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Thread: Mannlicher-Schoenauer

  1. #1
    Boolit Master map55b's Avatar
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    Mannlicher-Schoenauer

    Another Greek Mannlicher-Schoenauer action followed me home this weekend. This one was made by Steyr (1930) the other is a Breda (1927). Has one one attempted to chamber one in anything but 6.5MS? I know there is a .22/6.5 MS wildcat and they have been done in 7x57 but it takes a lot get them to feed.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Don't remember where I read this but was led to believe that the magazine assembly/cartridge spools were cartridge specific. Since I cannot quote the source take it for what it is worth. Frank

  3. #3
    Boolit Master map55b's Avatar
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    Hello Samari46,

    This is correct. Frank De Haas comments that one is best to leave them in 6.5x54 MS, but you could use the wildcat 22 version. He also states that the 7x57 is possible. A friend has done all three, but said the 7x57 was a real pain. I'm curious to hear what experiences folks may have.

    I do have an commercial 1903 and I plan to duplicate it probably with the Steyr action.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Cap'n Morgan's Avatar
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    I've seen a couple re-chambered to 6.5x55 - I don't think it involved any magazine modifications.
    Cap'n Morgan

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I read somewhere long ago that the cartridge must be based on the 6.5x54MS case as the rotors are specific. There was a list of wildcats from .224 to .308 all based on the 6.5 MS.
    Where do you find all these actions?
    Thomas

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    whats wrong with the original? thats just a 6.5 grendle ahead of its time!
    Look twice, shoot once.

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    I have a Geo. Gibbs M/S sporter they built on a 1903 Greek bbld action.
    It is in 256 Gibb's Magnum. (.264 groove)
    They used the orig military bbl. Rechambered to their propietary 256 Gibbs Magnum cartridge.

    The magazine that was in the rifle when I got it was an unaltered 1903 Greek M/S and I'm sure was the original to the sporter.

    The 256 Gibbs Magnum is a shortened 6.5 Swede Mauser round BUT uses the standard Mauser head size of .470/.471.
    NOT the slightly oversize head of the regular 6.5 Swede.

    So I made up rounds using lathe shortened Lee 6.5 Swede dies.
    The rifle with the rotor unaltered will load, feed, fire and eject my 256 Gibbs Magnum loaded rounds with anything but the 160gr bullet.'
    The round/case sits 'up' on each rotor cutout for the cartridge as the body is slightly larger than the orig 6.5M/S case.
    The rotor itself has not been altered for the new, larger dia case body.
    This seems to not effect the operation of the rifle except in that one instance of the 160gr bullets.

    The reason for the 160gr not working is that the longer bullets were touching the bullet nose guide ring at the front of the rotary magazine as they were pushed into the mag. That tilted the base of each up slightly and jammed the works.
    To fix that, I removed the bullet guide ring from the magazine assembly (2 small screws, closely fitted bevelheads countersunk).
    Then thinned the ring from the inside surface to allow more room for the 160gr bullets. Final fit was done with the ring in place in the mag and watching for the copper smear of the bullets dragging on the inside of the guide.
    When clearence was good,,the 160gr bullets fed as well.
    To help, the 160's could have been seated a bit deeper placing the ogive of the bullet back further from the guide ring giving it more clearance. I wanted them to be able to be seated right out where they belong.

    When done, I put the guide ring back in the after polishing the inner surface nicely. I also tinned the surfaces of it and the mag where they made contact under the attachment screws and sweat soldered it in place as I tightened up those two small screws. Just a little insurance,,probably not needed, but that's just me.

    With it's pristine bore, it shoots very nicely.
    It does have a Aldis Bros 'scope in detach pincer mts atop it. Nice set up and a classic Brit rifle.
    It shows that other cartidges can be made to work in the M/S w/o too much bother sometimes.
    Would I go to the trouble to do a conversion from a 6.5M/S?,,no. I think the orig is just fine and is a classic.

    That bullet guide ring at the front of the magazine is a key componet in the way the magazine will accept a different cartridge, bullet length and/or bullet nose shape.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Your project is really bugging me! I bet a 35 remington would work in that spool? I like the original but I am always into making a 35 remmy out of almost anything.
    Look twice, shoot once.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    .

    Steyr made M-S rifles in quite a few different chamberings, and each had a specifically-shaped magazine rotor, so an early M-S action will accept any of the later rotors, provided one of the short rotors (.243/.308/etc) is chosen to match the older (short) M-S action.

    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master map55b's Avatar
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    Lots of good and interesting stuff here.

    Thomas (TX by God): They find me. This one was sitting all by itself at a not so local gun show.

    Nekshot: Nothing is wrong with the 6.5x54 MS. With that said, I already have a commercial 1903 and figured I'd copy it with one of these two actions, but for the third, I really need a project that I can second guess myself on why I started it in the first place. Also, I could not get more than one 35 Remington in the spool of my commercial 1903.

    2152HG: The 256 Gibbs Mag intrigues me. Think I could talk you out of 3 dummy or just cases? I'm guessing I could just run a 6.5x55 reamer short. I'm interested in making a barrel stub to try this.

    Pietro: This is interesting, but I think the shape of the bottom of the receiver comes into play. This is worth some thought, but I like the idea of putting it in something not too common.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    map, are you wanting to stay with a 6.5? If that isn't a prerequisite there's the other M/S cartridges. I have a 6.5 and an 8 X 56. The "8" doesn't run with the Mauser cartridge but with a 200 gr. cast bullet I've really come to like it. There's also the 9.5 and I think the 9 X 56(?). There's your 35 cal. cartridge if that's where you're leaning. I apologize I can't say what might have to be done to the magazine, if anything.
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

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    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Map55b- I remembered. It was Mcgowen that offered barrels for the Steyr in the 6.5 MS based wildcats. I doubt they still do but a question worth asking?
    Thomas

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    Boolit Master map55b's Avatar
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    Thomas: Thank for thinking one this one. I've decided that I'll put the second one in .22/6.5x54 MS as I have access to the dies and the reamer. I also know that this one feeds just fine.

