PH Volunteer history.

Discussion in 'Percussion Rifles' started by nagantino, Apr 19, 2019.

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  1. Apr 19, 2019 #1

    nagantino

    nagantino

    nagantino

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    Could someone outline the history of the Volunteer rifle. It's confusing because I understand it was built in 1861? and used as such but I'm reading that Parker Hale began manufacturing it again in the 1980's. So most Rifle being shot today are modern right? Does anyone shoot the originals. Why did PH remanufacture a ML rifle.
     
  2. Apr 20, 2019 #2

    52Bore

    52Bore

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    David Minshall can probably give a better & more in-depth description.
    The Volunteer movement in GB was for civilian defense. The rifles were made by many makers. These rifles (IMO) are a step above/quality than military grade. They were made in .577 & .451 and probably more calibers.
    Today’s repo started with PH, then Euroarms, now only Pedersoli is making them.
    Photo of my original Alexander Henry .451” Volunteer.
    8B5EAB2F-E8DE-4807-A14A-13F453B0FD07.jpeg
     
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  3. Apr 20, 2019 #3

    Stantheman86

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    Basically, in a nutshell the way it was explained to me.....

    The NRA started in 1850's England because bored Middle class white collar guys saw Crimean War vets who came back after the war and wanted to be "cool" too.

    So they started the Rifles Volunteer and pretty much played Army with fake costume/uniforms made by their wives. They had rifle matches and would camp out like "real soldiers".

    They felt that a Home Guard was needed, and they would use the target rifles they purchased (like the Volunteer ) to defend Great Britain. The NRA was founded to promote rifle marksmanship . It petered out but caught on in the US.
     
  4. Apr 20, 2019 #4

    ResearchPress

    ResearchPress

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    During the late 1850's there was growing apprehension as to the prospects of French invasion of Great Britain. A massive naval expansion was announced in France in 1855. Following the attempt on Napoleon III's life by Felice Orsini on 14 January 1858, some French officers actually called for an invasion when it was discovered that Orsini manufactured his bomb in England. All this was unsettling and newspapers, particularly The Times, continued to fuel the debate as to the formation of a Volunteer Force for home defence. Finally, on 12 May 1859, the Government issued a circular authorising Volunteer corps. Later that year the National Rifle Association formed "for the encouragement of Volunteer Rifle Corps and the promotion of rifle shooting throughout Great Britain." The British Rifle Volunteers (there were also Artillery and Enginners) is akin to the US National Guard.

    Contrary to expectations in some quarters the Volunteer movement became firmly established. In 1860 there were 106,443 efficient Volunteers, and the numbers steadily increased; in 1870 to 170,671, in 1880 to 196,938, and in 1888 to 220,124. Great Volunteer reviews before large crowds of spectators, and sometimes royalty, were held throughout the country where the men demonstrated their skill at drill and skirmishing. Local and regional rifle matches become commonplace and by the end of the decade of the 1860's Great Britain, with no prior tradition for rifle marksmanship, had thousands of trained riflemen.

    Th Volunteers were armed with the same rifles as the regular Army, albeit issue lagged a little behind as arms evolved and troops were re-equipped. The original arm of the Volunteers was the muzzle loading Enfield rifle. In September 1870 this was replaced by the Snider, a breech loading conversion of the Enfield. The adoption of the Martini-Henry breech loading rifle by the Volunteers was commenced in 1879 but not completed until 1885. The issue of the Lee-Metford magazine rifle was authorised in 1895.

    The National Rifle Association held its first Annual Rifle Meeting on Wimbledon Common in 1860, where it remained through to 1889. In 1890 it moved to Bisley, which is still the current home of the NRA. They are celebrating their 150th Annual Rifle Meeting this year.

