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Remembered Today:

SMLE mags


squirrel
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Reading the Lee Enfield thread from bigjaro'wasps made me think of this one.........

I know that soldiers were issued 120 rounds IIRC and had assusmed that these were all in 5 round clips (chargers?).

Were they issued with just the magazine fitted on the rifle or would they have had additional magazines as well as the issued rounds?

Just trying to get clear in my mind what they were isssued with.

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Reading the Lee Enfield thread from bigjaro'wasps made me think of this one.........

I know that soldiers were issued 120 rounds IIRC and had assusmed that these were all in 5 round clips (chargers?).

Were they issued with just the magazine fitted on the rifle or would they have had additional magazines as well as the issued rounds?

Just trying to get clear in my mind what they were isssued with.

I think you will find they had the one magazine on the rifle and then the remainder of the ammunition in clips which are lighter,smaller and nearly as fast to load as carrying a full spare magazine to change. You also don't have the problem of where to carry all the empty magazines.

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I agree with Max - I'm pretty certain that soldiers didn't have to carry extra magazines around because re-filling the empty magazine on the rifle was relatively quick and easy. Of course, anyone who wanted an unofficial second magazine could easily have got hold of one.

There was a further bit of security in that the soldier didn't have to stop and reload quite as often as the enemy.

Tom

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You'd only ever want to replace your magazine in case of damage or fault - presumably they'd have been held as trench stores. Stuffing two chargers in through the top would be about as quick as, and a good deal surer than, changing the mag.

The follower spring was not as strong as on modern assault rifle mags. That meant that dropping a full mag or bumping it severely might easily result in the loss of a few rounds and the disarrangement of some of the rest. So flinging loaded mags to your chums wasn't really a practical option.

Coupled with the comparative precision required to locate and fit the mag, this wouldn't really make it an attactive way of reloading in 303.

Regards,

MikB

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There was a further bit of security in that the soldier didn't have to stop and reload quite as often as the enemy.

After reading your post, Tom, I did a search and found that as well as having a smaller magazine, the Mauser was unsuited to rapid fire 'due to it's awkward bolt arrangement'.

What exactly is meant by that?

Cheers

Rich.

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Thanks for your replies; most helpful.

I was just curious if there is any circumstance where a a mag change might be needed as opposed to using clips; with a hot rifle might it be safer to change the mag rather than push in another couple of clips to avoid cooking off perhaps?

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After reading your post, Tom, I did a search and found that as well as having a smaller magazine, the Mauser was unsuited to rapid fire 'due to it's awkward bolt arrangement'.

What exactly is meant by that?

Cheers

Rich.

Rich - essentially I think that big difference was that the bolt-handle of the SMLE was angled downwards, while the Mauser bolt-handle pointed straight out. So the bolt-handle on the SMLE didn't require such a long movement of the right hand from the trigger to the bolt-handle and back during rapid fire.

I think also that the Mauser bolt, when being drawn back, was more or less vertical, so the cocking-cycle was more awkward. On the SMLE, the bolt is still facing sideways when being drawn back, so cocking the rifle is slightly less complex and can be done more quickly.

There may also be other technical advantages/disadvantages which I'm not aware of.

Tom

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My apologies for asking what might appear to be simplistic questions, but:

1) How many rounds did the magazine hold - 10?

2) How many clips (of 5?) were carried in each ammunition pouch?

3) How many pouches were there in a standard set of webbing - 3 each side?

Thanks for your understanding...

Steve

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My apologies for asking what might appear to be simplistic questions, but:

1) How many rounds did the magazine hold - 10?

2) How many clips (of 5?) were carried in each ammunition pouch?

3) How many pouches were there in a standard set of webbing - 3 each side?

Thanks for your understanding...

Steve

1 - yes - 10 rounds was the magazine capacity

2 and 3- there were 3 clips of 5 rounds in each pouch I think, and I think there were 5 on each side making a total of 150 rounds carried in the pouches.

Tom

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I was just curious if there is any circumstance where a a mag change might be needed as opposed to using clips; with a hot rifle might it be safer to change the mag rather than push in another couple of clips to avoid cooking off perhaps?

A magazine change might be necessary in the case of a broken or worn spring , or damaged, mud clogged magazine, but that's about it, I think. Only the rifle barrel would get hot, not the breech, so unfired rounds wouldn't be exposed to much heat at any time.

Dave.

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1 - yes - 10 rounds was the magazine capacity

2 and 3- there were 3 clips of 5 rounds in each pouch I think, and I think there were 5 on each side making a total of 150 rounds carried in the pouches.

Tom

And , in addition, it was common to carry at least two 5 pocket bandaliers containing 2 chargers (no "clips" used on the Lee Enfield!) in each pocket - an extra 50 rounds per bandolier.

dave.

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Tom,

Yes, I can see how the angle of the bolt on the Mauser would slow down the reloading cycle considerably. Thanks for that.

I wonder why the Germans persisted with what would appear to be an inferior system?

