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Thread: Austrian 1867/77 Werndle

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  1. #1
    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    Austrian 1867/77 Werndl

    Found this at a local gun show I'd never gone to before. I spotted it pretty early but it was a bit more than I wanted to spend so I went through the entire show looking for something a bit more modern and less expensive. No luck with that so I went back to look at it one last time before leaving. The seller took pity on me and lowered the price substantially and here it is. A rifle I was aware existed but never knew I needed to have until today. Weird how that happens sometimes. I had no expectations of getting it. Figured there was no way he would accept the amount I was carrying.

    This one was made in 1871 by the Steyr Works of J. Werndl & Co. The lockplate was made the same year by the AZF state arsenal in Vienna. Werndl did not make the lockplates for the rifles in the earlier production runs. In 1872, the barrel markings were changed from WERNDLE to OEWG. This one was modified in 1877 to take the more powerful round 11.15x58R cartridge as were most of the original rifles.

    I'll need to find a bayonet for it as this is one of the few cartridge rifles I managed to never get a bayonet for. Needs a cleaning rod and ammunition obviusly as well. Hopefully I can track down some ammo at least at next week's Timonium antique arms show, possibly a bayonet also but they tend to want top dollar there.

    To modify these, they had the chamber reamed out to the large cartridge, the rear sights swapped out with a ladder sight that extends out quite a bit and the rear was opened up to allow the larger cartridge to be inserted.

    This one appears to be in good working condition with a bore with strong lands and grooves and some light pitting but nothing major. I did not know it at the time of purchase, but these were still used in limited quantities during WWI. Probably the usual guards, rear echelon troops, etc.































    Last edited by Aragorn243; 03-16-2023 at 05:23 PM.

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    Contributing Member usabaker's Avatar
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    Awesome buy! thanks for the pictures
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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    I watched a couple of videos last night. C&R Arsenals said these saw a lot of service in WWI. They had over 100,000 of them remaining in inventory and as the Mannlicher 1888 was still in use they were still making the ammo for them. Quite a few period photos with them. And while they were issued to the equivalent of the national guard, the front lines changed so fast at times that they were on the front lines more than most other obsolete rifles of the time. Mae didn't like it much. Heaviest trigger pull of any rifle she's fired, slow to load, slow to fire due to the heavy trigger pull. She shot well with it.

    I actually found repro cleaning rods which surprised me as these are supposed to be rather rare in the US. Found four bayonets but they are on the pricy side. Also located a nice photo of a sling but that's likely to be also tough.


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    The Timonium show was a bust. I did actually find a bayonet and it was the cheapest I've seen anywhere but I opted to not purchase it and went with an eBay example I found instead. It cost more but as a long time collector now with a little more cash than brains these days, I'm tending to stay away with the fixer upper type things I used to go for. The one at the show was a later model, probably for the 1877, and it was heavily pitted, dark and most of the markings were not visible or never applied, specifically the Austriaicon double eagle was completely missing. I have a nice looking rifle, I don't want to put a crap bayonet on it. I also found a repro cleaning rod online and placed an order for it. No rods at the show. No ammo either which really surprised me as there's quite a bit of it on Gunbroker, original military stuff. And to top it off, I didn't see a single Werndl rifle there. All I got was a book in Civil War bayonets.

    I still enjoy going to the show and my wife likes to look around also so I consider this a museum visit. If you were in the market for a Springfield trap door or muzzle loader, this is your show. They seemed to dominate in numbers by a large margin.

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    The bayonet arrived and of course didn't fit. Had about an hour of fine filing and then some additional filing of the catch. Very tight fit on this. This is my first rifle with a yatagan bayonet and it's interesting. To use it, you would have to compensate for about four inches of distance from the rifle/barrel line. Seems an odd thing to do. These side mounts take some getting used to.














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    Yes, a really odd direction for the point to be. All because of a wiping rod.
    Regards, Jim

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    This has turned into quite the adventure. First the bayonet didn't fit, then my repro cleaning rod wouldn't go in the channel. I was not a happy camper. I have not taken this rifle apart and after doing some reading on it, I don't think I want too. So I had no way to know if the threads on the rod were going to work in the nut. I went ahead and reduced the size of the rod. It's actually pretty easy if you have a large file and a drill. I put the rod in the drill, got a nice solid wood surface to hold the pressure of the file and put the file on the rod and turned the drill on. I then run the rod up and down the file, keeping the file and the pressure point in the same spot. All worked great until I'm almost done and the end of the rod snapped off. Made in two pieces, it snapped at the joint. As I wasn't putting pressure on it, I don't know why it did this. In any case, I have now made a nice jig out of wood and my son in law will weld it together next change he gets. It now at least fits nicely in the channel and screws right into the retaining nut. So there's that at least.

    I found a box of ammo, at a ridiculous price so I passed. Found some online but the website doesn't seem to function so that may be a bust. There is still surplus of this floating around so I'll keep my eyes open.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aragorn243 View Post
    I have now made a nice jig out of wood and my son in law will weld it together next change he gets.
    If you sharpen the ends like a pencil the weld will fill and you can take it down so it goes un-noticed. I had to do a '73 Winchester firing pin once...same. After welding you can turn it and use your dremel with a stone to reduce it or just slow passes with a file until it's small again.
    Regards, Jim

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    We did actually repair it on Sunday. My son in law was going to do something like you suggested but not the same. I forget what he called it but it was filing down deeper and having a gap on the outside. He didn't end up doing that though and just welded it. I had my file along and filed it down, it looked great but was a little rough so when I got it home I was using sandpaper and the blasted thing snapped the same as before. He said he didn't have the arc turned very high but I will mention this suggestion to him.

    Chamfering is what he calls it. We are going to go ahead and do it for the next attempt.

    And for smoothing, I put it in a drill, acts as a lathe.
    Last edited by Aragorn243; 04-11-2023 at 09:24 PM.

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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    Maybe you were supposed to hold the rifle on it's side to have the blade vertical as the hook was supposed to catch the opponents blade and you could apparently snap it.
    But yeah that 4" offset would be a bit of getting used to if your in that situation of up close and personal.

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