A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 18

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Steyr M. 95 Drill Rifle

The Steyr rifles were the primary rifle of Austrian-Hungary during WWI and they were also used by Bulgaria and Greece. Rifles surrendered to Italy after WWI were used by Italy during WWII. The work done on this drill rifle appears to have been an arsenal conversion. There is a large well finished slot in chamber area of the barrel. This is really the only visual way of identifying that the rifle has been altered. It is uncertain if the bolt has been altered in any way. Due to the design of the action it is very unlikely that the firing pin has been removed. In all probability all that was altered was to remove the tip of the firing pin. There are no marks to identify when or where this work was done. These rifles have been on the surplus market since WWII so the work could have been done anywhere in the world. I doubt that anyone would have used this approach to produce drill rifles for the civilian market. If I were to guess, I would likely identify it with the Italian military.


This drill rifle is a very close replica of the 1903 Springfield. Although it has no moving parts, the receiver and bolt are more like the Springfield than any other replica that I have seen to date. It has all of the features of the Springfield and they appear to be the appropriate size and in the correct location. All of the metal parts are made of cast iron and they have not been polished to a smooth finish. The stock appears to be made of pine and stained to look like walnut. It is unfortunate that it has no identifying marks.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: Bayonet Fencing Rifles

Amazing, Wonderful, Fantastic!

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During Creation Week, our Lord said each day’s work was “good.” He then said that the whole of creation was, “very good.” We however, have to dream up all kinds of words to describe how well we or others do. When one describes a volunteer staff and the drill team’s performance both as “amazing” when there is enormous room for improvement, what do you say when the staff and team learn, grow and get better?

Constructive criticism, not platitudes.

One of the reasons this happens is because there isn’t a standardized system for training and judging drill teams- wait a minute, there is a standardized system for training and judging drill teams!

Yes, volunteers and drill teams can be amazing and in order to do the best job you can, educate yourself! There is more to a routine than precision, timing or accuracy. There is more to a routine than its overall effectiveness (which is the usual for the majority of people to see in a performance) and only through educating one’s self can one begin to understand the other aspects of routine creation, performance and adjudication.

Happy and effective drilling to you!


A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 17

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There are a number of unidentified drill rifles that have similar characteristics. They are generally unmarked in any way that would identify their origin. They are generally machine made and not one-of-a-kind, although individual specimens of the same model may not be identical. They also may be conversions of obsolete military rifles that were intended for nonmilitary applications. It appears that in most cases they were manufactured between 1900 and 1925. Their variety makes them interesting. At this late date, it is unlikely that most of these will ever be identified.

All of the metal parts on this drill rifle are made of cast iron and none of them are movable. It is well made and a close replica of the 1903 Springfield rifle. The number 238 is stamped into the wood in front of the forward sling swivel. Another rifle of the same make has the number 303 stamped into the wood on top of the butt stock close to the butt plate. I would speculate that they are serial numbers. There are no other identifying marks.

The receiver of this drill rifle is made of cast iron. The bolt is made from a ½” diameter steel rod. A bolt stop controls the travel and rotation of the bolt. The barrel is made of a wooden dowel and the front sight is made of wire. There is no butt plate but there is a narrow piece of wood inset vertically into the butt to strengthen the area. The non-movable trigger is also made of cast iron. There is a stamp on the side of the stock near the grip but it is so small that it is unintelligible. There are no other identifying marks.

This drill rifle was made from a 1891 Russian Mosin rifle. It appears to have been made to look as much as possible like the 1903 Springfield rifle. It may have been a Bannerman conversion that was further modified. The magazine has been cut off and the trigger guard reshaped. All unnecessary parts have been removed and the firing pin cut off. Both front and rear sights have been removed and the barrel shortened.

This Quaker gun is based on the 1895 Dutch Manlicher rifle. The sights have been removed and the magazine cut off. It has a full length wooden barrel which makes the gun much lighter in weight. It is the same overall length as the 1903 Springfield rifle. This type of drill rifle was made for use by youth organizations.

This rifle is unmarked and is difficult to place with any certainty. It has the appearance of a non military rifle but it is 43″ long, which is long for a toy. It has a wooden barrel and no lock mechanism or barrel bands. If it had more detail I would suspect that it was probably a toy. It appears to be machine made, which means that it is unlikely it is one of a kind. It has many of the characteristics of a drill rifle and it could have been produced for youth drill corps. It has been included here as a drill rifle to encourage collectors not to overlook such specimens but to retain them for further study.

