Mannlicher Schönauer 'Prewar' M1900, M1903, M1905, M1908, M1910, M1924, 'M1925' or 'High Velocity'

What is your favorite 'prewar' Mannlicher Schönauer?

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Brian Rothhammer

AH fanatic
Jan 3, 2019
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Hello, everybody.

I'm a new member here, having joined to post replies to another member's excellent inquiry regarding the M1903, and found myself thinking; "How about a thread focused on the pre WW2 Mannlicher Schönauer?"

I'll start with a question of his regarding the M1910 and my (rather long winded) reply:

DmacDAH Member

Hi Brian,
Thanks for your message. I have really come to appreciate this little MS Carbine. It shoots great with factory ammo, and just "feels right" in the hands.
I am very interested in the 1910 model and caliber also. The 9.5X57 is not one that I am familiar with except in books, and even then, there is not too much out there. I may have the opportunity to purchase one of these (also in a full stock version) but have been hesitating for several reasons, not the least of which is ammo availability. What have your experiences been with shooting this caliber? How about sourcing ammo or reloading components for it? I would love to hear what you have to say about it.


Brian RothhammerAH Member

Glad you liked it.

Have you viewed that thread lately?

The Mannlicher Schönauer sporting rifles and carbines were, indeed, known for their 'feel'. They were particularly regarded as light, quick handling brush and timber guns with instinctive 'point and shoot' characteristics when quickly brought to the shoulder ('snap shooting') and using the iron sights.

These were truly designed and engineered to be used without scopes. Your scope should, however, be mounted in a way that allows you to use the iron even with scope installed. Just the same; go ahead and take it off (your 'Vienna snapper' mount will always return to zero). Now imagine you've just heard a large angry pig running at you from behind. Spin 'round while shouldering the MS and putting cheek to rest - you're on target! One reason for such 'pointability' is the cast of the stock. With the scope (love those post reticles), as you've found, they are great target shooters.

The only reason I can think of to hesitate on an M1910 purchase, if priced sub - $2,000 USD and in good condition (particularly as you're already 'bit' by the MS bug and will kick yourself later if you miss it), would be the scarcity of and price of ammunition.

To my knowledge the only one of the four Mannlicher Schönauer proprietary cartridges that are readily available these days as mass produced 'factory loads', aside from the very expensive Kynoch that is occasionally produced in small runs, is your 6.5X54.

The M1924, with its longer action and magazine, was built for the 'U.S. model 1903' cartridge (.30-'06), the M1925 and later models were chambered for several different cartridges.


The early MS were chambered for their corresponding proprietary cartridges: M1903 - 6.5X54, M1905 - 9X56, M1908 - 8X56, M1910 - 9.5X57. The M1900 were truly prototypes of the 'Greek Contract' military MS and were also 6.5X54, as were the 'Greek' issued Y1903, 1914, 1927, etc.. Different catalogs and references used different measuring points (from bottom of base or from top of extractor groove...), and 9.5X57 ( M1910) was known to the British trade as .375 Nitro Express Rimless 2.25", or .375 RNE.

If you want a 'prewar' MS with a readily and consistently available 'factory' ammo supply, find an M1924.

That said, all four of the 'prewar' MS cartridges are available presently from Reed's Custom Ammunition of Oklahoma, U.S. .

Ron is a good guy. I've ordered 9.5X57 from him and it measures out perfectly and cycles flawlessly in my M1910 takedown (haven't shot any of it yet). He uses new Norma 9.3X57 brass which he first draws straight, then forms a fresh and properly shaped shoulder. This is important, as I'll get to in a bit. Beware of handloads built by others from ?X57 brass. Check all measurements. Ron also understands the importance of the shape and profile of the entire cartridge as it relates to smooth operation of the Schoenauer magazine. He builds them right.

The 9.5X57 provided me an excellent introduction to the world of reloading. I learned to load a few decades ago just to feed the MS, then continued to save money on other cartridges. At that time (pre internet) the only 9.5X57 brass that I could find was Berdan primed, Cordite powered vintage loads.
The good news, as I learned, was that forming 9.5X57 from (readily available) .35 Whelen brass is a simple two step operation. With a two die reloading set (mine is RCBS), merely run the Whelen through the sizing die once, then cut to 57mm overall length. Hornady 3715 (.375, 270 grain RN) were then readily available and, when set to the cannelure, made almost exact replicas of DWM 531.

Now the situation has reversed. Properly sized and headstamped (and reasonably priced) brass is available from Quality Cartridge (QualCart), but properly shaped projectiles for the 9.5 X57 have become scarce, with Woodleigh being consistently available but consistently expensive.

Those who load for the 9.5X57 MS (M1910) should watch Midway USA for their 'factory second' .375 - 270 RN, which is sometimes available. I have purchased them (as low as .26 per) and am convinced they are Hornady 3715 with no apparent blemishes at all.

