The Boys: A .55-caliber rifle meant to snipe tanks (VIDEOS)

02/13/19 7:00 AM | by

The Boys: A .55-caliber rifle meant to snipe tanks (VIDEO)

With the armor of the average 1930s tank being just past the thickness of a tin can, the .55-caliber Boys anti-tank rifle was the bees’ knees. The above segment from American Rifleman holds school on the outsized anti-material rifle.

Invented in the aftermath of World War I where the Germans used a 13.2mm bolt-action Mauser on steroids to take potshots at Allied tanks lurking around No Man’s Land, the similar concept designed by British Army Captain HC Boys was almost a no-brainer. Chambered in 13.9x99mm, Boys’s rifle was a 35-pound man-portable weapon capable of taking out a tank armored with 1-inch thick steel plate at 100-yards.

You had to be dedicated to hump a Boys around the deserts of North Africa looking for zee Panzers.

The overall length, with the standard 36-inch barrel, was just past 5-feet long, as tall as some of the men who would operate it. A five-round detachable box magazine gave the user an option for rapid follow-up shots if needed. Typically, a two-man crew would carry the rifle, spare parts, 8 magazines, and 40 rounds.

While useful in the early part of WWII, tank design left it behind as armor got thicker and the Boys was relegated to more of a support use as weapons such as bazookas and recoilless rifles were tapped moving forward.

If you have some time to kill, check out the classic Disney-produced training film on the gun, below.

Latest Reviews

  • Hellcat

    Concealment, Capacity Collide in Springfield Armory Hellcat

    After a 100-round initial review, I took the Hellcat back to the range and out on the town to see...

    Read Now
  • Heritage 16-inch Rough Rider

    Budget Buntline: Heritage Rough Rider 16-inch

    From a company whose name is synonymous with affordable single-action revolvers, comes the 16-inch barreled Rough Rider -- born of...

    Read Now
  • Nosler M48 Independence vs. Remington 700 CP

    In 2019, two manufacturers went head-to-head in the specialty bolt-action arena as Nosler introduced the single-shot M48 Independence and Remington...

    Read Now
  • Gun Review: Diamondback DB15 Pistol After 500 Rounds & Some Gel

    Gun Review: Diamondback DB15 Pistol After 500 Rounds & Some Gel

    We have been kicking around a Diamondback DB15 AR-pattern pistol for the past several weeks and have a report from...

    Read Now