Snider Rifle - Did it see action?

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Re: Snider Rifle - Did it see action?

Postby ED, in Los Angeles » 20 Dec 2011 06:45

The bottom line is is that the Snider was heavily used by British and colonial troops from the early 1860's right into the 20th century. Yoemanry carbines were still being made into the 1880's.....In fact the last Snider cabine was provisionally sealed on September 4, 1885!!! So it had long legs. We all are so fixated on the Martini and the Lee Metford due to movies, and the fact that most of the most studied wars were armed with the afore montioned longarms.The Snider did its bit for the Empire.

"A Snider squibbed in the jungle
Somebody laughed and fled
And the men of the First Shikaris
Picked up their subaltern dead
With a big blue mark on his forehead
And the back blowen out of his head"

"The Grave Of A Hundred Heads"-Rudyard Kipling

And colsjt65...Don't be so upset about the New Zealand units equiped with MkIII's during WW2. The MKIII was produced even after the war. It was a great gun. The British forces used them and Lithgow in Austalia made a fantastic MKIII with exagerated finger swells on the lower hand guard. Your Island was not short changed at all. You guys just fought the war with a nose cap that went all the way to the muzzle. And you gotta remember that the MKIII's replacement was not introduced untill November 15, 1939. Production commenced AFTER that date.

And even though your cavalry had obsolete carbines, you more than made up for it by acquiring your own model. On May 30,1900, a carbine was produced called the "Carbine, Magazine, fitted to take 1888 sword bayonet". This was a Lee-Enfield action with a Martini-Enfield barrel. This was the carbine of choice of the New Zealand forces. An order was placed for these carbines by New Zealand and Enfield produced 1000 of these unique barreled rifles at a cost of 2/4/11d to the New Zealand government. they were marked "NZ" on the Butt socket and are dated 1901 and 1903. Enfield produced an additional 500 and that was it...1500. A very low number. Today, these rare carbines are called the New Zealand pattern.

See:
".577 Snider-Enfield Rifles & Carbines" by Ian Skennerton
"The Lee-Enfield Story" by Ian Skennerton
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Re: Snider Rifle - Did it see action?

Postby Dixie » 20 Dec 2011 10:51

Don't forget that back home a lot of volunteer regiments also used the snider well after the introduction of the martini henry rifle (one gun behind as well!)
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Re: Snider Rifle - Did it see action?

Postby QSVC » 21 Dec 2011 02:16

One rifle behind seems to have been universal......

From the Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton Queensland) 1st October 1881

RIFLE SHOOTING, &c.

Our local Volunteers will be interested in knowing that in meeting the Townsville Artillery team in the proposed shooting match, they are not going to encounter a lot of untried men, but men who appear to be pretty expert in the use of the Snider, The other day ten members of the Battery alluded to, shooting with Sniders, fired a match against ten men from H. M. S. Sandfly, at 200, 300. and 400 yards, the blue jackets using the Martini Henry rifle. The Artillerymen shot very well, and eventually won by 62 points. The winners go against the Police team next.
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Re: Snider Rifle - Did it see action?

Postby GrantRCanada » 21 Dec 2011 06:19

Mark wrote:
Will Mathieson wrote:North West Rebellions in Canada 1885.


Interesting, I didn't even consider it was still in use in the mid-1880s! :)

Mark


Although the Canadian Militia were probably the first troops outside of the UK to get the Snider-Enfield rifle ..... having been fully re-armed with it well before the end of 1867 because of the Fenian threat .... they were also among the last in the Empire to carry it as their standard-issue longarm. Our Department of Militia & Defence never did adopt the Martini-Henry, and thus kept the Snider on issue until finally forced to adopt the Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle in 1897-98. Indeed, not all units of the Militia had their Sniders replaced until a few years into the 20th Century! (And you think the New Zealand government was niggardly! :lol: )

During the 1885 North West Rebellion, Canadian Troops were armed almost exclusively with Snider-Enfield rifles.
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Re: Snider Rifle - Did it see action?

Postby jonc@adelaide.on.net » 22 Dec 2011 07:21

Their operational use may extend beyond the period of this forum!

