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Has any Army ever adopted a lever action?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Freddymac, May 12, 2006.

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  1. Freddymac

    Freddymac Member

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    I was talking to one of my pro gun friends at work. Don’t worry, we were at lunch. We were talking about how we both have Win mod 94’s in 30-30 handed down form our dads. Then we naturally just started talking about lever actions. You know which ones we would like, what we would like to see chambered, etc. Then, somehow the question came up, has any military ever adopted a lever action on a large scale as their main battle rifle? If anyone knows it would be interesting to find out the who, what, and when?

    Thanks,
    Fred
     
  2. Eleven Mike

    Eleven Mike Member

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    The Turks, in the nineteenth century I believe.
     
  3. AJAX22

    AJAX22 Member

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    The Russian Czars army in wwI were issued winchesters at times.
     
  4. History Nut

    History Nut Member

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    Almost the MBR

    I read about a battle between the Turks and I believe the Russians where the Turks issued Winchesters to every soldier in the trenches to supplement their single-shot breechloaders. They volley fired at long range with their single-shot rifles(that had more range than the Winchesters) until the Russians got to within 100 yards. They then switched to the Winchesters and poured devastating fire into the Russian ranks which broke their attack.

    In WWI, the Russians bought a large quantity of Model 1895 Winchesters chambered in 7.62 x 54R Russian to supplement their production of M1891 Mosin-Nagants. Besides being chambered in the Russian cartridge, they were made with a stripper clip guide. They were full length rifles with bayonets. I have often wondered what happened to all those 1895s and if they survived and could be imported and sold here.

    All the above is based on long-ago reading and may contain inaccurate information.:D
     
  5. sterling180

    sterling180 Member

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    Did the US army or Marine Corps, adopt the Winchester 1892 and 1894 lever-action rifles-for use in WW?,because a replica gun manufacturer called Relics,said that it was used by the US in WW1.
     
  6. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    sterling, unofficially many U.S. infantry and cavalry unit adopted the Henry rifle during the American Civil War, including one of my ancestors cavalry units.
     
  7. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Member

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    Not adopted but allowed. Soldiers could and did buy and use Henry repeaters in the late 1800's.
     
  8. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Tsarist Russia bought several thousand Winchester 1895 lever
    actions in 7.62x54R. These were used for decades in Tsarist
    and Soviet service.

    Even earlier, Russian troops armed with single shot rifles got a
    rude surprise from Turks armed with Winchester 1866 modified
    by Hiram Maxim to semi-auto by use of a spring loaded buttplate
    linked to the action lever.

    Winchester 1894 in .30-30 was a common US police and prison
    guard choice and probably ended up in non-standard non-issue
    military use over the years, but was not officially adopted.
    160 gr FMJ .30-30 was cataloged for police use for years.
    There were many models of guns used in small numbers by the
    US military but not officially adopted as standard issue, including
    the Remington Model 8 semi-auto rifle in .30 Remington (a rimless
    .30-30 cartridge). Strangly it seems the US military did not
    officially adopt a lever action, the most "American" of all repeaters.
     
  9. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    Beer bet

    The Russian Winchester leads to a trick beer bet question just about every body gets wrong.

    Question: For what cartridge were the greatest number of Winchester Model 1895 chambered?

    Answer: The 6.62x54R Russian.

    Of course most people will guess 405 Winchester, 30-40 krag, etc.

    I have heard some estimates that the 7.62x54R chambering accounted for more than 50% of all 1895s or more than all other chamberings combined.
     
  10. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Any serious collector types know if any of these still exist?

    I imagine they'd fetch a good price, more than I can afford, but they'd sure be interesting pieces!

    Are there blueprints around anywhere? It would also be intriguing to take a '66 replica and build one.
     
  11. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    During the Civil War, the Union Army bought over 100,000 (I think) Spencer carbines and rifles in .56-.50 and .56-.52. A small number of Henry rifles in .44 Rimfire were also purchased.

    During World War I a small number of Winchester 1894s in .30 WCF were bought for home guard type use.

    During the 1870s the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) purchased a large number of Winchester 1866 Muskets in .44 Rimfire. These were used to great effect against the Russians at the Battle of Plevna in 1877.

    In the late 19th Century, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police adopted the Winchester 1876 in .45-75 WCF.

    During World War I, the Russians bought a very large number of Winchester 1895 Muskets in 7.62x54R and fitted with a stripper clip guide.
     
