The 9.5x57mm Mannlicher-Schönauer (MS) cartridge was adopted for the M-1910 MS rifle and carbine in 1910. (Note: The word Schoenauer is often spelled Schönauer with an “umlaut” over the “o”). The 9.5x57mm MS is also known as the 9.5x56mm MS, the 9.5x56.7mm MS, and the .375 Rimless Nitro Express (RNE) x 2-1/4 (primarily in England). The cartridge may have been created by Westley-Richards and Eley in 1908 (rather than the MS factory), but no production rifles in this caliber have been found prior to the M-1910. The 9.5x57mm MS is the last proprietary cartridge by the MS group and one of their largest and most powerful.
Factory loads were manufactured with a 270 grain round-nose bullet at from 2,150 fps (from the carbine) to 2,250fps (from the rifle). Since this is normally shot through a 6-1/2 pound rifle, the recoil is quite vigorous. The recoil energy of 30 ft·lbf from this combination is about 50% more than an average American 30-06 rifle, but light by the standards of other African game cartridges such as the .375 H&H Magnum.
According to Cartridges of the World, the round was introduced with a soft point bullet possibly suitable for European game, but which did not perform well on dangerous game. Later loads included more suitable solid jacketed bullets. Hollow points were also manufactured.
Cartridge cases are available from specialist dealers in obsolete cartridges. However, cases are easily reformed from .30-06 or 7.92x57mm Mauser family designs. When handloading the cartridge for the original rifle, it is important to use a bullet that is very close to the original weight and shape to ensure reliable feeding. It is not recommended to push handloads for higher velocity.
The cartridge and carbine were primarily made for serious hunting in Africa or India. They were made to be carried over long distances in a hot climate and shot only rarely (the classic "safari"). But when shot, it was usually done quickly, at close range, and at an animal that can maim or kill the shooter. Although the 9.5x57mm MS was considered light for four of the “big five” in Africa (elephant, hippo, cape buffalo, and rhino), it could handle any thin-skinned game including the dangerous ones. It was considered by some African guide-hunters to be an ideal lion gun and cartridge combination in the years just prior to WWI.
Part of the reason the combination was highly regarded was the handling characteristics of the carbine it was chambered in. The carbine was light, well balanced, and had front and rear sights that were ideal for “snap” shooting. The front sight was a “German silver” bead that was visible in almost any light and the 2-position, folding rear sight was a wide spaced “V” (which made it easy to align the sights quickly). There were numerous alternate sights available from the factory and the aftermarket. The power of the cartridge (for stopping dangerous game quickly) was also praised.
Introduced in the 1910 model rifle, the cartridge was quickly overshadowed and eventually replaced by the .375 H&H Magnum when it became available in two years later (in 1912).
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