The Mexican Mondragón Rifle was a series of bolt-action and self-loading rifles developed by Mexican officer Manuel Mondragón. They were some of the first self-loading rifles adopted by any military. Mondragón first made some prototype straight-pull bolt-action rifle designs in 1891. Early on, Mondragon experimented with ammunition, chambering his rifles in 6.5x53mm Mondragon and 5.2x68mm Mondragon, the latter being developed with Swiss colonel Edward Rubin. As Mexico had no manufacturers able to produce the rifle up to the necessary standards, production was entrusted to SIG in Switzerland. SIG received two orders for 50 and 200 rifles in 1893 and 1894, chambered in 6.5x48mm and 5.2x68mm Mondragon respectively, and were issued for trials. As these rifles were prototype designs, none received a formal number designation.
Mondragón further improved his design. In 1900, he developed a self-loading rifle. Mondragón further improved his designs. The 1908 design was issued to the 18th Infantry Battalion of the Mexican Army, making it the first self-loading rifle adopted by any military. This design abandons the en-bloc clip used in early Mondragon designs in favor of stripper clips. SIG originally received an order for 4,000 rifles; only 400 were delivered by 1911. The remaining order was canceled due to the high costs of the rifle, the Mexican Revolution, and poor ammo conditions which the rifle couldn't work with.
During WWI, Germany bought the remaining stock of the M1908 produced by SIG but not sent to Mexico. These rifles were tested for infantry use, but were found to be too unreliable in the trench conditions and unsuitable for infantry. As air combat doesn't have such conditions, the Imperial German Flying Corps (Luftstreitkräfte) adopted the rifle in 1915 as the Flieger-Selbstlade-Karabiner Modell 15 (Aviator's Selfloading Carbine, Model 1915), abbreviated "Fl.-S.-K. 15". These rifles were issued with 30-round drum magazines, and modified to be semi-auto only. They would by phased out when aircraft machine guns with synchronization gear were developed and equipped.
In 1917, the Swiss also modified 50 M1908s for trials, both by the army and mainly by aviation. They were designated FliegerGewehr Model 1917, and had 12 round straight detachable magazines (despite the new magazine looking about twice the size of the normal 10-round fixed magazine, it's much narrower, since it is single-row and uses the body of a standard magazine as a receiver). Also known is at least one example with a extended fixed magazine of about 20 rounds, but the rest are equipped with detachable magazines.
The M1908 could switch into a straight-pull bolt action rifle via a switch located on the charging handle, which would disengage the bolt from the gas system.
- Type: Semi-automatic rifle / Straight-pull bolt-action rifle
- 6.5mm Mondragon, 5.2x68mm Mondragon, 6.5x48mm (1890 models)
- .30-30 Winchester (presentation piece for president Diaz), 6.5mm Mondragon, 7.65x54mm Argentine, 7x57mm Mauser (1900 model)
- 7x57mm Mauser (M1908, FSK 15)
- 7.5x55mm Swiss (M1917)
- Weight: 9 lb 3oz (4.18 kg)
- Length: 43.5 in (110.5 cm)
- Barrel length: 22.7 in (57.7 cm)
- 6-10 round fixed box magazine (1890 models)
- 6, 8 or 10 round fixed box magazine (1900 model)
- 10-round fixed box magazine (M1908)
- 30-round detachable drum magazine (Fl.-S.-K. 15)
- about 20-round fixed box magazine (M1917)
- 12-round detachable box magazine (M1917)
- Fire Modes: Straight-pull Bolt Action, Semi-Auto
The Mondragón Rifle and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:
Mondragón Modelo 1908
|Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water||Neo-Atlantean footsoldiers||M1908||1990 - 1991|
|Saga of Tanya the Evil||Tanya von Degurechaff||M1917 version; w/ bayonet||2017|
|Viktoriya Ivanovna Serebryakova|
|Saga of Tanya the Evil: The Movie||Viktoriya Ivanovna Serebryakova||M1917 version; w/ bayonet||2019|
|Game Title||Appears as||Notation||Release Date|
|World of Guns: Gun Disassembly||"Mondragon rifle"||2014|
|Battle of Empires : 1914-1918||"Mondragon"||M1908 w/ semi-fictional extended box magazine||2014|
|Battlefield 1||"Mondragon"||M1908; w/ bayonet, scope, bipod, experimental dot sight.||2016|