If forming your own cases from 'donor' cases, avoid the various '_X57' cases unless you are going to expand and draw the necks out straight, as they have lower and narrower shoulders than the 9.5X57. Simply running '?X57' brass through a standard two die reloading set will leave the low, narrow shoulders untouched. Some (many, actually) will advise that all one need do is 'fireform' any '_X57' brass in your chamber to resize. Others advise against the practice as it is known to stretch and weaken cases at the web which shortens case life while risking rupture.

The proper 'old school' choice of donor was the .30-'06, cut down as I had the .35 Whelen, but to resize those necks from .30 to .375 involves expanding the neck through three progressive passes (with three expanders). For powder, after much research I found that IMR 4895 works well at a near equivalent to the proofed Cordite load.

Ballistics of the 9.5X57 are similar to those of .35 Whelen. From 1939 Stoeger Catalog:

There is a Saxon forester, Axel Eichendorff, who posts to several 'sites as Kuduae. He uses a M1910 MS on the job as his 'go to' for culling hunts and gives it very high marks. They are known to be excellent pig rifles, and are often used on larger game. As you saw in the photo of ol' Granddad, the M1910 was also very effective on leopard.

Some pigs who encountered an M1910 (not my photos):

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Here are pages 50, 51, 52 of the 1939 Stoeger Catalog. Stoeger claimed to be the 'sole importer of Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifles and Carbines' to the U.S.:




Per Usinflationcalculator, $175.00 of 1939 USD would be today's equivalent of $3,173.14.
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Another from the previous (M1903) thread:

Hammergun said:
A common problem in 1903's with Privi ammo. Mine does it too. On another forum a poster said that the 1903 is very sensitive to over all length of the cartridge. He stated the Privi is a bit shorter than spec and this causes the problem. I just polished the feed ramp and work the bolt smartly and they feed good enough.

Aaaahhh.... I see. That makes sense to me. I have a friend who reloads during the winter up here, and I think I will try and find a set of reloading dies, then talk him into loading some proper length ammo for me. I thank you for your information Hammergun.
Just on a side note; Do you happen to know if Prvi Partisan brass make for good reloads?


This has been discussed at length on NitroExpressForums.

The Schoenauer magazine works much the same as a roller bearing. The cartridges themselves act as the 'pin bearings', the walls of the magazine well as the outer race which maintains proper clearance between cartridge and the 'star' rotor while the cartridges make their rotational journey around the spool's center.
The shape of the cartridge nose and overall length are crucial to maintaining clearance without binding, as the cartridge will become 'jacked' if too short or too narrow about 1/3 back from the tip as it falls into a void.



Here are (6.5X54) cartridges in a Schoenauer magazine, out of the firearm for display. The cutaway drawing is a view from the muzzle end. Normally the magazine would only have cartridges loaded while in the arm, as otherwise there is nothing to hold them in place. When loaded (from above, best when aided with a 'stripper clip'), you can see how they are guided by the magazine well and the machined areas at the front and rear of the magazine's lower housing (below).


Note how the tip may fall into a void if too short or narrow. There is little to prevent a cartridge that is too short from shifting fore, aft, or sideways.


Magazine housing (viewed from above. spool removed). Note the machined areas to guide cartridges by the nose (left) and the base (right).

Here are some 'prewar' MS magazines:

At left is an M1903, at right a post - M1924. A ring was added to the M1924 and subsequent MS of prewar manufacture ('High Velocity' in the '39 Stoeger) and throughout postwar production. The ring eliminated the need for such careful feeding, as they held the cartridges at proper clearance and alignment at the shoulder. To ensure smooth and effortless feeding of the M1903 (6.5X54), M1905 (9X56), M1908 (8X56), or M1910 (9.5X57), obtain or load cartridges as close as possible to the original DWM or Eley specifications.

Make them like this, they'll feed smoother than snot:

Shown on the drawings above are original DWM catalog numbers.


My advice is to have your reloader build you five 'dummy' rounds to the exact length, bullet shape, and overall profile as the Eley drawing above (or acquire some original DWM 477*) and work them through your magazine (you will be impressed!). That will show you how flawlessly the magazine functions with proper fitting cartridges and give you a baseline from which to work other profiles. The most critical thing is to have enough 'meat' about 1/3 back from the bullet tip and keep them long enough.

*I wouldn't recommend firing vintage DWM, as it would almost certainly be loaded with Cordite and corrosive primers.

Also, Qual - Cart (Quality Cartridge) makes properly headstamped MS brass at a reasonable price.


*I do not own these images, and only assume that they are in the public domain.
Here is a brief overview of the Mannlicher Schönauer sporting arms.

Allow me to point out what I believe to be an error, however, on the captions for the cased. M1903 'takedown'.
MS Cased M1903 Takedown.jpg

The author (or editor?) captioned this as a 'Stock Takedown made by Scottish Gunmaker Dickson".