This is a war relic from the Vietnam War. It is obviously hand made and is only marginally functional.

This wooden drill rifle is interesting in several ways. No information has surfaced to give any insight into who may have produced this wooden drill rifle. It is entirely made of wood but it has a very accurate profile of the 1903 Springfield rifle. There is a very high probability that these were produced between 1915 and 1920. On the right side of the receiver area of the stock the number 103933 has been stamped into the wood. Since there are no other identifying marks, I would presume that this is a serial number. If so, there were more of these drill rifles produced than any other similar type that has surfaced to date. To have produced and sold this number of wooden drill rifles they must have advertised widely during the WWI period. It is hoped that an advertisement from this period will be found that will identify this drill rifle.

This is another example of an early drill rifle that is very simple yet probably too long to be a toy. It is 40-1/2” long , has a wooden barrel and metal bands. It has the appearance of a musket rather than a modern bolt action rifle. I suspect that this was designed for drill purposes at a boys military school.

This unidentified drill rifle is obviously patterned after the 1903 Springfield. It is close to the same overall length and has a stock profile similar to the Springfield. It has a stacking swivel and two sling swivels and the front barrel band has a bayonet lug. However, the receiver and sights are significantly different. The receiver is abnormally long which makes the upper hand guard much shorter than the Springfield. The receiver has a bolt with a bolt handle that can be pulled straight back to engage a sear mechanism attached to the trigger. When the trigger is pulled it allows the bolt to spring forward. The bolt does not rotate. The fixed sights are much higher than the sights on the Springfield and are a different shape.

This is one of those rifles that is hard to classify. It has many of the characteristics of a training rifle but it probably was designed as a drill rifle. There are no markings on the rifle that can be used to identify the maker. I suspect that it was made between 1910 and 1930.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: Steyr M95 Drill Rifle

A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 16

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These drill rifles were made by F.A. Requarth Co. in Dayton, Ohio. Frederick August Requardt was born in Germany in 1835. The family emigrated to the United States (Verona, Ohio) and Americanized their name to Requarth. In 1852 he left their Ohio farm and became an apprentice wood turner with a Dayton firm called Blanchard & Brown Co. In 1860 he opened his own wood turning business in Dayton where the business prospered. The Wright brothers bought spruce from him to build their first airplane. He guided the business for 50 years until his death in 1910. The company is still in the lumber business today. They suffered two setbacks in the early 1900’s. In 1913 a huge flood damaged their business and in 1915 they suffered a catastrophic fire that destroyed their building.

They made a drill rifle that was patterned after the 1873 Springfield Rifle and sold to a variety of youth organizations and military schools. The exact dates of this production is unknown. However, it is possible to piece together an educated guess. Literature indicates that some of these drill rifles were made for the Boys Brigade. The Boys Brigade was a youth organization that promoted rifle drill, as well as other fun activities having Christian values. It was a world wide organization that started in Scotland in 1883. The American branch of the Boys Brigade was started in 1887. The drill rifle production probably started shortly after that date and ended at the time of the flood in 1913. By the time they had rebuilt the business, the demand for drill rifles had started to diminished and by the end of WWI in 1918 the demand was practically non existent. I would speculate that they produced these drill rifles between 1887 and 1915. Some of the drill rifles had a brass plate on the left side of the stock. This plate always carries the name THE REQUARTH GUN and some also carry the name and address of the distributor.

It has been determined that at least three different distributors sold these drill rifles. The following names have been found on this plate.

  • Cincinnati Regalia Co. Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Pettibone Mfg. Co. Cincinnati, Ohio
  • William Read & Sons, Boston Mass.

All of these companies sold sporting goods and/or military and band items. One specimen only lists The Requarth Gun and the Dayton, Ohio address. It is presumed that this specimen was sold directly from the factory. There are also specimens that have no plate or any other form of identification. The drill rifles was generally patterned after the 1873 Springfield in that it had a side hammer and a hinged breech block but in all other features it was unique. It is 47 1/4″ long, which is about an inch shorter than the 1873 Springfield Cadet model. The lock mechanism was made of cast iron and was rather crude in design and execution. For all of it’s shortcomings, it was more elaborate than many other drill rifles of that period. It would be interesting to find an advertisement that indicated the cost. There were two different models (A &B) that were basically identical with the exception of a bayonet lug on the Model A. Little is known of the bayonet other than that it was a socket bayonet and that it was held in place by a cylindrical pin in the front sight location.

