Hungarian Mannlicher 31.M Long Rifles and Rifles


History

The 8x50R Mannlicher M93 cartridge became obsolite by the beginning of WW1. Hungarian weapon designers unsuccesfully attempted to convince the authorities to convert to a more modern infantry cartridge in 1914 and in 1923.
In 1926 Hungary became a Metric country. Previously distance was measured in Schritt [Pace] or Lépés [Step] in Hungarian, which was 0.75m long. At the same time the old weapon designations were officially changed as follows:
The 'Mannlicher M95 Puska' [Rifle] was renamed to 'Hosszú Puska 95.Minta' [Long Rifle 95.M]
The 'Mannlicher M95 Kurtály' [Stutzen] was renamed to 'Puska 95.Minta' [Rifle 95.M]
The 'Mannlicher M95 Karabély' [Carbine] was renamed to 'Puska 95.Minta' [Rifle 95.M]
The rear sights of these guns were changed to meters, the Hosszú Puska received a 200-1800m rear sight, the Puska received a 200-1600m rear sight - both graduated for the old M.93 cartridge. These sights did not survive long, they were replaced or ground and re-numbered after the 31.M cartridge was adopted. The military purpose of these rifles were also revised from the 400-800m group volley shots to a single target/single rifle purpose within 400 meters.


Mannlicher Model 1931 Infantry Long Rifle and Rifle (or M95/31)
Gyalogsagi Hosszú Puska 31.M és Puska 31.M

Modified/converted by Fémáru Fegyver és Gépgyár (FÉG), Budapest, 1931-1935
New Caliber: 8x56mm rimmed (31.Minta)
Muzzle velocity 680-720 m/sec with 31.M cartridge
Integral clip-loaded box magazine, 5 rounds
Action: Straight-pull bolt action, with two lugs on a detachable bolt head engaging the receiver
1005mm [39.5"] overall, 3.15kg [6.93 lbs] (stutzen)
500mm [19.7"] barrel, 4-groove rifling, RH, concentric, 1 turn in 250mm
M1895 knife bayonet

In 1931 the Hungarian Army (the Honvédség) adopted a rimmed 8x56mm cartridge to replace the old Austro-Hungarian 8x50mm design. The new round, known as the 31.M cartridge (M.31 töltény) in Hungary, was initially used in modified 1890-type or 1895-type straight-pull Mannlicher rifles and carbines alike. These were essentially similar to the Austro-Hungarian patterns, but received new back sights and new front-sight protectors. An 8-12mm high letter 'H' was stamped on top of the chamber. H = Hegyes Töltény [pointed bullet].
The original receiver and barrel shank markings of the old Model 1895 guns were retained. Most long rifles were rebarreled or were cut down to carbine (actually rifle or 'puska') length. The cut-down barreled rifles received a designation of 31/a.M. See muzzle pictures below for difference.
A small number of long M95's were also converted to the 31.M configuration, while retaining their long barrels, for the 'Testörség' [Govenmental Guards]. These rifles had chromed sling swivels, canvas slings instead of leather and had a butt-cover with the Guards Crest. These had special long bayonets.

A different style 'H'

Note difference between the 31.M and the 31/a.M
The left picture shows the 31.M with the front sight directly built onto the top of the barrel. The barrel is smooth, the narrow band is for the sight protector. The right picture shows the 31/a.M with the front sight mounted on a band slid onto the barrel. The wider band is for the sight, the narrow band is for the sight protector.

Service life was brief, as the adoption of the 35.M rifle caused the conversion to be withdrawn into storage. Survivors were reissued for service in 1940. On the left, a Hungarian soldier with a 31.M on the Eastern Front during WW2.
Picture courtesy of Becze Csaba

Original 2400 Schritt rear sights were replaced with new leaf sights graduated to 2000 meters

Four different Long Rifle Rear Sight Modifications for Stutzen/Carbine use:

1. Graduated to 2200m, Most Common Variant
2. Graduated to 2200m, Stutzen Slide
3. Graduated to 1800m, Sight face milled
4. Graduated to 1500m only

Front sling swivels

31.M Buttstock marking K.Á.B. is the abbreviation of Központi Átvételi Bizottság (Central Acceptance Committe), 1932-1944
According to an old document: "The duty KÁB is to officially inspect, accept and certify the quality and the quantity of military industrial and consumer goods obtained through domestic and foreign commerce, which results in legal authorization to the MNB [Magyar Nemzeti Bank] to satisfy the manufacturer."

Bayonets:

                Military   Gendarmerie  Guards
                Honvédség  Csendörség   Testörség
Bayonet Weight   .285       .415         .400     kg
Full Length       362        560          534     mm
Blade Length      248        456          430     mm
Blade Width        23         26           26     mm
Blade Thickness     5         13           15     mm

A standard M1895-type knife bayonet was used by the Military, with an auxiliary front sight on top of the muzzle ring. This compensated for the change in point-of-impact caused by firing the Stutzen with the bayonet fixed. See below the photo of bayonet mounted with auxiliary front sight (courtesy of 'Goex fff' on Gunboards)

The Hungarian Gendarmerie (Csendörség) used the more intimidating 456mm [18"] blade-length bayonets. The Guards' 430mm [17"] blade bayonet was similar.

8x56mm Ammunition:


Headstamp: at 12 o'clock 'M' and 'L' superimposed = Magyar Löszermüvek, Veszprem [Hungarian AmmoFactory, Veszprem], at 6 o'clock '44' is date of manufacture.
On the ammo box: '8mm 31.M éles töltény M.L.'. Éles töltény = live ammunition, ML = Magyar Löszermüvek, Veszprem.
Another factory used 'ÁH', also superimposed = Állami Hadianyaggyár [State Military Supply Factory], Budapest. The Csepel Müvek, (formerly Weiss Manfréd Müvek) also produced ammunition. Last known Hungarian produced 8x56mm ammo was dated 1956.
The green-tipped 8x56mm ammo was armor piercing. Boxer primed cases for both 8x50R and 8x56R are available from Huntington and Old Western Scrounger in the USA. The 8x50mm uses a .323" dia bullet, the 8x56mm uses a .329" dia bullet. The original shell length of the 8x56mm cartridge is 55.4mm.

Ammo Safety: the M95 rifles chambered for the 8x56mm cartridge are not recommended to be used with the old conical-nosed 8x50mm cartridge. Although both cartridges are rimmed, and headspaced at the rim, the 8x56mm is 6mm longer and more powerful. The spent 8x50 cartridge cases will be re-formed to the 8x56 shape. Many shooters used these 'exchanged' cartridges without any injury or damage, however these cartridges are not guaranteed to be safely interchangeable.


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