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 MH Carbine

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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: MH Carbine   Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:52 am

I wonder what would be the effective range of the Carbine?
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:25 pm

I'm sure I read, that it was a Thousand yards.
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:44 pm

Martini-Henry,

I think Waterloo50 might be confusing the carbine with the rifle which was sighted up to 1,000 yards.

I see if I can come up with an answer before Saturday for you!

Regards,

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:12 pm

Yep, I was..so we are talking about the Westley Richards capping breech-loading, single shot carbine or the MH Cavalry Carbine? The range of effective fire also depended on the skill of the soldier, another factor was the number of weapons being used e.g volley fire. I think that an effective range in volley fire was anything from 400 to 800 yards.
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:20 am

Waterloo,

M-H - I would surmise - is asking about the Martini-Henry carbine by virtue of the subject heading, rather than any other carbine used in the campaign.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:55 am

Well yes,mainly because we have obtained one for J young's talk. Along with a mint MH ( infantry rifle)
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:03 am

M-H,

I'll make sure I bring all both carbine and rifle drill rounds for the talk.

See you tomorrow!

Regards,

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:10 am

JY, thanks for pointing that out, my mistake. Good luck for your talk on Saturday. 'Utrinque Paratus'
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:12 am

To err is human, to forgive divine.
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:20 am

JY. So, what is the effective range of the MARTINI HENRY CARBINE?
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:31 am

Personally, I blame Durnford for the defects in the Carbine. lol
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:36 am

Or was it Pulliene
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:02 pm

Waterloo50,

I cannot find any reference either in contemporary manuals or modern works of reference as to the effective range of the Martini-Henry carbine.  As you mention the weapon is only as effective as its handler.

Why blame either of the battlefield commanders at Isandlwana for a defect in a weapon - the Martini-Henry carbine - that to my knowledge was not used at the battle?

If there were indeed defects in the action of Friedrich von Martini or the rifling of Alexander Henry then why is it still in use to this day.  Why not point a finger too at Colonel Edward Boxer for the design of his cartridges?

Just a thought.

Now the Swnburn-Henry carbine...  Don't get me started on that.  Very Happy  Very Happy

John Y.
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:13 pm

JY Sorry, I was just trying to inject some humour in to what is otherwise quite a dry subject. With regards to the effective range, thanks for taking the time to look.

Regards
Waterloo
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:20 pm

For my part, I was attempting circuitously to make the point, that no matter the subject, it always ends up being hijacked by the blame-gamers
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:10 pm

There is always Neils site:

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Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:51 pm

According to "Rifles of the World" the Martini Henry rifle was calibrated to 1400 yards and the cavalry and artillery carbines were graduated to 1000 yards.
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Steve
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:38 pm

Frank, rusteze,

Thank you
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:49 pm

Waterloo you will probably get some comment from Barry fairly soon as well.
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PostSubject: The effective range of the Martini Henry 45-70   Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:11 pm

Hi Waterloo,
...so how long  is a piece of string?
Suggest as a starter search this site for a post on the Sandy Hook tests of 1879. Quite a lot of technical details vis-à-vis MH ballistics comes out there.
This test was done at 2500 yards at  Sandy Hook in USA and the MH 45-70 bullet lofted at 13deg could penetrate and kill a man at that range. However  aim at that extreme range was well nigh impossible. In these tests it was recorded that not one of the 300 MH rounds fired actually hit the very large target (44  x22 feet).  Of course  , the weapon was actually intended for use at much closer range and I seem to remember that if a trooper could hit a 27 inch target at 300 yards ,  the  Musketry instructor of 1878 was happy.
My own feeling is that  beyond about 700 yds there was little chance of actually hitting the target aimed at.  Added to which  Rattray and Greaves had this to say in their  publication 'Anglo-Zulu War battlefields' ISBN 0 85052 922 0;
Quote : 'Modern studies suggest that relatively few soldiers , even in the best trained units, actively aim at and seek to kill the enemy in combat, most firing the weapons wildly and some not at all. Certainly  the ratio between the number of rounds fired  and the number of casualties inflicted on the enemy in the well documented combats of the last few centuries has been staggeringly low, usually at least several hundred to one.'  Unquote. This piece is attributed to Dr Adrian Goldsworthy,  Cannae.
This held good at  Isandlwana too and partly explains why the ammunition actually fired in that battle did not stop the advancing impi.
We must however remember that the MH for the BA was cutting edge technology of the time and despite its faults, ie overheating; recoil with a kick like two mules; extraction problems; propensity to generate clouds of target obscuring blue smoke once fired, much of its of its effectiveness lay in the hands of the properly trained and skilled rifleman.

regards

barry


Last edited by barry on Sat Nov 07, 2015 8:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:23 pm

