German M1892 Mauser chambered for 8x58R (Army Museum, Stockholm)
They also understood that a soldier in battle must … work! Otherwise, he will simply go crazy with the horror that is happening around him. The easiest way is to give him the opportunity to shoot. Not too often - it is very expensive for the country, but not one cartridge at a time. It's too slow. Five rounds per magazine charge was enough.
Nevertheless, for some reason, some countries developed a real "cult of accuracy" in their weapons. These are, first of all, Switzerland (which we have already talked about on VO) and Sweden (about whose rifles we also talked about, but now much more information will be given!), Which tried to give almost every soldier of their army a sniper rifle. And if for rifles of other countries at the beginning of the twentieth century, the optimal distance of an accurate shot was a distance of 100 yards, then for rifles of these two countries - 300 yards! Even the USA, Germany and Great Britain, which have produced extremely accurate rifles (especially in their sniper variations), did not achieve such results for rifles issued for ordinary infantrymen.
Swedish Mauser M1896, produced by Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori. Caliber 6.5x55 mm. (Army Museum, Stockholm)
So what made Sweden and Switzerland come to this? Perhaps this was due to their culture. In general, the topic of the relationship between culture and war is very interesting within the framework of the cultural tradition and it will be necessary to deal with it. In the meantime, the answer to this question may lie in the great emphasis on mechanical precision and metalworking for which they were famous? But it could well be a matter of choosing tactical priorities as well. These peoples had small armies that faced potential invaders who had a huge supply of manpower, and hence "cannon fodder." They were at a disadvantage, but it was beneficial for them to “play defense” in difficult terrain. The troops of these countries will not be able to surpass their opponents in the jungle. But they will outnumber him in snowy fields or high mountains.
Imagine yourself as a Swiss soldier facing a German occupier. You are in a hidden position on a snowy slope and your enemy is crossing the valley. If you don't have artillery, would it be nice if you had a rifle that allows you to hit him as far away as possible? And isn't it a wonderful idea that every person in your country, even the smallest unmobilized reservist, would have such a rifle at hand? And, most likely, the military specialists of these countries just decided that their armies need just such well-aimed and long-range rifles.
Carbine m / 1894/96 for the Swedish engineering corps. Caliber 6.5x55 mm (Army Museum, Stockholm)
This was true for mountainous and neutral Switzerland, but it was also accepted in northern, mountainous and neutral Sweden. It is not without reason that for today's collectors, Swedish rifles are real treasures … beautiful, accurate and very accurate. And these are all Mauser, although this does not mean that the Swedes did not test rifles and other systems. Experienced! But the Mauser was considered the best rifle among all of them tested. The Swedish Mauser is very similar to the Spanish Mauser from 1893, except for some minor details and … an amazing level of accuracy!
Initially, Mauser rifles were purchased from Oberndorf, but the Swedes insisted that excellent Swedish steel be used in their production. Later, the production of rifles was deployed at two Swedish enterprises: Karl Gustaf and Husqvarna. By this time, the Remington rifles with the Swedish infantry's crane bolt had already been converted to small caliber cartridges (8x58R), but the cavalry carbines still used the old 12, 17x42R ammunition. So it was decided that the cavalry would receive the first new Mausers, and the infantry would wait a bit!
Clip with cartridges for "Swedish Mauser", release 1976
This is how the famous "Swedish Mauser" was born - a family of rifles based on an improved version of the early Mauser model of 1893, but using a 6.5 × 55 mm cartridge and the inclusion of a number of unique elements at the request of Sweden. These are the m / 4 carbine (model 1894), the long m / 96 rifle (model 1896), the m / 38 short rifle (model 1938) and the m / 41 sniper rifle (model 1941). In 1898, their production began at the Carl Gustav's arms factory in Eskilstuna.
Rifle bolt "Karl Gustav"
All Swedish Mausers were designed for the 6, 5 × 55 mm cartridge, and all provided a pressure of 455 MPa (65, 992 psi) (55,000 CUP). The sight was also calibrated chambered for 6, 5 × 55 mm and was designed for firing from 300 to 2000 m with a step of 100 m. Swedish Mauser were manufactured by Waffenfabrik Mauser AG in Oberndorf in Germany, where already at the end of 1896 12000 rifles were produced. In Sweden, rifle production began in 1898 at the Carl Gustav and Huskvarne factory at Vapenfabriks Aktiebolag. Until 1918, 113,000 carbines were produced at the Karl Gustov plant, which had a characteristic tide in the lower part of the box at the muzzle for attaching a bayonet. All Swedish Mauser made in Germany or Sweden were manufactured using high quality tool steel alloyed with nickel, copper and vanadium, with high strength and corrosion resistance.