  12. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Member

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    Spencer and Henry lever actions during our "Civil War", and the Spencer stayed in service though the 1870's Indian Wars.

    The Turks bought Evans lever action rifles to use against the Russians also.

    The already mentioned Winchester 1895 cal 7.62x54r went to Russia, I also wondered if we'd see them reappear after the fall of the USSR, along with S&W Russian model revolvers, maybe someday.
     
  13. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, Man if I was in California (thankfully I'm not) I think Winchester 1895 in 7.62 x 54R with a stripper clip guide would be just the ticket. I know Garands and M1As are still legal there, but that '95 lever gun would be pretty sweet.
     
  14. Sleuth

    Sleuth Member

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    Armed Bear, since you are in the People Republic of **********, you cannot make a fully auto lever gun. In fact, unless you are a "Type 07" manufacturer, no one can. Manufactuire of new MG's was banned in 1986.

    I think at one point the Mexican Army (yes, there is such a thing) adopted some variant of lever gun.
     
  15. Tory

    Tory member

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    We issued Sharps and Spencer rifles

    and the British issued the Martini-Henry. And was not the Burnside also a lever action?

    Yes, each was a single-action. But the question said NOTHING about repeaters; only "lever action."

    The Spencer was, as mentioned, used by entire Federal units during the Civil War (See John Wilder's "Lightning Brigade" at Hoover's Gap, for example). So. there's a repeating lever action.
     
  16. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    The Army had a chance to adopt a prototype Savage 99, but turned them down. They wanted the same kind of toys the Eruopean armies had. Ironically, our military had nothing as good as the '99 until the Garand came out. I'll put a Savage '99 nose-to-nose against a Springfield or Krag any day of the week as a battle rifle. The Savage is easier to tote, faster to the shoulder and can fire VERY fast. I remember shooting down spruce trees from the hip, one after the other, with my '99 in .308 and wondering why the devil we never adopted this rifle for our doughboys. It would have made a legendary trench weapon, even better than the scattergun. The accuracy edge of the bolt actions beyond 300 yards isn't as great as people think and doesn't matter much in real warfare anyway, outside of a sniper's weapon.
     
  17. Sleuth

    Sleuth Member

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    Cosmo, you may have a point .... right up until it's time to reload. Then, the 1903 with chargers trumps your 99.
     
  18. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    Martini

    The Martini is not a lever action but a martini action. I had two, one an ex-Australian training rifle, the other an Ithica 22LR designed to look like a lever action.
     
  19. JesseJames

    JesseJames Member

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    Yeah but the Spencer is not REALLY a lever-action. It's a drop breach loader.
     
  20. JesseJames

    JesseJames Member

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    Yeah but the Spencer is not REALLY a lever-action. It's a drop breach loader isn't it?
     
  21. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    They were also issued at the start of the German invasion in 1941, since the Soviets were desparate for ANYTHING that would fire a bullet.

    As to what happened to them, some of them apparently made it to the US, since I almost bought one from a gunstore in Cleveland in the late '80s or early '90s.

    As far as the Maxim converted Winchester 66s, to the best of knowledge, NONE of those ever made their way into combat. In fact, I believe that only a handful at best were made for testing before Maxim moved onto bigger and better things.

    Regarding Winchester '92s and '94s, the U.S. military made repeated small purchases of them as utility and "pot" guns. As an interesting trivia item, in the movie Destination Tokyo, the landing party sent to spy on and spoof the Japanese is armed with at least one Winchester '92 or '94. I don't know if this is an accurate portrayal of smallarms issued to submarine crews, or if it was a substitution for unavailable M1 Carbines.
     
  22. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    There's no reason the '99 couldn't have been rigged with chargers for military use. The Greek Mannlicher-Schoenauer also used a rotary magazine and fed off chargers. I was able to feed my .308 off chargers, though without the clip feeder built in it was tricky.

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    The Spencer is a 7 shot repeater. The magazine is in the buttstock. You may be thinking of the Sharps, which does bear some cosmetic similarities to the Spencer.
     
  24. Leonovicz

    Leonovicz Member

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    The Modern Firearms website has a page on the Winchester 1895, complete with a picture of the Russian variation. Interesting to see a full-length stock and upper handguard on the '95. I once saw a fine page on the Spencer carbine, but can't seem to remember the URL. Here is a website that includes a cross section picture.
     
  25. Jac

    Jac Member

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    Oh, man... I really like that '95 Saddle Ring Carbine. *drool*
     
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