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1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

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SWIHARTMARK
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1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#1 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:36 pm

Anybody got one of these Steyr made Kropatschek tube magazine wonders supplied to the Portuguese?

I managed to make twenty 8mm by 60R cases made from .348 Winchester and loaded them up with black powder. The cases needed their rims machined and I copied the taper from a pack of blanks from the real early 1900's. Also, I had to take off around .010" from the base of the case to get it to chamber. Not exactly a cake walk anneal job followed by a full length resize and a little trimming on the neck to spec. I used a .329 Lee Precision mould for my bullets and lubed them up old style with a 50/50 mix of Crisco and beeswax.

My only expectations were that my rounds would go bang and my tube magazine would function. I didn't have a huge piece of poster board to dial in the rifle, so I used a notebook sized target I might have hit a few times nonetheless. I got spectacular results though. All my rounds went off without a hitch and the tube magazine worked...kind of. There were no mechanical errors in the lifter or tube magazine, but it had a tendency to fling a round out of the chamber when the lifter went up. I can only imagine that was real fun in a combat situation. What the magazine did do was priceless. After a few magazine fed rounds my smoke cloud became noticeable and my range neighbors commented they never experienced such a thing, which wasn't bad they said. I could only imagine what a firing line of these beast would have produced, more like a rolling fog and not a mere cloud.

If any of you out there have one of these "cleverly" designed rifles, let me and us know. When I took the bolt out for cleaning, the bolt head fell off in the lifter, not exactly a Mauser design there. After 20 minutes I managed to put it back on the bolt and into the rifle. You really got to be smarter than the Kropatschek to fire it I've found out. Hopefully I'll make some more brass, but .348 Winchester isn't cheap these days. It was fun to shoot and I've been told it is a very accurate gun. All good things take time to find out though.

Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#2 Post by vandle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:43 am

They are interesting rifles, mine came with a broken lifter spring aaahhhh.

Still looking for one if anyone has a spare.
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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#3 Post by indy1919a4 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:07 am

Went looking for your part, and came across this blank ammunition.. I wonder if that may be a cheap way for you reloaders to get some brass... I am sure it is Berdan primed, but there are ways to reload.

https://www.libertytreecollectors.com/p ... category=0

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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#4 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:59 am

The blank ammo was great for having something to set up with when converting .348 brass.

Ummh, now I got to take the receiver apart and look at the spring......this should be fun.

Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#5 Post by vandle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:17 am

Kropatschek.jpg
Refer to drawing
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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#6 Post by indy1919a4 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:33 am

vandle wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:17 am
Kropatschek.jpg

Refer to drawing
Gee vandle.. After looking at that diagram, I started looking like your avatar..

couple of OK Utubes that may help

Dissassemble 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17uXYLbMa5Q
Dissassemble 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdLC7fuEddo

Nice little how it works
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMU8cdVXTiU

Are these the parts your looking for???

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Floor-Plate-As ... Sw-kNcnoMI

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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#7 Post by vandle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:54 pm

Sure am.
I better get it
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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#8 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:42 pm

Okay Vandle, I might be able to recommend a fix for you. I thought it might be a coil spring, but it is a leaf spring. Those can be made from steel banding material to keep heavy packages together, like on a pallet. You can bend it by hand and likely grind it to whatever size you need by hand on a simple bench grinder. I'm thinking that might work. The steel banding material is heat treated and has a memory so it wants to keep its bent shape. I use that stuff to keep my parallels holding my work pieces in my vice firmly against the vice jaws. I noticed that my lifter wasn't exactly the strongest thing in the world, so I have a hunch it might work since minimal force should get her to function. Get something wider than what you need and longer, bend it and then grind to the size you need. From the view of the magazine you supplied, I think that is what the people at Steyr used.

The firing pin spring on my 71/84 Mauser literally disintegrated when I took the bolt apart. I had to replace it with two springs made commercially from an industrial catalog. I measured the hole it had to fit in and then the pin it had to fit over and researched for a spring to do the job. None were the right length, but two shorter ones did the job.

I could be very wrong on this, but I think it is worth a shot at this point. I'm still having nightmares taking my Kropatschek apart. I even had to make the tool to get the magazine tube out from the YouTube video on how to take apart a Kropatschek (some threaded rod, some 3/8ths rubber washers, some steel washers and some screws and you are in business). The hand guard was on top of the rifle band, what a design?! I hear I got the tropical version, so that might make sense. I can only imagine what evil awaits me if I go deeper.

