Clearing plugs

Plug, Clearing, Vickers .303-inch M.G., Mk. I

  • Cat No. C1/BD 2502, List of changes B 1827 and B 9369, PLUGS, CLEARING, Vickers .303-in. M.G., Mk. 1

There were problems with this plug and it seemed to effect older manufactured clearing plugs. An Army Council Instruction was issued in May 1939 with information for armourers to repair.

249. Modification of Plugs, Clearing, .303-in. M.G., Mark I.

It has been decided that, as the screwed ends in Plugs, clearing, .303-in. M.G., Mark I, issued before February, 1939, break off owing to the metal being too hard at this point, the plugs shall be modified locally by armourers. The screwed end of the plunger, for a distance of half an inch from the end, will be softened by heating it, with a brazing lamp, to a dull red and allowing it to cool off. The plunger will be suitably protected while hearting to prevent the heat spreading beyond the half-inch to be softened.

Army Council Instruction 249 of May 1939

This model was introduced and used throughout the Great War. It was identified as obsolescent in the 1940 Technical Handbook for the Vickers MG.

Now obsolescent, has a split stem, screwed at the end and bored longitudianlly, with a slotted head drilled laterally for assembly of the handle axis pin. The handle, approximately 5-in. long, has a flat projection which seats on the front of the stem head. A tapered plunger approximately 3½-in. long, with an enlarged head, is housed in the bore of the stem and retained by a lateral pin allowing ½-in. traverse to the plunger. For distinguishing purposes it is marked “Plug, clearing, gun, Vickers, .303-in.” on the side of the handle.

To use the plug.-Hang the breech lock and insert the stem of the plug into the chamber of the barrel. Hold the plug handle vertically and rotate the crank handle backward and forward, lightly tapping the head of the plunger with the face of the extractor. Hang the lock and push forward on the plug handle until the separaed case is extracted.

Plug, Clearing, V.M.G., .5″

  • Cat No. C2/BG 0884, List of changes B3713, PLUGS, CLEARING, Vickers .5-in. M.G., Mk. I

Used with the .5-inch Vickers MGs.

Is similar to the .303-in. pattern, but correspondingly larger to suit the .5-in. barrel. It is marked “Plug, clearing, .50-inch, G.V.” on the handle. 

Plug, Clearing, .303-inch M.G., Mk. I

  • Cat No. C1/BD 2503, List of changes B 1827 and B 9369, PLUGS, CLEARING, .303-in. M.G., Mk. 1 – For Bren and Vickers M.Gs.

Is for use with all .303-in. machine guns and consists of three components, i.e. stem, head and plunger.

The stem is tubular, having three longitudinal slots to allow the front ends, on which annular grooves are formed, to be expanded, for gripping the separated cartridge case in the chamber.

The head is tapered, having a rim at the large end recessed approximately 3/8-in. to house the plain end of the stem, and is drilled and tapped centrally for assembly of the plunger.

The plunger, approximately 2½-in. long, passes through the stem and assembles to the head, the enlarged front end being tapered to provide the means for expanding the stem when the plunger is withdrawn.

To assemble the plug.-Slide the split end of the stem over the screwed end of the plunger. Hold the enlarged end of the plunger and assemble the head, recessed end foremost, and tighten by hand.

To strip the plug.-Reverse the order of assembling.

To use the plug.-When using the plug with the Vickers machine guns slide the rimmed head on the extractor until positioned on the gib face. Allow the lock to travel fully forward thus forcing the stem into the separated case. Rotate the crank handle and withdraw the lock to the rear thereby drawing the tapered end of the plunger into the stem and tending to expand the annular rings into the case, and withdraw the plug, with the separated case, from the chamber.

Remove the plug from the face of the extractor, unscrew the head and remove the plunger. The separated case can now be removed from the end of the stem.


Specific source references can be provided if required.