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joseph

Winchester Repeating Rifles.

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joseph

Hi,

This East Yorkshire Regiment Private on the east coast has a Winchester Rifle late 1914 early 1915. Has any other battalions being issued with the indian killer?

Regards Charles

post-7039-1130967455.jpg

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T8HANTS

Hi

The boys at the Naval Collage at Osbourne, Isle of Wight, also had Winchesters, I have seen a photograph, but do not own a copy to post here.

Gareth

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carninyj

I'm surprised anyone had them! Were not all early Winchester lever action rifles using rather unsuitable ammunition? ... gunpowder filled revolver-type cartridges? I thought the only lever action of the period that was able to take a full military round was the Savage Model 1899, and it had some kind of rotary magazine. Would 30-30 rounds have been widely in use at that time?

Moreover, I thought everyone had by 1914 largely abandoned tubular magazines on the grounds that they were too easily dented and so malfunctioned. Only the French had a rifle of this type in 1914????

I don't know much about rifles, so I'd love to hear your views.

Regards

Carninyj

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deadin
I'm surprised anyone had them!  Were not all early Winchester lever action rifles using rather unsuitable ammunition? ... gunpowder filled revolver-type cartridges?  I thought the only lever action of the period that was able to take a full military round was the Savage Model 1899, and it had some kind of rotary magazine.  Would 30-30 rounds have been widely in use at that time? 

Moreover, I thought everyone had by 1914 largely abandoned tubular magazines on the grounds that they were too easily dented and so malfunctioned.  Only the French had a rifle of this type in 1914????

I don't know much about rifles, so I'd love to hear your views.

Regards

Carninyj

The Winchester Model 1895 was in full power military cartridges, 30/06, 30/40 Krag and even .303 British. It was also made in a full stock version for the Russians in 7.62 Russian. It also was a magazine rifle, not tubular. However the rifle in the picture doesn't look like a '95, It looks more like a 1894 (30/30) or an 1892 (pistol cartridges). Possibly a training unit or reserves?

Dean

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joseph

Gareth,

I have found a Naval connection there is one at the NationalMaritime Museum London. Catalouged as.

Winchester Model 1892 rifle. It has a walnut stock and all the furniture is steel. The tubular magazine is in the fore-end. An underlever lock, operated to cock on opening and supply round from magazine. The barrel is rifled. The calibre is 44/40 in. The serial number is 781429. 44WCF' (Winchester centrefire) is stamped on the rifle. The Winchester Model 1892 replaced the 1873 Model. Between 1903-1913, 533,793 rifles were produced. They ceased production in 1932. The Model 1892 was used by the Royal Navy in minesweepers during the First World War.

Carninyj & Dean, thanks for the input the rifle was nicknamed the Yellowboy?

Regards Charles

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T8HANTS

Thanks for the info Charles

Gareth

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Chris Backhouse

Charles,

The Yellow Boy was the Winchester 1866. So called because of it's brass receiver, it was therefore not able to handle anything more than moderate power cartridges. The full power military round required a strong steel action.

Chris.

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joseph

Thanks Chris,

Does anyone know how accurate and user friendly these weapons are. To use on a minesweeper suggests shooting the horns of the mines at 400 - 500 yds, the mines and the ship moving? I know its down to the person aiming but surley they would give them decent weapons.

Regards Charles

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Muerrisch

nasty dangerous things tubular magazines. Pointy-point poking into bang-bang at back of round in front, guardsman-like crash of butt on the ground, shoots ear off ..........

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TonyE

That is a fascinating photograph. he should not have that rifle!

In 1914 the Royal Navy purchased 20,000 Winchester Model 1892 rifles in .44-40 calibre and Lord Nunburtholme, a prominent Hull ship owner ,donated a further 1000 rifles, The rifles were inspected at Winchester by Canadian military inspectors and normally carry a DCP proof mark and in addition many are stamped with a large "N" on the receiver. I have traced at least twenty surviving examples for my book. After the war the Winchesters were distributed to cadet and training units and many ended up in Australia. The cadet issue ones usually had the barrels cut in front of the chamber.

Now, to why this photograph is so interesting. In the 1919 records of the Disposal Department, there is mention of approximately 2,800 Winchester Model 1894 rifles in .30-30 calibre, yet there is no other mention within the British records of us ever having acquired these weapons! Recently a Model 1894 has turned up in the US also stamped with Canadian DCP proof marks. Since the Canadians did not buy any Model 1894s in WWI, it can be reasonably assumed that, like the Model 92s, these were also inspected by Canadian inspectors at Winchester on behalf of the British military.

The important question is, who were they for, the army or the Navy? The photograph suggests the army.

