5 Service Rifles Of The First World War

The armies of the belligerents who went to war in 1914 carried rifles that today might be considered quaint.  They had handsome wooden finishes, were designed for long-range fire, and were so robust that they could withstand all manner of abuse in the harsh trench environments in which they were used.  Some of these rifles are well-known, and others less so.  We will sketch a few of the principal services rifles used in Europe from 1914 to 1918.  Readers will note here the absence of the service weapons of Italy and Austria-Hungary, but the requirements of space limit us to only the major designs.

Rifle No. 1 Mk III Lee-Enfield (United Kingdom)

We can do no better than to lead off with the “Short Magazine Lee-Enfield” or SMLE.  This wonderful rifle is considered by many experts to the best all-around service rifle ever made.  Designed in 1907, the weapon used a remarkably smooth bolt action that could, with practice, be operated at a very high rate.  Its 10-round detachable box magazine could hold nearly twice as many rounds as other rifles of the period, and the weapon was sighted to about 1,000 yards.


Some models even had an ultra long-range sight used for volley fire to cover open areas; no doubt this was rarely used.  In trained hands the rifle could fire off around 15 rounds per minute.  Designers wanted a rifle that was shorter than the typical service rifle, but one that also combined most of its features.

The weapon was distributed widely over all parts of the British Empire, as well as to Australia and New Zealand.  It was expensive to produce and was manufactured to a very high standard, and examples are still occasionally found in use today in odd corners of the world (e.g., Afghanistan).  It may be the greatest bolt-action rifle ever made.

Caliber:  7.7 mm

Weight:  8.7 lb.

Length:  44.6 in.

Mauser Gewehr 1898 (Germany)

The venerable Mauser served Germany well not only in the Great War but also in the Second World War.  And anyone who has actually handled and fired the weapon can easily understand why.  This is a combat rifle, pure and simple.  Chambered for Germany’s 7.92 mm round, the Mauser was so robust that it could double as a war-club one minute, and a long range sniper rifle the next.


The bolt action used the front-lug locking system, as well as the “straight-pull” chambering action, which was less convenient than the Lee-Enfield.  When the magazine was empty, the bolt locked to the rear and could not be closed unless a new clip was fed into the chamber.  Its five-round magazine was not ideal, but in practice this seemed to present few problems with the front-line troops.  The weapon was popular enough to be manufactured under license abroad in Spain after the war.

Caliber:  7.92 mm

Weight:  9.26 lb.

Length:  49.2 in.

Mosin-Nagant Model 1891 (Russia)

Russia in 1914 lacked the industrial base to churn out weapons in the same quantity as the other belligerents, but it did its best under the adverse conditions in which it was operating.  Accounts exist of whole infantry units being sent to the front with no arms of any kind, and being told to scavenge them from the fallen on the battlefield.


Russia favored rugged weapons that could endure all forms of abuse.  Her recruits were typically uneducated conscripts who would need a rifle that required very little training to operate.  The Mosin-Nagant rifle fit this bill reasonably well.  Its bolt was a two-piece mechanism that worked when it had to, and the weapon provided no luxuries or frills.  The bayonet used on the Mosin-Nagant was the old-fashioned “spike” type that used an antiquated socket method of attachment.  The Russians have always done things their own way when it comes to small arms design, and the Mosin-Nagant is a rifle that could have been found in no other country but Russia.  Examples were in use well into the 1930s.

Caliber:  7.62 mm

Weight:  9.62 lb.

Length:  51.4 in.

Fusil Lebel 1886 (France)

France’s Lebel rifle was probably the least effective of all the rifles mentioned here.  The reason why is the rifle’s somewhat dangerous tubular magazine:  cartridges were laid out one after another in line, with the nose of one pressing up against the firing pin of the other.  If the rifle were hit hard enough or dropped at the wrong angle, it was possible for the primer of a cartridge to go off and destroy the weapon or its user.  The bolt mechanism was also not nearly as tough as the Mauser or the Lee-Enfield, and required constant maintenance.


