The recent thread on the 7.63m/m Mannlicher M1896 cartridge caused me to get out my copy of Walter Smith’s Mannlicher rifle and pistol book. While studying the von Kromar drawings I noticed that two different pistols and a semi-auto rifle designed by Mannlicher in the second half of the 1890s were shown with clips closely resembling the notorious Turkish one-piece brass Mauser 98 charger. The illustrated clips were all very much like each other and differed from the Turkish pattern in that the slots cut lengthwise in the clip body to produce the spring extended all the way to the ends, rather than being enclosed at the ends by the body proper. So it appears the German clip the Turkish army adopted for its own use had an even earlier Austrian predecessor. Do any on this forum have specimens of the clips described above or know if that design was patented? Jack
I haven’t seen patents for any of these one-piece Mannlicher chargers, though I imagine at least one would exist. Mannlicher seems to have been the first to experiment with the one-piece integral-spring charger, almost certainly as an attempt to avoid the patents on the earlier Mauser/DWM two-piece charger which was first introduced for the M.89 Belgian Mauser. In fact a number of quite different charger designs were tried about that time, mostly with limited success, and Mauser’s type eventually became almost universally used with both rifles and pistols.
Mannlicher’s first one-piece charger was that for his 7.6x24R M94 autopistol, and this is probably the least rare of a scarce group. It was soon followed by that for the 7.65x25 cartridge (patterned on the M.93 Borchardt cartridge) for use with his M.96 pistol. And Mötz reports that a one-piece charger was the first type designed for the 6.5x54 Mannlicher-Shoenauer rifle, tested by the Austrian military in 1900, but no specimen is now known to exist. Later, as used by Greece, this rifle employed the external-spring Pieper-Mannlicher charger, though a 3-piece Roth charger, and even a conventional 2-piece Mauser M.93-type charger, were made for it. This latter was made by Hirtenberger and by SFM, and had it’s flange-flange distance reduced to 10mm to accept the 6.5x54’s smaller groove diameter.
The M.04 “ohne Feder” 7.9 Mauser charger was probably the last one-piece charger to see widespread service (discounting the sidewalled chargers for the Lee-Enfield and Mosin-Nagant). However, as recently as 1966 an experimental version of the UK 7.62x51 Mk.3 NATO charger was made by Thomas French & Son which had no spring, but had a pair of slits at each end of the charger base which enabled them to be bent upwards slightly to retain the cartridges. A similar type had a slit in each sidewall end which allowed these to be bent inwards after the manner of early Mosin-Nagant chargers. Neither were accepted for service.
John: So then most of the one-piece chargers illustrated by von Kromar are known from surviving specimens. Interestingly enough, the clip shown with the 1900 Schoenauer rifle in the Smith book is the usual Pieper type with the wraparound spring rather than the one-piece type. Smith’s book and von Kromar’s drawings stop at 1900, so there’s nothing on the 1903 Schoenauer. In listing the one-piece chargers don’t forget the SKS; it’s surely the most satisfactory of the lot. Thanks for the information and comments. Jack
Yes, I think the one-piece 6.5x54 charger referred to by Mötz must have been very short-lived. I once had a Pieper-Mannlicher charger by Keller (“KC” mark) containing five dummy 6.5x54 rounds hstp “K&C * 00 *”, which were most probably made for the 1900 Austrian trials, so this type of charger was used from the earliest days. Keller was transformed into Hirtenberger at about the turn of the century, and the "K&C and “KC” marks were soon replaced by “H”, and so “H”-marked P-M chargers would almost certainly have been used to hold the 6.5x54 ammunition supplied by Hirtenberger to Greece in 1904.
Sorry I neglected the SKS charger in my comments. My major interest is in pre-1945 weapons, ammo and chargers, and my brain sometimes tends to shut down at that point!
Considering how few of the 1900 Schoenauer rifles were made they got around. The well-known photo of P.H.G. Powell Cotton posing (as it appears) in his garden seated and wearing a beret and puttees and sighting a rifle with telescopic sight was certainly made no later than 1902, and yet he seems to have one of the 1900 rifles lightly converted into a long-stocked sporter. Thanks again. Jack
I note that in Guy Hildebrand’s thread on “Early 6.5x54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer cartridges”, WBD says that sporting versions of the M-S rifle predated the military type tested by the Austrian Army in 1900, and that cartridges by Roth dated 1898 and 1899 are known. This would explain the early photo you refer to of Major Powell-Cotton with his sporting M-S.
This also raises the possibility that the one-piece charger, stated by Mötz to have been the first type to be designed for the M-S rifle, may in fact have been intended for use with these sporting versions. However Henri Pieper’s original charger design was patented in Belgium in 1895, so that could also probably have been developed by Mannlicher in time to have been used with these.
The unique feature of the Pieper charger is that it requires the front edge of the charger guides to slope backwards, causing the lugs on the charger’s external spring to be forced down as they engage, thereby lowering the retaining latch on the end of the spring so that the cartridges can be stripped into the magazine. This feature would not be required for the one-piece charger, so it would be most interesting to know whether or not the earliest sporting M-S rifles had the required sloping edge on their guides. I don’t suppose any reader is lucky enough to have a genuinely early M-S sporter?
The question of the chronology of the Mannlicher Schoenauer is obviously even more complex than I’d imagined. As far as I know the standard texts speak of no 6.5m/m Schoenauer-type rifle predating the 1900 model, and yet the cartridge cases dated 1898 and 1899 have been shown on Guy’s thread. The 1900, in addition to the sporting types and the rifles for Austrian military tests, was also built in a quantity sufficient for field test by the Portuguese army–this is not to be confused with their earlier purchase of the packet clip loading rifles of the 1892 type. The matter you raise about compatibility of the one-piece vs. Pieper-type clip makes the question even more interesting. And this was just when I thought we had all the difficult questions answered! Jack