I do have experience trying to fix the lifter on a 71/84 Mauser without success. I think she was too far gone to begin with. I do single shoot it and I'm fairly happy with that. The shell pusher, spring, and connection to the magazine were damaged or gone. The tube was also somewhat bent. I cut bait on that one so to say. I did refinish the metal and the wood. I really don't want to revisit that project now either.....

Ah, but aren't old antique guns rewarding?

Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#9 Post by les1234 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:34 pm

I had my Kropatchek (also with a broken lifter spring) for a couple of years before I ran across one on E-bay, one that I didn't have to buy the whole barrel assembly to get. Cost $50 to get it repeating.

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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#10 Post by nrobertb » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:42 pm

I've had one for a few years but trying to sell it now to whittle down the collection. I've fired it 275 times so far. I too used fire-formed .348 Winchester brass and .329 lead bulllets. I have the C4HD dies. I don't know whether my lifter works or not. as I always single load/

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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#11 Post by vandle » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:27 am

SWIHARTMARK wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:42 pm
Okay Vandle, I might be able to recommend a fix for you. I thought it might be a coil spring, but it is a leaf spring. Those can be made from steel banding material to keep heavy packages together, like on a pallet. You can bend it by hand and likely grind it to whatever size you need by hand on a simple bench grinder. I'm thinking that might work. The steel banding material is heat treated and has a memory so it wants to keep its bent shape. I use that stuff to keep my parallels holding my work pieces in my vice firmly against the vice jaws. I noticed that my lifter wasn't exactly the strongest thing in the world, so I have a hunch it might work since minimal force should get her to function. Get something wider than what you need and longer, bend it and then grind to the size you need. From the view of the magazine you supplied, I think that is what the people at Steyr used.

The firing pin spring on my 71/84 Mauser literally disintegrated when I took the bolt apart. I had to replace it with two springs made commercially from an industrial catalog. I measured the hole it had to fit in and then the pin it had to fit over and researched for a spring to do the job. None were the right length, but two shorter ones did the job.

I could be very wrong on this, but I think it is worth a shot at this point. I'm still having nightmares taking my Kropatschek apart. I even had to make the tool to get the magazine tube out from the YouTube video on how to take apart a Kropatschek (some threaded rod, some 3/8ths rubber washers, some steel washers and some screws and you are in business). The hand guard was on top of the rifle band, what a design?! I hear I got the tropical version, so that might make sense. I can only imagine what evil awaits me if I go deeper.

I do have experience trying to fix the lifter on a 71/84 Mauser without success. I think she was too far gone to begin with. I do single shoot it and I'm fairly happy with that. The shell pusher, spring, and connection to the magazine were damaged or gone. The tube was also somewhat bent. I cut bait on that one so to say. I did refinish the metal and the wood. I really don't want to revisit that project now either.....

Ah, but aren't old antique guns rewarding?

Best Regards,

Mark
Thanks for the suggestion for the spring, that will come in handy.
I used a 577/450 case clamped in the end of the mag tube to help pull it out of the
receiver to stop crushing the end.You will need to take the tube out so the receiver can
come out of the stock without damaging the timber. A little lube at the end of the
tube before tapping it back into the receiver helps with removal next time.
The rest is ok to disassemble and assemble.

Yes they are rewarding, especially hunting down parts to bring them back to life.
Even better is making the ammo that makes them go bang
Life is tough, tougher if your stupid

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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#12 Post by boltactionbill » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:25 pm

It's been many decades since I had my Kropatschek apart but if I remember correctly that follower spring is made of aluminum. Perhaps the very first use of the new at the time material in a firearm. Perhaps also why they are so prone to breakage.

Mine is the rare short rifle. Sized in between the carbine and full size rifle it is sometimes referred to as the artillery rifle. I had read something around 40 years ago that they were issued to NCO's but have no way to prove either. Portugal was still using these ridiculously outdated rifles into WWI.

30 odd years ago I had some Chilean made ammo dated from the 1920's that still functioned for the most part with occasional duds but was very inaccurate. I saved the brass and have been thinking about reloading it. The replacement primers are the greatest challenge to find.

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Re: 1886 Steyr, "The Kropatschek"

#13 Post by indy1919a4 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:53 pm

At the moment in time Portugal purchased their Kropatcheks, that rifle could be argued was the most advance rifle for its time. But the year after Portugal purchased them, Smokeless powder comes to be, and Black power is obsolete. Timing is everything I guess.. He I would love the see a photo of one of the headstamps of that Chilean ammo..

A question do you have any more of that unfired ammo and have you shot it lately??? I just wonder if it still works..???

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