Thanks that was informative JY is kindly giving a lecture in Glasgow for us North of the border, we have original MH carbine & MH rifle.
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:37 pm

Hello Barry,

Thank you for taking the time to respond, I will take a look at the Sandy Hook test (post)

Kind Regards

Waterloo.
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:41 am

MH

Nice one on the Carbine and MK1, shame you couldn't get hold of a Gatling gun, I reckon that It would have been a nightmare getting it up the stairs and into the office, (a tad heavy) I would have helped but my back is killing me. JY is bringing some MH Training rounds, why don't you see if you can get a hold of some live ammunition, you could lose off a few rounds and work out the effective range that way. lol. Enjoy the talk.  Salute

Regards

Waterloo
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:40 pm

Na we've already dragged the Zeppelin up to take is to Siam after the talk
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:54 pm

MH

You had the opportunity to handle the MK1 today, what did you think of it? and did the lads think it was better designed than todays crappy SA80. I prefer the SLR (FAL) myself although it was a bitch to clean.
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:23 am

They loved it. It was, & still is, a simple well-balanced piece of kit. Though the cartridges are cheaply made & I can well understand the problems the rifle had with jamming. For range & stopping power it compares favourably with the modern weapons of today. To sum up, a great rifle shame about the ammunition
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Sun Nov 08, 2015 2:42 pm

I found this piece on the MH and the cartridges used, I thought that you may find this interesting. Apologies if this has been posted before.


It not unfrequently happened that the base of the cartridge was torn right off by the jaws of the extractor, when the rifle was at once rendered utterly useless. The sand and the temperature may have had a certain amount to do with the jamming, but the fault lay principally in the extractor of the rifle and the form of the cartridge. The extractor ought certainly to be improved upon if this rifle is to continue the arm of the services; and a drawn copper cartridge-case, unlubricated, should take the place of the present one. Many men have lost their lives through these two things in our late wars; and though years ago reports, as I say, were made by those best able to judge on the defects of the weapon and the cartridge, no notice was ever taken, and thus through a love of cheese-paring economy, and a penny wise and pound foolish policy, valuable lives have been sacrificed." (SUAKIN, 1885.) He then went on to condemn the worthless bayonets, which bent and twisted at least resistance. The defects were remedied by an improved cartridge, but the defects may have contributed to the disaster at Isandhlwana. Also: "In the late Zulu War, when our men were blazing at closely-packed masses of savages, the execution done was really by no means great, when you take into consideration of rapidity and precision in the fire of the modern breech-loader. Here we have proof positive that some ninety per cent. of the bullets fired in action are billeted nowhere." (Grey River Argus, 18 Feb. 1880.)
"The cartridge metal [of the Martini-Henry] was reported to be altogether 'too thin and papery,' and in too many pieces. When the charge is fired the metal expands, and thus jams in the chamber; while the case of the cartridge is so thin, that it often bends and breaks in the men's pouches when it is carried loose, as it must be. If kept well greased it does not jam; but this is not always possible in such a climate as the Soudan. The general opinion was that the case should be 'solid drawn,' thus obviating the necessity for so many component parts. With the rifle itself no fault was found; it was voted a perfect weapon.  (James Grant, CASSELL'S HISTORY OF THE WAR IN THE SOUDAN.)


Source: Victorian Wars Forum. 10th Oct 2009
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:39 pm

So no change from today's austerity & budget - led services
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Sun Nov 08, 2015 6:36 pm

Following on from the response that Barry kindly gave with regards to the effective range of the MH, I was intrigued by this reference from Dr Adrian Goldsworthy, 'Modern studies suggest that relatively few soldiers , even in the best trained units, actively aim at and seek to kill the enemy in combat, most firing the weapons wildly and some not at all. Certainly  the ratio between the number of rounds fired  and the number of casualties inflicted on the enemy in the well documented combats of the last few centuries has been staggeringly low, usually at least several hundred to one.'

On further investigation I found that this phenomenon had been highlighted before especially in relation to the firing line at Isandlwana. This statement was posted on another forum (apologies I took this from my notes and I can't remember where it came from) 'Further, many soldiers in modern battle simply refuse to fire, although recognition of this phenomenon has come about slowly. As early as 1870, du Picq observed that firepower on the battle lines does not equate with manpower; not every soldier will fight.'

Mike Snook made a response to the soldiers not firing phenomenon which I found interesting , 'It is irrelevant. This is a well known phenomenon of modern warfare and is entirely consequent upon 'modern' dispersed tactics - it refers to the age of automatic fire (though rapid bolt-action fire can achieve the same effect), and perhaps rather more specifically to the paralysing fear inculcated by the machine gun. It is about the number of people who are prepared to risk their own lives by popping their heads up in a firefight to use their weapons, compared to those who will take the easy option and elect to remain doggoe. The effect is mitigated by discipline, training and the quality of junior commanders. It occurs where people have the opportunity to sit out the firefight through dispersal, cover and confusion. At Isandlwana these factors did not apply. Red herring.'

