A close up on the Great War-era Maxim suppressor

The U.S. Army in the early 20th Century did some research and field trials on several early silencers for use on the M1903 Springfield. Suppressing a .30-06 is no easy task even today but two companies were ready to tackle it.

Between 1908 and 1910, the Army’s Ordnance Bureau purchased 100 Maxim models in .30 caliber as well as another 100 from a chap named Mr. Robert A. Moore. Both of these were by default the M1910 Silencer in the Army’s parlance.

The Moore (top) compared to the Maxim on a U.S. M1903. (Photo: Springfield Armory NHS)

Tests of the Maxim at the School of Musketry found the Silencer gave the following advantages:

(1) The lesser recoil of the rifle with Silencer operated in two ways: It greatly facilitated instruction of recruits in rifle firing. It materially lessened the fatigue of the soldier in prolonged firing, such as would occur in modern battle, which is a distinct military advantage.
(2) The muffling of the sound of discharge and the great reduction in the total volume of sound which permits the voice to be heard at the firing point about the sound of a number of rifles in action, greatly facilitate the control of the firing line, and extends the influence of officers and non-commisoned officers. It was found where the tactical conditions required a quick opening of fire, a sudden cessation of the fire and several quick changes of objective – all of which are difficult with several rifles firing – that verbal commands could easily be heard, and that it was possible to give perfectly audible instructions when the Silencer was used.

While a few were acquired, most were disposed of through the Director of Civilian Marksmanship by 1925, (yup, today’s CMP!) with a few of both kind kept at Springfield Armory for reference.

One is also at the Cody Museum in Wyoming, and in a rare treat, here it is close up from The Armorer’s Bench:  (stay tuned for confirmation in the video that at least some made it “Over There” in WWI)

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

One response to “A close up on the Great War-era Maxim suppressor”

  1. Mike Millhouse says :

    It’s been some years ago,since I read ‘Blood on the Border: The United States Army and the Mexican Irregulars’ by Clarence C. Clendenen, but I recall an account of some troopers (scouts?) having suppressors for their rifles. At one point, they fired down a long road, to see how well the report was reduced. Apparently, it worked well, except for a rapid series of sonic cracks, as the round passed each telegraph pole.

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