The stock appears to have been made of maple and stained or painted to look more like walnut. The barrel is an integral part of the stock and was stained or painted black. There is a short barrel section the extends past the end of the stock. This extension has a short metal sleeve over it. The butt plate is made from a thin piece of sheet metal. There is no evidence to suggest that they ever had any barrel bands or sling swivels. All of the metal parts appear to have been originally nickel plated but are now often found to be well browned from rust. The trigger mechanism was simple but not well designed or heat treated. Many of the surviving specimens have a trigger that no longer  functions to catch or release the hammer.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: Unidentified Drill Rifles

A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 15

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Carson Long Military Institute

Carson Long Military Institute is a direct descendent of Bloomfield Academy which was founded in 1835. It is currently the oldest boarding school in the United States that still has military training. In 1914, Bloomfield Academy was purchased by Theodore K. Long and, in 1916, he renamed the school Carson Long Institute as a living memorial to his son William Carson Long. In 1919, military training was established at the school.

From 1919 to date, various types of drill or training rifles have been used by Carson Long Military Institute. The earliest type of drill rifle was the In-Vu model 25 “Rookie”. This was made entirely of wood and had the general profile of the 1903 Springfield rifle. It is short and light weight and would have been suitable for young Cadets. They still retain three of these in their museum. They have several photographs in their museum that show Cadets carrying drill rifles. The earliest dated photograph shows them carrying 1873 Trapdoor Springfield rifles. These rifles had the barrels cut off to 24″ and the forearm shortened to about carbine length. Later photographs show the 1903 Springfield, the Pattern 17 Enfield, the M1 Garand, and the M16 rifles. None of these rifles had any external alteration but some were altered so that they could
not be fired.

The following photographs are of rifles at the Carson Long Military Institute museum.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: The Requarth Gun

A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 14

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In an advertisement from 1918 the In-Vu Mfg. Co. address is listed as 8 Lehigh Ave. Geneva, N.Y. It should be noted that Lehigh Ave. was renamed Lehigh Street in the 1930’s to be consistent with the orientation of streets and avenues in Geneva. During WWI this area was on the northern edge of the City of Geneva and was comprised of warehouse type buildings. None of the Business Directories for that period list the In-Vu Mfg. Co. This would indicate that they were being manufactured by some other company. The Assessor’s Office in Geneva has indicated that in the early 1920’s the property at 8 Lehigh Ave was owned by the Torrey Park Lumber Company. This company is listed in the Geneva Business Directory from 1901 through 1910. In 1901 they are listed as ”Dealers in Lumber, Lath, Shingles, Sash, Doors, Blinds, Wall Plaster”. This would be an indication that they must have had a production facility as well as a lumber yard. The 1905-6 directory lists the Torrey Park Lumber Yard address as “North Genesee Street near the L V R crossing”. The letters stand for the Leigh Valley Railroad. The rail line crossed North Genesee Street just south of Avenue D, which places the Torrey Park Lumber Yard less than a block away from 8 Lehigh Ave. The 1907-8 directory also lists the Torrey Park Lumber Co. at this location. In 1909-10 Torrey Park Lumber Co. had no special advertisement but were listed as one of three lumber yards in the area. It is interesting to note that a Eugene Cuddeback is listed as manager of both the Torrey Park and Rogers Lumber Companies at this time. They were not listed in the Geneva Business directory between 1910 and the early 1920’s, but there is evidence that they remained in business during this period.

Although there is no positive documentation, it seems highly probable that the Torrey Park Lumber Company was associated with the In-Vu Manufacturing Co. Due to the proximity of the two locations it is possible that the In-Vu name was derived from the fact that the two buildings were in view of each other. I suspect that the Torrey Park Lumber Co. supplied the lumber for the wood rifles and that they were produced in their warehouse facility at 8 Lehigh Ave.