The rifle was innovative in one way:  it was the first rifle to use smokeless propellant cartridges.  This hardly outweighed its other drawbacks, however, and in the final analysis the Lebel can be said to be little more than an adequate service rifle.  When one considers that the French Army was also saddled with using the absolutely horrible Chachat light machine gun (probably the worst small arm ever invented), we can hardly fail to have sympathy for the lot of the average poilu.

Caliber:  8 mm

Weight:  9.35 lb.

Length:  52 in.

M1903 Springfield (United States)

The United States entered the war rather late and saw comparatively little action when compared with that of the other involved nations.  But it was still an economic powerhouse, and wielded considerable influence over its allies.  The M1903 Springfield rifle was a handsome, well-made weapon, somewhat mid-range in length between a rifle and a carbine.  It was introduced to replace the obsolete Krag-Jorgensen rifle at the turn of the century.


It was very well-made, accurate, and could tolerate a reasonable amount of abuse and immersion in mud.  It was not as good as the Lee-Enfield, but it was more accurate at long ranges; for this reason it was still being used as a sniper rifle as late as the Korean War in the early 1950s.  As a collector’s item it is highly prized today.

Caliber:  7.62 mm

Weight:  8.69 lb.

Length:  43.2 in.

Read More: The History And Evolution Of Rifles

119 thoughts on “5 Service Rifles Of The First World War”

  1. Lee Enfield is a beauty but the Mauser looks a bit better imo! More supple! I remember when my history teacher brought into school a fully functioning Lee Enfield. Everybody had a go at it and it was fun for us kids to actually see history and hold it in our hands. But that was many moons ago and nowadays a teacher would get prison time and a criminal record if he has the wrong opinion on weapons let alone bring one onto the school premises.

    1. Just twenty five years ago at my rural high school, during deer season, we still kept hunting rifles in our lockers, or on a rack visible to all in the back window of your truck. We never had an issue.
      It’s almost like liberalism is some sort of aggressive cancer…

      1. That’s something! Liberalism killed a lot of buzz around the western world. Might be going hunting myself in Oct or Nov si that’s a bit of masculinity gained back.
        Oh, did I mention that all this happened in good ole England? Hard to believe right?

      2. Liberalism is a mental disease; NEVER forget that. The liberals are proving it every day here and in Western Europe.

    2. My dad still has his beauty Enfield kept away up north and refuses to sell it to me. Unfortunately .303British is an obsolete and difficult calibre to come buy. Starting to become more expensive than 308Win and I predict will become as expensive as 338Lap in the next few years. I argue it is the best bolt action rifle ever made.

      1. All you need is a basic single-stage reloading press & accessories and you can keep your obsolete (and current) rifles fed for a fraction of the price of new ammo. There’s no way I would shoot my 45-70 much if I couldn’t reload the cartridges.

      2. I see 303 on the shelves all the time. It is extremely popular in Canada. If you can’t find it locally, you can always order it online from companies such as AIM Surplus or Grafs. I find it a great cartridge for shooting out to 500 meters, and it does not have as much recoil as the 30-06. It headspaces on the rim, and you can get good accuracy with it, if your surplus rifle is in good shape.

      3. I’ve had a No.4 MK1 since I was a kid that I still use for deer hunting. I have at least 5 boxes of .303 British SP from Sellier & Bellot that I bought from sportsmansguide.com for about $20.00 per box of 20…they’re still available & competitively priced. The FMJ is even cheaper.

  2. A lot of these old bolt-action rifles last for generations if taken care of properly. At the end of a war, the issuing army would gather up the serviceable rifles, pack the ones it didn’t immediately need with grease to prevent rust and store them for the next conflict.

  3. When I was in Air Cadets we used Lee-Enfield MKIV’s rebored for.22, on the range as well as for the Colour Guard, and they handled like a dream.
    My old man has a Mauser from WWII, the carbine version, and it was sporterized before he bought it (stock shortened front sights replaced with a peep sight), but that was probably one of sweetest rifles I’ve ever fired. Have to ask him if he still has that rifle…

  4. Its 10-round detachable box magazine could hold nearly twice as many
    rounds as other rifles of the period, and the weapon was sighted to
    about 1,000 yards.

