The Spring edition of the Collector is one of the best produced Quarterly Magazines put out by WACA to date. I’ve been a member of WACA since the early ’90s, (#2576) and allow me to say the magazine has improved each year into the 21st Century. My compliments to WACA. I however would like to comment on your “Feature Winchester” that’s presented in the Spring 2021 magazine. Have any of you ever been in the open cockpit of a WW1 fighter plane? Just look at the rendering of the British plane on the cover of the magazine. What if anything do you notice? You’re all supposed to be somewhat knowledgeable about rifle shooting and Winchester rifles in particular. Try swinging a 26 or 28 inch barreled rifle around within the confines of the cockpit of an SE 5 or Spad while trying to avoid shooting yourself down or being hit with return fire from a German Zeppelin. In my humble opinion these 1886 rifles with 26 or 28 inch barrels were more likely used by soldiers guarding the fence line of the airdrome than being used to shoot at a Zeppelin. If a carbine being used was awkward, how would a Winchester rifle be less so. Get your stories straight guys, this one makes little sense to me.
Apache ( ya ta hey)
February 4, 2008
It will never be known for sure how many of these rifles were taken up in the air and used in combat. Many would have been used for testing of incendiary ammunition which early in WW1 was still in the experimental stage.Even the exact number of rifles purchased is unknown and likely to remain so, although it is almost certainly 50 or less.
Remember that shotguns with 30 inch barrels firing chain shot and incendiary ammunition
were taken up in the air and used, so although the Winchester was a bit longer due to the length of the action it is still doable if somewhat awkward.
Before long suitable ammunition was developed in .303 meaning the Vickers MG could be used for the task of engaging German Zeppelins. From this point the role of the Winchester Model 1886’s no doubt became one of secondary use such as guard duty.
Just one last thought on this subject. You say, and I don’t doubt you, that the Royal Flying Corps used 30″ barreled shotguns, 12 or 10 bore I assume, using “Chain Shot” and incendiary shot shells to shoot at German zeppelins. That would mean that these pilots would have to get within 30 to 50 meters for the shotguns to be effective. How many aircraft did it cost the English Forces to shoot down one zeppelin? Once however 303 incendiary ammunition became available for the Lewis Machine gun mounted on the SE-5, and Vickers Machine guns mounted on other aircraft, then the RFC aircraft would be affective against German Zeppelins, that is if they didn’t run into the “Flying Circus”.
Apache ( ya ta hey )