Carbine m / 1894 with bayonet lug. (Army Museum, Stockholm)
In total, the following types of Mauser rifles were produced in Sweden:
1.m / 1892 Rifle and carbine
2.m / 1894 Carabiner
3.m / 1894/14 Carbine
4. m / 1896 "Long rifle"
5. m / 1938 "Short Shooting"
6.m / 1941 and m / 1941B "Sniper rifle"
Note that the sample of the M1892 rifle presented to the Swedes and the carbine based on it was a motley mixture of elements of German (M1890), Turkish and Argentine (M1891) Mauser rifles.
Short bayonet for m / 94 carbine. ((Army Museum, Stockholm)
In 1914, the carbines were modernized on the model of the British rifle No.1 Mk3 "Lee-Enfield" and received a mount suitable for two bayonets at once. The most common was the long bayonet m / 1914. The second minor bayonet was an even longer bayonet and was intended for the Navy (m / 1915). Modification m / 1894-67 was a carbine of 1894, adapted for a bayonet-saber m / 1867 "Yatagan".
A device screwed onto the barrel of "Swedish Mauser" for firing blank cartridges.
The Skolskjutningskarbin (literally "school carbine") was also known for military training in Swedish civilian schools. This model differs from the standard m / 1894 carbine, firstly, in its markings, and secondly, in the straight bolt handle and in the absence of a bayonet attachment.
The production of rifles at the factories of Karl Gustov continued until 1925, but approximately 18,000 m / 96 were manufactured at the factory in Haskvarna during the Second World War for military training of citizens. Mauser produced 40,000 m / 96 "long rifles" between 1899 and 1900 and delivered them to Sweden, Carl Gustav 475,000 m / 96 between 1896 and 1932 and Husqvarna 20,000 m / 96 between 1942 and 1944. A total of 535,000 "long rifles" m / 96 were produced. The 6.5 mm Gevär m / 38 short rifle of 6.5 mm caliber was adopted in 1938 based on the experience of the First World War, which showed that in the new conditions it was preferable to have a shortened rifle.
Rifle Gevär m / 38. Shortened rifle m / 96 (modification 1938-1940). (Army Museum, Stockholm)
The original m / 38 rifles (Type I) were derived from the m / 96 rifles by cutting their barrels to 139 mm. Most of the specially made m / 38 rifles (type II) had a bent down handle and were finished in 1944. The weapons factory in Husqvarna produced 88,150 new "short rifles" m / 38 between 1942 and 1944. A total of 143,230 copies were produced. The m / 41 and m / 41B sniper rifles are m / 96 rifles equipped with a telescopic sight supplied from Germany. When, due to the deterioration of the military situation, Germany stopped selling them to Sweden, the Swedes set up production of their own scopes and converted 5,300 specially selected rifles in 1941-1943 into sniper rifles.
Sniper rifle Gevär m / 41. Caliber 6, 5x55mm. (Army Museum, Stockholm)
In 1939, an unknown but apparently quite large number of m / 96 rifles were transferred to the Finnish army, which were used during the "Winter War" against the Soviet Union and, most likely, also during the 1941-1944 war. In fact, Swedish rifles have been withdrawn from service since the 1950s, although sniper rifle variants continued to serve until the early 1980s. Nevertheless, some units of the logistic services were equipped with m / 96 even as early as 1983. The last unit to use the m / 41B sniper rifles was the Royal Guard.
Interestingly, for their "medium" and "heavy" machine guns, the Swedes have developed a special cartridge measuring 8 × 63 mm m / 32. It was used from 1932 until the completion of the transition to 7.62 × 51 mm NATO caliber in 1975.
Cartridge 8 × 63 mm.
The fact is that the 6, 5 × 55 mm m / 94 cartridge was not considered effective enough for firing at aircraft and armored vehicles, and the army needed something more powerful, but not too heavy. Bofors offered the m / 32 cartridge the same length as the.30-06 cartridge, which allowed it to fit into a standard Browning machine gun receiver, but with a larger sleeve than the standard 6.5 × 55 mm. The bullet weighed 14.2 g, had a large muzzle energy and had an effective range of about 3600 m (3937 m), at which the impact energy was 196 J. The maximum range was 5500 m (6.015 m). The cartridge was loaded with armor-piercing bullets, which had quite decent characteristics of action on armor.
Experimental rifle m / 40 with a muzzle brake chambered for 8 × 63 mm. (Army Museum, Stockholm)