It is absolutely identical to what Stoeger called the 'Take Down Model' as manufactured at the Steyr factory. I own an M1910 so configured and cased (even the case hardware appears identical). It may have been cased and sold by Dickson, but I believe it was built by Steyr:
ST39 400dpi 50 Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifles 001 (3).jpg
"The revival of interest" begins an article that could have been written today, though it was printed forty six years ago. From The Rifle Magazine, May / June, 1972 and written by (four star) General Vernon Megee, text on the first couple of pages involves a rudimentary overview of the M1903 (though the rifle he uses for ballistic testing is a 'sporterized' 1903 Greek). As the article progresses the General takes us along as he develops and proves loads for the venerable 6.5X54 while singing its praises.






One difference from then to now - when the article was written, Mannlicher Schönauers were still available brand new from Stoeger - that would soon change.

The General's closing sentences were prophetic; "Otherwise the American sportsman who would like to own one will have to search the used gun racks of our larger gun stores - where the popular little Mannlicher seldom rests for long. Those who own them seem to cherish them even more as availability drops.


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Ran across this on the 'net:

Man Magnum (South Africa) June 2016




The author states; "The 9X56 and 9.5X57 M-S Takedown rifles have an ingenious flip-up peep sight inlaid into wood just behind the upper tang. An example of masterful craftsmanship, it flips up at the press of a small button."

Actually these were available on MS rifles and carbines from the M1903 throughout the pre WW2 period. My 1922 proofed M1910 takedown has one, along with a removable grip cap that houses a spare, different diameter sight bead.
ST39 400dpi 50 Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifles 001 (4).jpg

Special folding peep sight.... $12.00

ST39 400dpi 51 Mannlicher Schoenauer 2 001 (9).jpg
MS Peep Sight.jpg
MS1910 Grip Cap Open.jpg


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Brian, thanks for sharing your insight and knowledge about these fine old firearms. If I ever need additional information about MS rifles I'll know where to get it.

Glad you're enjoying it.

My purpose (mission?) in posting these is to share accurate information while dispelling myth and oft repeated errors that have been prevalent for years regarding Mannlicher Schönauer rifles and carbines.

It seems that as hard as it can be to find any information on the MS, much of what is found is peppered with well intentioned error.

I have to be careful, however, lest I be guilty of same! Member HWL caught me doing such and corrected me regarding the change of the MS' bolt release from round 'button' to rectangular. I had stated that the change occurred with the M1950 when, in fact, it was introduced with the M1924. One only gets a half hour in which to edit these posts, it seems.

It also seems that with the Mannlicher Schönauer, one can never stop learning or being surprised. I invite and welcome any such corrections from, and / or discussions with, other AH members.

Most of what I know about these centers on the pre - WW2 models, but if I do not know something or have an answer I do know of some excellent sources for such information.

Feel free to ask!
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Another gem found on the 'net:


1903 Mannlicher-Schoenauer

A very popular rifle used by hunters of the early 20th century was the 6.5 x 54mm Model 1903 Mannlicher-Schoenauer. Most often seen in carbine form with an 18” barrel, double set trigger and stocked to the muzzle, it can occasionally be encountered in rifle form with a single trigger and sometimes in takedown form. In my somewhat limited experience though, the 18” barrel length of the standard carbine seems to be something of an approximate measure. I have a reproduction 1932 Stoeger catalog that lists the barrel length of 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauers as 18” but the barrel on the first 1903 Mannlicher-Schoenauer I bought over a decade ago has a 17.7” barrel. It shows obvious signs of having been refinished but it has not been altered from its factory configuration as far as I can tell. Several of the high-end British gunmakers such as Gibbs and Fraser used them to make custom rifles for their clients. The rifles, either factory or custom-made, generally have very elegant lines and are some of the fastest handling guns to be found anywhere. Their petite dimensions made them very light and easy to carry and endeared them to all who used them. The 6.5 x 54mm MS cartridges they were chambered for were usually loaded with a 160 grain roundnose bullet that, by virtue of its high sectional density, penetrated deep into any game shot with it and made them lethal beyond all expectation. That assumes, of course, that the person using it knew how to shoot. While there were many hunters in Africa such as W.D.M. Bell who sang its praises, there were also quite a few tales of inadequate performance, which sometimes led to some rather unpleasant results. Bell stated that it killed like lightning but he was one of the greatest shots of all time and made sure he understood the anatomy of his game and what it took to bring them down. He once had an elephant’s skull sawed in half so he could study it in detail and understood just where he had to place his shots. He eventually gave up his Mannlicher-Schoenauer when shooting elephants for a .275 Rigby, mostly because he couldn’t find ammunition of consistently good quality.


