GUNS Magazine May 2013 Digital Edition - Page 36

A) Taken in the early days of WWI, a member of the Serbian 3rd Ban Reserves holding a Model 1878-80 Mauser with M1880 bayonet fixed, peers over a rise in anticipation of an exchange of fire with the AustroHungarian invaders. In peace time the 3rd Ban Reserves were composed of men between 38 and 45 years of age who upon mobilization were expected to serve only within the boundaries of Serbia, however as the war dragged on, every man and boy regardless of age who could fire a rifle joined the defense of the homeland. While members of the 3rd Ban were issued black-powder single-shot M1878-80 Mausers or Russian M1870 Berdan II’s, no uniforms were provided. B) A Bulgarian Infantry unit poses with a mixture of weapons, dating this photo towards the end of the Balkan Wars circa 1912-13. The soldier on the extreme right in the front rank is armed with a captured Serbian M1880/07 , one of the M1878/80 Mausers converted to 7x57mm. C) Taken during the SerbBulgarian War of 1885 a squad of Serbian Infantry wearing a mixture of M1880 tunics and greatcoats, pose with their Mauser-Milovanovich Model 1878/80 Infantry rifles. The typical Serbian Sajkca field cap is worn by the rank and file while the two junior officers present wear kepis. Portions of several M1880 bayonets are visible, worn by the soldiers in the photo in the middle and front row. I John Sheehan ’ve been a collector almost all of my life. While I have dabbled in a number of different historical periods, my true passion in the field of collecting started on my 8th birthday. My Grandmother accompanied me to the local “Army-Navy” store were I selected a WWI M1917 Brodies helmet. Ten years later, I had the nucleus of a basic WWI US Infantryman’s uniform and equipment. Since then I’ve never looked back. Fifty years and 30 mannequin displays later, I have my own museum. Acquiring any Model 78/80, regardless of condition, would be worth crowing about, but in this particular case the example in question is in near mint condition, has never been fired and after 129 years, still retains the original matching bayonet serialized to the rifle. In 50 years of collecting, I’ve come across some amazingly rare items, however nothing has ever quite matched my One of 110,000. This beautiful rifle put a serious dent in my bank account at the time. Fifteen years later it would be hard to put a price tag on it. The rifle in question is the ultra-rare Serbian Model 1878/80 Mauser-Milovanovich Infantry Rifle. Finding any of the original Serbian Mausers in their original 7x57mm chambering and configuration is difficult enough, locating any of the early Serbian issue black-powder cartridge weapons ranks right up there with the Holy Grail in Mauser collecting. 36 their own weapons systems and as such, had to purchase from local or foreign sources. A Commission was formed for the purpose of establishing the criteria for firearms for field trials, prior to acceptance by the Serbian Army. A total of 40 different designs were submitted for testing. Eventually, the field was narrowed and when the dust settled, the rifle adopted was a design submitted by Mauser based on an upgraded version of the German Model 1871 Infantry Rifle. The head of the Serbian Commission, Major Kosta Milovanovich, was heavily involved in the development of the various improvements featured in the final design, particularly the adoption of the cartridge. He believed the ballistics of the German 11x60mmR could be improved upon and the Major was instrumental in the decision to chamber the new rifle for the 10.15x63mmR cartridge originally chambered in the Norwegian Jarmann. To maximize the efficiency of the cartridge design, the rifle barrels were cut with the newly developed “wedge” Mauser-Milovanovich infantry rifle Following the Russo-Turkish War, Serbia became an independent Principality. The modernization of the Serbian Army was of paramount importance if Serbia were to maintain their newly won freedom. A poor country, Serbia couldn’t afford to develop W W W . G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • M AY 2 0 1 3

Page 35 ... Page 37