I am intrigued to know what the general consensus was in relation to the 'not firing phenomenon' within this forum,  but I can't find a thread on it, I would be grateful if someone could point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance

Waterloo
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:17 pm

Warterloo and all.  Gambier Parrys comments whilst are his own personal observations, he raise some interesting points with regard to the delimitation of the cartridge cases, however , he regularly alludes to his time at Hythe in the early 1870's when the MK1 ammunition was most prevalent, however, in the jamming report of 1885, only one man of the Camel corps actually intimated that he had seen case delimitation, that was  Slade of the RMLI, and indeed captain EMS Crabbe of the Grenadiers freely admitted he had never seen it despite him being musketry inspector for four years and it rarely appears in any testimony.

The extended range evaluations at Sandy Nook again I take with a pinch of salt, more interesting is the official long range trials carried out with the Martini Henry at Dungeness and Shoeburyness in the late 187's and 1880's, in particular the report entitled “Report on the Field Firing, 1878-9 and Summary of Opinions on the use of Rifle Fire at Extreme Ranges.” by Brigadier - General Gordon, the report of the 25th March 1880, by the Inspector General of Fortifications, in a document entitled “Memorandum by the siege Operations committee on Long Range Musketry Fire at Dungeness" and other long range trials both with the three versions of long range hanging sight developed at Enfield, the Enfield No1 & No2, and Colonel Holmes sight, the sighting using the bayonet bar pin as a volley sight and the experiments carried out by the DAAG of Musketry at Aldershot in 1881 with sight extensions, leading to the 2000 yard incremental sight adopted by the Royal Navy.

Other long range trials were carried out which proved effective long range fire could be carried out well beyond the "fixed" 1400 leaf of the backsight. One method carried out was as follows, this from the chapter "going the distance long Ranges and Aiming tubes" from my forthcoming book on the military Martini Henry and was a report by Lt Kays, Musketry Inspector of the 2nd HLI, (sadly killed at Tel El Kebir) “the fire of the Martini Henry when fitted with these sights was found to be most effective against troops of all arms up to 2000 yards, and although at longer ranges the percentage of actual hits on the targets was not so great, yet the ground in their immediate neighbourhood was so sown with bullets the moral effect of which would be very great. The last experiment with 52 marksmen, practically rendered a bridge 2000 yards away, impassable for five minutes, in which time 124 hits were recorded upon it. The fall of the bullets at 2000 yards was approximately 1:2, and unless the targets were pretty close together was apt to striking between them, eight carefully measured shots gave a mean of 1 in 1.99 for a fall of the bullet at 2000 yards", so with that you can draw your own conclusions about the effect ranges.

Barry don't draw your conclusions from Greaves et al about their "guesstimates of accuracy" without checking out the official memoirs of the devastating effect of volley fire at 800 yards, with the Martini Henry at Maiwand only a year after Isandlwana and reported by Lt William J De La Poer Beresford Pierse of the 66th, like wise the effect of a squad of the Grenadier Guards at Abu Kru in 1885 when they picked off charging Mhadists with unbelievable accuracy at 800 yards.. opinions will soon change!

In terms of the IC1 Carbine (none of which were available for the Isandlwana battle, as these were Swinburn Henry carbines, ok poorer action but the same barrel in effect) , effective aimed range is 800 yards, and they were actually held back from general distribution until late 1878 due mainly to alteration to the ammunition to rectify inaccuracy due to the paper wrap not delaminating at exit from the bore. (remedied by pre-slicing the paper and replacing the wool tampon with a card liner to the case to replace the air gap created by the smaller 70 gran charge). As an example of the accuracy of the Carbine, it is interesting to read to what degree of accuracy would a rifle need to "fail" to be classed as a 1st class arm?. Well, the standard test employed at Enfield was the "figure of merit"test. This test was carried out with fixed rests to ensure absolute consistency, and was tried at targets set at 500 and 1000 yards, the carbine was expected to attain accuracy of less than 1 foot and three point five feet respectively at those ranges. Ok, the gun is only as accurate as the soldier firing it, but it illustrates the potential at nearly a mile.

The furthest I have shot my IC1's is 500 yards at Epperstone, 70 grains of powder and 420 grain bullet, firing prone, no fixed rest (thats for girls), and accuracy was as effective as my rifles, except in cross wind when the bullet does go off track slightly, and the small windage lines on the sight a so small as to make it difficult to compensate. With a rifle load, 85 grains and 480 grain bullet, it was better, but it beats you up a bit due to the enhanced recoil and lesser barrel weight. FWIW is was rare to fire the carbine from the saddle, rather it would be used dismounted.

