Saturday, October 7, 2017

The rare M-1894 Steyr/Mannlicher pistol of the "blow forward" design.


These early Mannlicher pistols were designed by Ferdinand Von Mannlicher and were produced by the Austrian Steyr factory. Mannlicher was an exceptional early engineer and designer who teamed with the Steyr factory to produce all of his rifle and pistols from the late 1890's through post WWII.

The pistol uses a special rimmed cartridge in 6.5 mm caliber. The design represented an entirely new utilization of mechanical principles in an automatic action called "blow-forward action". In the standard type of automatic action for low-powered cartridges, the recoil (or blow-back) is utilized to drive back a movable breech face or block, but Mannlicher utilized the principle of a rigid standing breech with the barrel blowing forward to extract, eject, and prepare for reloading.

A special barrel housing which carries the front sight, covers the entire length of the barrel (6.49 in/165 mm) when the arm is closed. A heavy recoil spring is mounted concentrically around the barrel within this housing and is compressed between a shoulder at the forward end of the casing and a shoulder at the rear of the barrel.



It is also a "double action" mechanism with a rebounding hammer, a cartridge can be in the chamber with the hammer down, you just pull the trigger as in the double action mode, just like many pistols today. Very unique for "1894".

Another interesting feature is that the pistol looks like it should have a standard removable pistol clip, however it actually has a permanently installed internal magazine that loaded from the top of the action via a stripper clip, when the barrel is forward.


To load this weapon the hammer is cocked. As the hammer rotates on its axis pin, it acts upon the trigger, and the sear snaps into the cocking notch, holding the hammer. The hammer axis pin also supports the center arm of the barrel holding lever, which arm emerges and is raised high enough by its spring to press into a slot under the barrel. The rising thumbpiece on top of the barrel over the breech is then pushed forward. The barrel moves forward until its muzzle emerges from the barrel housing, compressing the recoil spring. The barrel holding lever is snapped into the locking notch in the underside of the barrel, thereby holding it in forward position for charging.

The stripper clip (capacity five rounds) is inserted in the clip guide of the receiver and the cartridges are pressed into the magazine. The cartridges are stripped off the clip and pressed into the magazine-well in the body of the pistol, compressing the spiral magazine-spring. A lip at the top prevents the cartridges from emerging.


The preferred direction for holding this pistol requires that the index finger be positioned around the frame above the trigger guard, with the middle finger through the trigger guard and pressed against the trigger.



M1894 page 188.jpg