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Like most of the 6.5mm’s from Europe, the 6.5x54 Mannlicher was developed during the late 1880’s as a military cartridge, although it very quickly gained popularity as a sporting cartridge. The 6.5x54 Mannlicher is essentially a rimless version of the 6.5x53.5R Dutch and Romanian Mannlicher and at least 2 headstamp variations below were made from 6.5x53.5R cases with the rim turned down. The 1903 Mannlicher-Schönauer rifles and carbines were the last designs by Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher before his death in 1904. Mannlicher-Schönauer rifles and carbines were exclusively manufactured at Oesterreich Waffenfabrik Gesellschaft Steyr in Steyr, Austria and have been described by many as one of the world’s finest rifles.

Greek M1903 Mannlicher Schonauer


The 6,5 MS cartridges marked "FN 50" were made on order of the Royal Hellenic Army during the reconstruction phase of Greece's political and military structures after the ruinous Civil War (1944-48) between The Communist Partisan Groups and the Royal Hellenic Army and Monarchist Partisan Groups. The Greek Communist Party had hoped Stalin's Red Army would assist them in taking over Greece; but the Yalta accords between Britain, USA and the USSR, placed Greece squarely in the "British Zone of Influence", so Stalin "stood Pat" and allowed the Greek communists to be defeated. By the 1950s, Greece had received thousands of British Rifles, MGs etc. and millions of rounds of WW2 .303 ammo; the PCH factory at Piraeus was in a sorry state after the depredations of both the Germans and the Civil war, so ammunition for the older MS rifles was needed to be "bought in" to cover the changeover to .303 and Later, .30 cal US. (from IAA Forum)

The first specimen was made from the 6.5x53.5R Mannlicher

The 6.5 MS with ‘R’ headstamp was produced by CIL for T. Eaton & Co. of Toronto, Canada during the late 1920's-1930 period when Dominion had become CIL. At least three lots of 6.5 MS were produced as indicated by the existence of "R  6.5 M-M", "C  6.5 M-M" and just plain "6.5 M-M" hs. The R and C on the headstamp represent date codes as follows:
R = 20 May 1929
C = 11 July 1930


This specimen was made from a 6.5x53.5R Mannlicher case.