In a 1918 advertisement they indicate that 60,000 of their Drill Rifles were in use. They advertised widely during 1917-18 and this combined with their low cost makes the 60,000 figure seem reasonable. There is no evidence that they had any military contracts for these wooden rifles, although their advertisements do imply that the Ordnance Chief of the US War Department endorsed them. There are no markings on these drill rifles to indicate the manufacturer or the number produced and they have no moving parts. I find their description of their training rifles to be an exaggeration at best. They have the same general profile of the 1903 Springfield but are Non-Firing Drill & much thinner and lighter in weight. They are considerably short of being an exact copy of the 1903 Springfield, as stated in their advertisements. Their primary assets were that they were durable and very inexpensive. With WWI ending, I suspect that demand dropped to the point that it was no longer profitable to produce these drill rifles. They probably stopped production by 1920 but they may have continued to sell their remaining stock until the supply was depleted.

The earliest advertisement that has been located was in the June 30 issue of the Literary Digest. In this advertisement the list 5 different styles. The No. 100, 75, and 50 styles were all of the 1903 pattern. The No. 25 Boy Scout and the No. 10 Young American basically simplified toys. It should be noted that later in 1917 their advertisements did not list these “toys”. I suspect that there was not sufficient demand for these items to warrant the cost of their production. Later in 1917 they introduced a different No. 25 style that was a shortened version of the 1903 Springfield pattern. The full size No. 100 was 43″ long while the new No 25 “Rookie” was only 38″ long. The Rookie style had a similar stock profile to the No. 100 but had no round wooden dowel for a barrel. The No. 75 and No. 50 were the same size and shape as the No. 100 but had fewer accessories. The Lee Enfield pattern was not listed in their advertisements prior to 1918. Therefore, the majority of their production would have been of the 1903 Springfield pattern. The stocks appear to have been made from a soft wood and stained to look like walnut. The wood was probably harvested locally. All of the models had a similar profile and thickness. The No. 150, 100, 75, and 50 had a short wooden dowel that was inserted into the front of the forarm for a barrel. The No. 25 “Rookie” was the lowest grade and had no barrel or swivels.

The following advertisement was found in the Literary Digest dated June 30, 1917.

The following advertisement is undated but was found in a 1918 periodical.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: Carson Long Military Institute

A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 13

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INDIANA QUARTERED OAK CO. – Military Drill Rifle

This drill rifle was made in un-weighted and weighted models. Both of these had the same external appearance. The rifle illustrated above is the weighted model. To bring the weight up to 8 ½ lb. a 1″ diameter steel rod 8″ long was inserted in the action area and a 3″ piece was inserted into the butt stock. These holes were then plugged with a short wooden dowel. The barrel on both models was a 5″ length of 5/8″ diameter steel rod. The added weights gave their rifle the same weight and balance as the 1903 Springfield rifle.

The advertisement below shows a rifle with a sling attached although no sling is specified in the list of included items. I suspect that you were required to provide your own sling if one was needed.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: In-VU Wood Rifle

Does Drill Team Style Matter to Win?

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Q: I am the coach of a High school in MA and former captain of the armed drill team. Northeast drill seems to vary drastically from other parts of the country. We are a bit slower with more emphasis on military bearing, style and flavor, than much of the speedy Texas style drilling. Is this us not being with the times, or is our style still legitimate?

A: Thanks for the post and thanks for working with your team.

Never judge your own performance by what someone else or another team does.Competition is about being the best you can be with what God gave you to work with. It’s not about Team ABC being better than Team XYZ. Sure, having a trophy is nice, but if that is all you shoot for, then what happens when the celebrations are over? Nothing. You have to do it all over again and it’s not worth all of the effort for a piece of plastic, metal or stone. It is worth the effort to feel that sense of accomplishment; pride in a job well done and if you are on a team, what a sense of teamwork! What if you don’t feel it? Then something needs adjusting and that needs to be figured out to move on and progress.

Give some thought to this scenario: Team ABC and Team XYZ finish a big competition and come in 1st and 2nd, respectively, and also come very close in points. However, if the competition had been an hour later or a day earlier, the placements could have been reversed. Do you see that what our society calls “winning” is actually empty? “Winning” is really about the great feeling you get coming in 5th place and having the best performance you ever had in your life and being happy for all of the other teams around you!

Having said that, there is always room for improvement in all kinds of areas for drill teams and individual Drillers. Styles can be mixed or one can stick to a single style like glue. The choice is yours.

As for judging, the World Drill Association Adjudication System does not take style into account. What matters is effectiveness, communication, clarity, entertainment, plus so much more in each visual caption. (See: http://drillmaster.wpengine.com/professional-judges-for-the-military-drill-world-now/.)

