This 1895 Steyr carbine has several unusual features. The first is the Manlicher clip loading. A five round charger is inserted into the magazine, individuals rounds get stripped by the bolt, then the empty clip falls out of the magazine. The rifle is easy to load and the individual cartridges are held securely, instead of being battered against the front of the magazine on recoil. The dis-advantages of the system are that the charger has to be oriented in a particular direction for loading and that individual rounds cannot be loaded into the magazine without a charger. This system was also used on Carcano rifles.
The second unusual feature is the straight-pull bolt, actuated by a cam. While it requires one motion instead of two required by turn-bolt rifles, the initial resistence to unlocking is considerable and that makes extraction even more difficult whent he gun is fouled or hot. The cartridge cases are slightly tapered to ease extraction.
The carbine is light and handy. Unfortunately, chambering a full-power 8mm round in a light rifle means that substantial recoil is delivered to the user's shoulder, and that muzzle flash is prominent. It is a problem shared by the Russian M44 carbine and the British Mk.5 Enfield.
Please note the date on the cartridge headstamp. Whatever its limitations, this weapon designed in 1895 and produced in 1909 is still functional and accurate. Ammunition for it, made in 1938, it still reliable. Advocates of gun control by attrition will have to wait for many decades, possibly centuries for the modern guns to wear out. And, should they get impatient and initiate overt aggression, even antiquated arms such as this might thunder again.
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