The Mannlicher-Schoenauer was produced by Oesterreichische Waffenfabrik Gesellschaft Steyr beginning in the year 1900 as the Model of 1900 in sporting rifle and carbine versions. Although it was adopted by the Greek military as their standard issue service rifle in 1903, the Mannlicher-Schoenauer saw its greatest success as a hunting rifle. The first sporting rifles and Greek service weapons had round bolt knobs while the Model 1903 and subsequent commercial rifles used the classic, butterknife bolt handle. It was the last project of Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher, one of the most prolific gun designers of all time. One of the most unique features of the weapon was its rotary magazine. The internal, rotary magazine was designed by Otto Schoenauer, who was employed at the Steyr Armory as its general manager. The magazine was made of steel and could be loaded via a stripper clip or one round at a time. It could be emptied by pressing a button, located on the right action rail, allowing the cartridges to be forced out by the magazine rotor into the firer’s hand. The magazine was designed specifically for the 6.5 x 54mm MS cartridge, which made it difficult to chamber the guns for any other caliber. The magazines, especially the ones manufactured prior to 1924, required a lot of expensive machine work and for those familiar with older guns, bring to mind the rotary magazines of Savage 99 rifles. The rotor in the Mannlicher-Schoenauer also prevented bullet tip deformation from recoil of cartridges loaded in the magazine. The magazines could be removed from the guns by using the tip of a bullet to press the button located on the forward portion of the floorplate and rotating it 90 degrees clockwise, then pulling down to allow removal of the entire assembly. Typical of prewar guns, they exhibit superb workmanship and fine hand fitting. My friend Dick has a 1903 Mannlicher-Schoenauer that is so smooth that all he has to do to close the action is to tip the rifle forward with the bolt open on an empty magazine and chamber and let gravity do the work for him.

Many of the rifles and carbines you are likely to encounter today have had scopes mounted on them which, from my viewpoint, ruins the handling qualities of the little guns. The scope mounts themselves are awkward looking things because the split rear bridge of the action didn’t lend itself well to easy mounting of scopes. I was fortunate enough to be in Vienna, Austria in 1998 and 2000 where I was able on both occasions to visit the world famous gunshop of Johann Springer. The shop itself was a delightful, two story affair located near the corner of Kaerntnerstrasse and Graben and was chock full of everything the European hunter would need to pursue game. At that time it was still common to see customers of the store walking out with guns in their boxes or cases with nary a glance from passersby. The gun racks were full of new Steyr-Mannlichers and various other European guns that are rarely seen in the U.S. The staff I spoke to in 2000 were bemoaning the imposition of stricter gun laws that were soon to be enacted by the EU but unfortunately, there was nothing they could do about it. At that time, they also had a second store near the Hofburg that dealt in used guns that was much more interesting to me as a vintage gun buff. When I was there, I saw a rack of a dozen or so Mannlicher-Schoenauers of various calibers for sale with most in very fine condition. Both stores have since been closed and the stock has been sent to a new storefront at Weihburggasse 27. If you get the chance to visit Vienna, by all means drop by Johann Springer because at the rate the world’s socialists are going, owning guns anywhere in the world may soon just be a fond memory.

If you’re lucky enough to own of these rifles, ammunition can sometimes be a bit tough to find. 6.5 x 54mm MS ammunition and brass were once made by practically every big munitions producer in the world but alas, those days are long gone. It is still possible to buy new ammo and brass made by Norma. RWS ammo and brass can sometimes be found at gunshows and various outlets but it can be pricey. If you reload your own ammo it isn’t so bad although there are a few things to take into consideration. The bore diameters of some 1903 Mannlicher-Schoenauers are apparently a bit oversize so mediocre accuracy may be the result of using standard 6.5mm (.264”) bullets. Ken Waters wrote an excellent article for Handloader #108 detailing some of the steps he had to go through to make his particular rifle shoot well and is full of information that is of relevance to anyone interested in the subject. It is, in my opinion, required reading for anyone handloading the 6.5 x 54mm MS cartridge. Interestingly enough, the first edition of the Sierra reloading manual has load data for the 6.5 x 54mm MS and mentions that cases can be made from .30-06 brass. I haven’t tried it myself but the body dimensions vary just enough that I suspect you may only get a few firings, or maybe just one, before experiencing case splits. In the past, 6.5 x 52mm Carcano brass was used to form 6.5 x 54mm MS cases, which was probably an easier way to do it since they are more similar in dimensions. The Norma Reloading Manual Edition No. 1 has more current data for the 6.5 x 54mm MS and with brass available from said company, I see no point in trying to form your own cases.


Firing the guns is a very pleasant affair as there is relatively little recoil and muzzle blast. As is typical of rifles from this era, the combination of a small front bead and small rear notch can make it difficult to use the iron sights under less than ideal conditions. My vision is still pretty good but older shooters, especially those wearing eyeglasses, may have to work at shooting good groups with them. That is probably the reason why so many of the guns I have encountered have scopes mounted on them, even with the clumsy contraptions often used to attach them. Whatever the case, the guns will provide more accuracy than most hunters will ever need at the ranges most big game animals are shot at, even with iron sights. As stated earlier, you may find it surprising how deep the 160 grain bullet the guns fire penetrates into game. The ballistics aren’t that different from the 6.5 x 55mm Swedish Mauser and that cartridge has legions of fans among the moose hunters of Scandinavia.

