Austro-Hungarian Früwirth Model 1872 Carbines

Gendarmerie Repetier Gewehr System Früwirth M1872 - Variant 1 - Short Action.

Made by Osterreichische Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft, Steyr, 1870-74?
Quantity: 12000? both variants combined (per several books)
Quantity of this variant: 4000 (based on my serial number research
Short Action - Caliber: 11.15x36mm rimmed
Tube magazine under barrel, 8 rounds
Turning-bolt action, locked by the bolt-handle rib abutting the receiver ahead of the bridge
1038mm [40.9"] overall, 3.69kg [8.1 lbs]
570mm [22.4"] barrel, 6-groove rifling, RH, concentric
Muzzle velocity 298 m/sec with M1867 Carbine round

Ramp-and-leaf sight graduated to 600 schritt

This early bolt-action repeating mechanism originally from 1869 is credited to a Viennese gunsmith, Ferdinand Früwirth. The basic Werndl-Holub drum breech was soon seen as cumbersome and incapable of transformation into a magazine-loader. Though experiments with quickloaders were undertaken throughout the 1870s, none was deemed acceptable; nor did the younger Krnka's experiments with 'Schnell-lader' rifles in the early 1870's provide lasting results. Shortly after the first Werndls had been introduced, the Früwirth rifle appeared with a tubular magazine beneath the barrel. Apparently it was based on the then-new Swiss Vetterli M1869 rifle, the Fruwirth carbine had sufficient merit to be issued to Gendarmerie units.

On May 23, 1872 the Früwirth was officially adopted for the Cisleithanischen Gendarmerie. The bolt-handle rib sufficed as a lock; no ejector was fitted; and the cocking piece had a prominent spur. The straight-wrist stock had a trigger-guard with a spurred rearward extension, similar to that of the Werndl carbine. There was a small nose cap, a swivel on the under-edge of the butt, and a sling loop anchored laterally through the fore-end.

In 1873 the army briefly considered the gun as an Extra-Corps-Gewehr, but it proved to be too fragile.

In 1874 issue of the Früwirth was extended to the Tiroler Landesschtitzen.

Gendarmerie Repetier Gewehr System Früwirth M1872 - Variant 2 - Long Action

Made by Osterreichische Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft, Steyr, 1874-75?
Quantity: 12000? both variants combined (per several books)
Quantity of this variant: 1000 (based on my serial number research
Long Action - Caliber: 11.15x42mm rimmed
A few were made, apparently an attempt to improve the carbine
Action was lengthened by 6mm for the longer cartridge
Tube magazine under barrel, 7 rounds
Top of receiver is marked OEWG for Steyr, replacing the Fruwirth legend
OEWG marked Fruwirths lack the serial numbers
Bolt handle is approx. 16mm shorter on the Long Action Fruwirths.

This model appears to be a transitional design between the Short Action Fruwirth M1872 and the Kropatschek M1881

Manufacturing / Serial data:

Based on my serial number research I am questioning the 12000 manufacturing number claimed by books and collectors and they never mention the OEWG made variant desribed below.
13 serials were reported in the 1xx - 3660 serial range, all Fruwirth made. 3 were reported as unserialized OEWG made.
These are to few numbers for reliable statistics, but the best estimate based on currently available numbers:
5000 made total, 4000 (80%) by Fruwirth and 1000 (20%) by OEWG.
Please report your Fruwirth serials to update this info.

Photos courtesy of John Wall, Stan Zielinski and Peter Wildschut.