Don't confuse this little shootin' iron with the Italian rifle that made Lee Harvey
Oswald infamous - the Mannlicher-Carcano Model 1891/38, chambered in 6.52x52mm. And
don't confuse the 1903 MS with its older Austrian-Hungarian cousin, the much-
distributed Steyr-Mannlicher M1895 straight-pull bolt action chambered in 8x56mmR.
Oswald's murder weapon was chambered for the 6.52x52mm.
And the Steyr-Mannlicher M1895 features an en-bloc clip feed.
No, the 1903 Mannlicher Schonauer is chambered for the 6.5x54mm MS.
6.5x54mm ammunition has a rounded head, not a spitzer configuration. And despite
this feature, the 1903s round was accurate with a muzzle velocity of about 2,200
feet per second. Fired through the 1903, it produced minimal recoil. The 1903 MS
proved to be an accurate shooting system with a high rate of fire, thanks to its rotary magazine.
The 1903's five-round magazine is fed by a stripper system.
The 1903 MS was sold to a single military customer, the Greek Army, by
Osterreichische Waffenfabrikgesellschaft (the Austrian Arms-Manufacturing Company).
It has doubled in years past up to the present as a big-game sporting rifle, indeed,
its reputation has been made famous by big-game African hunters such as author Ernest
Hemingway. But its commercial viability fell short of expectations.
Produced in Austria-Hungary at the outset of the 20th century, this turn bolt, rotating
action rifle harkens back to the Mauser design rather than the straight-pull bolt mechanism
typical of some Mannlichers. The 1903 MS action was designed by Austria's Ferdinand
Mannlicher with Otto Schonauer contributing its rotary magazine. About a third of a
million 1903s were built at the company that bears the name Steyr Mannlicher.
The 1903 MS military service rifle saw service from 1903 to 1941. It weighs nearly 8 1/2
pounds and measures 48 1/4 inches overall with a barrel length slightly more than 28 1/2 inches.
What sets this weapon apart from others of its day is its rotating or revolving spool
magazine. The 1903 Mannlicher-Schonauer in 6.5x54mmMS was a formidable military weapon
that can accommodate more powerful cartridges like .30-06.
Today's civilian rifle is chambered in many calibers, but not the 6.5x54mmMS.