The Austrian Arms Manufacturing Company was known throughout Europe as a top quality producer of bolt action military rifles, being the armory of the Austro Hungarian Empire. They were notable for producing strong and reliable straight pull rifles called Mannlicher Rifles that used the new en-bloc magazine. However, in 1903 a new design was created that departed from the traditional Mannlicher design.
The Mannlicher Schoenauer (MS) used a rotary magazine fixed magazine (like the Johnson Rifle), rather than a box magazine fed by en bloc clips. Furthermore it used a standard turnbolt mechanism rather than it’s prior straighpull action. Today the MS remains one of the very few rotary action designs ever created. Originally the MS was intended as a military rifle, however it saw few customers due to it odd mechanism, strange caliber (6.5X54mm), and above average cost. The only major customer was Greece, which used it extensively during the Balkan Wars in the early 1900’s, through World War I, and up to around World War II. The Austro-Hungarian Army also used the rifle in limited numbers during World War I.
While the MS was a failure on the military market, it was a hit on the civilian market with target shooters and hunters. A civilian model was also produced with a sporting stock, a spoon handle bolt, different sights, and a double trigger, with the first trigger being a set trigger. MS sporting rifles were considered to be among the finest quality hunting rifles in the world.
Around 300,000 were produced.
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