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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
Was hoping someone could assist me with a few questions. I have been sitting on one of these loaders for quite a few years. How it got here to South Africa is probably an interesting story, but one I do not have access to.
From reading through this site, it seems that my main problem (a missing crank arm/handle) is quite common, and seems my chances of finding one are minimal to zero. I have seen so many pics of various loaders, and cannot pinpoint exactly what the handle for mine would look like. i have pics of 3 variations with slightly different bends and shapes, but would really love to see a few pics of the exact Colt 30/06 one to see if it could be fabricated.

Now I think I am considered lucky to have the hopper for mine, as I hear many are missing hoppers. However, what confuses me is that I have 2 different hoppers for mine. One is a short wide hopper, and the other is a tall thin feeding guide. Both fit separately, and I assume one is for 30/06, but is the other for 303 or .....?
Did these come with 2 different hoppers for 2 calibers?

On the far side of the hopper in the first pic, you can just make out a dovetail fitting. What went in there?

Lastly, why would the name plate on mine not have a serial? As you can see, it is nicely labelled, but the part where the serial would be seems to be blank. Odd?

Sorry, not selling the machine or any hoppers at this stage. Just preserving it for the next owner oneday in the future. Apologize for the dust, it seems like a dust magnet. The current handle is just for display (from an old mincing machine) and seems to complete the look. But would love to get it more complete.







 

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Hi all,
Was hoping someone could assist me with a few questions. I have been sitting on one of these loaders for quite a few years. How it got here to South Africa is probably an interesting story, but one I do not have access to.
From reading through this site, it seems that my main problem (a missing crank arm/handle) is quite common, and seems my chances of finding one are minimal to zero. I have seen so many pics of various loaders, and cannot pinpoint exactly what the handle for mine would look like. i have pics of 3 variations with slightly different bends and shapes, but would really love to see a few pics of the exact Colt 30/06 one to see if it could be fabricated.

Now I think I am considered lucky to have the hopper for mine, as I hear many are missing hoppers. However, what confuses me is that I have 2 different hoppers for mine. One is a short wide hopper, and the other is a tall thin feeding guide. Both fit separately, and I assume one is for 30/06, but is the other for 303 or .....?
Did these come with 2 different hoppers for 2 calibers?

On the far side of the hopper in the first pic, you can just make out a dovetail fitting. What went in there?

Lastly, why would the name plate on mine not have a serial? As you can see, it is nicely labelled, but the part where the serial would be seems to be blank. Odd?

Sorry, not selling the machine or any hoppers at this stage. Just preserving it for the next owner oneday in the future. Apologize for the dust, it seems like a dust magnet. The current handle is just for display (from an old mincing machine) and seems to complete the look. But would love to get it more complete.







I have couple of of these and my mine has the short hopper which I believe is the correct one. I have attached two photos of a Colt M1915 Colt belt loaders, one is of a complete loader in the box, the other showing the brass long hopper. Neither of these loaders are mine. If you have the box for your loader, see if the long one fits into it, that is a pretty good indicator of which one is correct. The real expert is Bob Naess who could shed much more light on what is correct and what is not, I am an amateur on these compared to him. As far as i know, the M1915 Colt Vickers belt loaders were not serialized from the factory based on the ones I have seen. If you run into a spare clamp assembly, please put my name it it. The commonly available book, "Handbook of the Vickers Machine Gun Model of 1915" has a diagram of the belt loader with partial dimensions. They are easy to find on Gunbroker for $10 - $18 (over 5 there now). Hope this helps.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks very much, those pics are very helpful. I wish I had the box. All I have is the loader. I wonder if anyone has parted one out for spares, as there is a large screw that holds the sliding black plate that is missing, and don't want to try and have one made.
That is the first pic that I have seen using the long hopper. I should check calibers to see what fits best. Could these loaders be used for other caliber guns?
Doubt any parts are lying around SA, this is the only loader I know of here, and the guy who has a gun wants it badly. But can't bring myself to part with it.
 

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Thanks very much, those pics are very helpful. I wish I had the box. All I have is the loader. I wonder if anyone has parted one out for spares, as there is a large screw that holds the sliding black plate that is missing, and don't want to try and have one made.
That is the first pic that I have seen using the long hopper. I should check calibers to see what fits best. Could these loaders be used for other caliber guns?
Doubt any parts are lying around SA, this is the only loader I know of here, and the guy who has a gun wants it badly. But can't bring myself to part with it.
Doubt you will find anyone parting out a loader, you may find someone with spare handles, hoppers, or clamps but it takes a while and some luck. Common to find the loader boxes on eBay for $80 - $120 (although usually without the inserts and leather handle). They are easy to identify as they are green boxes with a red stripe around the box.