One more thing: Nationals is not the be-all and end-all of military drill. You and your team should do their best when creating, practicing and performing the routine. Educated Drillers, instructors and coaches are the makings of routines with great effect, vocabulary and overall entertainment.

Check out www.thedrillmaster.org to begin more in-depth learning regarding military drill.

America’s Got Talent and New Guard America

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Before New Guard America was officially dissolved (it has now been resurrected, but all of the members are not returning), it took part in a great adventure competing for a spot on, and hopefully winning: the America’s Got Talent TV program. Winning was not to be. However, with NGA making it to the small screen, millions of people will now be introduced to, not only armed, but bladed exhibition drill. This is a huge plus for the military drill world.

Even with Howard Stern, one of the AGT judges, calling NGA, “Glorified baton twirlers,” the team members did an outstanding job- even if there were some problems. Watch this ground-breaking performance this Monday, 28 May, 2012. If you miss it, I’m sure the dedicated fans of exhibition drill will record it and upload it to video channels everywhere!


See the show here. NGA is on for 4 seconds from 30:08 to 30:13.



Update: Monday’s show did not have NGA. Teusday’s AGT show will apparently have more from the Tampa, FL auditions.

Update 2: I give up. At one point NGA was told by one of the AGT staff that the team’s performance would not “translate well” to the American audience and so they were cut. I don’t know what that means, but it seems that exhibition drill is not yet ready to be given a wider audience. We will al keep plugging along and progressing drill to work toward the day when XD will “translate well.”

Update 3: Finally. Jun 12th saw New Guard America on America’s Got Talent. For three seconds. Literally. It’s better than nothing, but I know Drillers want more. That will come in time and not by someone who is going to throw something together tomorrow. Patience, Grasshopper.

For this photo, Summer Ryan, former Madame Commander of the NGA, said that AGT judge Sharon Osbourne, said that Summer was “Voguing.” :-)

Update 4: Well, this coming Monday, 25 Jun 12, is going to be the episode to watch according to Constantine Wilson, head of New Guard America.

Finally! After weeks of waiting, here it is! Here is the NBC Web site Video!

NGA Official site videos

A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 12

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The “HAUBERT, H.” – Dummy Training Rifle

This training rifle is somewhat of an anomaly. The butt plate is marked as follows:


It appears to be identical to the Model B-M-30 “Senior Drill Team” Trainerifle that was produced by the Parris Mfg. Co. following WWII. Due to the fact that there is a fixed rear sight this rifle was probably made about 1960. This “training rifle” is certainly a drill rifle. It would be interesting to know who Haubert, H. was and what connection he had with the Parris Mfg. Co. It seems likely that Haubert purchased a small quantity of these drill rifles from the Parris Mfg. Co. and had his name stamped on the butt plate.

US NAVY TRAINING RIFLE – Model 1903-A3 Springfield

The following images are from “The Springfield 1903 Rifles” by William Brophy.


This training rifle was made by the Detroit Composition Company. Nothing is known about the company at this time. It is patterned after the 1903 Springfield rifle. It weighs 6 1/4 lbs and is 43 ½ inches long. This is slightly lighter in weight but very close to the Springfield dimensions. This is one of the better reproductions of 1903 Springfield rifle. The barrel muzzle, front barrel band, and front sight are made in one piece out of cast iron. This casting also has a stacking swivel and a bayonet lug. The receiver, rear barrel extension, and the rear sight base are also cast as one piece. There is no barrel section running through the stock. The trigger guard is formed from a steel strip. It has a functional bolt with an operational safety. The bolt handle, safety, and cockling knob are made of cast iron. The bolt body is a steel shaft. When the bolt is operated, it cocks the striker and the trigger will release the striker shaft when the safety is released. There is no cartridge chamber or firing pin. The rear sight has a functional slide. The butt plate is also made of cast iron and has the name and address cast in place. The stock is made of walnut and very well shaped and finished. There are no serial numbers or markings on any part of the rifle other than the butt plate. It was originally purchased from a man who stated that it was made early in the 1900’s for the Detroit Armory. I would speculate that they were made between 1915 and 1920. It seems probable that a relatively small number of these training rifles were made at the start of WWI and used by trainees at the Detroit Armory. To date, no advertisements or contracts have surfaced for these training rifles.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: Indiana Quartered Oak Company