View Full Version : Pop quiz!!!

May 21, 2007, 03:05 PM
Goodday, afficionados of the longarms!:D

dutchgunsmoke here with a question. I did try (no really, I did, dove into the available gunencyclopedias, which are more then scares in my neck of the woods, mind you) but couldn't find a conclusive answer. And I still am not absolutely sure what the answer is, so I figured to ask the people here if you might know it...:rolleyes:

Question is this:

Which rifle (and my guess is that it would probably be a bold-action) was the first rifle ever to come with a removable magazine?

First thing that came up in my mind was the German Mauser Model 1898, but I'm better safe then sorry.

Thanks for your input!

lee n. field
May 21, 2007, 03:14 PM
I'm going to guess the Lee-Metford.

Mike Irwin
May 21, 2007, 03:15 PM
The 98 Mauser doesn't have a removable magazine.

It has a blind magzine with a removable floor plate. Different critters.

That's a really good question...

I believe that the Swiss 1889 Schmidt Rubin had a detachable magazine.

I'm fairly certain that the original Lee-Metford rifles also had detachable magazines in 1888.

May 21, 2007, 03:21 PM
You are correct about the 1889 Schmidt-Rubin. I was just looking up that info at swissrifles.com. :)

Mike Irwin
May 21, 2007, 03:27 PM
I was just there myself and confirmed what I thought I remembered.

I'm wracking my brain, but as far as I can tell, those rifles were the first to be manufactured in any quantity and use a detachable magazine.

There many have been contemporaries, or even ones made a little earlier that had detachable magazines, but nothing of any note that I can think of.

May 21, 2007, 04:19 PM
Thanks for the replies, gents!

I also thaught that the Mauser wasn't the first but couldn't find the one that was the first. So the Schmidt-Rubin would be the first with a removable magazine, 12 shots, caliber 7.5 x53.5mm.


May 21, 2007, 04:20 PM
I cant remember the name of the rifle exactly, but there was a rifle used in the american civil war that used detachable tube magazines, inserted into the but of the gun. I belive it was called the Volcanic Repeater, but there were many tube loading rifles in use during that time, and not all had detachable tubes.

The swiss may have been the first to use a detachable box, but not the first removable magazine.

Mike Irwin
May 21, 2007, 05:07 PM

No. The Volcanic Repeater was an early Smith & Wesson design that used self-contained cartridges (the hollow based bullet contained both propellant and primer).

Smith & Wesson (the men) sold their patents to Oliver Winchester, who turned the design over to Benjamin Tyler Henry. The rest, as they say, is history.

As for the "but there was a rifle used in the american civil war that used detachable tube magazines," no, not really the case.

You're thinking of the Spencer repeating rifle, probably in combination with the Blakeslee Cartridge Box.

It didn't use a detachable magazine, it used an integral tubular magazine.

The Blakeslee Cartridge Box didn't contain magazines, it contained, essentially magazine chargers in the form of tubes that held 7 cartridges. As the gun was emptied, a tube could be pulled from the cartridge box, the magazine port in the butt of the carbine opened, and cartridges would be poured from the Blakeslee tube into the magazine. The Blakeslee tube was then either discarded or put back into the cartridge box.

Mike Irwin
May 21, 2007, 05:08 PM
Ah. Here, this isn't very big, but it shows the relationship of the spring to the rest of the action.


And this one shows the actual rifle with the magazine tube assembly partially withdrawn. IIRC the spring was captive in the tube. In the top image you can see what seems to be a plug in the front of the magazine tube, not unlike the plug in many tube-fed .22 rifles.


May 21, 2007, 05:19 PM
There was a movie that had one of those in it and I'm wracking my brain trying to remember what it was.Usually,they just stick a 94 Winchester in there.

May 21, 2007, 05:25 PM
A detachable magazine? Or a detachable box magazine?

If you are asking about a detachable magazine, there were even black-powder cap and ball magazine rifles ("harmonica" rifles) that had detachable magazines that held 4-6 shots. When you fired a shot, you moved the magazine to line up another chamber to fire. Kind of like a Colt revolver in a straight line.

If you are asking about detachable magazines for self-contained metallic cartridge rifles, there was the Spencer carbine during the Civil War that used feed tubes, and of course the Gatling guns.

Since Mauser is generally credited with inventing the box magazine for the 1888 Commission rifle, most people are probably referring to detachable box magazines that you can carry loaded and attach to the rifle to recharge it with ammo. En-bloc clips for the 1891 Mannlicher rifles that were pushed into the rifle and carried the ammo might qualify.

The SMLE, while the magazine could be removed, was not a truly detachable box magazine, since if you remove it you dump all the rounds on the ground.

I am not that familiar with the Scmidt-Rubin, but if it has a box magazine that can be detached and/or reattached while loaded, it might be the one. The 1908 Mondragon rifle (way ahead of its time) actually used a detachable box magazine quite similar to what we would consider normal today.