I would probably say that there are probably a number of hoppers/feed strips that will fit into the loader or into similar loaders. This design with some modifications was used for a number of British and I believe Russian Vickers/Maxim belt loaders. I know for a fact that with a little filing, the Swiss MG11 Maxim hopper will fit the loader.
 

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Vickers .303 loader

John Browning did not develop the 30/06 belt loader until 1918...during WW1. Remember...the US was not into the Great war until Apr 1917. And only after he had received the acceptance of the 1917 water-cooled Browning by the US military. US troops were ...both Army and Marines...equipped with the Vickers in .303 and then later the Vickers in 30/06. Believe the hopper was for the .303 and the feed tower/strip was for 30/06. The 1917 Browning MG was not put into use by US forces until 17 Sep 1918,as Pershing was concerned the huns would capture one and reproduce it. The 1917 Browning MG was considered the finest WC belt-fed MG ever made. You would be better off trying to contact someone in England for your parts needed for your 1915 Vickers loader. Good luck....
 

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John Browning did not develop the 30/06 belt loader until 1918...during WW1. Remember...the US was not into the Great war until Apr 1917. And only after he had received the acceptance of the 1917 water-cooled Browning by the US military. US troops were ...both Army and Marines...equipped with the Vickers in .303 and then later the Vickers in 30/06. Believe the hopper was for the .303 and the feed tower/strip was for 30/06. The 1917 Browning MG was not put into use by US forces until 17 Sep 1918,as Pershing was concerned the huns would capture one and reproduce it. The 1917 Browning MG was considered the finest WC belt-fed MG ever made. You would be better off trying to contact someone in England for your parts needed for your 1915 Vickers loader. Good luck....
I will start this off by saying Len knows Browning belt loaders better than anyone I know as well as the mechanics of belt loaders in general. I respectfully disagree on two points though, first I believe the hopper was standard to the Colt Vickers belt loader based on the M1915 manual description/drawings and the partitions in the belt loader boxes (of which I have three). I could be wrong but I also thought most M1915 US Colts were primarily in .30-06 caliber, the British Vickers were .303 and used a slightly different design (some parts may be interchangeable). Second, based on my experience looking for both US and British Vickers parts, any M1915 Colt Vickers belt loader or parts you will find will be here in the United States. The M1915 Colt belt loaders are reasonably easy to find, and less expensive compared to the British Vickers ones. IMHO.
 

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1915 Colt Vickers...

I've not seen a funnel-loader for the 30/06 with any belt loader. There was a tray-type used for later versions and the .50 BMG belt loader used a tray also. Have seen funnels for the .308 and 7.65 Arg. model of the 1928 Colt Arg belt loader. Believe the 1915 Colt Vickers loader used the brass funnel just for the .303 cartridge,as this was the main weapon used by US Army and Marines for most of our part of WW1. As with any piece of equipment use by military,there are exceptions and 'combat-expediency' takes precedence in the heat of battle. Don't believe that the 1915 Vickers loader machine,made by Colt, was used for any other cals,as the 1918 Browning Belt loader was put into service specifically for the 30/06 cartridge used by US forces. I could be in error on some of this,as I'm not an expert on the Vickers equipment. I have heard of a 30/06 Vickers being made to keep the logistics of trying to supply 2-cals in combat down. During the War between the States (1861-1865) there were up to 58-different cals being used...by both sides...a logistics nightmare. Previous post may be correct,especially about the 1915 Colt Vickers being made in 30/06 also. Have not seen one myself,being involved with the 1918 Browning Belt loader. We may both be saying the same thing from different angles....LOL....
 

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1915 US Vickers was .30-06

The 1915 Vickers was in .30-06. The loaders used either the stick or the hopper and the dovetail at the back was for a steel guide that enabled stripping cartridges off of the stripper clip and into the hopper. Will provide photos later today. The stick loader was also provided for the 1904 maxim loader and the top of the stick is cut out for similar use in stripping cartridges from stripper clips.
Regards,
Joe
 

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...good to know...

OK...now that I've been advised about the 1915 Colt Vickers Belt loader...I'll be in the market for one. These would have been carried on the 1917 Machine Gun and Ammo carts in WW1 until the 1917 Browning was incorporated into the system.....probably late 1919.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you Joe, I look forward to seeing the pics. I had always been under the impression that the Colt 1915 Vickers was made in 30/06 and that this loader was pretty much made for that caliber. Interesting that you say that both hoppers are for 30/06. I seem to remember finding that one of them worked for 303, but will check later in this week.
I also think that any parts for these would come from the USA, since I don't think the UK used many Vickers in 30/06?
That steel guide...haven't seen it in pics, but will have to keep a lookout for it.
Appreciate your time all.
 

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Look at lower right of boxed loader

You can see the steel cartridge guide insert at the lower right of the boxed loader, left picture.
Joe
 
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