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Hanyang 88
Hanyang 88
Country of origin

China (Qing Dynasty)

Manufacturer(s)

Hanyang Arsenal

Year(s) designed

1888

Production began

1895

Production ended

1947

Weapon type

Rifle

Caliber

7.92x57mm Mauser

Action

Bolt action

Overall length

49.2in (1.25m)

Barrel length

29.1in (0.74m)

Weight

8.95lb (4.06kg)

Magazine/Cylinder capacity

5

Cyclic rate

15 rounds per minute

Maximum effective range

500m

Used by

Qing Dynasty, Republic of China, People's Republic of China


The Hanyang 88 (or Type 88) was an early Chinese magazine rifle based on the German Gewehr 88 rifle. In fact the Hanyang Arsenal (the developer and the original manufacturer of the Hanyang 88) was given schematics and production machineries purchased from Germany (when Germany introduced Gewehr 98 as the replacement) by the Imperial Qing government, and hence the Hanyang 88 was born.

Design DetailsEdit

The Hanyang 88 was heavily based on the Gewehr 88 and as such the two rifles were almost identical in appearance. The same 29.1in (0.74m) rifled barrel was used on both designs as was the bolt action mechanism and stock. The Hanyang's receiver also resembled the Gewehr's "split bridge" design, which included the bolt engaging in the "rear bridge" and the clip located in the "front bridge".

The Hanyang also utilised the Gewehr's quick loading solution whereby the en-bloc clip (which held the cartridges) would drop through a hole in the magazine after the last cartridge had been chambered, in order to allow the next clip to be loaded. The hole could cause problems, however, as it would allow dirt to enter the mechanism, while the sound of the clip dropping to floor could cause the shooter's location to be revealed. 

The only major difference between the two designs was quality of manufacture. The Chinese Hanyang reflected the relatively-primitive industrial sophitication of China at the time (although the Hanyang has often been recorded as being reliable in the context of its cost of manufacture) and the fact it was simply a copy of the Gewehr meant it (the Hanyang) would not benefit, immediately, from the development of its German counterpart. Indigenous modifications were introduced from time to time, however, primarily the elimination of barrel shroud and addition of upper forend handguard similar to those seen on later Mauser-pattern battle rifles. The Hanyang also had marginally different sights, including a rear sight graduated to 2,000m.

AmmunitionEdit

The Hanyang 88 was chambered for the 7.92x57mm Mauser cartridge, a cartridge originally designed for the Gewehr 88. This cartridge brought an end to the use of the large calibre blackpowder cartridges in China (in infantry weapons) and among the first magazine loading cartridge to be used by a Chinese firearm.

Hanyang 88 uses the smaller-diameter (0.318 inches), round-nose bullet rather than the ballistically-superior spitzer bullet (0.323 inches diameter) used by the later Chiang Kai-Shek rifle. Attempting to fire the 0.323-inch spitzer bullets from Hanyang 88 is considered unsafe. Mass-conversion of Hanyang 88 to use the spitzer bullets, although planned (and would have involved replacements of barrel and chamber throat), was not carried out, and both variants of 7.92x57mm Mauser ammunitions remained in production up to the end of the war against Japan.

The 7.92x57mm Mauser was loaded into the Hanyang via an en-bloc clip, which stripped the cartridge from the clip when the bolt was pushed forwards. The clip itself held 5 rounds and (due to the automatic release of the clip after the last cartridge had been loaded) allowed the shooter to fire around 15 shots per minute. Field modification to use the stripper clips of the Chiang Kai-Shek rifles existed, but no standardized kit of such nature was developed by any of the rifle's manufacturers.

UsageEdit

The Hanyang 88 was first manufactured by the Hanyang Arsenal during the Qing Dynasty (which had ruled China since 1644) in 1895. The Hanyang served the Qing Dynasty in its dying years (which ultimately died in 1912), before serving the Republic of China and later People's Republic of China through until the 1980s. In this time the Hanyang proved more than adequate as a weapon, having competed on a level basis with more modern Japanese designs, such as the Type 38 and Type 99 rifles (particularly prominant during the War of Resistance Against Japan).

Phasing out of the Hanyang would begin in 1947, the rifle having served various members of China's society (from Qing Dynasty to the Communist guerrilla to National Revolutionary Army) for more than 50 years. While the Nationalist army of the Republic of China would quickly receive enough surplus American arms to relegate their Hanyang to instructional purposes, the Communist forces of the People's Republic of China were unable to obtain enough Soviet weapons to equip their regular and paramilitary formations, and they were therefore forced to retain their stock of Hanyang rifles through a significant portion of the Korean War of the 1950s, until the last of those rifles were ultimately decommissioned from various irregular militia units in the 1980's- nearly 100 years of the type's official capacity as a military rifle. 

ResourcesEdit

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanyang_88

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hanyang_88.jpg - Hanyang Image origin

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