Austrian 8x56mmR story, true or false


I met a Cuban gentleman at a gun store who told me the following. Remember a sudden appearance of a major amount of Austrian 8x56mmR on the market some years ago? He was told by someone Tommy O’Handland that all that massive amount of ammo was found in deep storage at a Macy’s store in Chicago. Macy’s supposedly sold guns and ammo many years ago. They wanted to get rid of it with no possible link back to them. True or false?


Vlad - lots of the major department stores used to sell guns and ammunition. Macy’s was one of them, and their San Francisco Store, at least, was one of the first in the City to offer the surplus M95 8 x 56R Steyr (and Budapest) short rifles (forget if the Austro-Hungarians referred to the short model as a carbine or a rifle). In that sense, the story is plausible. However, the reason they stopped selling guns at Macy’s, according to the San Francisco Store at the time, was due to the Kennedy Assasination. The first thing they decided not to sell was military surplus guns. Remember, the Kennedy Assasination rifle came from Klein’s Sporting Goods, in Chicago.

Roos-Atkins, at the time a major department store in San Francisco had a beautiful gun department in the 1950s and early 1960s, perhaps earlier than that, and were the big Weatherby rifle and ammunition dealer in San Franncisco.

The Emporium, another Market Street (the main San Francisco Downtown street) store, had a wonderful selection of Winchesters, and with my mother’s permission, I went with the lady who was the local public playground director to the store where she purchased a Winchester Model 62 .22 pump gun. I remember it well because I envied her. I was only about seven or eight years old, I guess, (I wasn’t out of grammar school yet) and my only real shooting gun was a beat up Winchester Model 1906 .22 pump that I bought for five bucks from the next door neighbor. A lot of money, but I was a paper boy, along with my brother at the time, so had a few pennies every month. After she bought the gun - no waiting period for rifles in those days - we went down the street and she took me to a movie at Loew’s Warfield, one of the two classiest movie houses on Market Street at the time. Even then I felt funny being in the theater with a wrapped up gun.

It wasn’t long after Macy’s stopped selling guns that the Emporium did. Roos-Atkins, who never sold and surplus guns that I can recall, had their gun department until they went out of business, the year of which I don’t recall, but probably the late 1960s or early 1970s.

John Moss


Very Much FALSE… the entirety of the 8x56R ammo (Bulgarian Bphi Lion and Austrian (German) Eagle 38 etc ) came out of Bulgarian Strategic Stores in the 1980s; It had been packed away since WW II, (Bulgaria, though a German “Ally” didn’t participate greatly in WW II except in Police actions in the Balkans…and then with the Soviets after late 1944, during the Push thru Hungary and Czecholovakia and Austria of the Soviet Army. As a result, all the stockpiles of 8x56R either made in Bulgaria, or acquired (with Rifles) from the now germanified Austria ( Post-1938 Anschluss), were still in existence in 1945…to only be sold off to Century Arms etc in the late 1980s. Some had been used as “Aid” to Frelimo rebels in Mozambique ( photos from Italian News reporter, who recognised the rifles as “Ta Pum” of his grandfather’s time in WW I against the Austrians,) but otherwisae, the mass of 8x56R ammo only came onto the Market in the 1990s in the USA, Australia etc.

What the Older ( 1950s-60s ) Department Stores had was dredgings from Interarms of the 60s, usually Hungarian 8x56R ammo and similar Budapest 31M short rifles and Carbines, acquired out of Eastern Europe by Sam Cummings in the late 1950s ( after the 1956 Hungarian Uprising…). I remember the ads in G&A etc, for the “8mm Hungarian Mannlicher ammo”

It was almost all gone by the arrival of GCA68…and no “new” 8x56R came into the USA till the 1990s…
MY first M95 was a Budapest “bubbafied” into a sporter, with a supply of Hungarian and Italian 8x50R ammo (original Chambering) acquired via a Local Surplus store from an American yachtsman who had it for “shark shooting” and had to sell it when he arrived in Australian waters…( early 1970s).