    Such range capability was over-engineering as the Euro armies of the time were not about individual marksmanship.
    On this, I recall an episode of one of R Lee Ermey’s shows where he went to a gunsmith facility whose purpose was to furnish parts to increase the accuracy of the M-16 for select use in the US military as the stock M16 is deliberately (and ironically) under-engineered as cost is of higher priority than accuracy.
    Does anyone else remember that?

    1. Can’t forget it; the M-16 acquired a bad reputation because the early models were manufactured so badly to save on costs that they would misfeed and/or jam, usually when you needed it most.
      Just like in the Civil War, the damn government bean-counters in DC were sitting safely on their butts while they sent our guys into battle with crappy firearms.

      1. I’d like to think that “our guys” would have been on the side that was being given poor supplies due to bean counters in Montgomery and Richmond. 😉

      2. Actually it’s officers who do testing, blame them, not some “bean counters”.

      3. There were several problems with the introduction of the M16 that combined, turned into a disaster.
        1. Remington altered the specs for the bullet at the last minute to make it easier to manufacture [what could go wrong?], and then used a hotter powder to keep the ballistics in spec. This increased the heat and cycling speed beyond what the gun was intended to handle. It also increased fouling.
        2. Early M16’s didn’t have chromed barrels or chambers. This was not considered a problem at first, but it became one in combination with climate and poor maintenance. In the Vietnamese climate neglected bores and chambers could rust quickly.
        3. Colt’s marketing literature gave soldiers and officers the impression that the rifle never needed to be cleaned or oiled. When arms experts were sent to Vietnam after the problems started they were horrified to find that most troops had never been issued cleaning kits or had any idea that the rifle needed cleaning or how to do it.
        The combination of excessive fouling, excessive cycling speed, rough, corroded chambers, and lack of lubrication was more than the otherwise excellent design could be expected to handle without serious malfunctions.
        Once these problems were fixed, the M16 proved very reliable, but the bad taste left by its disastrous introduction persists to this day.

  5. Enfields are awesome. Many years ago, Sgt (Shackley?) not sure of his name….put 38 rounds into an 8 inch target in one minute….at 300 yards! The original Mad Minute! I doubt I could see a deer that far away. 303 british seems to me, to be more accurate, a little further out, than 308. Looking at it in the historical perspective of course.

  6. My grandfather was a US Army Infantry WW 1 veteran. He liked the Springfield 1903 but said it was a bitch to keep clean during the 11 months of trench warfare he endured. The only thing more important than a rifle, a good gasmask. If a bullet didn’t do you in, the gas would, big time.

    1. Mine served in WWII in the south Pacific and he carried the 03′ as well. He declined to take a M1 when they offered him one. He said the accuracy was fantastic.

  7. Which one of these did Captain Alvin York use to kill all those evil Germans?
    Modern moral system goes like this: Kill dozens of German soldiers and you’re a hero (Captain Alvin York). Kill dozens of queers (Jeffrey Dahmer) and you’re a monster. Seems to me the former helped to kill off the best men of Europe while the latter was performing a noble function akin to that of a garbage eating carp.

    1. To kill men in battle is a far different act than to lure men into a basement, kill, dismember and eat them and god knows what else.
      To compare a war hero to a mass murderer seems unworthy.

    2. York made himself famous with a Pattern 1914 Enfield made especially to fire the rimless 30-06 cartridge and known as the Model 1917, often called “Enfield P17”. For a turnbolt rifle, it is one heavy S.O.B., and as a long lock time, so it is hard for the average shooter to get good accuracy. That fact makes York all the more impressive, since he overcame the hardware handicap and could still shoot like a house on fire.

