M95 Straight Pull Run and Gun

The Mannlicher M1895 “M95” straight-pull rifles were the backbone of the Austro-Hungarian military during World War I, and served through WWII in a limited capacity. These unique rifles fire 8x56r ammunition and are fed by 5 round Mannlicher en-bloc clips. So how will it fare on the run and gun course?

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Full transcript below …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys, this is Alex C with TFB TV.

And for today’s run and gun we’re actually gonna do somethin’ that’s been requested by quite a few people, and that’s gonna be an M95 Mannlicher Straight Pull rifle.

A straight pull rifle means basically you don’t have to rotate the bolt handle up to cycle the action, you just pull back, and push straight forward.

The M95s were made in two places, that’s gonna be, well they were made by Steyr and they were made in Hungary with (mumbles) March Steyr in Budapest, respectively.

These fire eight by 56R, this is actually the same exact overall length as 7.62 by 54R that you’d find next to your Mosin-Nagant, and they do have a very, very generous shoulder.

They feed via five round in block clips that are, you know, one directional, you can’t put them in either way like a Garand clip.

So, when I said they’re straight pull, basically you just pull that handle right back, and then push it forward, but to load it, you would pull it back, insert a five rind in block clip, and then you’d be ready to cycle the gun.

To eject the clip, there’s a little button inside the trigger guard, just press that and it will pop right out.

So, we did encounter a little problem on the run and gun, the minimum sight, sorry, distance on this is going to be 300 meters, and that’s by pulling the ladder up, and pulling the slider all the way up, but the slider on this gun is very, it doesn’t have much tension, so after one shot, it would actually work its way all the way down, and then you’d be stuck at about 700 meters.

So, we just said screw it, we’re going to roll with it the other way on 500, but a lot of people say straight pull is faster.

We’re going to test that myth today.

You can see how the placement of the bolt handle is a little awkward, I have to remove my hand completely from the trigger guard, trigger, to cycle the gun.

This is pretty common on most straight pull rifles, even the Swiss straight pull rifles, you have to almost remove, you do have to remove your whole hand.

Whereas with an infield, you’re pretty much left with optimum bolt position when you close the bolt, your fingers naturally go right down onto the trigger, which is not the case with most straight pull guns.

So, let’s see how it works on the course.

As usual, the course will be 25 shots, with four reloads, and that’s going to be at about 60 yards, with 20 shots fired at steel, the last five shots are gonna be fired at a paper silhouette for safety reasons.

Let’s get to it.

Alright, here we go with the Steyr 95.

I’ll see if the straight pull’s faster, I don’t know if it will be or not.

(gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) Alright, let’s go down range and check that out.

Alright guys, so it looks like we got about 12 or 13 on the silhouette here.

Not that great, I noticed I had to aim really low, like below the actual silhouette to nail it.

But you know, that’s what happens when you have a gun with sights like this.

So, we can move over to the paper silhouette, where I took the last five shots, I was actually aimin’ about right here, and all the shots definitely would’ve got the guy, a couple of neck shots, and two center mass hits.

So, all in all not bad, it’s fast, but not as fast as something like a Lee-Enfield.

I’m gonna have to say the turn bolt guns, even though in theory, require a little bit more to operate, doesn’t really mean that they’re slower.

Okay, so admittedly on that run, the sights gave me a little bit of trouble being as how the (mumbles) setting we were using was 500 meters cause the 300 meter setting wasn’t really working, and the slider kept falling down, but whatever, so 19 out of 25 hits was not that great, however, I’m sure with the sights doin’ what they needed to do, it would’ve been a lot better.

That being said, the fact that the straight pull didn’t really affect the speed of the run that much was kind of mind blowing.

In theory, you would think because it eliminates two operations when it comes to cycling the bolt, it should be faster, but bolt handle placement really comes into play here.

That being said, this was a really fun run and gun.

Loading it with Manlicher style packets was awesome.

That was actually very fast.

It was convenient instead of having to kind of fumble with the stripper clip, you knew that once that one was in there, it was good to go.

And that did make it faster.

So, I guess we’ll leave it at that, if you’d like to see Patrick’s run, click the link in the in card, other than that, big thanks to Ventura Munitions.

Hit that subscribe button, it helps us out.

Hope to see you next time guys.

(gun fires)

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Riot

    Link since the vid isn’t attached
    youtube. com/watch?v=nqw_SrL62fk
    Just take out the space

  • Jeremy R

    I just like to read the transcript and imagine what the video would be like.

