This reader's rifle is the rare Hungarian Mannlicher Model 33M chambered for the 8x56R Hungarian cartridge.

Little Known Hungarian Military Rifle

 Q: My uncle is an arms collector. He recently bought a turnbolt military rifle that the seller claimed his father brought back from Europe after World War II. It has a 763mm barrel and overall length of 1118mm. It weighs 4.2kgs and has a two-piece walnut stock. Many of the parts are stamped with the number 56. There is a large letter “E” on the righthand side of the barrel and the number “33 M” on the top strap of the buttplate. The bolt has a separate non-rotating head, and the receiver bears a resemblance to the Arisaka Type 38 rifle. The rifle has a bayonet stud, front sight cover, detachable sliding bolt cover, and wing-type safety. A checkered thumbpiece extends vertically from the cocking piece. Bolt handle is straight with a hollow knob. It appears to be 8mm calibre, but is not chambered for the 8x50R Hungarian or 7.92mm Mauser cartridge. It has a Mannlicher-type magazine and tangent rear sight graduated in 100-metre increments from 200 to 2000 metres. Can you please identify this rifle for us?

Jack Lamont

A: It took quite a while, but thanks to your detailed decription, I was finally able to identify your rifle as the rare Hungarian Mannlicher Model 33M chambered for the 8x56R Hungarian cartridge. This is larger and more powerful than the 8x50R cartridge used in the Austro-Hungarian Model 1888 through Model 1895 straight-pull rifles. I’ve formed the opinion that your rifle was probably a prototype developed in 1933 which enjoyed only limited production, as an experimental model, and after testing was adopted in 1935 and designated as the Model 35M which was produced in considerable quantities prior to World War II. When the Germans occupied Hungary, they extensively modified the Model 35M to handle the 7.92mm Mauser cartridge. The magazine system was changed from Mannlicher to conventional Mauser staggered cartridge column type. This conversion, redesignated as the Gewehr 98/40 saw considerable use during World War II.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.