    1. Sadly the real fallout was in the rest of the world as WW1 & WW2, led to the end of colonization and the rise of chaos 🙁

      1. That was mostly due to the rise of communist infiltration in the Western world and the reluctance of Western leadership to effectively confront it.

    2. Nope, that honour goes to the Franco-Prussian war, the first true war, where both sides used breech-loading, single-shot, bolt-action rifles (contrary to popular belief, the Mauser was NOT the first bolt-action rifle, the french Chassepot rifle and german Dreyese needle gun, take those honors). I would say, it started at Waterloo, had the French won the day, Germany would have taken longer, to form as one, united, nation, and on top of that, Tsarist Russia would have become a constitutional democracy, I’d go so far to state.

  8. Millions of the best men fed into that meat grinder while the retarded, physically disabled, and criminal elements remained safe at home. WWI was a massive dysgenic undertaking.

    1. Sounds like literally every war. Also, what is the hate on retarded and disabled for?

      1. no hate here. just pointing out the fact that these disabled/retarded/weak people had the chance to reproduce contrary to all the best men who died in combat… hence contributing to the degenerated society we have nowadays.

        1. The US lost about a half million men during WW2, most of them were between the ages of 18 to 30. However, around 4 million men in the same age group were rejected by the military for various degeneracies. Keep in mind the US population at the time was 130 million & the birthrate actually leveled off from the mid 1920’s, thru the depression & throughout WW2. It would not pick up again until the baby boom years (1946-64 Keep in mind, also that life expectancy in that era was only around 60 for a man & there were still communicable diseases like polio that also took its toll on the general population, killing or disabling thousands annually.

        2. I’ll take a Christian retard over an educated, smart, atheist any day of the week. Guess which one will be the degenerate?

        3. 1) There have always been retarded and disabled people, it isn’t some thing new. 2) If one person has a disability, it does not mean all their offspring (or even any) will have that disability.

        4. Agree. i meant mentally disabled/challenged which does impact in one way or another throught education.
          The point here is, as Waldemar Pabst stated, this 1st world war wiped out a lot of “good” men, hence good genetics from the gene pool. it does’nt make me nazi to state such a fact.

        5. And guess which one could be relied upon to pull you out of a burning vehicle?

        6. Those people didn’t necessarily have good genetics though. They just happened to not have two pairs of any bad genetics…

        7. Polio may have been DDT poisoning. Polio vaccine in the late 50s early 60s was contaminated with an ape virus and everybody who had that vaccine, and later had cancer, had that virus in the tumors. http://www.dissolvingillusions.com has graphs based on historical records that show vaccines did nothing but ride the coattails of better public health. See for yourself. The declines in deaths from infectious disease were mostly done before vaccines came along. Vaccines are bullshit and are causing more disease and death than would otherwise be. Food allergies are largely due to vaccines. Peanut oil included as an adjuvant in vaccines is responsible for deathly peanut allergies. Children who never get vaccines don’t get autism. Children who do get vaccines have a 1 in 68 or so chance of getting autism. And probably, a wider range of mental difficulties are coming about than the 1 in 68 figure.

      2. I agree is NOT hate.
        Look at all the foot defects people have now.
        flat-feet, over/under pronation…
        perhaps all the good feet were blown up in the trenches?

        1. “Look at all the foot defects people have now.” Ummm… I literally don’t know anyone with a foot defect.

    2. On more than one occasion I’ve looked at pictures of groups of WWI/WWII soldiers and thought “man, these guys wouldn’t have stood by while some lunatic swung an axe at people on a train or a woman was being raped at a public festival”.
      That said, nothing is quite as dysgenic as the modern welfare state…

      1. Modern feminasty women don’t deserve to be “saved” from rape or any other kind of crime. They’re “strong and independent” and “don’t need a man”…the feminists and their Useful Idiots of the female population said so.
        They just need Big Daddy Government and his White Knights in Blue Uniforms…so fu*k them.

