Skip to comments.One Way to Retire an Old Rifle
Posted on 12/12/2010 8:12:54 PM PST by Pan_Yan
Earlier this year, as part of the tools of war series, At War published photographs of Taliban small arms from Helmand province, along with data on the types of firearms in insurgent use. The photographs included images of bolt-action rifles, including one, a Lee-Enfield rifle, that dated to 1915.
In spite of their advanced age, Lee-Enfield rifles, along with Soviet Mosin-Nagant bolt-action arms, have seen continued service in Afghanistan for two reasons: they offer greater range and accuracy than the assault rifles in more common circulation, and their ammunition remains available on Afghan black markets.
Many readers wrote with questions about that old Lee-Enfield. Some asked what else we might be seeing. Today we return to the collection with the publication of an even older rifle seized from the Taliban.
The rifle in question, also collected by Marines in Marja, is a standard-issue Martini-Henry rifle. The Martini-Henry predates the Lee-Enfield by a more than generation. It was first fielded in the 1870s and was carried by British colonial troops to far-flung corners of the world. Like the Lee-Enfield line, and like well-made infantry rifles generally, the Martini-Henry rifles proved sturdy and have lasted, when well-cared for, for more than a century.
C.J. Chivers/The New York Times
A Martini-Henry rifle, collected by Marines in Marja, Afghanistan, had fallen into neglect.
The factory stampings on a Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifle made by the British in 1915.
(Excerpt) Read more at atwar.blogs.nytimes.com ...
Scream at the top of your lungs... have it arrested... egads !
Unless the Martini-Henry was rechambered for .303 (some were), it would be darn hard to get ammo for it! I saw some that was $139 for 20 rounds.
Back before I knew better, I gave away a Lee Enfield made in 1941 with a 4 digit serial number.
I have an Enfield that my grandfather might have carried in WW1, and it is the most accurate iron sighted military rifle I’ve ever shot. The .303 is a pretty hard hitting round too. Love it.
There’s a picture of one in a junkyard in Jabul at the article I linked in post #1. Lots of countires have left their military refuse in Afghanistan.
I had a Martini nice rifle,Single shot but I was a kid and they were cheap.
For lots ‘o info on old military bolt action rifles including Martini-Henrys, check here, especially the forum section:
Talk about a good movie plot. That rifle was probably carried by a British soldier from the UK to India to Afghanistan, then changed sides in battle. It was probably fired against the British, Indians, other Afghans, Soviets, the Northern Alliance and finally Americans. I’d bet it was buried under a few huts in between. Too bad it’s in such poor shape and probably got destroyed by our military. It deserves a good cleaning and retirement over a mantle somewhere.
I know an SF guy who’s done several tours in Afghanistan. He told me there are places so remote that when they went there the tribesmen thought they were Soviets. They never knew the Russians had left. Other places even further off the beaten path had never seen an outsider in the memory of anyone living. They had completely missed the events of the last 30 years—Russian invasion, Taliban, everything.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they were so isolated they knew nothing about the conflicts nor hitech before we arrived and afterwards were now addicted to computer games, bartering opium for X-Box’s.
I decided I had become a collector of these old bolt action rifles after I got a nearly new 1915 Swedish Mauser for $60 a couple years ago at garage sale, and had to reconfigure my gun safe to fit it in. Using just the iron sites and surplus ammo, I can hit a 300 yard gong 2 of 5 times with my 1934 Mosin Nagant, 03 Mark 1 Springfield, 1891 Argentine Mauser, 98 Mauser, etc. My Mosin Nagant has an especially smooth trigger pull, rivaling my M1A. I have a WW I era infantry manual that says the FMJ bullet from the 03 Springfield will penetrate a three foot oak plank at 200 yards. Trying to close with a company armed with a lot of these old rifles should not be a pleasant experience.
I am so sorry for your loss fso301. I can still see with my minds eye the picture of the Winchester M-1 carbine covered in factory wrapping and in its original box that the seller wanted $325 for. I try not to think of the many items on which I spent $325 or more on and are now in our city’s landfill.
No doubt that most people couldn't tell you what year that it was and besides having smokeless powder firearms, live like they have for the past 3000 years.
Make that Russian Mosin-Nagant rifles. They were first made in 1892, and some pre-Soviet ones are still in circulation.
That 6.5 x 55 might be the ultimate deer round. And the ultimate anti-personnel round, for that matter. Relatively low pressure and low recoil, and can reach way out there.
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