Ian talks about the Steyr M95 in this episode of Forgotten Weapons. The Steyr M95 rifle is a straight-pull carbine that has been converted into a semiautomatic by adding a gas piston under the barrel connected to the bolt carrier. It also has an extension to the stock and receiver for the bolt to travel in. In theory, this sort of conversion would be really simple on a straight-pull rifle. It would be much more difficult on a turnbolt rifle where you have to add some sort of canning mechanism to lever the bolt up and then push it down.
The pistol grip was added so that the trigger group could remain unchanged despite the longer receiver and so that the receiver would be long enough to hold the entire bolt. Unfortunately, the recoil spring and action is really stiff and sticky, but you can pretty clearly see how it works when Ian gives the audience a closer look at the changes made to the rifle.
Originally, the rifle was chambered for the round-nosed 8×50mmR cartridge, but was modified to accept the more powerful spitzer 8×56mmR cartridge in the 1930s. However, it still feeds from the same 5-round Mannlicher clips as the standard M95.
Aside from rechambering, other changes included the conversion of ladder sights from the older pace unit to meters as well as the addition of a brass front sight protector. Many long rifles were cut down to Stutzen length and/or sent to Bulgaria during the late 1930s where front sight protectors were removed.
The Steyr M95 in Ian’s hands is in the collection of the Beretta factory museum in Gardone val Trompia, but there is no information on whether they did the conversion themselves or acquired it elsewhere. It appears to be a quite simple conversion, just the project for the hobbyist gunsmith with a cheap extra M95 carbine and lots of spare time.