    3. I agree completely. Ive talked to a lot of people that have been to Germany etc and say the men there are totally feminine – all the badasses died in the wars

  9. I’m sure the millions who died in the trenches would feel relieved to know their ultimate sacrifice made their nations safe … for imported Muslims to drive trucks through crowds of children and attack subway passengers with axes and machetes.

    1. <<o. ★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★:::::::!be310p:….,….

    2. they would also be relieved to know that we elect again and again those motherfuckers leftist leaders who allowed these savages in, who repress real patriots, and praise multiculturalism while ignoring the facts

      1. <<o. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::::!!br306p:….,….

    3. “In modern warfare, there’s nothing sweet or fit in you dying. You will die like a dog & for no good reason.”
      Ernest Hemingway

      1. If that cucked Pope Francis the Aresehole of course can’t reasonably call for an Crusade, a Reprisal or at least Immigration restriction (the latter his within his power to do) even after one of his Priests has been murdered, beheaded and his body desecrated shows what a useless simpleton and traitor he is.
        He hasn’t even had the decency to memorialise the Priests murdered with Statues to Honor Monks Killed by Moslems
        The film Of Gods and Men told the true story of the French monks living in at a monastery in Tibhirine who were assassinated in Algeria.
        So Fuck the Pope.
        In 2006 during his Regensburg Address Pope Benedict warned of two things 1 de-hellenisation, the loss of Aristotelian logic and reason that kept the West together and
        2 he recalled the debate in the 7th of the 26 Dialogues Held With A Certain Persian, the Worthy Mouterizes, in Anakara of Galatia, written in 1391 as an expression of the views of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, one of the last Christian rulers before the Fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottoman Empire, on such issues as forced conversion, holy war, and the relationship between faith and reason. The passage, in the English translation published by the Vatican, was:
        “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached”
        For the reason Muslims murdered Christians throughout the world, including Copts in Egypt.
        I’m over getting cucked by these stupid dessert religions.
        At least the Dali Lama said Germany shouldn’t become an Arab nation.

    1. If I had to pick the one that killed the most commies, I’d put money on the Mauser….

      1. What do you mean, the Soviet Union was supported by the German Empire… Unless by commies you also include the German Civil war in the early 20’s.

        1. Well, a variant of the Mauser was still being used by Germany AGAINST the USSR….the Mauser 98K. Basically a shorter version of the 98, the “K” denoting “Karbine”. So, the 98 was a commie slayer.

  10. If I had to bet my life on one of these rifles I wouldn’t know which one to pick except I know I wouldn’t want a Lebel. All the rest of them are close to being indestructible.
    In the case of all the above except the Lebel, those same basic rifles were also used in WW2. There were improved models available but they were the same basic rifle. The U.S. fielded the M1 Garand but it was introduced in 1938 and there weren’t enough of them to go around early in the war so the 03 Springfield also saw front line service with Marines and the Army.
    I can’t remember all the different designations of the SMLE but the British infantry rifle of WW2 was an improved version of earlier models as was the Soviet Moisin-Nagant along with the German Mauser.
    You have to give the commies credit for fielding what has the be the simplest most foolproof rifle of all time that worked and worked well.
    All that being said my first choice would probably be the SMLE, buttery smooth action, 10 round capacity and a 1.5 foot bayonet for when those damned dirty Huns get too close. The only bad thing about British infantry weapons of the time was if you had a handgun for backup it was one of those funny looking Webley revolvers instead of a Smith&Wesson or a Colt.(they did have some American lend lease revolvers chambered in 38S&W instead of 38special or 45acp)

    1. “damn dirty huns”
      Love it.
      Also, I don’t care how advanced technology gets, all rfles should have a bayonet. In 100 years if they have starwars laser blasters there should still be a big ass sword on the front of them.
      Even if it is inconvenient. Even if it serves no practical purpose. The lack of bayonets is, as far as I am concerned, what is wrong with the military today.

      1. Even if it serves no practical purpose……it looks cool.
        Even if they have laser blasters, the batteries might go dead. Lol

        1. yup.
          There is simply no reason not to have a bayonette. Shit, I might put one on my Swiffer.