The prewar rifles were made up till about 1939 or so and the first thing you will notice if you see enough of them is that there is a major difference between the guns made before Hitler took over Austria and those made after. The rifles made after the Anschluss are actually marked “Made in Germany” and “Kal. 6.5 Normal.” The German marked guns are crudely finished compared to the Austrian marked guns, which is no great surprise, since I’m sure by that time Hitler’s minions were busy gearing up Austrian gun factories to make Mauser 98k rifles. Production of sporting rifles would definitely have been a low priority for the Third Reich. Don L. Henry wrote two great articles about Mannlicher-Schoenauers, one for the 1996 Gun Digest and the other for Rifle #121. Both mention the Nazi marked guns and are full of information about Mannlichers in general. You will also see a photo of W.D.M. Bell’s rifle in the 1996 Gun Digest and that alone makes it a must have for anyone interested in the guns he used during his time in Africa shooting elephants. Bell apparently had his telephone number engraved on the inside of the trapdoor buttplate, which would erase any doubt as to the previous owner of the rifle. I’m not sure what Bell’s rifle would be worth nowadays but it is safe to assume it is beyond the reach of the average shooter.

Because of their legendary reliability and performance under the harshest conditions, explorers were especially fond of them. Don L. Henry mentions the famous explorer Vilhajalmur Stefannson using original Austrian guns along with ones built by Gibbs of Bristol on his expeditions to the Arctic. Like Bell, the only problem Stefannson had with the rifles was with ammunition made for a high velocity version that was intended for use in Gibbs Mannlicher-Schoenauers. The cartridge ruptured at the base and escaping gas blinded his right eye for a week. Other users of the guns included Kalman Kittenberger and Roy Chapman Andrews. Kittenberger was adamant that good quality ammunition be used but was very fond of the guns otherwise. Even Elmer Keith, the dean of big guns, had praise for the 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer. John Taylor was somewhat less enthusiastic about them, mostly because he felt that the guns had a bad habit of jamming, usually from a fired cartridge that would fail to extract. I would be willing to bet that it had more to do with poor quality ammunition, probably loaded with corrosive primers and fired in guns with dirty or rusty chambers, than the guns themselves. He did tell in his book, African Rifles and Cartridges, of one amusing instance of the rifle’s use by a fellow elephant hunter. As told by Taylor, “What must surely be the world’s record bag with any rifle, much less with a small bore, is held by the little 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer in the hands of Banks, recently retired from the Elephant Control staff in Uganda -- three elephant to the one shot! He shot one which fell against two others, and all three of them tumbled over a precipice.” I think it is safe to say that it will be a long time before anyone tops that feat!

With all the history and romance associated with Mannlicher-Schoenauers, it is not hard to see why they are so coveted by hunters and collectors. I don’t shoot mine very often and I have yet to take any big game with them but they still hold a special place in my heart and I don’t plan to part with them until I am called to the hereafter. Such is the almost mythical appeal of the guns and the hunters of the past that relied on them, sometimes putting their very lives at stake in doing so. If you would like to learn more about them, a good place to start would be to join the Mannlicher Collectors Association. They probably have the most extensive archive of information about Mannlicher-Schoenauers in the world. There are also quite a few books available from companies such as Safari Press and Trophy Room Books although there is very little I have found that is devoted exclusively to the subject. Most of the books I’ve been able to find that mention Mannlicher-Schoenauers have been hunting books written by the great gun writers of the past such as Keith, Taylor, Eddy and of course, Hemingway. Old issues of American Rifleman, Handloader and Rifle magazines have articles about Mannlicher-Schoenauers. If you are fortunate enough to have one in your gun safe, please do us all a favor and take care of it so that future generations will have the opportunity to experience it. If you are thinking of buying one, do some research, find a reputable dealer and buy it. Life is short and with the current gun ban crowd in Washington, D.C., it would be a good idea to take advantage of any opportunities that may come along to own one. -- John Swikart

Copyright May 2009 ALL ABOUT GUNS


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From American Rifleman, November 1963:


This article was available as an NRA 'reprint'. I have one around here somewhere.


From another article, 'Cartridge Measurements':

Dig those white spacers (or not):


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The Mannlicher Schönauer action in action. Shown is a 'Greek Contract' military MS, the function is identical to that of the 'prewar' MS sporting rifles and carbines.

'Gun porn', the M1908 up close. The close images near the video's end show well why the overall fit of the cartridge, particularly at the projectile end, is crucial to smooth operation of the Schönauer Magazine:

The ol' MS bolt closes and locks by itself trick. Yes, it's true:

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'Cast in Mannlicher Stocks' from the Mannlicher Collector's Assn.


“Cast” in Mannlicher-Schoenauer Stocks by Lynn Levengood

One reason for Mannlicher rifles having their reputation for quickly pointing on target is that their stocks were manufactured with a cast-off configuration. The “cast” of a gun is the amount the stock is set over to the left or right in relation to the axis of the bore centerline. (fig. 1) The sought after principle is to create a stock that, when mounted, allows the shooter’s eye to align with the sights (or scope) without canting the head.

