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    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 04:23 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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