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M1886 Austrian Mannlicher

GENERALLY:  A straight-pull, bolt action, box magazine repeater, the Mannlicher was designed by Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher and was the first magazine rifle adopted by Austrian Infantry. The then current Austrian infantry rifle, the Werndl, though a strong and safe action, was prone to severe fouling by heavy use which prevented the drum from rotating, and as a single shot was fast becomming obsolete. A modern magazine rifle was needed and an Austrian commission was charged with the responsibility for finding a suitable replacement. The M1885 Mannlicher trials rifle proved promissing and, with a number of improvements, became the M1886, officailly adopted June 20, 1886. The rifle went into full production at a time when 8mm cartridges were already showing greater potential and the radically new (the cartridge, not the rifle) Lebel 8mm smokeless rifle was making all of Europe's rifles obsolete. Work on a rifle firing an 8mm cartridge began almost immediately and production on the M1886 soon stopped, in favor of a nearly identical rifle chambered for the more modern cartridge. This became the M1888 Mannlicher. It appears that a large number, if not nearly all of the Austrian M1886 rifles were converted to 8mm, denominated M1886-90. Practically all of the M1886 rifles encountered in the US today (including the one shown here) were contract rifles for South America, principally Chile.

PHOTO: The rifle shown is a M1886 11mm Mannlicher, probably built by Styer for export to South America.

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS:  The first straight-pull military rifle adopted for regular infantry, it is distinguished by a very large box magazine that drops down below the receiver, ahead of and seperate from the triggerguard.  It chambers the 11mm Werndl cartridge (now also known as the 11mm Mannlicher). The stock is inletted for a finger grip below the rear sight. It has no rod but the nosecap is fitted with a short stacking rod similar to the M71/84 Mauser.

MISC NOTES:  Sales to South America - I don't know much at all about the South American sales.  I can tell you that all of the rifles that I have seen with South American markings are serial numbered with two letters and the serial number, e.g., DDxxxx  or QQxxxx and that I have been told (though not seen it in print which would make it true of course!) that these types of serial numbers denoted export rifles.  Books I have read tell me that virtually all of the 11mm Mannlichers were converted to 8mm M1888s.... BUT .... there are plenty enough of them around so either 1) they weren't all converted in such large numbers or 2) those around, which bear the double letter ser numbers (all I have seen do) were made not for Austria but for export.   That's my best guess.

Can anyone help me with any information??
I received the following letters:

Subj:  M1886 Mannlichers, Reading between the lines?
Date: 99-12-06 11:07:17 EST
From: (Jack Carnahan)
To: KeithDoyon@MilitaryRifles(.)com

  Your M1886 Mannlicher, and your comments that it may be an S/C American contract, has got my mind working. I think this may be the correct theory also. My 86, like yours,  has the II sufix, #6836 II. It does not have Austrian Acceptance stamp as my 88/90 does. Mine is the only one I have seen, other than a Mint one at the APG museum. I have not noted the # on it , but will. But did "all", or most of the 93,000 Austrian Military M1886's get converted to 8mm? Maybe not.   A hint may be found in  " Boer Rifles and Carbines of the Anglo-Boer War", by Ron Bester. The Boers's were offered almost everything. See page 161& 162. This seem to be April/June of 1896.

The following rifles and ammo, among others, were offered to the OVS by Aug. Schriver $ Co of Liege:    Mannlicher rifles Model 1886 11 mm @ 22 Sh.,  Ammo for the above @ 70 Sh. per 1000.  This is at a time when new Mausers were selling for abour 3 pounds, and ammo was about 6 pounds / 1000.

  I tend to think that these would be ex. Austrian military? As Chile, who we associate the Mannlichers with, was at this time buying huge numbers of Mausers, I would think that the M1886's we have(if Chilean} were purchased at an earier date. The same could be said for any other American purchase.   Where did these rifles end up, now many, etc??? I don't know, but if still 11mm in 1896, I doubt if they were made into 8mm's post 1895??

  What do you think? Does anyone have a M1886 w/ Austrian acceptance stamps, if so, what is the Ser.#. I'll check the #, and history of the one at Aberdeen.

To: KeithDoyon
Subj:  M1886
Date: 01-12-15 17:02:53 EST
To: (

My little contribution to the collection of information about this rifle.  I have just bought my M1886 (11,15X58), the only one I have ever seen from live here in Italy (and this is the same experience of the friends of mine).  I think that mine must be part of a lot made for export.
In fact:
a) I found it at my supplier among some M 1888s, bearing Chilean marks.
b) My specimen does not bear either the indication of the Austrian arsenal making the proof (Wn for Wien or Bt for Budapest) or the year of manufacturing, which according to the books should be found on Austrian ordnance M1886. However, my rifle does not bear any Chilean or other non Austrian mark. Serial number is 44K, clearly indicated on the barrel, receiver and butt. All metal parts (magazine, bands, etc.), bear the letter K (which should stay for "Kontrol"). The receiver is marked as usual "OE WG".  Under the barrel, there are some isolated letters and numbers, as well as a small typical Austrian eagle proofmark (I own a M 1842 Austrian ordnance tube lock, bearing many proofmarks of same kind).

Best regards

Matteo Zapelli
Via Guercino 9
20154 Milan


Rifle is in the process of being cocked.  Bolt is partway withdrawn.


Bolt is cocked, safety is on.


  Safety off; rifle has been fired.


View of the locking cam that locks the straight pull bolt closed.  When the bolt is thrust forward the cam drops down locking the bolt forward.  Pulling back on the bolt pulls the cam up enough to retract the bolt.


Export marked M1886.


Long range front sight mounted on the center band.  See also M1888 Austrian Mannlicher pics.


The ‘MdelE’ crest is Chilean and stands for Ministerio del Esercito. Found on most of the 10,000 M1886s shipped to the Congressional side in September 1891. Chilean Mannlicher M.1888 had similar crest but with ‘RCh’ (Republic of Chile) although a few had the ‘MdelE’ crest in addition. Credit - Robert Wilsey for sharing this informaiton with us!

Page built February 15, 1999
Revised September 25, 1999

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Updated : Jan 23, 2022

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