M.1888 Austrian Mannlicher, mounting its original black powder sights, but updated with sideplates for smokeless cartridges use
Photos of another M1889-90 Mannlicher
GENERALLY: A direct and immediate decendent of the M1886 Austrian Mannlicher, this rifle too was a straight-pull, bolt action, box magazine repeater on the von Mannlicher design. As early as the beginning of production of the M1886 the need and desirability for a small bore rifle was evident. This rifle is virtually identical to it's predessor but for chambering a newly designed 8mm cartridge, loaded originally with black powder and denominated 8x50R, but shortly thereafter converted to semi-smokeless as soon as such reliable propellant became available as the 8x52R Austrian Mannlicher cartridge. The "converted" rifles were denominated M.88-90. Later, when smokeless powder became available, the cartridge was returned to an 8x50R configuration in rifles designated M.90. The sights of existing black-powder 8mm Mannlicher rifles were converted to accomodate smokeless ammunition by the cute but functional arrangement of screw mounting re-graduated sideplates onto the outsides of the existing rear sight walls. M1888 rifles built from and after 1890 had new sights and were denominated M.90 or are sometimes referred to as M1888-90. It appears that a sizeable number of M1886 11mm rifles were converted to 8mm by rebarreling and re-sighting. These were denominated M.86-90, although I don't know how to differentiate the conversions from original M1888 rifles.
DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS: The M1888 chambers the 8mm Mannlicher cartridge (either the 8x50R OR the 8x52R - see letter below). Nearly identical with the M1886 Mannlicher, its parent rifle, the M1888's box magazine is noticably thinner and shallower than the 11mm rifle's and the barrel is slightly shorter. Otherwise the two rifles are nearly identical.
I received this excellent letter:
Subj: info on Austrian Mannlicher cartridges
Hope this is of some help.
* - Mötz, Josef. OSTERREICHISCHE MILITARPATRONEN,
Volume 1. Vienna: Verlagsbuchhandlung Stöhr, 1996.
Can you spot the differences between the 8mm M1888/90 (top)