M1886 and M1886/98 Portuguese Styer Mauser-Kropatschek
(Full length photos curtesy Michael Kerrigan, www.OldRifles.com)
GENERALLY: The Kropatschek tubular magazine system, developed for use in this rifle designed by Alfred von Kropatschek was patterned in many respects after the German Mauser M71/84. The rifle was built for Portugal by Styer in lieu of the short-lived M1885 Portuguese Guedes-Castro, an elegant, well made single shot rifle (never actually adopted by Portugal but used in combat extensively by the Boers in South Africa against the British) competing in the age of repeaters. The Portuguese Kroptchek however did retain basically the same cartridge as the Guedes, a sharply bottle-necked 8mm black-power round. The black powder loading was phased out when smokeless powder bacame available to Portugal in 1896. The sights on the modified rifles are altered to give a maximum range of 2,200 meters. This magazine system is utilized in the M1878 French Kropatschek Marine rifles, the M1884 French Kropatschek Infantry rifles, and was utilized as the magazine system for the well known M1886 Lebel (the first military rifle specifically built for smokeless powder
PHOTO: The rifle shown is a M1886 Portuguese Mauser Kropatschek Infantry Rifle. It differs from the M1886/98 only in the graduation of the sights.
DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS: The trigger guard pistol grip spur, magazine spring cap extension, side mounted cleaning rod, lack of stacking rod and its 8mm bore readily differentiate the Portuguese Kropatschek from it's most similar cousin, the German M71/84 Mauser. The receiver is well marked OE.W.F.G. STEYR.
MISC NOTES: The Portuguese Mauser-Kropatschek is the smoothest, silkiest operating bolt action rifle I have ever used. The rifle is well balanced despite its tubular magazine, accurate and a joy to shoot!
a letter I received:
Subj: Portuguese Kropatscheks
Date: 01-11-28 17:10:49 EST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ricardo)
Unlike is refered in (another) letter, the Portuguese Steyr Kropatschek rifles saw combat action a few times:
-In Angola and Mozambique, former Portuguese African territories, between 1916 and 1918 against Von Vorbeck`s German colonial army. The local regiments that fought beside the continental Portuguese troops were mainly Steyr equipped.
-In East Timor, against the Japanese invaders and their allied guerrilas in WW2
- In former Portuguese Indian territories of Goa, Damão and Diu, in 1961 when the indian army invaded them.
The main weapon was the Mauser-Vergueiros 6,5mm Mod.1904 but the Kropatschek were often use by auxiliary and local regiments who saw combat every time Portuguese main regiments fought.
I received from Mike Kerrigan this wonderful letter, the opening photo above and the photos below:
Subj: kropatschek pictures
Date: 98-02-10 17:38:20 EST
From: email@example.com (mailhost.worldnet.att.net)
These are the four types of Port. Krapotcheks described in Rifles of the World. The artilery carbine, the short rifle, the long rifle and the "colonial" (the long rifle with a hand guard added to aid in controlling convection currents of the hot barrel in the tropics!). I also included fore and aft group shots and a closeup of the four locks. The rear sight was changed when they went to smokeless powder and the colonial shows the modified sight while the long rifle has the black powder sight. Hope you can use them.
From top to bottom: M1886 Kropatschek Infantry Rifle
M1886/89 Kropatschek Infantry Rifle ("Colonial" rifle)
M1886 Kropatschek Short Rifle
M1886 Kropatschek Carbine
The Model 1886/89, sometimes called the Colonial varient, is the infantry rifle fitted with a clip-on handguard from the front of the sight to the middle barrel band. It is suggested that the handguard was fitted to rifles issued to colonial troops to reduce the effect of sifficulty sighting due to radiated barrel heat.
The M1886 Kropatschek Short Rifle. Virtually identical to the infantry rifle except for its length, the sight and a magazine capacity of 6 rounds; (only 4800 were ever produced).
Model 1886 Kropatschek Carbine. Tubular magazine capacity is 5 rounds.
(only 4000 were produced)
(note turned down bolt handle on the carbine. The rifles and short rifle each have straight bolt handles. It doesn't look it but all varieties are fitted with cleaning rods).
A comparison of the Portuguese Styer-Mauser-Kropatchek (top) and the
French Mle 1878 Kropatchek (bottom)
Page built February 6, 1999
Updated: Nov 6, 2021