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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 3 weeks ago #79595

  • Rob D
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I wasn't sure whether this should go in the Armoured Train thread or this one...
In Dave George's 2nd Volume of Carvings from the Veldt page 288 is this 1897 dated "cone hammer" C96 pistol presented by John Spencer Churchill to a brother officer, W L Edwards.
The way it is named (Churchill's name is far more prominent than Edwards', and From... To... looks like an afterthought) suggests that Churchill carried it first, perhaps he left it in South Africa when he returned home wounded?

The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.
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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 3 weeks ago #79597

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A small ammo dump at the bottom of Pieters Hill.
With the quote: "Expanding bullets and other ammunition found at the bottom of Pieters Hill."
From Navy & Army Illustrated Vol 10 I wish the quality was better but some scans are better than others.


Also, thanks Rob for the picture of John S. Churchill's sidearm. Really cool! I tried a name search here to find out a little more about Mr. W. L. Edwards but did not have any luck identifying him.
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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 2 weeks ago #79601

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To continue the subject of Pieter's Hill, here's a Boer Mauser with a label on the fore-end which is hard to make out, but it reads:
Natal Government Railway
PIETERS

Pieters is a tiny station (siding, actually) on the railway line between Colenso and Ladysmith. I suspect the soldier who brought it back pilfered a label from the station and gummed it onto the rifle as a souvenir.



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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 2 weeks ago #79608

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It turns out that the factory ammunition being used in the Mauser C96 was soft nosed. Churchill himself says so explicitly. The following is his his evaluation of the weapon. It is from chapter 25 of The River War, which is his chapter in military matters. The entire chapter makes excellent reading but this is from Page 351 The River War: An Historical Account Of The Reconquest Of The Soudan by Churchill, Volume II 1899. The River War Vol 2 at Internet Archive

"Among the more recent improvements in firearms none should attract more attention than the invention of the magazine pistol. Several kinds are already in the market, and all possess in varying degrees the same advantages. Perhaps the best and the best-known is the Mauser pattern. I write as almost the only British officer who has used this, weapon in actual war. Its superiority to the revolver is 'plain. It fires ten rounds, whereas the revolver fires but six. It is sighted to 1,000 yards, and shoots effectively to 800. The revolver is never of any use beyond fifty yards, although its bullet carries much farther. The pistol is self-loading, self-cocking, self-ejecting. Its rate of fire is as fast as the trigger can be pulled. Its muzzle velocity is almost double that of the older weapon. It can be recharged with ten rounds on a clip almost as quickly as a single cartridge can be loaded into a revolver. By a cunning arrangement the recoil is utilised to eject, cock, and re-load; so that the hand remains steady while successive shots are fired. It is cheaper and lighter. Finally, it is furnished with a case of light wood instead of leather, and this fits into the pistol-butt, making a handy and accurate carbine. In spite of all these complications, the weapon did not get out of order in a country where the desert sand affects all machinery.

This is not a prospectus: nor shall I disguise the disadvantage. It does not fire a sufficiently heavy bullet. Although the small projectile with its expansive tip and high velocity has shattered bones into splinters, there is greater safety in a larger bore. It is, however, so much easier to shoot with the Mauser pistol than with the revolver, that even this objection is modified, for it is better to hit with a small bullet than to miss with a big one: and when a weapon is made on the same principle and on a larger scale, the revolver will follow the arquebus into the museums of ancient arms; and who shall say that the magazine pistol with its carbine fitting will not oust the trooper's sword as well as the officer’s revolver? "

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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 2 weeks ago #79669

  • Terry Willson
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Lee Metford Mk I* marked to the Devonshire Regiment and recovered in Lesotho. No demilitarisation markings.

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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 2 weeks ago #79700

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It's often discussed whether the British mainly carried Magazine Lee Metfords (MLMs) or mainly Magazine Lee Enfields (MLEs), and how the transition from MLM to MLE was done.
In this photo of the Kings Own Royal Lancasters on 19 Jan 1900, they carry both MLMs and MLEs. The safety catch is an indicator of the MLE as is the sling going from butt to middle barrel band. The MLM has many distinguishing features, one is that the sling goes from in front of the magazine to the top barrel band.
For what it's worth, on the upper Tugela (Spioenkop etc.) .303 pickups are about 75% Metford rifled.

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