The Lee Rifle was a bolt action, magazine-fed rifle accepted for use by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps as an infantry rifle in 1895. It was manufactured by Winchester, and was designed by James Paris Lee. It is also known as the Model 1895 or 6mm Lee Navy Rifle. As the latter indicates, it fired 6mm bullets from an eponymous cartridge (the 6mm Lee Navy) from an internal 5-round magazine, loaded via the then new en bloc clip method. With a muzzle velocity of approximately 2,500 feet per second and an effective range of over 550 yards, the Lee was one of the first military weapons to use smokeless powder. Like the more modern K31, it was a straight-pull bolt system. Intended for use by embarked Marines against targets in boats, the Lee was designed for high penetrating power at range. Although originally the Lee contained a Lee-Metford rifling pattern of 1 turn in 6.5 inches, this was eventually changed to a longer turn distance to cope with increased pressures from the new smokeless powder. The Lee did see action in several places, including Guantanamo, the Moro Rebellion in the Phillipines and in the Boxer Rebellion where it was used to defend the U.S. legation. 54 Lee Rifles were recovered from the sunken U.S.S. Maine, which eventually found their way into surplus channels.

By 1898, however, the Navy was beginning to think that it might be better to have arms based on the Army's new standard .30 caliber cartridge, and the Navy began placing orders for M1892/98 Krag Rifles as early as 1899. By 1900, the Marines had turned in their Lee Rifles for the Krag and compatibility with the Army's much larger infantry weapon logistics infrastructure.


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