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Model 1889 Schmidt-Rubin

Bolt-Action Service Rifle

Switzerland | 1890

"The Model 1889 Schmidt-Rubin service rifle served Switzerland into the 1950s."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/14/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The M1889 "Schmidt-Rubin" was a bolt-action service rifle designed, developed, and adopted by the nation of Switzerland. Manufactured under the W+F Bern brand label, the design stemmed from work completed by Rudolph Schmidt and Eduard Rubin - the rifle eventually to bear their name - with Schmidt being credited with the rifle proper and Rubin with the magazine. Several related models emerged from the base design to give rise to offshoots like the Model 1889/96 leading to total production exceeding 1,365,000 units.

At the time of its adoption, the Model 1889 became the first "small-bore" magazine rifle to be taken into service by Switzerland and the design served faithfully in its various forms from the period spanning 1889 into 1958.

Internally, the rifle relied on a "straight-pull" bolt-action system managed by the shooter (unlike the "turn-down" bolt handles featured in competing designs from Mauser of Germany and Lee Enfield of Britain. The locking system incorporated lugs at the bolt-body which rotating into "seats" located at the rear of the receiver. Chambering was for 7.5mmx53.5mm rimless cartridges totaling twelve feeding from a detachable box magazine inserted ahead of the action. The feed was set some distance ahead of the trigger loop which gave the rifle a somewhat unique, if identifiable, profile.

Externally, its arrangement was wholly conventional: wood being used throughout the length of the rifle with primary components being metal to support the high pressures of the violent action. The wooden body integrated the grip and shoulder stock as well as the forend which sported a single band. Iron sighting devices were positioned forward and aft for accurized fire at-range while a bayonet could be affixed to the forend at a position just under the muzzle near the stacking hook. Sling loops were set under the shoulder stock and forend for traveling / marching.

Muzzle velocity was rated at 2,000 feet-per-second. Mass of the base rifle design was 9.8lb with an overall length of 51.3 inches and barrel measuring 31 inches long.

After some time in use, the action of the rifle was found to be rather lackluster which led to a reworking of the internal system by Vogelhang & Rebholz and this, in turn, resulted in the "Model 1889/96". The form and overall function of the rifle were largely retained with the action being reinforced and shortened.

In time, other notable models were revealed: the "Cadet Rifle" version appeared in 1898 and, in 1901, the shortened Model 1900 "Kurzgewehr" was taken into service (feeding from a five-round magazine). The "Model 1896/11" were upgraded Model 1889/96 rifles to handle the newly-adopted GP11 cartridge.

1905 saw the "Cavalry Carbine" form introduced feeding from a five-round magazine. 1911 saw a new standard emerge as the "Model 1911" with a six-round detachable box magazine, reinforced action, and more powerful cartridge (Gew11 or GP11) and these were in circulation beginning in 1913 - just before World War 1 (1914-1918) broke out in Europe (Switzerland's neutral stance meant that the Schmidt-Rubin guns were never destined to see frontline service in any wartime capacity).

"K11" marked Model 1911 carbine forms and 1931 added the "K31" carbine to the mix. A dedicated sniper rifle variant was later developed as the "Z fK55".

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
The physical qualities of the Model 1889 Schmidt-Rubin. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
1,302 mm
51.26 in
O/A Length
780 mm
30.71 in
Barrel Length
9.81 lb
4.45 kg
Manually-Actuated Straight-Pull Bolt-Action System.
7.5x53.5mm Swiss
5-, 6-, 12-Round Detachable Box Magazine.
Iron Front and Rear.
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Model 1889 Schmidt-Rubin. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
2,000 ft/sec
610 m/sec
Muzzle Velocity
Notable series variants as part of the Model 1889 Schmidt-Rubin Bolt-Action Service Rifle family line.
M1889 - Base Series Designation; initial model of 1889.
M1889/96 - Model of 1896 reworked with reinforced/shortened action.
M1898 Cadet - Cadet Rifle form of 1898.
M1900 "Kurzgewehr" - Shortened rifle form of 1901; five-round feeding.
Model 1896/11 - upgraded M1889/96 rifles for GP11 cartridge.
M1905 Cavalry - Cavalry Carbine; five-round feeding.
Model 1911 - Model of 1913 with six-round box magazine support; reinforced action; more powerful cartridge support.
K11 - Model 1911 in carbine form.
K31 - Carbine model.
Z fK55 - Dedicated sniper rifle.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Model 1889 Schmidt-Rubin. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): W+F Bern (Schmidt-Rubin) - Switzerland
National flag of Switzerland

[ Switzerland ]
Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Model 1889 Schmidt-Rubin Bolt-Action Service Rifle appears in the following collections:
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