Lee Navy Rifle From The USS Maine At James D Julia

Forgotten Weapons’ most recent video has Ian looking at one of my very favorite rifle designs – the 1895 Lee Navy. This Lee-Navy rifle, though, is not just an ahead-of-its-time, fast-firing, small caliber high velocity repeater, it also has a pretty special place in history:

The warhawks of the late 19th Century in the US got the war with Spain they wanted, and eventually the USS Maine was raised (in pieces) from the seabed, and the seamen who perished with her interred in proper graves. The Lee-Navy (also known commercially as the Winchester-Lee) unfortunately failed to gain traction, and was dropped by the US Navy early in the 20th Century, replaced for a very short time with Krag-Jorgensens, and then 1903 Springfield rifles in 1911.

The rifle in the video is up for auction; you can head on over to James D. Julia’s website for your chance to own a real piece of history.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • Mother of God. This is a chance to own a piece of America so significant that the ghost of Teddy Roosevelt would visit you in the dark of night to shake your hand.

    • Don Ward

      Indeed. Considering that TR carried a revolver from the USS Maine during his exploits in Cuba.

      • Tassiebush

        I’m from Tasmania and even I’ve heard of this! What a piece of history!

  • Riot

    Its a Lee. I want it.

  • Vitsaus

    Genuine innovation right there. Such a misfortune that this rifle and caliber were so short lived in US service. We would have been very much ahead of the curve if we had stuck to it.

  • Ken

    Another key advantage was that a sailor or Marine could carry 180 rounds of 6mm Navy as opposed to a soldier’s 100 rounds of .30-40 on their standard cartridge belts since the Navy ammo was lighter and packaged conveniently on stripper clips.

    • Tassiebush

      The idea of a stripper clip loading straightpull in a fast 6mm chambering is very appealing!

  • Zebra Dun

    Scuttlebutt says this is the type rifle on the Marine Good conduct medal.
    It could the Krag though.