This is the second of our two videos from the most recent 2-Gun match, which was designed with an explicit World War One theme. This one is a head to head match between me, kitted out as a BEF rifleman, and Karl, portraying a rear-line German reservist with a Gewehr 88.
The fact that we finished the match within literally one second of each other really says something about the British gear being superior the the Gew88/C96 combination. In any contest with equivalent hardware, Karl’s better shooting skills give him the win. The only reason I was able to win was by having better gear (this especially shows through at the last half of the second stage, where the SMLE allows me to make up a significant deficit from the pistol shooting). That said, every one of the guns we used had some type of problem…
My SMLE had an unusual malfunction on the long range stage, with the bolt head jumping its track. This turned out to be fairly easy to fix by finding the right point in the guide rail where I was able to snap it back into place, but it is something that should not have been able to occur in the first place (and I’m not sure what I did to cause it). This is the second time I have had an odd problem with an Enfield in competition (with different guns), and it really does lead me to believe that the action is simply not as foolproof and robust as the Mauser.
My Webley was a borrowed pistol which has been converted to .45 ACP. I handloaded the ammunition for it (as standard .45ACP is significantly overpressure for a Webley), and actually got the load a bit too light. That caused me a few issues with plates on the second round not falling. On the other hand, I was also using moon clips to reload, which gave me a historical advantage. A British officer would have most likely loaded with individual rounds one at a time (Prideaux speed loaders were around, but not common).
Karl’s Gewehr 88 ran well, but he was hindered a bit by its 547 yard (!) zero, and found that he had to aim at the base of the target stands to make hits on the first stage. Ouch!
His C96 also proved a bit problematic, with he bolt usually not quite going fully into battery. That was the result of a weakening mainspring, which has since been replaced. Even without that problem, though, the C96 is an awkward handgun at best.