Hence the often used, but incorrect name for 8x56R ammo (8mm Hungarian) when they where the second to adopt it ( Austria adopted it in 1930 ( "M30 “S” patrone), Hungary in 1931 ( “31M” ) and Bulgaria in 1934 ( Patronnyi 8mm “S” mannlichera).
Interarms used the term to distinguish it from the earlier 8x50R (Austro-Hungarian) rifle of the same design; Nobody in the US Milsurp trade in the 1960s knew or bothered to find out that Bulgaria had humongous quantities of the stuff as a result of 1938 and WW II…

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


I also found a pile of them in Angola together with “German eagle” cartridges.


I like John’s story … a rifle owned when he was 5 years old… enter into a public building ( theater or cinema) with a gun … ahhhhhhhh UTOPIA for every italian shooter/collector :(


Pivi, I guess this is utopia in any place today. Except for those countries being far away enough from our orchestrated terror threads.


Pivi–You say you like John’s story. I think you will like mine also. I grew up on a farm in Northern Michigan and went to a 1-room school through the 8th grade. This was in the 1950’s. In the fall during rabbit and bird hunting season it was not unusual for there to be 4-6 Shot Guns and .22’s stacked up in the corner of the school room as many of us went hunting on the way home from school hoping to shoot a rabbit for supper. During White-Tail Deer season in November, the school actually shut down for the first week of the season. The school only had between 28 and 33 kids (depending on the year) for all 9 grades, so if 6 or 7 of us went deer hunting there was not enough kids left to keep the school open. Can you imagine what would happen today if that many kid’s brought LOADED guns to school!!! But it was a different world back then. Being a farming community, EVERYBODY was brought up learning to shoot guns from the age of 4 or 5.


Not to mention that kids today here in Germany would not be allowed to hunt at all - or handle guns on the range.


I should tell you that while I had my first real rifle at six years old, in 1945, to be precise, a Japanese Type 38 Carbine, my parents keep control of the bayonet and the bolt of the rifle until I was in High School. It was a gift from my sister-in-laws cousin who brought it home from WWII. My .22 Winchester I got about a year later, and since there was ammo around for it, and no practical way to disarm it (we didn’t know how to take it apart, my folks keep control of it. My Dad and I shot it into an old to compartment wood orange crate (remember those - no cardboard in them!) stuff with newspaper in the basement of the flat we lived in.

In high school, I shot on the school smallbore team on the school range, and took my Model 52 Winchester, with the Winchester Match Ammo I preferred to the horrible Federal Monarch stuff they gave us (I had a rim squeeze off at a match with it, when I shut the bolt of my rifle. I was going to get kicked off that school’s range, until our coach examined everything and showed the other team’s coach that there was no firing pin mark on the cartridge - the rim was just badly oversized), in every Monday and out every Friday from the school. It was stored in the ROTC Armory, along with the real, shootable M1 Rifles, M1 Carbines, .30 Machinegun, BAR, and .45 Pistols in the Armory for Cadet training.

Now they use nothing or toy rifles in our area!

Yes, my dear, there were “good old days.”

John Moss


Do you still have the Japanese rifle? Was it surrendered at the end of the war (with the chrysanthemum ground off) or captured in action?


Its times like these that you realise just how far things have moved on. Great stories though. Thanks for sharing them, can you imagine kids being allowed to take guns into school today in order to pot a rabbit on the way home?

Just a little story , not shooting related but it serves to illustrate how important kids were in the rural economy. the original reason for the long summer school recess years ago was because the children were needed to help in bringing in the harvest. Potting rabbits on the way home was not just a leisure activity it would have been a vital contribution to the family’s table.


What is the law in Germany? Over here both my kids are registered as junior members of my club so they are allowed to shoot under close supervision. I thought the laws were easier in Germany.


Vince, I am not 100% into the laws anymore since all is going the way to “no guns at all” some day - I stopped following all that crap.

After some school shootings here (and well overhyped by the media) we got retarded laws on all that.