In the field we walk with our heads erect so it makes sense that a rifle stock which permits the sights to be naturally aligned without canting our head will reduce the time it takes to achieve proper sight alignment. Most American manufactured rifles have very little or usually no cast whatsoever. Cast is measured at the heel and toe of the buttstock. A stock angled to the right is referred to as having cast-off, and to the left as having cast-on.

Right handers usually want cast-off, and left handers cast-on. Broad shouldered and widefaced persons require more cast. Similarly, there is usually more cast in the toe than heel to properly accomodate our chest muscles. Stocks with greater toe cast slightly cant the stock into the shooter’s face. However, like a good single malt scotch, a little is better than a lot. In his excellent book, “Gunfitting”, stockmaker Michael Yardley notes that cast measuring 3/16 inch at the heel and 5/16 inch at the toe is typical, and that for bolt-action rifles the absolute maximum is 3/8 inch at the heel.

Mannlicher-Schoenauer stocks were manufactured with cast-off. What the factory design specifications were for cast-off in any one or all of the various models is unknown. (If any of our members have further insight here, please drop us a line!) I measured the cast-off on seven different rifles representing four different models. Cast-off at the heel varied from none to 3/8 inch. (See list below) At the toe, cast-off varied from 3/16 to 1/2 inch. The most frequent measure was 1/8 inch at the heel and 3/16 at the toe.

That these 50 to 90 year old stocks may have slightly warped or twisted over time is likely. However, my examination and measurements lends support to the age old claim and reputation that cast-off assists Mannlicher-Schoenauers to be among the quickest pointing rifles ever produced. Cast-off Measurements= MS Model caliber cast-off at heel cast off at toe 1903 6.5x54mm 1/8 inch 3/16 inch 1908 8x56mm MS 3/8 inch 1/2 inch 1910 8x57mm 1/8 inch 3/16 inch MCA GK .30-06 none 3/16 inch MCA GK 7x64mm 3/16 inch 3/8 inch MCA GK .270 WCF 1/8 inch 3/16 inch LEL

Image from a different source:
Cast off WMark.jpg
The early Mannlicher Schönauer rifle and carbine model designations corresponded with the MS proprietary cartridges for which they were chambered.

If original and unmolested they will accept only these cartridges which should be built as closely to the original length and bullet profile as possible to facilitate smooth feeding of the Schönauer magazine:

M1903 - 6.5X54 The 'Greek' military contract MS also used the 6.5X54MS, as did the (prototype and early production) M1900
M1905 - 9X56
M1908 - 8X56
M1910 - 9.5X57
Referred to by the British trade as .375 Nitro Express Rimless 2.25", or .375 RNE

ST39 400dpi 275 MS DWM Cartridges 001 (2).jpg

Above cartridges are Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken with their DWM catalog numbers.

Here are ballistics of the MS proprietary cartridges from the 1939 Stoeger:
First, the metric measurements from DWM:
ST39 400dpi 292 MS DWM Ballistics 001 (9).jpg

ST39 400dpi 292 MS DWM Ballistics 001 (7).jpg
ST39 400dpi 292 MS DWM Ballistics 001 (6).jpg
ST39 400dpi 292 MS DWM Ballistics 001 (8).jpg
ST39 400dpi 293 MS DWM Ballistics 001 (3).jpg
ST39 400dpi 293 MS DWM Ballistics 001 (4).jpg
ST39 400dpi 291 Regarding 8mm 001 (5).jpg
ST39 400dpi 293 MS DWM Ballistics 001 (8).jpg

Then the English measurements:

ST39 400dpi 288 English Ballistics 001 (2).jpg
ST39 400dpi 288 English Ballistics 001 (4).jpg
ST39 400dpi 288 English Ballistics 001 (5).jpg
ST39 400dpi 289 English Ballistics 002 (3).jpg
ST39 400dpi 289 English Ballistics 002 (4).jpg
ST39 400dpi 289 English Ballistics 002 (8).jpg

From page 51 of the 1939 Stoeger:
ST39 400dpi 51 Mannlicher Schoenauer 2 001 (3).jpg

The '6.7' and '8.2' are the 6.5X54 and the 8X56MS. Several catalogs and other references of the day measured from different points and / or 'rounded off' differently.
Brian, thanks for the wonderful pics, articles, and especially mentioning the Mannlicher Collectors Assoc.--wonderful folks to commune with, and I sure miss old Don Henry. There must be about 140 of their publications by now which can be purchased as a set and contain ALL things Mannlicher. If you really want an education and great information on reloading all the model calibers, it really can't be beat! Wouldn't hurt anyone to go over on their website and join up==I know I have enjoyed it for years, and all I shoot is Mannlicher Schoenauers except for drillings, and a Sako AIV. Fed the correct ammo, I don't see how they could ever jam with that rotary mag.
One note of concern: excepting the high velocity model, all the pre-war Mannlichers have much softer steel than the models 1950 and newer, so reloads should be kept rather mild--no high pressure loads, please. But don't let the stop you--the dead deer won't know the difference.
If you want to. sell one, once again, contact the MCA.
There are several options to scope mount the Mannlichers, mostly without the ability to use iron sights via "see through tunnel." My favorite is the Redfield style, now made as a reproduction. Steve
Thanks for all the interesting and informative information! I learned a lot. I recently purchased a nice M-S 7x64 full stock carbine that I was told was built in 1968. I have not been able to find a specific reference to the model number or name. I'd like to learn more about it. From the picture can you tell me what model it is? It is a very smooth, very precise rifle. The first group I shot with it was surprisingly small especially since the scope has no magnification, it is a true 1X. This is going to be a fun rifle to use near home on local game.
Very nice carbine and I'm sure you will enjoy it. It looks to be for the European market with it's blued bolt. Maybe a NO or a GK?
I was told was built in 1968. I have not been able to find a specific reference to the model number or name. I'd like to learn more about it. From the picture can you tell me what model it is?
View attachment 262731

