Includes first cartridge firearm produced at the Styer works in Austria
Fairfax, Virginia - When NRA Museums Director Jim Supica trolls the aisle of Tulsa Gun Show for potential finds, odds are he's going to come back with something special. For this week's edition of Curator's Corner, he arrives with a splash of European excellence.
"These are historic guns from a very fascinating period of firearms evolution," Supica said. "In the 1860s, it was all about Colts & Winchesters here in the U.S., but there was a whole development going on in Europe with military rifles in particular.
"At a time when Americans are fielding Trapdoor Single Shot Springfield rifles, the Germans are on to bolt actions and repeaters."
Brought to the cameras by renown collector Thomas Seefeldt, today's offering includes an 1867 and 1895 model rifle.
"First we have a Styer Werndl 1867," Seefeldt began. "It has an unusual rolling block action. A barrel action as they call it. This is the first cartridge firearm produced at the Styer works in Styer, Austria."
Another interesting feature is the 1867's bayonet. Mounted horizontally rather than the traditional vertical mount, the primary reason for such an orientation is a simple one; that's the way past rifles were designed.
Next we have the Steyr 1895 straight bolt.
Think of today's Blaser rifles. Rather than slap the bolt up, pull back to reload, push forward and then slap the bolt down, the straight bolt only requires as pull back and push forward. A much easier motion on the field of battle.
"It uses the standard Styer stripper clip which the M-1 Garand adopted," Seefeldt continued. "This was used by the Austrian-Hungarian military. Others adopted on a smaller scale. And during World War II, these rifles were handed out to the reserve troops or converted to 8mm Mausers."
But if you're looking for the full story on these Steyr beauties, tune in to NRA News on Sportsman Channel tonight around 6:40pm eastern. That's where Supica and Seefeldt will regale you with the details and the closeups of these European classics.
Though none of the 9mm mentioned are there, you can see all the other guns in the NRA National Firearms Museum collection at nramuseum.com