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19th Century British Surplus

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Skofnung, Aug 26, 2004.

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  1. Skofnung

    Skofnung Member

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    Here's an odd question for you.

    First off, did the British Crown auction off outdated arms in the late 19th and early 20th century?

    If so, around what year would they have hocked the Snyder Enfield conversions? What about the Martinis?

    I know when they adopted/transitioned from one service arm to the next, but when would they have sold the old ones off?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Member

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    They kept stuff around a lonnnnnng time in case the new stuff didn't work. Case in point, the SA80/L85 bullpup was transitioned to in the early 80s. When it started having serious problems in 1991 in the Gulf, the Royal Marines went aboard their ships and pulled the good old reliable L1A1/FALs out of storage and kept on marching.

    When they went to the FAL they probably had Lee-Enfields around for ten years just in case.
     
  3. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...auction off outdated arms in the late 19th and early 20th..." Probably not. More likely to have been sent to India etc. to arm friendly tribesmen and whatever was left would have been used by militia units in the "Colonies".
     
  4. cxm

    cxm Member

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    As early as the post WWI period the British government destroyed small arms rather than sell them. Case in point, huge quantities (often stated as millions) of SMLE .303 rifles were dumped in the ocean as they were considered excess to any foreeable need... after all they had just fought the war to end all wars ;) Anyway, less than 20 years later they very badly wanted and needed those rifles... and had to come begging to the US public for donations.

    The British small arms that turn up on the market are usually Colonial... Australian, Indian etc. who are not adverse to flogging off old small arms for a quick buck.

    FWIW

    Chuck
     
  5. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Plus, after what the Brits did with those donated arms, they can suck wind before I'll donate the time of day to them.
     
  6. UnknownSailor

    UnknownSailor Member

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    Well, the adage about the British destroying all their old firearms isn't 100% true. I've got a 1954 UK manufacture No. II Mk4* that was still in cosmoline when I bought it in 1997. Was $369 out the door.
     
  7. Mk VII

    Mk VII Member

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    Sam Cummings bought huge quantities of arms from the British after WW2, which included many Short Lee Enfields. Some stuff was sold in the interwar period. Quantities held in 1924 included:-

    Sht. L.E. Mk.III:- 252,998
    Sht. L.E. Mk.III*:- 1,333,865
    P-14:- 764,942

    Total all types was over 2.5 million

    But, yes, arms or parts of arms were sold periodically through the trade. many Sniders & Martinis were passed on to the Dominions; Canada still held some into the 20th C.
     
  8. p35

    p35 Member

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    FWIW, Sportsman's Guide has a bunch of those 19th century rifles for sale right now.
     
  9. Erich

    Erich Member

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    "Front rank . . . FIRE!" :)
     
  10. Skofnung

    Skofnung Member

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    The period that I am wondering about is 1880-1905.

    Would it have been possible or likley that a British mercantile company could have bought a fairly large lot (>500 rifles) of Snyders or Martinis to sell to Colonial Subjects in South Africa or India?
     
  11. Mk VII

    Mk VII Member

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    .45 (and .303) would have been illegal calibres in India because they wanted to stop the ammunition getting to the tribesmen in the North-West Frontier Province
     
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