HC Deb 15 March 1900 vol 80 c908

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether the service rifle now in use by our troops weighs nearly 1 lb. more than the Mauser, the Mannlicher, and the weapon of the United States Army; whether the magazine of the British rifle can only be refilled by placing single cartridges one at a time in the slot, whereas the magazine of the Mauser rifle used by the Boers can be recharged by a single movement of the hand; whether the ammunition in use for the British rifle is heavier than that in use by the leading Continental armies, and whether, in consequence, a smaller supply is carried by the British soldier than by the German, French, or Italian soldier; and whether weight of equipment and rapidity of loading are points of grave military importance.


There are many patterns of Mannlichers and Mausers, and the British rifle is heavier than some and lighter than others. The American army rifle is ½ lb. heavier than the British rifle. The statements made in paragraph 2 are accurate, but there are reasons for preferring the arrangements for loading which have been adopted in the British rifle. The British cartridge weighs less than either the French, German, Austrian, or American, while the British soldier carries 150 rounds, the French carries 120, the German 160, and the Italian 96. The reply to the fourth paragraph is in the affirmative.