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Sad Fate of Rival (Read 177 times)
butlersrangers
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Sad Fate of Rival
Jun 27th, 2020 at 1:38pm
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The Remington-Lee (model-1899) was a promising rival to the Krag. It was built for smokeless powder and utilized dual-forward locking-lugs on its bolt.

The 'slender' M-1899 Lee had some great ideas, but, proved a very fragile arm.

Approximately 2,000 were purchased by Michigan for the state's National Guard. In .30-40 caliber, it saw N.G. use from approximately 1899 to 1904, when replaced by the issue of Krag rifles.
The M.N.G. - Annual Reports from the early 1900's document the frailty of the Remington arm and the anticipation of receiving the more robust Krag.

An earlier black powder Lee model evolved into the venerable and long lived Lee-Enfield family of arms. It is interesting to speculate what the model-1899 could have evolved into if given adequate testing and improvement.

Author Eugene Myszkowski, ("The Remington-Lee Rifle"), wrote about the MNG Lee rifles being used as 'training rifles' by the Michigan Naval Reserves, during WW-1, "with bolts and magazines removed".
Myszkowski also told of buying 12 Lee rifles from a Michigan VFW Post in 1967.

A friend and noted Michigan arms collector, Paul Breakey, recently shared this photo with me. It shows Michigan State Police-Recruits, drilling with m-1899 Remington-Lee rifles, during 1941-1942. (The magazines and bolts are absent from the rifles).

One can only imagine the 'beating' these partial rifles received during drill sessions and how all this added to the rarity of a rifle produced in only small numbers.
  
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Knute1
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Re: Sad Fate of Rival
Reply #1 - Jun 27th, 2020 at 2:36pm
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Perhaps you have seen this 1909/1910 Michigan report that calls out some dislikes of the Remington Lee and why it should be replaced with a Model 1898 or Model 1903.

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butlersrangers
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Re: Sad Fate of Rival
Reply #2 - Jun 27th, 2020 at 11:50pm
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'Knute' - Thanks for the link to the 1909 Michigan annual report. I had not seen that reference before.

It has some points interesting to me:

1. It confirms the Remington-Lee rifles were passed on to the Michigan Naval Reserves after the Mich. N.G. was equipped with Krag rifles.

2. It points out some of the faults of the  M.N.G. Lee rifles.

3. Colonel William H. Thielman was the Michigan National Guard Officer inspecting the Naval Reserves at Hancock, Mi., in 1909.
In 1904, Captain W.H. Thielman, commanded Co. E, 3rd. Michigan infantry. My paternal grand-father and other relatives were under his command in the early 1900's.

W.H. Thielman was a good rifle shot and a member of the Michigan team that went to Sea Girt for the 1903 National Matches.
He ran the family's lumber-yard in Calumet, Michigan, back in that era.
(I met his grand-daughter at an Uncle's Funeral, two years ago, and was able to send her some bio. information on William for her family).

4. The 1909 report indicates that the rank and file of the M.N.G. companies had access to more Range facilities. Privates in the N.G. were better trained and got a lot more opportunity to fire their rifles.

A common complaint, from the 1870's to 1904, was that all the National Guard ammunition was shot up by the competitive shooters, who were mainly officers.

There were annual training camps at which the privates only got to fire five shots or none at all! The lack of shooting and marksmanship brought in to question the usefulness of the M.N.G.

It appears, that by 1909, much headway had been made.
  
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Knute1
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Re: Sad Fate of Rival
Reply #3 - Jun 28th, 2020 at 1:29am
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In 1905 Col. Thielman was the Treasurer for the Michigan State Rifle Association. Here is a link to NRA reports with lots of pictures of men/boys holding/shooting Krags. I didn't spot any Remington-Lees.

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