  • The_Champ

    I love my Steyr M95 Carbine mostly because it is so unique. That rough straight pull that requires a lot of vigour to work, the slick en-bloc clips, the short & slim hardiness of the carbine, and pretty damn nasty recoil. All in all one of my favorite old military guns to shoot.
    Not sure it rated super high as far as a battlefield rifle, but it certainly did soldier on for a long time(maybe out of necessity)

    I should add that Prvi Partisan deserves major props for making new manufacture ammo for this rifle(along with many others).
    Thanks for adding the M95 to your run and gun list.

    • Yes, it seems that a lot of M95’s sort of throw a wrench in the ‘straight pull rifles are always smoother’ idea. I don’t know what it is — burrs on the bolt-track or issues with some types of ammo (sticky ejection) but some of them are very nice while others are incredibly clunky. At any rate, it’s not realistic to expect an M95 to be as smooth as something like a K11/K31 or a Ross Rifle.

      Still, I need to get me one!

      • The_Champ

        Indeed, a K31 this is not. However one thing I really like about my M95 carbine is how light and handy it feels. Far more so than my M44 Mosin, which feels like a thick hunk of lead in comparison.

  • ostiariusalpha

    Very nice! It is a seemingly unavoidable truth that the ergonomics of the bolt handles placement on the M95 negate much of the mechanical advantage of the gun.

    So the perfect straight pull bolt action would basically be a bolt handle directly parallel over the trigger arrangement, that feeds from eject-on-empty Garand en bloc clip. How’s about that?

    • Darkpr0

      Pump actions are straight pulls that you work with the other hand. I suspect you will find them difficult to beat. 🙂

      • ostiariusalpha

        There is a biomechanical advantage to using your strong hand to work the bolt on turn bolt rifles, but on a straight pull you might be right. Of course, you pointed out yourself that aiming is one of the primary time consuming tasks, so moving the hand that holds the forend (where most aiming correction is done from) might not be optimal on a manually cycled gun. On a self loading gun this would be less of a problem.

        • Darkpr0

          Well with an autoloader the jostling due to the action operating just blends into the recoil so you’re totally right on that one. But I’d also point out that competitors who rapid-fire pump-action shotguns use the same sort of trick, by racking the action as their body is still reacting to the recoil and their follow-up doesn’t have to deal as much with two separate destabilizing processes. But this is at the high end of recoil, as they operate potentially up into slugs which is, to say the least, a significant force.

          But I’d also argue that this holds reasonably true for full-power rifle cartridges on old guns. The recoil is sufficient to at least destablize the sight picture and so you’d have some dead time where putting the action back into battery with a pump-action wouldn’t be costing you much time. As you move down the power curve into stuff like .223 you’re probably going to see significant losses to autoloaders that can just machine-gun onto target rather than aim-fire-reset at short distances.

          Post-Note: I have a good deal of experience working with a pump Rem 7600 in 30-06 as a hunting gun. It is used by several guys that I hunt with because they believe it offers faster follow-up shots than bolt actions. This is also the gun that I learned to hunt on. I can agree with these men, that, comparing the 7600 to any of the bolt actions I have used, it’s just plain faster. Even my beloved Ross. Your mileage may vary.

      • wetcorps

        Lever actions can also be interesting as they allow to keep the gun steady wile the strong hand both cycles the action and pulls the trigger. At least I’ve seen some cow boy acton shooters do some pretty impressive stuff like that.

        • Darkpr0

          Also true. Fast access to the operating mechanism is just a good thing. A gun is not its own weapons platform; the human is an integral part. Ergonomics are absolutely key to maximizing the effectiveness of the weapons platform as a whole.

        • Tassiebush

          I am pretty sure I saw a picture in a magazine once of one of these with a leveraction loop added. It was ugly as f#+k but apparently was done by a left handed owner. Heaven knows how long the lever throw was.

  • Darkpr0

    If you compare the relative times that different actions take, racking the bolt is a tiny portion even on a turn-bolt. Running, and particularly aiming both take more time. I bet you would find considerable time saved on a gun that just had better sights for the course versus something like straight vs turn pull.

    • UnrepentantLib

      It occurred to me while watching the clip that since the bolt handle is on a plane with the bore, the hand has to travel from the trigger guard up to the bolt handle. On an Enfield or Kar98 the bolt handle is just above the trigger guard, so the hand is using that travel time to open the bolt. So really there’s not going to be any speed advantage to the straight pull. On the other hand, compared to an older design with a straight bolt handle, where the hand travels up to the bolt handle, then continues upward to unlock the bolt before withdrawing it, the straight pull would have a little speed advantage. I was also impressed with the way the en bloc clip worked. Definite advantage there over a stripper clip, at least as long as the ejection port isn’t clogged up with mud or dirt.