  14. #14
    Most of the cartridges for the early (i.e. genuine) Mannlicher-Schoenauers have about the same head diameter as the Mauser and Springfield cases, and I think the rotor would cope with anything of the right length which wasn't excessively large at the shoulder. A friend makes 9x56 cases from 7x7 Mauser. He has to reduce the head slightly to fit the chamber, but not the full .008in. published figures would suggest.

    Mine, made in 1926 by Westley Richards, is a 6.5x54 and will stay that way. I acquired it in a very favourable trade with a badly pitted bore, which I amputated at the little step behind the rear sight and sleeved in a Shilen barrel with soft solder and a flange to prevent the rifle spitting it out. I fitted a 1950s Bausch and Lomb external-adjustment in a mount, sometimes also sold under the Kuharsky name, designed for this rifle. It isn't quite a contemporary of this rifle' great days, but pretty much in keeping, of about modern optical qualities, and all steel. In a rifle like this, I always think of the words of Gilbert and Sullivan, "True love must be without alloy."

    I think smaller calibre wildcats on the 6.5x54 (or Carcano) case should be fine in a rifle of this calibre. Larger-calibre wildcats would probably require modification of that beautifully designed magazine rotor, which it would be a great shame to do. It isn't a highly stressed component, and surely a candidate for 3D printing if ever there was. It might need a steel core, where it is driven by helical grooves and spring-loaded plunger.

    I would be wary of more heavily-recoiling cartridges for this rifle. I have never examined a 6.5x54 rifle which had cracked wood over the magazine sides, where the wood needs to be thin, and never a larger calibre one that didn't. The box-magazine Mannlichers were once popular for long-range match rifles in the UK, and due to the stability of the woodwork, the rotary-magazine model never replaced them. The hundred-yard group below was made, probably with a target rifle at a date which would make it box-magazine, by St. George Littledale, the central Asian explorer. He was the man whose Tajik scout Jeff Cooper describes as looking at his Mannlicher and saying "To think, even the man who made this must die."

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    Last edited by Ballistics in Scotland; 12-30-2017 at 10:47 AM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    A gunsmith friend of mine is playing around with reworking one into 7.62x39mm since the case head dimensions are similar.
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    You may want to track down the article by Frank DeHaas in Guns & Ammo magazine in March 1964. That was a 6 page article (pages 46 thru 51) on starting with a Greek military Mannlicher/Schoenauer carbine and converting it into a near-1903 commercial model. In it, he also went through which major parts were interchangeable with the commercial and which parts were not (this is probably not useful now since neither set of parts are available).

    Speaking about cartridges, he recommends staying with the stock 6.5mm, but adds, "no standard American cartridge can be used in it without making some alterations in the receiver and the magazine..." "cartridges longer than 3.10" and less than 2.812" cannot be used. Also, unless the magazine spool is altered, cartridges having a body longer than 1.75" cannot be used." He says that it can be rechambered to 7x57mm Mauser caliber, but there will be a lot of work. The cartridges must be handloaded so the overall length is about 3.00"." In addition, the OD of the base of the case is larger than the original cartridge, so metal from the inside of the magazine walls must be removed. Since it is case hardened, it should be removed with a small hand grinder. Remove NO MORE than necessary to get clearance (0.005" to 0.010" max). In addition, some material must be removed from two places in the spool (at the base and where the front of the cartridge case rests). The hook of the extractor may have to be shortened and the shoulder of the ejector may have to be filed back a bit.

    I have the complete set of Mannlicher/Schoenauer collector newsletters and whenever rechambering an early M-S is mentioned, either it was not very successful, or it was finally successful, but the gunsmith swore off ever doing another one again. 7x57mm was added to the list available from the M-S factory after the gun action was lengthened in 1924. It was not available in the earlier M-S rifles. Another rechambering mentioned (which also required a lot of work) was the .257 Roberts, which is basically the same case as the 7x57.

    Good luck.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master map55b's Avatar
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    Hello Harry O: I found a copy of Guns and Ammo, March 64 on line: https://gunsmagazine.com/1964issues/G0364.pdf No mention of the Mannlicher. Do you know the correct issue to look at? I have read De Haas' comments in his box on bolt actions. I think I am going to stick with the 6.5x54 for one action and .22/6.5x54 for the other. I happen to have dies and reamers for both. My mentor did on once in 7x57 and said never again.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master BigEyeBob's Avatar
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    Friend of mine has one in 6.5 x 57 ,IIRC it was an conversion done in its early life ,but has always had feeding problems which he has had sorted recently ,he also had to get it restocked due to the stock cracking at the magazine area.It a good cartridge loaded with the 200gn 6.5 cacarno projectiles for
    larger game .Ive seen him take large asian water buffalo bulls with it .

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by map55b View Post
    Hello Harry O: I found a copy of Guns and Ammo, March 64 on line: https://gunsmagazine.com/1964issues/G0364.pdf No mention of the Mannlicher. Do you know the correct issue to look at?
    You have "Guns" magazine, there. The actual magazine is "Guns & Ammo". I got a copy of it through inter-library loan and copied it many years ago. I am not much on scanning and e-mailing. However, if you PM me your mailing address, I can copy it and mail it to you.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master map55b's Avatar
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    Ops! Thanks Harry O. I appreciate it.

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