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WWI rifles: Who had the best?

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  • WWI rifles: Who had the best?

    As an American, I am partial to the 1903 Springfield 30.06-caliber rifle. I had the opportunity to fire one of these, and had no problem hitting a target 200 yards away. (Many snipers used the Springfield in WWII). Aside from accuracy over distance, it also had a 10-shot magazine, whereas most WWI rifles had a five-shot magazine. Growing up in West Virginia (USA), I hunted for deer with men who carried the Springfield some 60 years after the war.

    However, I must admit (sadly) that two other WWI rifles were the most outstanding: The French Lebel 1886/93 and the German Mauser Gewher 98.

    The highly-accurate 8mm Lebel set the pace for firearms designers to follow in many nations; it was the first small-bore military rifle using smokeless powder, and it had a tubular magazine under the barrel that held eight rounds.

    The 7.92 mm Mauser was -- very simply -- made with excellence, and its design was often copied. Although it had a five-shot magazine, a soldier could easily fire 15 aimed shots per minute with the Mauser. Like the Springfield and Lebel, it had outstanding accuracy.

    Does anyone else agree or disagree? I look forward to your replies.

  • #2
    The SMLE.BTW,the SMLE had the 10rd mag,the 1903 Springfield had a five round mag.




    • #3
      bad source

      I was misinformed about the magazine capacity of the Springfield. The source I checked said 10, but I usually check two or three sources before I write anything. I just checked another source and it said five. Guess you can't believe everything you read.

      The SMLE was a great rifle too.


      • #4
        I like the Mauser Gewehr it was reliable and if you pissed on it it would work in cold conditions. Plus, it would leave a hole in your chest I don't think any doctors would want to k with.

        Not only that, indirectly it was the design evolved from for the 98k, through the karbine prototypes.


        • #5
          The SMLE was supposedly the best battle rifle of WW1.


          • #6
            The SMLE is generally regarded as superior but there's really not all that much difference between the major issue weapons. They all perform about the same in terms of reliability, power, range, accuracy, and durability. The 10 round magazine on the SMLE was a definite advantage, one that probably makes the difference for most. I like Springfields, but Eddystones, Mausers, SMLE, Lebel's, are all sound weapons. Anything but the Ross. Although Herbert McBride even praises that weapon in "A rifleman went to war."

            It's really a Ford / Chevy kind of argument. Some folks just like their particular brand.


            • #7
              We did, the best bolt-action rifle in history, the SMLE.
              Indyref2 - still, "Yes."


              • #8
                Here's a link to the very best rifle of WW1...

                The long toll of the brave
                Is not lost in darkness
                Over the fruitful earth
                And athwart the seas
                Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                Unquenchable forever.


                • #9
                  I think a mention should be made of the Moisin-Nagan from Russia. It was crude, rough and accurate.

                  I don't normally include the Lebel when discussing "the Best" rifles. How do you load that 8 round tubular magazine? Most other rifles used 5 round clips that could be easily added to the magazine. You are aware the Lebel did not have a front sight?

                  The Mauser was the most widely spread rifle design in the World. It was chambered from 6.5mm to 7.98mm. Technically the Springfield pirated the action of the Mauser.

                  I personally like the Enfield 1917 that many Americans carried because they could not provide enough Springfields. It had a 10 round magazine, which was not detachable.

                  Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                  Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                  by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
                    Here's a link to the very best rifle of WW1...

                    Yeech! Two times in the same millenium I'm agreeing with you. What's next, cats and dogs running off together?
                    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"


                    • #11
                      If I'm not mistaken,the SMLE also had a higher rate of fire than other bolt-actions.
                      ALL LIVES SPLATTER!

                      BLACK JEEPS MATTER!

                      BLACK MOTORCYCLES MATTER!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                        You are aware the Lebel did not have a front sight?
                        You mean like this? (Lebel 1886/93)

                        Or rather, er, yes I was...

                        Heaven forbid I would try to champion the Lebel as the best WWI rifle, but the lacking-front-sight-thing is apparently some kind of a popular myth in certain parts.
                        Last edited by Johan Banér; 15 Jun 10, 07:28.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Johan Banér View Post
                          You mean like this? (Lebel 1886/93)
                          JB, is this really the picture you wanted to show us?

                          You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.


                          • #14
                            All WW I rifles were excellent. The british SLME had the highest rate of fire, and smothest action, only inferior to a semiauto. I understand that achieved this at the expense of some robustness. The Mauser had two locking lugs, the Enfield only one. But in combat the higher rates usually wins.

                            The Springfield was a copy of the Mauser, and it was a Mauser made in the US with US bells and whistles. The Germans complained, but the US said 'sue us'. The US copied it after fighting the Spaniards in Cuba (Spaniards had the Mausers, the US had the Krag). Praising the Springfield, is praising the Mauser.

                            Some soldier said that a Mauser was a hunting rifle, the Springfield a target rifle, but the Lee-Enfield was a combat rifle.

                            I own an Enfield, a Mauser, and a Springfield. If I had to go to war, and they were my only choices, I'd take the SLME.
                            Last edited by Hugojose; 15 Jun 10, 15:18.


                            • #15
                              Arent some ancient Lee Enfields firing at NATO troops in Afghanistan at the moment. So Ive heard.


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