My attentions have been focused primarily on the 'prewar' MS, so I'll leave the I.D. of this to others. A suggestion is to provide several more detailed images, particularly of proof numbers (disassemble from stock) and features.

I'll give you some information. The Mannlicher Schönauer was first made available in 7X64 with the post - M1924 'High Velocity' models (often referred to as M1925), as they had an 'action' and magazine longer than the preceding models. From thence forward it was available in several models through 1972.

From the 1939 Stoeger:
ST39 400dpi 50 Mannlicher Schoenauer Rifles 001 (5).jpg

Read notes #7, 8, 11, 13, 19 of this, from the MCA, also #19:

Thursday, January 10, 2019


Click Here to Download Mannlicher Characteristics Sheet



Bolt Type


Stock Type

Butt Type


1900 6.5x54mm MS Round Knob Wing carbine, rifle, and takedown steel plate with trap
1903 6.5x54mm MS Straight Butterknife " carbine, rifle, and takedown steel plate with trap
1905 9x56mm MS " " carbine, rifle, and takedown steel plate with trap
1908 8x56mm MS " " carbine, rifle, and takedown steel plate with trap
1910 9.5x56mm MS " " carbine, rifle, and takedown steel plate with trap
1924/1925 .30-06, 7x57, 7x64, 8x57JS, 8x60S, 9.3x62mm, 10.75x68mm " " carbine, rifle, and takedown steel plate with trap
US Market

1950 6.5x54mm, .257Roberts, 270 WCF, .30-06 US Straight Butterknife Wing & Side Carbine & Rifle Plastic
1950 Improved 6.5x54mm, .257 Roberts, .270 WCF, .30-06, 9.3x62mm Straight Butterknife Wing & Side Carbine & Rifle Plastic
1952 and M1952 Improved 6.5x54mm, .6.5x57mm, 257 Roberts 7x57mm, .270 WCF,.308 .30-06, 9.3x62mm Swept Back Butterknife Wing & Side Carbine & Rifle Plastic
1956 MC .243 WCF, .244 Rem., .257 Roberts, 6.5x54mm, .280 Rem, 7x57mm, .270, .308, .30-06, .358 WCF, 9.3x62mm Swept Back Butterknife Wing & Side High Monte Carlo, Rifle and Carbine White Line Spacer
Magnum (1958) .257 WBY, 6.5x68mm, (1958) .264 Win, 8x68mm, .338 Win., and .458 Win Swept Back Butterknife Wing & Side High Monte Carlo (MC style) rifle only White Line Spacer
1961 MCA .243 WCF, 6.5x54mm, 6.5x57mm, .270 WCF, 7x57mm,.280 Rem, .308 WCF,.30-06, .358 WCF, 9.3x62mm(Euro) Swept Back Butterknife Wing & Side
Wing & Tang after 1964 Low Monte Carlo (MCA style) White Line Spacer