According to the recollections of a Highlander the mounted troops of the Kyber Rifles used sniders in the 1908 North West Frontier campaign - “a cavalcade of Khyber Rifles rode past on their hardy hill ponies. I should guess that not a man was under six feet, and what with their large bore Sniders and huge swords, I was glad they were on our side and not against us. Lt J Russell, The Mohmand Expedition, Queens Own Highlander 1985(?)

But in the official history the Khaibar Rifles is only listed as having expended 7,885 rounds Martini Henri, so the Snider recollection may be incorrect or the Khyber Rifles infantry had Martini Henris and their mounted section's return wasn't included..

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Re: Snider Rifle - Did it see action?

Postby Mark » 22 Dec 2011 11:15

Thanks all for your responses to my question, greatly appreciated! This thread is a good example of how forums can be the best place to learn as half of the above I would probably never have known even after reading dozens of books! :)

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Re: Snider Rifle - Did it see action?

Postby GrantRCanada » 27 Oct 2016 02:38

As someone with a particular interest in Canadian military history and firearms of the Victorian era - and thus a special "fondness" for the Snider-Enfield which was our primary-issue military rifle for so very long (1867 through 1896) I trust that a revival of this thread, in the form of a "pictorial essay" of sorts, will not go amiss ...

As noted above, the two significant wars/campaigns during which the Snider-Enfield was the primary-issue rifle of British Regulars were the Abyssinian Expedition of 1868 and the Ashantee (as then spelled) War of 1873/4. Unfortunately, period photographs and artist's images showing firearms tend to lack sufficient detail to permit one to distinguish that it is actually a Snider-Enfield in the view, but I have recently compiled some images in which that fact can be ascertained ... or at least inferred. Even though the image does not clearly show the Snider conversion, its presence can be inferred in at least two ways:

1) the absence of a cap pouch (something I have become very alert to, as an aid in dating photographs of Canadian Militia), and

2) depiction of the rifle being loaded without having to hold it upright or use the ramrod, as can be seen here in an image of myself shooting a Snider-Enfield in Grand Army of the Frontier competition -
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(This can extend to depictions of reloading even while kneeling or prone - something very difficult, if not impossible, to do with a muzzle-loader.)

Images of the Abyssinian Campaign of 1868:

An artist's rendering of the 4th King's Own in the Battle of Magdala -
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A detail, in which the Snider breech is evident on the rifle held by the kneeling man, and also showing the man on the left preparing to reload from his expense pouch with the rifle held horizontally -
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Another detail, showing the man reaching into his cartridge box, presumably to refresh his expense pouch prior to reloading, while kneeling and with the rifle again held horizontally -
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A photograph of British soldiers guarding a building (... if I recall correctly, the church in which the body of Emperor Tewodros was placed ...) -
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Detail of the standing sentry ... his rifle cannot really be identified, but the absence of a cap pouch on his cross-belt or waist-belt evidences that it is a Snider-Enfield -
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Another detail showing the piled rifles ... one can just barely make out the Snider breech configuration on the rifle at the near left -
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Another fairly well-known photograph taken after the fall of Magdala -
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Again, although the Snider breech is not evident on the rifles, cap pouches are clearly absent -
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The Ashantee War of 1873-74:

Although I haven't located any photographs which lend themselves to this part of the discussion, there are a number of artistic renderings of interest ...

Firstly, a depiction of a soldier of the Black Watch ... although the lack of clarity renders it difficult to distinguish whether his rifle is a Snider conversion, one can be confident that it certainly would not have been a muzzle-loader at this late date, and the absence of a cap pouch is again very telling -
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An Illustrated London News engraving depicting "The Black Watch Fighting in the Forest of Ashantee" -
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This detail clearly shows a soldier preparing to reload while kneeling, and with the rifle held more or less horizontal -
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Another image from the Illustrated London News, "The Ashantee War: Advancing on Coomassie, Facsimile of a Sketch by Our Special Artist" -
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Detail, depicting a similarly kneeling soldier in the process or reloading his rifle, but in this case quite clearly showing the Snider breech-block open -
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