Bulgarian Contract Mannlicher M.90 Carbines

Bulgaria - M1890 Carbine
'Karabina Mannlicher Obrazetz 1890g

10218 Bulgarian Contract M1890 Carbines were made by Österreichische Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft, Steyr, 1891-96? in caliber 8x50Rmm
Muzzle velocity 545 m/sec with M1888 ball cartridge
Integral clip-loaded box magazine, 5 rounds
Action: Straight-pull bolt action, with two lugs on a detachable bolt head engaging the receiver
1003mm [39.5"] overall, 3.40kg [7.5 lbs] 500mm [19.7"] barrel, 4-groove rifling, RH, concentric
Original Austrian M90 info and photos

Bulgaria adopted the M90 carbines in 189?. These contract weapons were manufactured by the Steyr factory, and were purchased and used by the Bulgarians in 8x50r original caliber.

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 85, 86, and 88. The magazine system adopted with the M1886 is used in the M1890 carbine and the later rifles.

The receivers were marked with 'OE WG STEYR' and the Bulgarian Lion on the chamber as shown.
The new action reverted to the helically-grooved bolt head system of Mannlicher's first straight-pull action, patented in 1884, as this had proved much stronger than the bar-lock. The M1890 cavalry carbine embodied a much shorter action than its predecessors, allowing the trigger guard to flow straight into the magazine casing and the cocking piece lay almost directly above the trigger.

In 1934 Bulgaria adopted the M30 8x56R Austrian Cartridge, begun manufacturing 8x56R ammunition. Many of these M90 Carbines were rechambered for the 8x56R cartridge, the S-Patrone with the "S" chamber marking. These were referred to as 'Karabina M90 S' or 'Kal. 8mm Mannlicher S'.

Quadrant rear sight graduated 600-2400 schritt(?)

The cocking pieces were round.

The right side of receivers and barrels had small Bulgarian Lion proofs. Comparison of Czech and Bulgarian Lions.
Several pictures courtesy of Gary Cecil Guelfo.


The manufacture of the 8x50R ammunition in Bulgaria started in 1895 in the Sofia Arsenal (ammo marked CA + Year)
In 1908 the head stamps were changed to include the stylized lion
During 1924-26 the cartridge manufacture was relocated to Kazanlak. Head stamps were changed, where CA was replaced with B0 (VF = Voenna Fabrika = Military Factory)
In 1934 & 1935 an order was placed with Czech manufacturers, headstamped M (for metal-stamping factory in Bratislava)
1939 is the last year of 8x50R manufacture in Bulgaria. The manufacturing of 8x56R began in 1934

Bulgarian Headstamps:
"Rampant Lion" at the 12 o'clock position and a cyrillic 'CA' or 'B0' arsenal marking at 6 o'clock position.
'CA' = Cyrillic SA superimposed, Sofia Arsenal, 'B0 = VF (Cyrillic B and Phi) Voenna Fabrika (Military Factory).
The 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock position shows the date of manufacture.