Do we know the unit of this soldier or when/where it was taken?

I would very much like a copy of this photograph to look at in more detail.

I have written a series of books on British secondary weapons in 1914-1919 and the first two parts are available. Part 1 is on the Arisaka rifles and carbines, Part 2 is on RFC/RNAS small arms and Part 3 will be available shortly on Land Service weapons, specifically things like the Bannerman rifles, ross rifles, big game express rifles, old Pattern pistols etc. Part 4 will be on RN weapons.

Attached are pictures of RN Winchester M92 rifles.

Regards

TonyE

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TonyE

Forgot to add: these were used for boarding parties as well as minesweepers. A full length rifle was not the easiest thing to handle in a whaler pitching about on the North Sea when intercepting suspicious merchantmen. The Navy had given up all their SMLEs in January 1915 and had them replaced by Arisakas.

Regards

TonyE

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joseph

Tony E.

Thanks for that you have maybe placed the missing link in the chain. That is Lord Nunburnholme , Lord Lieutenant of East Yorkshire AKA Charles Wilson shipping magnate. President of the Territorial Force Association who formed the Hull Pals, 10th 11th 12th 13th (Service Battalions) East Yorkshire Regiment. The Photograph is credited to M & B Chapman East Riding Yesterday, the photograph is taken near Withernsea and the arm band suggests 10th EYR (formed in Hull 29 Aug 1914) which did its initial training at Rolston north of Withernsea. Lord Nunburnholme sold the rifles to the War Office in Feb 1915.

Regards Charles

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joseph

Tony E,

Sounds intresting are you aware of the Martini Henrys And 7mm single shot rifles issued?

Regards Charles

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carninyj

A belated 'Thank you' to all who added comments.

I never had heard of Winchester lever action rifles in British service before and I never appreciated that they were available in a range of full military cartridges. The debate about who had them is fascinating. You're a learned lot, something that has oft been said before!

Regards

Carninyj

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joseph

Carninyj,

And thank you for being intrested it does help the grey cells, Tony E's books sound intresting the SMLE was a world beater but something diffrent does help, I wonder what the navy did with the 4000 Remington .44s it was issued with??

Regards Charles

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michaeldr

Early in 1915 the First Lord of the Admiralty was scratching around trying to get rifles for his Royal Naval Division which was to depart imminently for the Dardanelles

Item 3 of his Minute No.42 of 20 Feb 1915

“Purchase the 9,000 Winchester carbines with 10,000,000 rounds of ammunition

Two weeks later and Churchill was still waiting for news of his Winchesters

See Minute No.44 addressed to Naval Secretary, S.O.S. & dated 7th March 1915

Item 3: I am awaiting your project for issuing 9,000 Winchesters to destroyers, trawlers, and auxiliary of all kinds, and for recovering in return the largest possible number of additional long rifles

Item 4: From these (two) sources I expect to get 10,000 long rifles in addition to those now in the hands of the R.N.D., or at Blandford or the Crystal Palace

This was part of a complicated scheme to get the RND supplied with (almost standard) rifles which were to be gathered in from far and wide and replaced by, amongst others, Winchesters, at the fringes of the fleet

Regards

Michael D.R.

A word of explanation is required to clarify the above post

The info is taken from the third and last in a series of articles written by Capt Christopher Page RN rtd the naval historian at the Admiralty Library. These articles appeared in Len Sellers’ magazine ‘RND’ and this info is from Issue No.21, June 2002

The minute numbers are not original (1915) and refer only to Capt Page’s article

The ‘SOS’ to whom a copy of the second minute was addressed refers to the Superintendent of Stores

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joseph

Michael,

That’s interesting I was aware of the War Office demands. At the outbreak of war the War Office made urgent demands on the Admiralty for rifles to meet the needs of the rapidly expanding army. Seamen's rifles carried in ships were consequently turned over, the number retained being 40 in capital ships and half the original number in smaller ships. The full establishment of Royal Marines' rifles were retained by the Admiralty. As soon as the exchange could be effected all service rifles in ships in home waters were replaced by Japanese rifles, the latter again being withdrawn in April 1917 in favour of Ross rifles.

This would explain the issue of some of the older weapons to the Trawlers and auxiliary craft. The Martini Henry and Martini Enfield for two, this was April 1915.

Carninyj,

The Winchester 1895 does look like a military weapon unlike the 1892.

