Lever-action rifles in Warlord armies?

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Hama
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Lever-action rifles in Warlord armies?

Post by Hama » 24 Aug 2017 23:08

I'm curious if anyone can provide info/accounts of lever-action rifles in service among troops in the various Chinese warlord armies? I'm kind of curious to know how Chinese forces considered them in relation to the more ubiquitous bolt-action models of the time and also any info on what models of lever-action guns were in service during the period?

In the book 'Chinese Warlord Armies 1911-30' by Philip Jowett there's an illustration of a soldier from the Guominjun with an ex-Russian Winchester 1895, but the author doesn't indicate how common they were or any details on their service history among those troops. In a google preview of the book 'Some Did It for Civilisation; Some Did It for Their Country: A Revised View of the Boxer War' by Jane Elliott there's mention of Qing army troops with "Winchester rifles" (which conceivably could have still been around during the warlord era), but it doesn't indicate whether these were of a lever-action variety or bolt-action like the Winchester-Hotchkiss.

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Re: Lever-action rifles in Warlord armies?

Post by YC Chen » 25 Aug 2017 10:09

AFAIK none of the warlord armies adopted lever-action rifles in large scale, and both photos and surviving examples are extremely rare (but exist, if I remember correctly). Many different kinds of small arms exist in China in Warlord Era and today it is often difficult to trace their exact origin. However, among them the lever-action rifles never presented in China in any significant number.

I'll see if there is any surviving lever-action rifles in Chinese museums.

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Re: Lever-action rifles in Warlord armies?

Post by Hama » 25 Aug 2017 12:30

Thanks Chen, anything you find out would be interesting to hear. It's true what you say that there were all kinds of guns in China at the time, pretty much anything on the firearms market could have found it's way there. The example of the Winchester 1895 being used by a Guominjun soldier doesn't surprise me too much, I know there was a lot of ex-Russian equipment floating around in northern China at the time. I don't know if maybe Zhang Zuolin's troops had any of those guns as well? It's something to investigate...

I also know that in the late 19th century the Qing army was importing a variety of western firearms to try and modernise its troops, and a lot of these guns ended up in warlord armies after the revolution. From my reading it seems like most of the guns imported by Qing were of a bolt-action variety, but if you or anyone else here finds evidence of them also importing some lever-action rifles that would be useful info. I'm still doing some digging to try and find out what kind of "Winchester rifles" were the ones mentioned in that other source I came across.

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