    Competitions were broadly separated into Volunteers using the military arm of issue, all-comers shooting 'small-bore' rifles, and team shooting. At the first rifle meeting only 299 Volunteer competitors took part and the total aggregate of entries for Volunteer prizes was 594. For the all-comers' prizes the number of entries was 720, giving a grand total of entries of all kinds of 1,314. By 1888 the meeting had become immense; the total aggregate of entries was an astonishing 41,670. In addition to this, the enormous number of 80,188 entries was made for the various Pool shooting and Running Deer events. Shooting was held at ranges out to 1,000 yards.

    For the gun makers of the time this development created a new market in the form of discerning riflemen seeking accurate long range arms. Following principles established by Joseph Whitworth, there developed a special class of ‘small-bore’ target rifle. The majority of these rifles were around .451 calibre, and the contemporay term ‘small-bore’ used to distinguish them from the ‘large-bore’ service rifle of .577 calibre. There were many makers, including Baker, Beasley, Bissel, Crockart, Edge, Henry, Kerr, Lancaster, Newton, Parsons, Rigby, Turner and Whitworth.

    The so called 'Volunteer Rifle' made by Parker-Hale (and later others) is a generic form of small-bore military match rifle that would have been used in all-comers competitions during the early-mid 1860s. It was later supplanted by the full match rifles. Both originals and modern reproductions are still used in competition today. Parker-Hale introduced their popular series of reproductions of the Enfield family of muzzle loading rifles, commencing in 1972. The 'Volunteer' rifle first appeared c1976.

    David
     
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  5. Apr 20, 2019 #5

    TFoley

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    Yup, it 'petered out' and became the Territorial Army, a kind of British version of the US National Guard, that went to war in 1914 and again in 1939 right there with the regular Army.

    And Iraq.

    And Afghanistan.

    Correction of the rest of your misinformation can be read in Mr Minshall's excellent post above.
     
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  6. Apr 20, 2019 #6

    ResearchPress

    ResearchPress

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    Oh and prior to 1908 when the Territorial Army was established, the Volunteer Force saw active service in South Africa (1900-1902). :)

    David
     
  7. Apr 20, 2019 #7

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    True thing. And I spent two years in a Territorial Army infantry unit before joining the regular Army. :)

    Mr Minshall, I would like your permission to quote your post about the Volunteer movement in full for another US-based gun-related website.
     
  8. Apr 20, 2019 #8

    Stantheman86

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    I don't know , not trying to get into a debate about the minutia of every aspect of British military history, just repeating a tongue in cheek summary I read on Quora but I'm American, my bad. That's what we do.
     
  9. Apr 20, 2019 #9

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

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    Being a combat Vet myself I feel its OK to not be super serious about life 100% of the time but if that's just your personality type TFoley than you do you.
     
  10. Apr 20, 2019 #10

    nagantino

    nagantino

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    David, thank you for that comprehensive answer.
     
  11. Apr 20, 2019 #11

    ResearchPress

    ResearchPress

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    If you want to learn more, see the following on my web site:

    The British Volunteer System - Written by Rt. Hon. Earl Brownlow, this article gives a brief history of the Volunteer Movement from its establishment to 1900.

    Wimbledon & the Volunteers - From 1860 until 1889 the NRA held their annual rifle meeting on Wimbledon Common, with attendance in the thousands… and that was just the riflemen! So who were these riflemen and what were they doing at Wimbledon?

    ...browse around to, lots of information on firearms of the time.

    David
     
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  12. Apr 20, 2019 #12

    nagantino

    nagantino

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    Who knew such a rich tradition of rifle shooting existed. Marvellous history and an eye opener to me.
     
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  13. Apr 21, 2019 #13

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    I had thirty-three full-time years in the Army, and learned that making snide remarks about the history of other countries military history from a point of view of ignorance was not a good way to make friends and influence people.

    The next post you see from me being disrespectful of the military of our closest ally will be the very first you will ever have seen.

    'nuff said.
     
  14. Apr 21, 2019 #14

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

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    Ok PM sent , not
    Nuff said , at least let's take this out of the public eye
     

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