Siamese Type 46/66 8x52mmR Rifle (58067)
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Facing the threat of Western colonial expansionism in Southeast Asia during the later part of the 19th century, King Rama V of Siam (now Thailand), sought new firearms as part of a modernization program to ensure the kingdom's independence. After experiments with other rifles, the Siamese military decided to purchase a Mauser rifle based on the Gewehr 98 design as their principle service rifle. Through various modifications, adaptations, and using various cartridges, the Siamese Mausers served as the main infantry weapon of Siam until after the Second World War.
Despite efforts from both Britain and France to pressure manufacturers not to sell to Siam, Siam managed to purchase a license to build Mauser's Gewehr 98 rifle. Siam, however, lacked the necessary manufacturing capability and Koishikawa Arsenal in Japan was contracted to build the rifles.
The first Siamese Mauser used the Gewehr 98 bolt with the cock-on-open action, but removed the recoil lug with the narrower lines of the Mauser Model 1896. Some features and characteristics of the Japanese Type 35 rifle (under development in the same arsenal at that time) were also incorporated, such as the sliding dust cover and long wrist tangs. Some Siamese Type 46 rifles also have a split butt stock common on Arisaka rifles. Although the design was licensed from Mauser, none of the components of the Siamese rifles are interchangeable with other Mauser rifles.
The Type 46 was chambered for the Type 45 8 x 50mm rimmed cartridge. The cartridge was formally adopted before the rifles as cartridge dimensions needed to be settled before rifle production could begin.
In 1923 (2466 BE), the Siamese military decided to upgrade their ammunition with a spitzer bullet to improve range. The new cartridge was adopted as the Type 66. Existing Type 46 and Type 47 rifles were rechambered for the 8x52mm rimmed Type 66 round. The rear sight ramps were also ground down to reflect the flatter trajectory of the new ammunition. As a result, many of the Thai numbers inscribed on rear sight ramps are partially cut-off. No other changes were made to the rifles or carbines during the rechambering process. Following the rechambering, the rifles were redesignated as the Type 46/66 rifle and Type 47/66 carbine.