        2. see now, that is just wrong. Based on the laws of Coolness Bayonets should never be illegal…hell, they should be mandatory.
          Mind you, I know 0 about guns. That said, I do know that bayonets are awesome.

        1. According to the law of fucking awesomeness (the only law that I allow to govern my life) they should be used constantly, on every form of gun, at all times.

        2. See, the sheer awesomeness of that is off the charts.

      1. Enfields too, most of those rifles will still be around for a long time.
        There are probably still a lot of surplus rifles from WW2 still
        sitting in government warehouses.
        Up until the last few years there were still
        Crates of Moisin Nagants available for 100-125$.

  11. I was browsing at the local Gander Mountain recently, and they had about 25 Swiss Schmit-Rubin rifles. 7.5 mm, and a very good weapon from what I understand.

  12. The rimmed .303 was outdated by the time WW1 started and no mention of the best of the best, the Eddystone? The Enfields were the ‘spray and pray’ weapon of that era while the Springfields were sleek, accurate snipers. Would much rather be armed with the 03 or the Mauser because of the better ammo.

  13. I had an Enfield…beautiful weapon. The only problem is that the caliber was not that common, making it a pain in the arse for casual shooting.

  14. I think you sell the ’98 Mauser a bit short. Its design became THE bolt action design that everyone else copied to this day. If a nation wanted a bolt action then the Mauser was the go-to model. There are Siamese, Argentine, Egyptian, Turkish, Serbian, and Swedish Mausers. The US was sued and had to pay royalties for Mauser patent infringements in the design of the M1903.
    If you hunt with any modern bolt action it is probably is much closer to a Mauser in design than to an Enfield. The front locking lugs made the Mauser action tremendously strong (and suitable for a variety of cartridges). Its powerful primary-extraction “unscrews” the spent cartridge, even if somewhat stuck, and holds rounds securely until ejection or chambering.
    While the Mauser set the standard in later bolt action design, I agree that the unusual and extremely ergonomic Enfield deserves all your praise as among the best bolt-action battle rifles made.

  15. I know how most of you here (rightly) feel about video games so this might be a tad controversial but given the topic of this article, it’s all too relevant. There is a game on Steam called Verdun. It’s an historical FPS set in the trenches of WW1. And it is amazing. It features all of the beautiful rifles showcased in this article, except for the Mosin Nagant because, as of now, you can only play on the western front with the English, the Americans, the French, the Belgians and the Germans.
    The game is as immersive as it gets. It is really nerve-racking to spawn in a muddy hole while you hear your comarades dying and screaming after they got one of their arms ripped off by a machine gun. That is however a piece of cake compared to crossing the no-man’s land. When you hear the sound of the whistle telling you it’s time to charge, and you hear the bullets whizzing by your head and you see your friends getting blown up by a mortar strike next to you, it’s almost like you’re really there.
    The only thing this game lacks is proper bayonet charges but often, the servers just aren’t crowded enough to acheive something credible. Besides that, this is absolutely a game I would reccomend for the history savvy or just someone who’s looking for a FPS not populated by screaming 12 years old kids camping in a corner with a sniper rifle.

    1. If I didn’t live at the end of the world and could,get high speed internet I would try it.

  16. often see the .303 British ammo available in bass-pro-shops,
    Actually abundant compared to nato ammo during the recent ammo-run…
    Would love to buy, and fire a British Enfield 303.
    Apparently the way to rapid fire was to use the thumb and index finger for bolt action while middle finger for trigger.
    Allowing shooter to maintain position.
    Was also chambered in 30.06 for Americans

      1. You may be right i havent wikipedia it.
        But, from memory the 308 wasnt around then. The americans had springfield/30.06 ??
        And Enfield provided an american version chambered in 30.06 probably licensed to manufacture locally???
        War is a great business

      2. M1917 Enfield was produced in the USA under license agreement in 30-06 for the American Expeditionary Forces and in 303 for British forces.

