Hungarian Infantry Trial Rifles 1923


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.

The trials were cancelled and the projects were abandoned due to WW1, and the Mannlicher M95 production was restarted.
One of the rifle variants entered for the Austrian trials was a Mannlicher 14.M designated straight pull Mannlicher, in 7x57mm caliber
The reasons to convert to an improved infantry weapon and ammunition still existed after WW1. Hungarian weapon designers at Fegyver és Gépgyár, Budapest, under Rudolf Frommer's leadership submitted an updated version of the 14.M rifle with the 'Mannlicher 23.M' designation, in 7.92x57mm caliber, for trials to the newly independent Hungarian Army.


Mannlicher M1923 Infantry Trials Rifle
Mannlicher 23.M Kisérleti Gyalogsági Puska


An unknown quantity was manufactured for trial purposes by Fegyver és Gépgyár, Budapest, 1923
Caliber: 7.92x57mm rimless
Integral charger-loaded box magazine, 5 rounds
Straight pull bolt action, locked by rotating lugs on the bolt head into the receiver
1110mm [43.7"] overall, 3.6kg [8 lbs]
600mm [23.6"] barrel, rifling RH, concentric
Tangent type rear sight, graduated 300-2000 meters
Muzzle velocity 840 m/sec
4-edge Spike Bayonet or Riedl folding bayonet

The receiver was marked with 'BUDAPEST' in an arc, and '23M' below it. This rifle's barrel length was in between the old M95 rifle's and carbine's length. It was chambering the 7.92x57 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 M.95 bolthead and extractor was altered to accomodate the 7.92mm 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 lug and front sight protector. The sling swivels were on the left side of the stock and rear band, in Carbine style. The Riedl System folding bayonet of the 14.M was substituted with a removable Lebel mounting style bayonet with a 4-edge spike bayonet. (This bayonet was eventually accepted for the 35.M rifle.) Another 23M specimen was reportedly with the original M.14 Riedl folding bayonet and a 2-piece 35.M style (or 33.M style?) buttstock. This leads us to believe that several different variations of these prototypes were made.
A sliding dust cover was introduced, similar to the Japanese Arisaka and Siamese Mauser rifles. This dust cover was also used in a later Mannlicher 33.M turn bolt prototype rifle. The new 23.M rifles ballistics were similar to the Mauser carbines' (like the M1922 and VZ24), with the benefits of the faster straigth pull action.

Unfortunately Hungary (after the the devastation of WW1, after the 1919 Communist Revolution, after its neighbors' attacks and landgrabbings, after the unjust Trianon decision) was not in a position economically and politically to adopt and re-tool for a new weapon and ammunition.
A new ammunition (8x56r) was adopted 8 years later, along with the Mannlicher 31.M rifles. A brand new Mannlicher 35.M rifle was adopted in 1935, along with the bayonet from the 23.M trial rifle.

Sources:
Research by Horváth János, article published by the Hungarian Ministry of Defense in the 1960's.


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