Just my usual on the record with no conjecture add in.

regs
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:34 am

Perhaps the question of effective range Carbine or Rifle is difficult to establish because of all the variables that have to be taken into consideration, factors such as the skill of the soldier, atmospheric conditions, the condition of the ammunition and the weapon being used, the size and distance of the target, whether or not the target is static or moving, are we talking about volley fire or individual infantry fire. If it is a case of establishing an effective range from a ballistics point of view are we trying to establish at what distance the MH will kill a man or wound him? way to many variables to give a definitive answer.
In Chelmsford's instructions to column commanders 'December 1878', it suggests that good infantry range was 600 yards, its interesting to note that FWD Jackson describes how some infantry opened fire at 800 yards. The men of the 1st Battalion for instance were above average shots and they may have felt that the effective range was further for them than in the hands of less experienced men.

I like the fact that the production cost for the IC1 Carbine was £2.10s 7d, what is that in todays money, about £2.53, bargain.
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:54 pm

Waterloo, if you want the ballistics here we go,
At 1500 yards a Martini Henry will kill you, this is the table for 1500 and 2000 yards.
First figure is Range, second Calibre, Velocity, time of flight, energy and penetrive energy, ( i do have the barometric and wind speed reading for these test too)



1500yds .45 503 fps 6.045, 274.8 ft lbs , 194.4 ft lbs
2000yds .45 389 fps 9.429, 161.1 ft lbs 113.9 ft lbs

Naturally figure 4 is the giveaway as the time of flight means the target is many feet from the point of aim, hence the reliance in volley firing. If you want the figures of accuracy of company volleys on targets set at range my book will have it it, as recorded by Capt Bennett DAAG of Musketry at Aldershot in 1880. from 1200, 1400 and 1600 yards with 40 men. The hit rate is surprisingly high. I endorse the targets were static, so movement would affect accuracy, but the "estimated" hit rates alluded by some authors, without the benefit of the these figures can only be taken as pure guess work.

In terms of ammunition "deterioration" as frequently muted, there was very little depreciation once the ammunition was loaded, proven on 21st February 1880 when the Director of Artillery ordered the Superintendent of Woolwich Arsenal to investigate velocity loss in some MIII ammo. Ammunition was selected with various manufacture dates of every year from 1874-1879 and the mean muzzle velocities observed on a Watkins Chronograph. There was velocity drop of up to 80fps, but not as you would think. Old ammo held up just as well as brand new, but actually hygroscopic action of the powder before packing effected the explosive qualities depending on the air moisture at the time at Waltham Abbey. From 1880 all RFG2 powder was left for a year to attain less then .02% moisture before packing and from 21.6.1880 all ammunition boxes were dated. I have the full Woolwich blue paper report entitled "Martini Henry Rifles and Ammunition, 18th January 1881.

To re-inforce the potential (or lack of) of deterioration of a cartridge, a Martini Henry MkIII cartridge, collected from the battlefield debris at Isandlwana, was sent by Major General Evelyn Wood back to the Royal Small Arms Factory. Lt Colonel Brackenbury had the cartridge tested in the proof Martini Henry of the Royal Gunpowder factory at Waltham Abbey on 5th October 1880. After over 17 months lying in the open on the battlefield, The cartridge went of first time and achieved a velocity of 1313 feet per second, a loss of only 37fps against mean average, and actually better than an MkIII cartridge actually made in 1879.

On May 9th, 1874, in a report by Dr Ernst Kunster entitled "the action of modern bullets on the animal body" found the Martini bullet passed clean through the carcase of a freshly slain horse at 800 yards, the German Mauser and the French Chasepot did not.

As usual historic fact adds alot of weight to C20th guesswork.
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90th

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PostSubject: MH Carbine    Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:35 pm

Hi Neil
Any news mate on when your book will be released ? You need to study mo
Cheers 90th Salute
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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:52 pm

Neil,

Thanks for taking the time to post those ballistic figures, I surprised myself and actually understood them. I will definitely be buying your book.
Cheers Waterloo


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PostSubject: Re: MH Carbine   Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:56 pm

90th, early in the new year now, the contract never materialised despite numerous e-mails assuring me it was on its way, methinks five months is long enough. subsequently I was made another offer to publish but in A4 format which was better in terms of imagery. There is 109 A4 pages of writing (105,000 words) excluding the original ballistic charts, tables etc. Add in the pictures and were looking at approx 200 pages. Were going to be looking at £34.95 UK.

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PostSubject: MH Carbine    Tue Dec 01, 2015 2:05 pm

Thanks Neil Very Happy You need to study mo
90th Salute
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