May 21, 2007, 05:33 PM
Which rifle (and my guess is that it would probably be a bold-action) was the first rifle ever to come with a removable magazine?

I've always preferred meek actions, myself. ;)

May 21, 2007, 06:03 PM
Looks like i stand corrected. Thanks for the info Mike. and yes, that was the rifle i had in mind.

May 21, 2007, 08:47 PM
There was a movie that had one of those in it and I'm wracking my brain trying to remember what it was.

The Spencer rifle played prominently in The Unforgiven (1992) with Clint Eastwood. It was Ned's (Morgan Freeman's) rifle, but Will Munny (Eastwood) used it with good effect in the ending scene, not to mention the Schofield revolver and a double-barrel shotgun of some sort.

So which came first, the Lee-Metford or the first Schmidt-Rubin?

May 21, 2007, 09:00 PM
My guess is the Lee-Metford. I havent looked up a date, but i think it dates from somtime in the 1880's

Mike Irwin
May 21, 2007, 09:06 PM
Spencers have been in a number of movies over the years, just not featured quite as prominently as Unforgiven.

Hard to say which came first, so I guess you've got to go with year adopted into military service. In that case, the Lee-Metford wins by a year.

"Since Mauser is generally credited with inventing the box magazine for the 1888 Commission rifle..."

The 1888 Commission rifle used Count Ferdinand von Mannlicher's magazine; not a Mauser magazine.. Later ones were modified to use Mauser stripper clips.

May 21, 2007, 09:08 PM
FF,you're right,that was exactly the scene I was thinking about.

44 AMP
May 21, 2007, 09:23 PM
Adopted December 1888. 8 round magazine for the (blackpowder loaded) .303 cal cartridge.

Schmidt Rubin -1889

May 21, 2007, 10:25 PM
1886--Ferdinand von Mannlicher--also later the rotary

May 22, 2007, 12:01 AM
I know that there were several revolver-rifles made in the 1800's.. did any of them have cylinders removable for loading?

Mike Irwin
May 22, 2007, 09:51 AM
As far as I know, no, none of the revolving rifles had cylinders that had to be removed for loading. They COULD be, but there were rammers under the forearms on all Colt revolving rifles.

A cap and ball revolving rifle is NOT something I'd really care to fire.

May 22, 2007, 12:16 PM
-Napkin mode on-

I just love the Root Rifles from Colt, those Sidehammers make me drewl big time! :p


This topic is starting to look like the result of a U.S. Presidential Election - too close too call! ;)

1888 seems to be a good year for some innovative gunsmithing.

Latest what I found comes surprisingly enough from my own neck of the woods.

Apparently the Dutch Army started experimenting with the Beaumont Rifle as early as 1879 to have it fitted with a removable magazine.For this experiment they used mixed parts from Krnka, Kropatcheck, Wrendl, Mannlicher, Vitali and Lee. But here's the thriller ones again: in what year was the Beamont finally introduced combining the Vitali system with a four-round magazine?

That's right folks, 1888!
Does this perhaps gives anyone a hint?

Fun thread this is turning out to be!

May 22, 2007, 01:00 PM
But that rifle does not have a removable magazine! In that case, the Mauser 71/84 with the tube magazine could also be a correct answer, along with any of the Winchester rifles. The 1888 commission rifle also had a box magazine.

Mike Irwin
May 22, 2007, 01:17 PM
I suppose with a hacksaw the Moisin Nagant or Carcano rifles would also quality as having "removable magazines."

I contend that a tubular magazine is not a removable magazine, especially not the kind found on Winchester rifles where it requires a screwdriver and vise to remove the magazine tube.

Jim Watson
May 22, 2007, 01:38 PM
1879 Lee, actually made by Sharps in 1880 and 1881 before the company folded, thereafter by Remington; commonly known as Remington-Lee.

Mike Irwin
May 22, 2007, 01:55 PM


I remembered the Remington-Keene and forgot all about the Remington-Lee.

And here's a picture of the magazine for a Model 1882 Remington-Lee magazine...


May 22, 2007, 02:17 PM
If the Remington-Lee magazine is similar to the SMLE magazine, although it can be removed it was never designed to be a removable/reusable type of mag. I may have read too much into the OP, but I read "removable magazine" to be one that you would remove/reload/replace as part of recharging the rifle.

Mike Irwin
May 22, 2007, 02:49 PM

Lee designed the magazine to be removable.

British military doctrine of the time mandated that the magazine not be removed except for cleaning, repair, or other reasons (see below).

In fact, British military doctrine of the time mandated that Lee-Metfords, and later Lee-Enfields, be used as single-shot rifles with the magazine being held in reserve for emergencies.

I'm also fairly certain that early on the British issued TWO magazines with each rifle, both of which were to be kept loaded.

Remember, original doctrine for the 1903 Springfield was that the magazine be held in reserve and the rifle used as a single-shot.

May 31, 2007, 01:12 PM
I would like to thank all who have participated in this discussion for there input. It was very educating, to say the least.

Thanks very much and keep them smoking!