British Vickers MMG Clearing Plug: Forged Handle

Item Description

Original Item: The Vickers Medium Machine Gun was issued with a tool designed to remove broken cartridge cases from the chamber of the barrel.  Three different events can result in a fired case remaining in the chamber:  (1) The extractor, whose function is to pull the case out, breaks; (2) The extractor pulls through the rim of the case, tearing away the metal of the case; (3) The head of the cartridge separates from the body of the case.  In this last event, the head is extracted and is either ejected or falls down in the gun mechanism, but the body of the case remains in the chamber.


In the first two cases, a cleaning rod can be inserted into the barrel from the muzzle to push the cartridge case out, but in the third case there is no cartridge head to push against.  Consequently, all machine guns are issued with a tool designed to grip the case body and pull it out of the chamber.  The Vickers tool for this purpose is an L-shaped device with a pivot or hinge at the joint of the two arms.


As in other cases, British terminology and American terminology differ in naming this tool.  In Britain it is called a ?clearing plug,? while in America it would be referred to as a broken or ruptured case extractor.


IMA has a very few of these tools.  Some are V.S.M., for Vickers Sons & Maxim.  Two different variations are available, although there is no Mark number distinction between them.  The handle of one type is machined flat while the second type is forged hollow on both sides. This is the Forged Handle Version.


The tool is marked

                                                PLUG CLEARING GUN VICKERS .303

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