Monday, March 28, 2016

Rifle in Tree; M86/88 Mannlicher, 1891 Carcano, or Mosin Nagant?

Left to Right: M86/88 Mannlicher, Rifle in Tree, Mosin Nagant action

The image in the middle is a picture that is floating about on Russian social media.  It was sent to me by by a friend, who I previously wrote about, the one of the adventures with two Bushmen.  He asked me if the action bedded in the tree might be a Mosin Nagant.

At first glance, there are definite similarities, the solid magazine, the 90 degree bold handle, the shape of the trigger... but close examination shows that this is no Mosin Nagant.  The most obvious difference is the placement of the bolt handle, at the back of the action, instead of inside the ejection port.  The magazine shape is different, the bolt handle is directly over the trigger, and the shape of the rear sight elevator is distinctive, and clearly not a Mosin Nagant.

I believe the rifle in the tree is an Austrian Mannlicher M86/88.  There is not much difference between the 1886 and 1888 models that you can tell from a photograph such as this.  The picture on the left is of a Mannlicher M86/88.  Comparing them shows the clear family traits of the rifle in the tree.  Everything matches, as much as can be easily derived from the photographs.  While not obvious from the photographs, the Mannlicher is a straight pull bolt action, while the Mosin Nagant and Carcano are of the more conventional type.

It is impossible to tell when the rifle was left leaning against what appears to be an oak tree.  It was long enough ago to embed the rifle barrel rather solidly.  I suspect it was during WWII.  The location of the photograph is said to be from a Russian forest, when I found a matching image in a 2014 article in the Daily Mail. The Daily Mail article says that a reader identified the rifle as an 1891 Carcano.  That is incorrect.  The bolt handle is in the wrong place, even though the magazine and rear sight have similarities.

Long ago I gave up hoping for any firearms knowledge among old media writers.  I offer my services as a firearms subject matter expert to proof these stories, for a small fee, of course.  Such proofing would improve the accuracy of their articles, and gain much needed credibility.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.  Link to Gun Watch

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