  17. The Americans had got themselves in a bit of a pickle during the Spanish-America war when they went against Spaniards armed with Mausers using the Krag-Jorgensen. The Spaniards inflicted a lot of casualties with the Mauser, some several thousand within a brief period during the initial assaults.
    Col. John T. Thompson, a distant cousin of mine, hastily assembled some Gatling Gun crews to throw at the Spaniards and ultimately prevailed during the Battle of San Juan Hill.
    It was this debacle that led to development of the 1903 Springfield.
    Thompson also qualified the 1911 .45 for adoption by the U.S. Army. His field experiment were somewhat primitive, shooting human carcasses and live cattle. They used a subjective visual observation of how much the cadavers “shook” after being hit by the rounds.
    He of course later specified the .45 for use in the iconic Thompson Submachine Gun.

  18. The SMLE was (is, to an extent) a great rifle, but was hampered by British doctrine at the time. It’s most innovative and potentially game-changing feature was the detachable box magazine. This should’ve allowed British soldiers to pre-load many magazines and quickly reload on the field of battle.
    Unfortunately, the Colonel Blimp types, insisted on issuing only one magazine per rifle and that the magazine should be refilled every time it became empty…wasting precious minutes that could’ve been better spent firing at the enemy.
    It should also be noted that the British .303 round which it was chambered for, was a pig, in comparison to both the German 7.92 and American 30-06.

    1. That’s bull. You can reload with stripper clips just as fast if not faster then just swapping out the magazine.

        1. We are talking about a bolt action rifle here, not a semi auto. I might also like to remind you that the Soviet SKS used stripper clips as well.

  19. The only clear winner of the bolt action rfile designs was Mauser. 90% of today’s bolt guns are Mauser design. The Enfield was noticeably different because it cocked the hammer when you slammed the bolt closed not when you open the bolt. That’s why it was faster. But by ww2 bolts were on their way out so a fast bolt was not as important as a good bolt when selling to civilians. The 1903 springfield was just a Mauser knockoff.

    1. Doesn’t matter what the 1903 was, it never made it to France. U.S. troops were armed with the M1917, which was a Pattern 14 chambered for the 30-06 round.

  20. I’ve owned and fired many hundreds of rounds through all five of these rifles, and with the exception of the Lebel (which is an absolute stinker) I would happily go to war with any of them. The most problematic of the remaining four is the Mosin, which is a beast to operate but still a joy to shoot. (Have a mallet handy for when the bolt sticks, as it undoubtedly will.)
    The old joke goes; “The Americans came to the war with the best target rifle [Springfield ’03], the Germans with the best hunting rifle [Mauser Gew 98], and the British with the best battle rifle [SMLE].”
    Actually, the best rifle of the era never saw any service: the Mauser Mod 1896 — the “Swedish” Mauser chambered in the brilliant 6.5x55mm cartridge. I would take the Swede ahead of any of the others — more accurate, less recoil, with a flatter-shooting cartridge. Over the years, I’ve sold off all my WWI / WWII rifles except the Swede, which I will never sell. (And FYI, the steel-cored Hirtenberg surplus 6.5x55mm ammo will penetrate not just one Kevlar Level III vest through and through, but TWO.)

  21. Th United States did not use the 1903 Springfield during the war. Soldiers were armed with the M1917 witch was nothing more then a Pattern 1914 Enfield chambered for the U.S. 30-06. Even though the 1903 was the standard service rifle at the time, we did not have enough to meet troop demands. So the decision was made to take the P14 which was already being manufactured for the British and just make them with US ammo standards. That’s why a Doughboy fighting the krauts in France could fit 6 bullets into his rifle because it was originally designed to hold the British .303R.
    The picture above is the 1917. The 1903 had a open notch rear sight located in front of the bolt chamber.
    Also the only country that used a straight pull bolt system was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Everybody else used a turn bolt system.
    Check out Forgoten Weapons on youtube.com for more information.

  22. The French Lepel Ammo did not sit nose to primer when stacked in the tube magazine.

Comments are closed.