  • no more pump action shotguns with pistol grip
  • all air pellet shooting ranges in schools are closed
  • kids are not allowed to shoot real weapons anymore and can not even go to a gun fair
  • minimum age for owning a real firearm is now 21 years of age (remember with 18 you are of legal age here - in theory)
  • sportive shooting: no long arms (rifles) are allowed (they say “not suitable”) which fire cartridges with case lengths below 40mm, means no licence for them is granted
  • …lots of more BS

The real problem we have nowadays are the media, they are a power not under democratic control. Who ever is owning them has it’s own plans and they are definately not honest. (I tried to stay polite in describing this)


What is the intended purpose of this?



  • sportive shooting: no long arms (rifles) are allowed (they say “not suitable”) which fire cartridges with case lengths below 40mm, means no licence for them is granted
    What is the intended purpose of this?[/quote]

It is the fascist attempt to take AK clones off the market - which failed since we are getting now plenty in 5.56x45.


I suppose the ban only applies to centrefire as it would then cover .22 RF

Also, maybe it’s time to resurrect the original chambering of the 7.62 M43 round - The 7.62 x 41mm. I’m sure standard x39mm ammunition would work as well. Just do what the Italians did with the 9mm and ream an extra 2mm off the chamber. At least you can have semi-autos in Germany (for the time being).


I lived close to my high school in a small town in southern Quebec growing up.
I had to do a public speach to the class on a subject .
50% of the mark was on delivery -50% was on the subject material.
I did mine on "Choosing varmint bullet for a .243 Winchester."
Only one other person had a clue what I was talking about…
not the teacher-I got a great mark!

I brought the .243 rifle and loaded rounds to school for that class.
Lots more tales to tell of that time.



Falcon… in Italy we have similar gun laws too. You can’t hunt with a pistol or a revolver, and the rifles suitable for hunting must be chambered for a cartridge whose case must be minimum 40 mm long and loaded at least with a .22 bullet.

That means that cartridges with smaller diameter than 22" are illegal for hunting here even with a case longer than 40 mm.
22" calibers must have a 40 mm minimum case length, larger calibers are legal even with a shorter case ( so you can use a rifle chambered for the 357 magnum or the 44 magnum whose cases are 32 - 33 mm long)

If a gun is cataloged for “sporting use” ( that means pistols ,revolvers and rifles) you can’t use it for hunting or carry it for personal defense ( obviously here in Italy is almost impossible to get a license for carry a gun for personal defense)

You must be 18 years old to get a gun license here but you can use full-powered air guns at the shooting ranges if you are at least 16 years old. Well…I shot my first 12 gauge shotgun when I was 12 years old…


Its interesting that the anti gun legislation seems intent on breaking the father/son bonding that has always been so integral in shooting. By taking kids off the ranges and out of the woods a lot of positive and happy memories get lost.


Before EU discovered this playground we all had our different national, already unlogic and unreasonable legislature to say the least.

Now that do-gooders in Brussels/Strasbourg (the transition belt for UN in New York) else would feel bored they mix all that existing national anti-gun rubbish, distil it, and out comes something “new”. Things like someone’s ill-minded 40 mm case length limitation now homogenised for all, in the form of arms directives. Because there are time limits those are turned in a hurry into new national legislation, and even though our parliaments need not buy all the stuff by 1:1 it remains mostly unchanged because it is so comfortable. Or they are ignorant and don’t understand if this silly creation then is helpful in a way, what the voters think about it and even worse where it will lead to.

Our elected (or not) representatives seem far and out of control in Strasbourg/Brussels or our national capitals. The widespread but bad feedback source for politicians are polls and our media, who only reflect what they want could move us. Since our hobby is censored from their focus I treat my representatives in all levels with questions and comments and can only encourage my co-Europeans (and all abroaders) to do the same with theirs. Politicians need to know people keep an eye on their decisions, 7/7, 12/12 and 4/4 and this is the only uncensored feedback a voter can really give.