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8 X 56R KROPATSCHEK

During October 1885 when Portugal ordered the Guedes Rifle from Steyr in Austria, the order also included 9,000 Kropatschek rifles, which would have indicated that they already saw the error of their ways by trying to introduce a single-shot rifle when the rest of the world was already equipping their armed forces with modern day designed bolt action rifles. The Kropatschek rifle was designed by Alfred Ritter von Kropatschek (January 30, 1838 – May 2, 1911). He was a general in the Austrian Army and arms designer responsible for rifles and revolvers and closely involved with Steyr who at that time was busy experimenting with designs for an 8mm cartridge based on the French 11mm Gras round. The Henry-Winchester system of carrying cartridges in a tube below the barrel where they compressed a spring which thrust them successively back into a carrier for individual loading in the chamber was a very successful design and was adopted by most of the important military nations in Europe. In the winter of 1880, Mauser applied this cartridge carrying principle to his original M71 Single Shot Rifle, a very important development as it permitted the use of standardized machinery and enabled the conversion of the single shot design to repeating-rifle design at a minimum cost. The Kropatschek design was an improvement on the Henry-Winchester design, specifically the design of the cartridge lifter from the tubular magazine and by all intents and purposes a superior design improvement on the M71/84 Mauser. Kropatschek’s main competitor was Mannlicher – the tubular magazine design versus the box magazine. This was also the one of the main drawbacks of the tubular magazine design. With the Carbine and Cavalry rifles the number of cartridges that could be loaded in the magazine became less, whereas the box magazine did not suffer from such drawbacks. The adoption of stripper clips significantly speeded up the loading process when soldiers were faced with prolonged gun battles.

The first 8mm cartridges designed were black powder loadings and still had the original 60mm case length, but with the advent of smokeless powders, the case length was reduced to 56mm while still retaining the original OAL of the original Kropatschek/Guedes round.

                              

                              

                              

  

   From RSA CCA 216, this round came from the cleaning of the Mozambican arsenals during the early/mid 1990's. It was reloaded with a shotgun primer

   Dummy load with brass bullet

   Turned brass case by SPANZ (South Pacific Ammunition Company New Zealand)