Blast from the Past: Steyr Mannlicher

A reader shares his sort-of vintage, but totally beautiful, Austrian rifle—a Model M chambered in .30/06

vintage stery mannlicher rifle
Mannlicher-Shönauer rifles were designed as service guns, but arguably became more popular for sporting purposes.From Greg

Today's Blast comes from the recent Past. Greg asks if his rifle, made in 1985, qualifies as "old." For one thing, almost anything goes here at Blast from the Past, and for another, even though 1985 doesn't seem that long ago to me, it's been 33 years.

Besides, this Austrian rifle is a fine example of a traditional design. Mannlicher-Shönauer rifles, made by Steyr, date to the beginning of the 20th century and featured a rotary magazine that set them apart from their contemporaries. They were adopted by the Greek military and only a few others, and probably became more famous as sporting rifles than as service guns. A 6.5mm Mannlicher-Shönauer figures quite prominently in Hemingway’s safari short story, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.”

Greg's Steyr Mannlicher

I am fond of Mannlicher-stocked rifles, but being left-handed has limited my selection. I was understandably surprised to find a left-handed Steyr Mannlicher in a Saint Paul, Minn., gun shop. The rifle, a Model M carbine, was made in Steyr Austria in 1985. (M is the longest of four action lengths.) Although double-set triggers were available, this rifle has a single trigger. A rotary magazine is standard and provides a characteristic look and feel. The hammered rifling technique leaves a distinctive swirled pattern on the barrel. Chambered for .30/06, the rifle is well-balanced, and, with its 20-inch barrel, is fast-handling and well-suited for hunting in timbered habitats.

Thanks, Greg. As a fellow left-hander, I feel your pain and can imagine your delight at finding this rifle. For the rest of you, I'm pretty sure they make these in right-handed, too. Please keep the gun pictures coming to fsgunnuts@gmail.com.