The Imperial is the one with the sling rings in the stock.
- Miller Tyme
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Today I thought I'd start with the disposable magazine group of rifles. The Nagant and the Mauser had enclosed magazines that were loaded from stripper clips. The Enfield had a detachable magazine but the British soldier was expected to load by stripper clip the same as if it weren't detachable. The British soldier could load twice as many rounds at the time as the Russians and Germans which must have seemed an encouragement....you know... one Tommy can kill twice as many Krauts before reloading as the Krauts could kill of his side.
The one I'm starting with is the Mannlicher-Carcano 1891 infantry rifle. Italy used this one in both WWI and WWII. It had a smaller barrel ring at the breech and fired a smaller caliber than the competition with a rimless round in 6.5x52. You inserted and locked in a loaded clip over a spring lever that pressed up through the clip forcing the ammo upward. When the last round was fired the U shape clip fell out the bottom. Kinda the opposite of the M1 Garand that when it fired the last round in a U shape clip it tossed the empty with a clink out the top of the open breech.
The thing most people remember about the Carcano is that Oswald used one to assassinate President Kennedy in 1963.
Besides having a disposable ammo clip it also had a straight pull bolt. Pull back unccocked and push forward cocked. You could see a prominent cocking lever to the back that showed you it was cocked. The sights were set up for volley fire. 2400 paces was not something you actually aimed at. I think it was a mind fart left over from the days of the long bow when the masses of enemy lined up shoulder to shoulder and could be delt damage beyond eyeball to eyeball fighting range. A long distance rain of bullets idea that other weapons of the time still shared.
It fired a powerful bottle shaped 8mm cartridge... more powerful than the Carcano but not the same cartridge as the Mauser 8mm. It had an odd battle sight. Lift up the arm and the v at the bottom was 300 paces. Drop the sight blade flat and the v was 500 paces.
Both the carbine and the long rifle produce a decided kick to them when fired. By WWII they were considered second line weapons and the rifles were cut down to carbines to a large extent.
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This one is a Finn Capture. While this one is from the time frame it never went anywhere. On the bottom of the barrel is a reject date. Probably was killing whitetail during the war... This one scrubbed by the Balkans no doubt. Another Finn capture. One of the 100,000 built for the White War.
I don't have an O3 but I have the successor the 03A. The two were essentially the same ...except.. the sight on the 03 was an elaborate ladder affair with a collection of applications.. peep, V, v notch, whatever and wishful thinking out to many hundred yards. The 03A with furniture cast parts rather than the 03's machined had a simpler but much better singular peep sight. It also had a dial in windage adjustment. It wasn't used until after WWI. The 03A, however, continued in use into WWII and afterward in various ways meeting particular needs.
The US started their part of the war with the 03 but the numbers they had on hand wouldn't fill the bill so they adopted the 1917 Enfield which could be produced quicker by companies already geared up for it. A benefit of that previous "neutrality" . The caliber was changed to 30.06 and filled the supply gap. The US soldiers are said to have prefered , in no uncertain terms, the O3.
The O3 is on top and the 03A3 on bottom in the rifle photo.