Austro-Hungarian Mannlicher Model 1885 Rifle



Mannlicher Model 1885 Trials Rifle
Repetier-Gewehr Österreichische Vorlage, M1885

Made by Österreichische Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft, Steyr, 1885
Quantity: about 1520
Caliber: 11x58Rmm (11mm Werndl)
Integral clip-loaded box magazine, 5 rounds
Straight-pull bolt action, with a locking bar under the back of the bolt engaging in the bolt-way floor
1328mm [52.3"] overall, 4.75kg [10.5 lbs]
808mm [31.8"] barrel, 6-groove rifling, RH, concentric
Ramp-and-leaf sight graduated to 1600 schritt
Muzzle velocity 440 m/sec with M1877 ball cartridge
Special epee bayonet

The shortcomings of the Austro-Hungarian Werndl were so evident by the end of the 1870s that a commission was charged with the development of a magazine rifle. The trialists are known to have included two Spitaslky designs, a Winchester, 4 Mannlichers, the Spencer, a Kropatschek modified by the Viennese gunsmith Gasser, a Kropatschek-Kromar, two modified Werndls, various Schulhofs, an Odkolek, two Schonauers and a Lee.

Straight pull actions allowed higher rate of fire than turn-bolt actions. The Mannlicher Model 1885 designed by Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher has a straight-pull non-rotating bolt, which is locked by a block pivoted from the underside of the rear section of the bolt. This block abuts against a shoulder in the receiver when in the locked position. This Model 1885 introduced the Mannlicher magazine system in which the clip is inserted into the magazine of the rifle and functions as a part of the magazine - as does the clip of the later U.S. M1 rifle. Its design led directly to the next of the Mannlichers, but has several outstanding differences. The principal difference is that, unlike the later Mannlichers in which the clip drops out of the bottom of the magazine when the last cartridge is loaded into the chamber, the M1885 has a spring-loaded clip ejector which ejects the clip out of the top of the magazine when the last cartridge case is ejected. The U.S. M1 rifle works in the similar fashion. The clip can be inserted into the rifle in only one way, i.e., it is not reversible as regards top and bottom as is the Mauser type charger or the M1 clip.

In 1885 the 1884-pattern rifle was replaced by this rifle, issued for troop trials in 1885-86. The complexity of the earlier helical-channel bolt head was replaced by a simple bar cammed into engagement with the receiver immediately behind the bolt well. Unlike its predecessor, the M1885 accepted a clip through the top of the open action, cartridges being forced up by a driver arm until the last one had been chambered, fired and extracted. The rifle had a one-piece stock with a pointed pistol grip, the two bands and the nose cap being pinned in place. A bayonet lug lay on the right side of the nose cap. The M1885 was similar to the succeeding M1886 externally, but had a cleaning rod beneath the muzzle, a Werndl-type back sight, and a large radial catch on the right side of the magazine casing to eject spent clips.


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