The charger loader, made of steel, was introduced in 1903 for use with the Lee-Metford Mark II rifle so that 5 cartridges could be loaded faster than by single loading. Many of the early Lee-Metfords in Service were modified to add/improve the charger loading system and enable charger to be used. You will often see the modification date on these rifles. The basic charger design did not change for the .303 cartridge and was produced until after WWII. Cartridges in chargers were often carried in leather/webbing/canvas bandoliers. A new design charger clip was introduced for the 7.62 cartridge.
The Mark I charger can be easily identified. Its base has 4 oblong slots without ridges; the sides have 1 oval and 2 long oval holes and there are three oval pips on the side. The side end is not cut to form a spring but has a pip on the inside to retain the cartridges. It was not until 1921 that this charger was made obsolete for Naval Service. (L of C 11753 & 24376)
(fig 1 Left hand charger)
The Mark II can be divided into two variations. It was introduced in 1906, it had the same 4 oblong base slots but with three ridges to improve it’s strength. The side had 1 round, 2 oval, and 1 long oval holes together with the three oval pips. One side end on each side was cut to make the end into a spring stop; this retained the cartridges until needed and then improved the releasing of the cartridges. The numeral ‘II’ was marked on one side of the charger. The second type of Mark II only has 2 oval pips on the side. (L of C 13465).
(fig 1 2nd from Left charger)
The Mark III charger was introduced in 1916, it had 4 round holes in the base and 5 round holes on the sides. There were no ribs across the bottom and the side pips were changed to circular. It is Marked ‘III’ and continued in service until sometime after WWI. Some Mark III’s are found marked ‘I’ to ‘V’ with a makers code ‘GM’; these were made in Italy at the end of WWII. (L of C 18973)
(fig 1 3rd from Left charger)
Fig 1 Fig 2
The first Mark IV charger was introduced in 1917 had 4 round holes in the base and 4 round holes on the sides. This allowed for a longer spring on the side, which made it less stiff and easier to use. It is marked ‘IV’. Unmarked examples of this type have been found without the base slots and the spring end is shaped but not cut through.
(fig 1 right hand charger)
The second type of Mark IV has 4 round holes in the base but 3 round and 1 oblong holes on each side. There are three ways in which this charger is marked; some have ‘Mk IV’, some ‘Mk 4’ and some just ’4’. This charger continued in use until after WWII.
(L of C 19786)
The Mark V was a WWI prototype charger, which did not go into general service. It was smaller and without holes being cut into the sides. It was designed like a Russian charger that was being made at the time in England.
Over 50 companies manufactured charger in various countries. Some companies are easy to identify, such as ‘BP’ for British Pens Ltd.; others, ‘CWS’ not so easy and still not known. I would like to thank Herbie Woodend at the Pattern Room (Nottingham) for his help in identifying a lot of the makers.
BASIC SHOOTING SKILLS
Grouping is the foundation of all shooting until you can group your shots in all positions you are unlikely to acheive any results in competition. You must understand the following.
THEORY OF A GROUP
The group size will increase or decrease in proportion to the range it was fired at. For example if you can achieve a 100 mm 4 inch group at 100 yds then expect to get a 200 mm 8 inch group at 200 yds and 300 mm 12 inch at 300 yds.
Grouping is the foundation of all shooting, until you can master forming a tight group in all positions you are flogging a dead horse.
The Standard Army Fig 11 & 12 Targets are 450 mm wide you do not need to be a rocket scientist to work out that to ensure you have all shots on the target at 300 yds you must be able to achieve a 150 mm 6 inch group or less at 100 yds.
DEFINITION OF A GROUP.
A series of shots not less than three, fired from the same weapon, in the same wind weather and light conditions. These shots will seldom if ever go through the same hole, they will however form a distinct pattern. This pattern is known as a GROUP.
THE SIZE OF THE GROUP
Three things determine the size of a group:
a. The Weapon
b. The Ammunition
c. The Firer
In most cases the weapon can be discounted as the cause of a bad group likewise the ammunition. This just leaves the human element.