Most people who recognize the name Mondragon know it from Manuel Mondragon’s model 1908 semiauto rifle, the first such rifle to be adopted on a large scale by a military (the Mexican Army, in this case). Well, Mondragon was designing arms for many years before that particular rifle. For example, in 1894 he produced a number of straight-pull bolt action rifles in cooperation with the Swiss firm SIG. Some of them, including this particular example, included a rather unique 3-position selector lever. In addition to the expected “safe” and “fire” modes, this also had an “automatic” setting, which would cause the rifle to fire as soon as the bolt was fully closed, without requiring the shooter to use the trigger. This was, in theory, for firing from the hip while advancing – but it clearly didn’t turn out to be very practical.
These rifles were made in both 5mm and 6.5mm Mondragon, cartridges designed with the assistance of Colonel Rubin at Neuhausen. They fed from 6-round staggered Mannlicher type clips.