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Saturday, 27 August 2016

Charlton Automatic Rifle - Made Here In NZ:

Just to remind you guys - before & during WWII New Zealand was directly threatened by the forces of Japan in the 'Pacific Theater' - and we were pushed for military supplies. We are for ever indebted to US Forces for saving our butts by stopping the Southern movement of the Japanese forces in the Pacific Islands.
US Marines Raising The Flag on Iwo Jima

- Philip Charlton and his shooting mate Maurice Field invented and developed a system in the early 1940s that modified old Lee-Metford .303" rifles into light machine-guns - and they really worked.

The story of how they built 1,500 'Charltons' here in NZ and how their design was also taken-up in Australia is brilliantly told by Forgotten Weapons.Com. - just click on the link eh:

- Sadly nearly all of these interesting firearms were destroyed in an armory fire and only very few survive in museums.

Note: Christchurch dealer Gun City were recently offering a replica for NZ$7,000. I don't know if they still have it.

Marty K.
P.S.  Rod (the Retiree) has added this extra meat to the Charlton story from the 'deep
down South':

Hi Marty,  I have been researching the Charlton for the past 40 years. There are only about 9 – 10 originals known to exist in the World today.  I have examined or seen 6 of them and currently own two of them.  The very few that survived the Palmerston North fire were gas-axed by the Army and dumped.

  An example recently sold at the Wellington Branch auction for $5800 but is believed to be a reproduction.  I was not there to examine it but I can tell from the photos that there are inconsistencies with the originals I have examined over the years.

 Although that parts were made on a production basis during WW2 by a variety of companies in the North Island, the guns were hand assembled and tuned.  Consequently they were never fitted with truly interchangeable parts as is usual with military weapons.

  I knew an old WW2 armourer who was tasked with accepting them into service and he told me they needed constant tuning to keep them running.  The handbook said that full-auto fire should only be used in emergencies.  He told me that too much full-auto fire caused the gun to speed up until the bolt head fractured.  Apparently the various friction adjustments loosened up when the gun warmed up.  They remain an interesting stop-gap example of ingenuity!
Cheers, Rod.