We all have them. It may have been a gun that our dads’ had and let us shoot when we were younger that somehow got lost over the years. Or, it might have been a rifle in a cartridge that we read about in an old gun magazine that the grizzled gun writer told us was the be-all and end-all of rifle cartridges. Then again, it could be the one model of an old military rifle that completes our collection.
Two rifles that come to mind for me as grail guns would be a bolt action chambered in .257 Roberts (Ackley Improved versions would be OK, too) and the M94 which was the first Swedish Mauser. I remember writing Jim Carmichel of Outdoor Life asking about the .257 Roberts and he was nice enough to send a short letter back. I wish I knew what became of that letter. As to the M94, I have the M96, the M38 (my first C&R), and even the AG-42 Ljungman in my collection of Swedish rifles but no M94.
Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons just released an excellent video on the M94 and the later M94-14. He goes over their history and then points out the difference between the two.
Ian goes on to provide this thumbnail about the Swedish M94:
When Sweden decided to replace its Remington Rolling Block rifles with a more modern repeating rifle design, they tested models from Mauser, Mannlicher, Lee, and Krag. The Mauser 1893 was chosen as the winner of the competition, with a few modifications (most notably a change to allow the safety to be engaged whether the striker was cocked or not). A carbine was adopted first – the infantry rifle would follow a few years later. An initial batch of m/1894 carbines was purchased from Mauser Oberndorf, to start the military transition while the Carl Gustav factory tooled up to begin licensed production.
The original m/94 Swedish carbines used a heavy nosecap to protect the front sight, but did not have a fitting for a bayonet. This was changed in 1914, with new production guns being fitted with a Lee-Enfield style bayonet lug below the muzzle (and many existing carbines were updated to this new configuration) and designated the model m/94-14. Production continued sporadically until 1932, with most of the guns being made in the first decade of the 20th century and during World War One.
Interestingly, Sweden did not adopt a spitzer version of the 6.5x55mm cartridge until 1941 – much later than most other nations. When this was done, the sights on the existing carbines were not modified. Instead, a range conversion table was affixed to the right side of the stock, indicating proper sight settings and holdovers for using the new ammunition.