1. In 1960-61 Stoeger listed a 1960 MC model with the same stock as the 1956. MC models are also observed with MCA series stocks.
2. Pre-WWII Mannlicher-Schoenauers existed in three action lengths, small (1900, 1903), medium (1905, 1908, 1910) , and large (1924, 1925). Post WWII actions are of the M1924/25 standard size, or the M1958 magnum. The 1925 is also called the “High Velocity” model.
3. In the Pre WWII era, catalogues offered an unlimited range of variables of made to order rifles and carbines. The best place to see this huge range of options is in the 1939 issue of Stoeger’s Shooter’s Bible.
4. In the M1950, the 6.5x54mm returned with an 18.5 inch carbine barrel that remained standard for that caliber throughout the Post War production.
5. The clip guides were removed during the transition from M1950 to the M1952, same changes apply to the swept back bolt handle. The so-called “GK” stock design was standard during the 1950-1952 series.
6. In 1964-65 US market MCAs began to be drilled and tapped for Redfield scope mounts
7. Early in the Post WWII production Steyr began to list the M-S as “available in 6.5mm”, which was taken in the USA to mean 6.5x54mm. In reality, the weapons were available in 6.5x54mm, 6.5x55mm, and 6.5x57mm. All of the 6.5x55mm and 6.5x57mm appear to be European products, blued bolts, but an US market example may turn up someday. The same problem was listed in the 7mm option, when really the 7x57mm and 7x64mm were available.
8. Through out the MCA production run, European market “NO” models with straight handled blued bolts and “GK” style stocks were produced in assorted metric calibers (6.5x55, 6.5x57,
7x64, 8x57, 9.3x62) and some US calibers.The NO may also have been available in the MC serial number series.
9. Although Mannlicher-Schoenauer production officially ceased in 1968, some examples have been observed with proofmarks indicating 1970 and later as the final year of assembly.
10. For a serious case of confusion, see the Mannlicher-Schoenauer section of the Shooter’s Bible #53 of 1962. Therein are listed the 1961-MCA, 1960-MC, 1952-GK, Magnum, and Premier, all have differences. This situation continued until the 1965 issue.
11. The only metric calibers offered to the US market after 1960 are 6.5x54mm, 7x57mm, 6.5x68mm, and 8x68mm. However, unofficially, the 6.5x55mm, 6.5x57mm, 7x64mm and 8x57mm were offered as USA special orders throughout Post War era production.
12. During the M1950-M1952 series production run, Stoegers listed 18 variations of the Mannlicher-Schoenauer in their catalogues.
13. The M1950 NO series was listed by Albrecht Kind as being offered in 6.5x54, 6.5x55, 6.5x57, 6.5x68, 7x57, 7x64, 8x57JS, 8x60S, 8x68, 9.3x62, .243, .244, .270, .280, .308, .30-06.
14. The Model MC appears in catalogues as both 1956-MC, and 1960-MC
15. It is possible that either the M1924 or the NO series included the 9.3x57mm chambering. No factory Mannlicher-Schoenauer in that caliber has been formally observed.
16. World War II era production was marked “Made in Germany”, complete with German proof marks.
17. The latest observed proof date for a post WWII Mannlicher-Schoenauer is 1971, with rumors of 1972.

18. As a group, the Magnum models probably make up the bulk of the true rarities among Mannlicher-Schenauers. Listed for 10 years, that model is number 5 in relative rarity, but, individual calibers will surely take the lead in overall rarity. Unfortunately, no reliable record has been forthcoming from Steyr to validate the actual numbers thereof. To witness, in a recent discussion (3/30/2010) the number of .257 Weatherby Magnums was commented on as being 125, 50, and less than ten. We were able to write off the number of "ten" by being able to note the existence of five of them in our recent knowledge. Likewise, magnums in .458 Winchester were a drag on the market several years ago. Most probably the actual production totals will never be revealed.
19. Do not accept this listing as all inclusive of Mannlicher-Schoenauer factory chamberings. Others are known to exist in limited quantity. The same situation exists within the subsequent Steyr-Mannlicher series of 1968.

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Dissassembly of a full stock Mannlicher-Schoenauer

Remove the bolt by pressing the bolt stop on the left side of the receiver and pulling the bolt all the way clear.

Remove the magazine by pushing a wooden pencil against the hole in the aft end of the floor plate and rotating the floor plate 90 degrees

When you have the floor plate rotated, pull out on the magazine assembly and remove the magazine.

With a narrow screw driver, unscrew the screws that hold the trigger guard in place. Be sure to use screw drivers that match the slots in the screws!!!!

Rotate the trigger guard 90 degrees when removing the aft screw, then lift the trigger guard free. Under the trigger guard you gain access to the second action screw, the one at the rear end of the action, remove it, then go to the large action screw in front of the magazine.

The large action screw is removed as per any Mauser style receiver

Remove the forward sling swivel bail by unscrewing the bail from the stock

(A) Will have to remove the nose cap from the stock also. A very small screw and a very small piece. Be Very Careful here!!

Now, just tap the muzzle and all should fall out.

You have taken down your Mannlicher. Reassemble in reverse order.

Note, step (A) only applies to full stock examples. It is not necessary with a half stock rifle or carbine as neither has a nose cap.


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ghay wrote on gearguywb's profile.
Is this rifle sold? If not what is the weight of it and do you know if there is enough difference in diameter between the 35W and the 9.3 to allow for a rebore to a 9.3x62 which is what I am after?
Gary (Just down the road in Springfield)
Woods wrote on Hunter-Habib's profile.
Forgive me if this is the incorrect area, I signed up to this forum just now because I wanted to be on the list to purchase a copy of your autobiography. Please feel free to pass my information along to whomever is selling. Thank you so much. I look forward to it!
I like the Tillie in my picture. They are supposed to fit loose (2 fingers inside hat band), have mesh for cooling, and hold their shape after washing.
SSG Joe wrote on piratensafaris's profile.
From one newbie to another, Welcome aboard!
BLAAUWKRANTZ safaris wrote on Greylin's profile.
We have just completed a group hunt with guys from North Carolina, please feel free to contact the organizers of the group, Auburn at or Courtney at Please visit our website and email me at