M1878/80 Serbian Mauser (Mauser Koka Milavanovic)
(all photos this page kind courtesy of John Littrell)
GENERALLY: The Serbian Mauser M1878/80, was an outgrowth of the Russo-Turkish War and Serbian Independence in 1878. Previously a province of the Turkish-Ottoman Empire, Serbia formed its own army in 1880 and in 1881 contracted with Mauser for 100,000 rifles which also became known as the Mauser-Kola or Mauser Milavanovic due to a set of additional new features developed by Serbian Major Kola Milanovic. These included, most obviously a support rail extending back from the receiver above the wrist (similar to the Italian M1870/87 Vetterli-Vitali), a smoother shaped trigger guard, a small coiled spring around the safety lever spindle, an extractor/ejector which the German M1871 lacked, and a reduction of caliber from the German 11.15 mm to the more efficient Swedish 10.15 mm. In addition, the rifle is bored with progressive rifling, in which the rifling grooves were designed such that their width reduced from breach to muzzle. This does not appeared to have been a particularly effective modification and was not adopted in later Mauser designs. The M1878/80 was the primary Serbian rifle of the Serbian-Bulgarian War of 1885 and remained in inventory until after 1900.
Despite being manufactured at the Mauser Armory at Orberdorf, Germany, all markings are in Cyrillic letters including the Mauser designation and model on the left side of the receiver. The Cyrillic appearing on the left side of the receiver translate as: "P. Mauser in Orberdorf-Wurttemberg-M.1880".
PHOTO: M1878/80 Serbian Mauser-Milavanovic
DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS: Most obviously, the support rail similar to the Italian Vetterli, Cyrillic markings, coil spring around the safety lever and 10.15mm calibre. Less obvious is the progressive rifling.