      • Darkpr0

        The Steyr is the oldest of the straight-pulls we see commonly. This design was ported pretty much directly over to the Ross Rifle Mk 2 (very different from the Mk 3), but with a different bolt handle shape. That bolt handle is a lot closer to the trigger finger and probably is a lot better indicator of what this action can do. But I think there’s a lot to be said for straight pulls: There’s probably a good reason why major Biathlon race rifles are all straight-pulls… With an extended bolt handle laying just next to the shooter’s fingertips.

        Also I totally agree on the en-bloc clips. Detachable magazines are a superior solution, but if it’s a question of internal magazine & stripper clips or en-blocs, I’ll take the en-blocs as a shooter. But then again en-blocs can impose some complications on the action. Looking at the feed mechanisms of the Garand vs the M14, magazines are a winner for simplicity of mechanism.

  • VeriAeq

    200 grain pills out of a carbine! I do like the way the clips are dumped out of the bottom of the magazine well after the last round is chambered.

  • M95’s are great rifles. Considering how they rarely command too much higher than Mosin Nagant prices and ammunition from Prvi Partisan is reasonably priced (for what it is) there isn’t much reason to not at least get one to see if you like it.

    I don’t own one, but I think I’d like to sometime soon. There’s so many variations on that design, that it can turn into a collector’s dream very quickly. After Austro-Hungary broke up, these things floated around to all the countries that were born out of its ashes and a lot of them did different things with them. Some cut them down into unique carbines, some of them used different sling mounts, and they were even converted to 7.92 Mauser by the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (I think) by reworking the Mannlicher-Style charger system.

    There’s a lot of flavors of them out there for both the collector and the shooter. Thanks for the great video, Alex!

    • Just Sayin’

      They kick more than an M44 though, which is to say “OW!!!” Surprised that wasn’t mentioned by Alex in the video, and even more surprised he wasn’t using a recoil pad.

      • I find the recoil on the M95 carbines to be interesting. I didn’t find it much more noteworthy than the recoil on my M38 until I’d fired about 25 rounds from it, and then it really started to grate. Not the case with my M38, which I can (and have) shoot all day.

  • JS

    I can’t click on Patrick’s run (nothing happens on iphone), wish u would put link in description.

  • Spencerhut

    I have and regularly shoot an M.95 with original Nazi eagle stamped ammo in original Nazi stamped clips. I get a dud here and they but >95% work just fine. I got over a thousand rounds of this stuff and have a blast shooting it. The gun does kick a bit, but it is so fun to shoot.
    We use the M.95 with soft points as our dangerous critter gun.

    • Spencerhut

      The gun and some spent cases. The cases come out all blown up more often than not.

      • …That is probably not good…

        • Spencerhut

          Bah . . . can’t even tell the cases blow until you pick the brass up. I have switched to shooting mostly the Hornady and PPU stuff the last few years. But back in the day the old Nazi stuff was all a guy could find. .

      • Iksnilol

        If the cases rupture I wouldn’t recommend shooting it.

      • The_Champ

        I have some old surplus Bulgarian ammo for mine but the rounds tend to stick in the chamber, so I stopped firing it and use Prvi new production only. No sense potentially ruining a nice gun, or my face.

  • LAMan

    Enjoyed the video & discussion!! I owned a M-95 Stützen in the original 8x50R back in college, when it was cheap at the gun show ($50?) but ammo was unobtainable, pre-Internet and non-existent budget 🙂 But I, too, was a History major (+German) and it was too interesting to pass up! After lugging it in my Army household baggage for 10 years a bit later, it got swapped off for something shootable.

    But here’s my actual point: the infamous nasty kick of the 1930’s 8x56R M-95 conversions doubtless contributes to the difficulties of handling this old weapon system, which was designed for the much milder 8x50R. Maybe someday Santa will provide you an unaltered 8×50 and ammo for it–admittedly TOUGH to find–and you could do another “run and gun” with it. Of course it’s mostly of antiquarian interest, since most surviving examples are rechambered and 8×50 ammo is so scarce.

    Too bad the 1930’s conversions went with such short barrels and the powerful, heavy-bullet 8x56R. The result was handy to carry, hard to shoot. If they HAD to get full-power equivalency to the 8mm Mauser, they could have cut the rifles to a 24″ barrel. Of course, the popular and numerous Stützens already had the shorter barrel….so, how about just changing the 8x50R bullet to a 160-ish bullet at 2400 from a 24″ rifle barrel, perhaps 2150 from the shorter Stützen tube? Idle speculation & counterfactual history, of course.

    Thanks again for a great video!!!