Afghan Contract Austro-Hungarian Mannlicher M1890 Carbines

Afghan Contract Mannlicher Model 1890 Cavalry Carbine

The Austro-Hungarian Cavalry Carbine was made available for export by the Steyr factory. A small number of these carbines made for the Afghan Contract ordered by Abdur Rahman Khan for the Emirate of Afghanistan. Based on official records the manufacture of M90 carbines stopped in 1896, however this Contract is clearly dated 1899.

Made by Österreichische Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft, Steyr, 1899
A small number, est 100-1000 were made for the Afghan Contract
Caliber: 8x50mm rimmed
Muzzle velocity 545 m/sec with M1888 ball cartridge
Integral clip-loaded box magazine, 5 rounds
Straight-pull bolt action, with two lugs on a detachable bolt head engaging the receiver
1005mm [39.6"] overall, 3.3kg [7.3 lbs]
498mm [19.6"] barrel, 4-groove rifling, RH, concentric

The bolt is of two-piece design with the bolt handle and bolt body are one piece; mounted within the bolt body is the bolt shaft or bolt cylinder. The locking lugs are mounted on the head of the bolt cylinder and the bolt cylinder rotates within the bolt body during the locking and unlocking process. This bolt is used with all the later Austrian straight-pull bolt-action Mannlichers and, since it provides for frontal locking, is considered to be a stronger system than that of the Models 84, 86, and 88. The magazine system adopted with the M1886 is used in the M1890 carbine and the later rifles.

This M90 carbine has a clip retainer on the right side of the magazine, similar to the one on the M1885 Mannlichers. This clip retainer is unique, it is not featured on any other M90 variants.

Original quadrant sight graduated 500-2100 schritt

The receivers were marked with Crest of the Emirate of Afghanistan and the Islamic date of 1317, which translates to the 1899 Christian date. There is also a legend written in an unknown alphabet. It is not Pashto, the most common language used in Afghanistan, and it is not Ordo, the 2nd most common language used in Afghanistan. Please let the author know if you can identify and/or translate the writing.

The original M90 round cocking piece.

Every part of this carbine was serialized with a 2-digit Arabic number 69.

The M1890 carbine had a one-piece walnut stock with a simple nose cap without a bayonet lug or stacking hook. The gun has no handguard and the sling swivels are mounted on the left side of the fore-end and stock-wrist.

The buttstock had a cleaning equipment compartment with a sliding cover in the buttplate.

Photos courtesy of Warren Shindle