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Thread: Lee Metford-lee Speed with Bore war history?

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  1. #11
    Really Senior Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobD View Post
    I also attach 2 pictures of piles of Boer rifles captured at Paardeberg.

    Those two pictures could be of the 'Ethiopean Hoard' as currently for sale by RTI

    Mine are not the best, but they are not too bad. I can think of lots of Enfields I'd rather have but instead of constantly striving for more, sometimes it's good to be satisfied with what one has...

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  3. #12
    Advisory Panel Lee Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobD View Post
    I think there are a few potential reasons to be slightly sceptical that this rifle came from Paardeberg.
    - I would not expect Boers to be carrying .303s in Feb 1900. At this stage of the South African War, the Boers were well equipped with Mausers and Mauser ammunition, and their back-ups were abundant Guedes and Martinis. The switch to carrying .303s came after the capitals had fallen and Boer ammunition wagons were scarce.
    - Boer-associated Lee Speeds are unusual [with the exception of the Jameson Raid rifles, which as I mentioned have serial nos. in the 1000 - 2000 range], one would have to come up with a plausible reason how a Boer came to carry one. Boer-captured-recaptured MLMs and MLEs are not unusual.
    - The condition of the Lee Speed shown is absolutely beautiful - better than one would expect with that story.
    - The tag and its string don't look especially old, though a close up would be useful.
    - Paardeberg Drift was the site of the Canadianicon camp - the Boer lager was 5 miles away from the drift, known simply as Paardeberg.

    For interest I attach a picture of the Boer lager to give an idea of the conditions. I have arrowed some spent RFA 15 pr shells.
    I also attach 2 pictures of piles of Boer rifles captured at Paardeberg.

    Attachment 118076
    Attachment 118077
    Attachment 118078
    The Boers were so short of ammunition that they paid their soldiers for fired cartridge brass salvaged from the battlefield.
    They had pricing based on which cartridge it was (.577/450, .303, 7x57, Guedes, 577 snider, ect.)

    They are said to have created the first industrial reloading operation.

    One of the things said to have created the "Kort-Nek" explosions was the 7.65x53 brass (supplied by DWM as 7x57 but in fact 7x53) reloaded with solid copper projectiles which deformed in the longer chamber while firing and either created a "rivet" effect or left a scraping of copper from the previous bullet which welded to then new bullet.

    7x53 is theorized to have been created to utilize massive quantities of left over 7.65x53 brass created for Spanish orders before the Spanish changed over to 7x57.

    The Boers are said to have recognized the potential causes of this issue and reduced the powder charge and grease lubricated the bullets loaded into the shorter cartridge cases.

    Anglo Boer War - Boer 7mm Mauser ammunition, and normal. - Boer War Forum
    7 X 53 KORTNEK | Cartridgecollector.net
    Last edited by Lee Enfield; 06-16-2021 at 12:15 PM.
    BSN from the Republic of Alberta

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    Really Senior Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    Only one thing is certain about the 'kortnek' cartridges, is that we don't know. The fact is they existed and were used, how they got to the Transvaal and why, will in all probability never be known. The 'kortnek' has been the subject of intense discussion in South Africa, but decades ago, with no answers except the fact that it existed and was used.

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    Advisory Panel Lee Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daan Kemp View Post
    Only one thing is certain about the 'kortnek' cartridges, is that we don't know. The fact is they existed and were used, how they got to the Transvaal and why, will in all probability never be known. The 'kortnek' has been the subject of intense discussion in South Africa, but decades ago, with no answers except the fact that it existed and was used.
    I have 2 examples in my cartridge collection - with different headstamps.

    BSN from the Republic of Alberta

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    Member Madzi's Avatar
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    The "lee-speed patents" without a BSA Co mark does seem to be a characteristic of the Jameson Raid rifles. Mine (2023) with a mismatched bolt in the 5000 series corresponding exactly to the sporting metfords carried by the raiders rather than the standard 2000 series of the Reform committee rifles, does have replaced wood from a military 1893 metford, so possible this was a later refurb that has got this particular rifle into its current pristine state if it is indeed 2000 series? The original Boer rifle wood was likely carved or battle damaged. (0n a separate note on Enfield's comments of the ammo shortage amongst the Boers, I've got a very interesting entry from my Grandfather's Boer War diary of Scottish Horse scouts watching Boers of(either De La Rey's or De Wets commandos - Magaliesberg) doing a "chicken-parade"of the old Scottish Horse campsite looking for cartridges. Will get it posted if of interest).
    Last edited by Madzi; 06-22-2021 at 07:02 AM.

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  11. #16
    Really Senior Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    Post please

  12. #17
    Member Madzi's Avatar
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    Hi Daan - this was a transcript of the entry - 2nd Jan 1902. (Thought it had more on the boers searching for ammo but it is just a passing comment). Seems clear that by this stage of the war, the Scottish Horse scouts had a clear expectation that the boers would do a scavenge for dropped ammo as soon as Britishicon troops had vacated a camp, hence the ambush. (Sendelingsfontein where this happened is just near Ventersdorp).
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  14. #18
    Really Senior Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    Living off the enemy by that time was an art as nothing else was really available. The area around Ventersdorp is still relatively empty.

  15. #19
    Really Senior Member RobD's Avatar
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    Dropped live MkII rounds are still common to find on battlefields and when I was a kid (1960s) they were very, very common. The lack of charger loading was part of the reason, but I wonder if there was an order or a habit/custom never to pick up dropped rounds in case they caused a jam during combat.

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  17. #20
    Really Senior Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    Soldiers don't care about dropping a round, as there are many more where that one came from.

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