This article by David Maccar is way too cool:
"A Brief History of U.S. Military Rifles
Take a quick tour through the various rifles fielded by U.S. servicemembers, from the American Revolution to today.
By David Maccar October 7, 2015"
"On and on the progression marches, through the trenches of WWI and the European and Pacific theaters of WWII, all the way to modern times. The rifle is the modern sword and shield, the tool of a soldier on the battlefield so intimate that many veterans still remember the serial number from the gun they were first issued.
Here we take a quick tour through the long-guns that have served U.S. armed forces since the nation began, from the first rifles that earned Americans the reputation of expert marksmen to the modern battlefield implements of today."
Rogue will be along shortly to correct any mistakes
|Fighting the good fight|
First, a caveat: Pre-1890s black power and muzzle loading rifles are not my area of expertise. So I'll start with the Krag.
While .30-40 Krag ammo is now available with a spitzer bullet, the .30-40 (.30 US) loading used by the US military was not a spitzer bullet. It still used an old style round nose bullet. Even its replacement, the .30-03 round used in early M1903 rifles, was not a spitzer bullet. It wasn't until .30-06 that a spitzer bullet was widely adopted for US military rifle use.
The M1917 was our go-to rifle in World War 1. 2/3 to 3/4 of the rifles in service with the US during WW1 were M1917s. Sadly, the M1917 isn't mentioned at all in this article... Truly the unsung hero of US military rifles. (And one of my favorite bolt rifles.)
The M1 Garand began replacing the M1903 in 1937, 4 years before our entry in WW2.
Decades before the US adopted the M1 Garand in 1936, a number of other militaries had semiauto rifles in use, dating back to WW1 and even before. These included the:
French (RSC 1917, RSC 1918, Remington Model 8)
Germans (Mauser 1916, Mondragon)
Russians (Fedorov Avtomat)
Even the US military had used small numbers of commercial semiauto rifles like the Winchester 1907 during the WW1 era.
Adopted by the Mexican Army in 1908 and in service starting in 1910, the Mondragon was the first semiauto rifle ever issued by any military. The M1 Garand was just the first semiauto rifle ever issued by any military as a standard service rifle. Earlier semiauto rifle use was in smaller numbers (a few hundred to several thousand) by specialist troops, while the primary service rifles remained bolt action.
|His diet consists of black|
coffee, and sarcasm.
I don't think rifles were general issue in the Revolutionary War. Certainly they were used by sharpshooters, but the mainstay was the musket. A trained soldier could get off up to four shots a minute with a musket, a rifle far less than that, and not at all after the bore got a little fouled.
|Hop head |
his descriptions and comments of the firearms used prior to the Krag are extremely vague,
not sure if he did zero research, or just decided to gloss over it in very generic terms
Metallic cartridges didn't start in 1873 with the 45-70. The 50-70 was a a few years earlier. Both the Spencer and Henry were used, along with their metallic cartridges, in the Civil War. Also missing is the 6mm Lee , I don't believe the Navy/Marines ever adopted the 30-40 Krag. Most of the contempory writting i have seen called it the 30 US Army. Also absent from the list is the Johnson semiautomatic. Does it appear to anyone else the first picture, of the troops in the trench, are British, or commonwealth, holding 303 SMLE rifles
Just as an aside, American firearms designers played a major role in British military firearms, beginning with the Snider breechloading conversion for the P53 rifle.
Followed by the Martini-Peabody, latterly called the Martini-Henry and then the Martini-Enfield of 'Zulu' movie fame.
And then, the crowning glory of American military rifle design, the Lee rifle, first called the Lee-Metford [from the form of rifling] and then the Lee-Enfield, from the arsenal in which it was made. This design is STILL in service in India and Pakistan, albeit as mainly police weapon, but can still be found doing its job in Afghanistan with the same results as it had over a 120 years ago.
Gentlemen, I give you - The LEE-Enfield rifle - America's greatest man-operated firearm. 100,000,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and police/paramilitaries can't ALL be wrong.
|Fighting the good fight|
They did. The Navy/USMC belatedly adopted the Krag in .30-40 in 1899, and began phasing them in, but the Krag never fully supplanted the Lee before both were replaced by the M1903. Still, the Krag saw combat use with Marines in the Philippine Insurrection and the Boxer Rebellion in China
This message has been edited. Last edited by: RogueJSK,
|Fighting the good fight|
Never formally adopted by any branch of the US military, although small numbers of M1941 Johnson rifles were pressed into use by the USMC due to a shortage of standard arms. These weren't produced specifically for the USMC, but were leftovers from a large shipment of Johnson small arms that had been ordered by the Dutch East Indies just prior to the Japanese invasion, and therefore were left stranded stateside before being snatched up by the Marines. These Johnsons mainly saw use by early war special units like Raiders and Paramarines in 1942 and 1943, and were returned to the Dutch after the war.
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