rear band, in Carbine style. A sample of this rifle can be found in the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum of Vienna, under Inventory Number 'EB 2124'.

In 1923 this rifle was modified and submitted for trials to the newly independent Hungarian Army under the Mannlicher 23.M designation, in 7.92x57mm caliber

Research by Horváth János
Viennese Technisches Militärisches Komitee archives
Military Museum of Vienna - Catalog of Budapest 14.M Puska
Jámbor: Fegyvertan. Budapest, 1915