Rich.

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I wonder why the Germans persisted with what would appear to be an inferior system?

They didn't. The Kar.98 (usually issued to cavalry and specialist troops) had the "fold down bolt" as did the standard rifle of WW2, the Kar.98k along with the Kar.98a and Kar.98b of the 1920's onwards.

Quite a few nations had the straight pull bolt during 1914-18 (France, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Austria, Italy,etc.) so it must have had something going for it. Quite a few nations continued with this system throughout WW2.

I used to have a "modified" gew.98 that had a fold down bolt dated 1918. The bolt matched the rifle so wasn't a later addition.

Dave.

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I wonder why the Germans persisted with what would appear to be an inferior system?

Rich.

It was the position of the locking lugs at the front of the bolt. This makes for a very rigid action under the stress of firing, producing very consistent and hence accurate results.

The Lee-Enfield action on the other hand placed the locking lugs at the back of the magazine well. This shortened the reload stroke by the length of the lugs, and also allowed a much less abrupt turnover, requiring less precise manipulation - racking a LE bolt is more like two motions than four. The price of that was an elastic action that could only deliver accuracy to match the Mauser when carefully set-up.

Regards,

MikB

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Tom,

Yes, I can see how the angle of the bolt on the Mauser would slow down the reloading cycle considerably. Thanks for that.

I wonder why the Germans persisted with what would appear to be an inferior system?

Rich.

It was not inferior as such. In many repects, it was a stronger action which made for greater accuracy and it is still favoured by many hunters for hunting rifles today. It was very much copied into the M1903 Springfield, which was of course after the Lee Enfield was in service.

In addition to the angle of the bolt handle, shooters who have experienced both say that operating the Lee bolt felt like using two movements as opposed to four for the Mauser.

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It never ceases to amaze me how much you can learn on these threads from answers to questions that you didn't ask as well as the ones that you did.

All good stuff and thanks once again for the info.

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One must also add that loading a magazine correctly when not attached to a rifle is fiddly and time consuming - loading a charger clip is much easier and the contents can easily be loaded into the magazine by virtue of design.

The design of the locking lugs on Enfield and Mauser rifles is the primary reason for the preference for mauser action rifles at shorter ranges when rifle shooting and the use of Enfield action rifles or converts for long range rifle shooting - confirmed by the use for many years of the No 4 action on a 7.62mm barrel for use by Army snipers.

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I recall seeing a picture/article relating to an experimental Lee Enfield (model not known) which had two magazines.

The additional magazine I think was reversed and placed in front of the usual magazine.

These two magazines were joined together somehow.

The theory was they when the regular one had been emptied (by firing the rounds) the whole unit i.e. two magazines, was removed from the rifle, turned around through 180 degrees and replaced. The full magazine could now be used.

Since reading this post today I have trawled the web for an article/image on this but so far have failed.

Stuart

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Wasn't about taping two together in opposing directions so you only have to turn them over was it?

Have seen this in films with other weapons, automatics with larger magazines, but don't recall it being referred to in print for the SMLE.

Interesting thought though and wonder if anybody can throw any light on it.

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No, not the taping of sub machine gun machine gun magazines.

This was possibly in the book The Lee Enfield.

It was a proper engineered item - I feel sure someone will add to this.

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Very interesting to see when it turns up.

Thanks for posting.

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They didn't. The Kar.98 (usually issued to cavalry and specialist troops) had the "fold down bolt" as did the standard rifle of WW2, the Kar.98k along with the Kar.98a and Kar.98b of the 1920's onwards.

Quite a few nations had the straight pull bolt during 1914-18 (France, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Austria, Italy,etc.) so it must have had something going for it. Quite a few nations continued with this system throughout WW2.

I used to have a "modified" gew.98 that had a fold down bolt dated 1918. The bolt matched the rifle so wasn't a later addition.

Dave.

Irregardless of how many nations used the straight pull rifle designs - they were inferior.

The SMLE action was shorter in lock time and much handier to operate -hence a higher rate of rounds downrange was achievable.

There were four mauser action rifles the germans used with "turned down bolt handles".

1) The colonial service gewehr98. Bolt was basically bent in an arc like the later kar98a.

2) Kar98a made from 1907 through 1918. Like the colonial service gew98 the angle of the bolt handle bend was not terribly conducive to rapid manipulation.

3) Scharfschutzengewehr 98's -their sniping rifles had bolts turned down , the 98k of later years copied this bend exactly.

4) Radfahrergewehr98 , this is a gew98 with side sling attachment setup and a turned down bolt identical to the scharfschutzengewehr98's.

Technically you could count the first pattern of kar98a , but these were made in very small numbers and withdrawn from service as replaced by the kar98a.

If you handled a gew98 with a turned down bolt and it was not a sniper , colonial issue nor bicycle troop version you did not handle an original WW1 period bolt turned down rifle.

After WW1 some gew98's were converted to and some new made as karab 98b's with turned down bolts.But right off that is post WW1 issue.

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