Regards Charles

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michaeldr

Charles

At the same time as you were writing your above post I was editing mine of last night – pls see above

Churchill’s minute of 22 March 1915 seems to sum up the situation regarding rifles and the ‘conflict’ between the Admiralty and the WO

“Say to the War Office that it has always been understood that, should the Royal Naval Division proceed on service with His Majesty’s troops using Mark VII ammunition, the War Office would issue to them the necessary short rifles firing Mark VII, receiving in exchange the long Mark VI they have at present. Relying on this understanding, the Admiralty, in the month of October, placed at the disposal of the War Office 12,500 rifles, of which 8,000 were serviceable and the others available for drill purposes. Had these rifles been in the possession of the Admiralty all the time, it would have been possible to provide for a gradual conversion by the Naval Ordnance Depots from Mark VI to Mark VII without disarming the division. But, in view of the great scarcity of rifles and the numbers of men in the army needing them, the Admiralty, in a desire to help the War Office, gave up this advantage.

Quite recently the Admiralty were forced to ask for the return of these rifles, or at least a portion of them. The War Office expressed their inability to do this, but offered to convert as quickly as possible the Mark VI rifles in the possession of the division. Arrangements were therefore made to hand over in rotation three separate instalments of 4,000 rifles for conversion, but the War Office then discovered that these rifles were non-charger-loading, and that the conversion therefore would not only mean converting them from Mark VI to Mark VII, but also from non-charge-loading to charge-loading, and this was a task which they professed themselves unable to do. In consequence there is a complete deadlock, which will, unless relieved, result in an obvious administrative breakdown.

At present the Royal Naval Division is serving in the Dardanelles with troops using Mark VI ammunition, but on its return from this theatre………it is desirable that they should be equipped with Mark VII charge-loading short rifles, and their Lordships must ask that the arrangements should be made which will enable this to be done.

It would, of course, be understood that an equivalent number of naval rifles will be surrendered to the War Office, in addition to the 12,000 which have already been placed at their disposal.”

Regards

Michael D.R.

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TonyE

Thank you for all the additional information on Lord Nunburtholme - I was under the impression that because of his shipping connections, all the Model 92s he bought went to the Admiralty. There are no mentions in the records that I have found that suggest the army had any, yet obviously they did. The manual for the M92 is an Admiralty document also.

Yes, I am very aware of the Martini Enfields and LLEs that the Admiralty bought, and will cover these in Part 4. Also the 4000 Remington Model 14 1/2 slide actiom .44-40 rifles for the RNAS. I have only managed to track down one surviving example, that at the IWM. Ditto the Holland & Holland Paradox guns firing chain shot!

The 7mm Remington Rolling Blocks were virtually all condemned to DP status by the Admiralty, although some were used for training. I believe these may have been bought from Bannerman in the US, and the ammunition was old round nosed 7mm manufactured by UMC.

What you may not be aware of are the Chilean 7mm Mausers, the Turkish contract FN Browing pistols and various other odd ball weapons we obtained. There is also the possibility that we did receive a few thousand Spanish Mausers but these may have been sent direct to Russia.

I have spent over forty years studying British small arms and ammunition, but because of the distance of time, destruction of records, scarcity of actual examples and the general "anti-gun" attitude of the British, we know only a very small part of what there is to know. Never the less, the tiny fraction of knowledge I have built up slowly increases....very slowly!

Regards

TonyE

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joseph

Thank you all for a very informative thread,

Michael the RND held there own very well considering the equipment problems.

Tony the information I have about different weapons used on trawlers is from a reference(which I cannot credit I dont know where it came from) Technical problems dealt with by Admiralty departments. Vol IV, refering to small arms and machine guns. If your not aware of the publication you may glean some more knowledge.

If I come across anymore unusual weapons I will post them.

Regards Charles

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TonyE

Joseph

Do you mean Admiralty Publication CB 1515(36) "The Technical History and Index, Gunnery Training During the War, Small Arms, Machine Guns, Aircraft Armamments"?

I have a copy of this, also CB1161 "Handbook of Aircraft Armaments, Small Arms Peculiar to Aircraft"

All information gratefully received.

TonyE

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joseph

Tony,

That is probably the one, I only have references to the Trawlers. If I come across anything else I will post it I am on the hunt for more Winchesters in the EYR only found a Lee Metford up to now.

Regards Charles

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lassuy

Tony E--You've tantalized us with your mention of books, what are the titles, publisher, and are they available in the US? I'd be an eager buyer!

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TonyE

OK, here goes.

I have written a series of short books on the secondary weapons used by British forces 1914-1919. The first two parts have been published and Part 3 is about ready to go.

The second edition of my "Headstamps and Markings on British .303 inch Service Ammunition" is also available.

I have not posted details on the site previously as I was unsure of the policy on advertising.

Details are attached and if anyone is interested contact me on aoe.303@tesco.net

Regards

TonyE

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