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
4. A Mauser M1915 designated Mauser Mannlicher-Schönauer hybrid rifle, in 7.92x57mm caliber, for details see below

Mauser-Mannlicher-Schönauer Model 1915 Infantry Trials Rifle
8mm Infanterie-Repetier-Gewehr M1915

Made by Österreichische Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft, Steyr, 1915
Caliber: 7.92x57mm rimless
Integral charger-loaded box magazine, 5 rounds
Turning-bolt action, locked by rotating lugs on the bolt head into the receiver
1244mm overall, 4.00kg?
798mm? barrel, 4?-groove rifling, RH, concentric
Leaf sight graduated to 2000? meters
Gew.98 type Knife Bayonet

This is a Mannlicher-Schoenauer M03/14 and Mauser M1898 hybrid rifle
The stock has the Austrian-style sharply pointed pistol grip.

Differences from the Mannlicher-Schoenauer M03/14 (by John Wall):
1. The Infanterie-Repetier-Gewehr M1915 was a standard Gew 1898-type Mauser chambered for the German 7.92x57mm cartridge, whereas the Greek MS 03/14 is in 6.5mm Greek MS
2. The rear sight leaf is a Mauser 1896 type sight, not the standard Greek type
3. The MS Greek rifle is 18 mm shorter than the M.15
4. The M.15 front sight has low sight guards, whereas the Greek MS has no guards at all
5. The M.15 features a Mauser style QD sling swivel attached to a hole perforating the bow of the triggerguard, and is therefore somewhat comparable to the Gewehr 98 and rare Model 1895 Steyr straight pull rifle made for the A/H Royal and Imperial Company of Life Guards which features a swivel on the front edge of the fixed box magazine
6. The upper band is solid and has a sling hook underneath, Not "H" type Mauser
7. The bayonet lug normally on a Steyr upper band has been replaced by a Mauser Gew.98 type bayonet bar
8. The M.15 uses a Mauser type cleaning rod which fits into the bayo bar just like the Gewehr 98
9. The M.15 utilizes a Mauser or Gew.88-style recoil cross bolt in the stock directly under the receiver ring