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Images of the empire



By the end of 1914, the Steyr factory was already exploring the idea of converting captured Russian Mosin Nagant rifles to the Austrian 8x50r cartridge

The War Ministry decided on December 9th, 1914 to begin taking captured Mosin Nagants which were arriving in Vienna, and convert them to the 8x50r M93 cartridge

The conversion work was undertaken at OWEG Steyr, as well as smaller subcontractors such as Johann Springer's Erben

M91 Rifles

Rear Sling Swivel is adapted from a Steyr M95


At first, these rifles had their rifling re-cut for the larger diameter projectile of the 8x50r cartridge. After some testing, it was soon determined that the Mosin's action was strong enough to withstand the pressures of shooting an 8mm round through a 7.62 mm barrel, so from then on only the chambers were modified so the longer bullet of the 8x50r cartridge could be chambered. This was one of the first times a modern army had formally adopted a squeezbore infantry rifle

The sight base was renumbered from Arshin to Schritt in the gold letters:
6 5 4 3 2

Since the 8x50r round was significantly less powerful than the Russian 7.62x54r, a new 7.5mm tall front sight was added

1895 Sestroretsk

1909 Izhevsk
8x50r Squeezebore

1894 Chatellerault

The Austro-Hungarians utilized a proprietary front sling swivel design. This same basic design goes all the way back to the Lorenz musket, and was later utilized by Finland. Poland also made use of this swivel on some of their 91/98/26 carbines in 8mm Mauser


Holes were drilled in the stocks, and sling swivels were added to the front and rear 

The letter 'A' was stamped on the rear of the stock of a rifle which was adapted to the 8x50r cartridge

The letter 'W' was stamped on the stock of rifles which were issued to Austro-Hungarian troops

     The Vienna Artillery Arsenal was a massive complex with at least 18 different factories and over 20,000 employees during WWI. One of these factories was known as Artilleriezeugsfabrik, and part of their job was to repair weapons that were damaged in combat. Weapons they worked on were stamped AZF on the receiver

1940 Tikka M91

AZF stamped receiver

Finnish P-28

AZF stamped receiver

1884 Sestroretsk Berdan II 
AZF stamped receiver


Mountain Warfare

    Captured Mosin-Nagants even found their way to Italy. Most of the pictures we have show Dragoon and Cossack rifles being used, likely due to the fact that they are shorter than the standard M91 rifle, making them more suitable for the treacherous terrain of the Italian front

Austro-Hungarian stormtrooper training with a Mosin-Nagant in Italy

    Pictured here is an Austro-Hungarian soldier with either a Dragoon or a Cossack rifle. This soldier is located at the stormtrooper training facility in Schabs, Tirol (Italy)

Austro-Hungarian soldiers at the Isonzo front, Italy

These soldiers are depicted with either Dragoon or Cossack Mosin-Nagants

Russian POWs working on cable car construction on the Obslauserriegel. Notice the soldier, 3rd from the right, has an M91 rifle and a metal Mosin bayonet scabbard on his belt.

Taken on May 18, 1916

Austro-Hungarian Mosins in Finland

    After the dust of The Great War had settled, Italy had several thousand Dragoon & Cossack rifles in their possession. Most of these would have been captured, but some of these could have also been received as war reparations. In 1926, Finland received 2,298 complete carbines, and 506 carbines with missing bolts from Italy (Source:

    Finland reworked some of these rifles into a cavalry variant known as the M91/rv. The markings of one of these obscure rifles are pictured here

Salerno Sleeved Barrels

    In order to reuse the larger diameter bores of many rifles in 8x50r, Finland would drill out the rifling and insert a sleeve using the method developed by the Italian man Giuseppe Salerno. This same method was used by Italy during WW1 to convert 10mm Vetterli rifles to shoot the smaller diameter 6.5mm Carcano projectile.


    These rifles were stamped P-25, P-26, P-27, or P-28 depending on the year the conversion was done

Finland would cross out the sight graduations, and renumber the other side with graduations in meters

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