We do not insert a drawing of this arm--one of the three selected by the American board--as it belongs to the same class and is similar in general construction to the Hotchkiss. There is, however, an important difference in the magazine, which has no spiral spring, but is furnished instead with an ingenious system of ratchet bars. One of these carries forward the cartridge a distance equal to its own length at each reciprocal motion of the bolt, while a second bar has no longitudinal motion, but prevents the cartridges from moving to the rear in the magazine tube after they have been moved forward by the other bar. The magazine is loaded through an aperture in the butt plate, the opening of the spring cover of which causes the two ratchet bars to be depressed, so that the magazine can be filled by passing the cartridges along a smooth middle bar. The act of closing the spring cover again brings the two ratchet bars into play.
FIG. 9.--KROPATSCHEK MAGAZINE GUN
By means of a cut-off the ratchet bars can be prevented from acting, and the piece used as a single loader.
This rifle, which is the small arm of the French navy, has a bolt-action rifle resembling the Gras (see Fig. 9).
The magazine is a brass tube underneath the barrel, as in the Winchester, Vetterli, Mauser, and other rifles of class 1. It contains six cartridges, while a seventh can be placed in the trough or carrier, T.
When the breech is opened by pulling back the bolt, a projection on the latter strikes the carrier at N, causing its front extremity to raise the cartridge into the position shown in the section. This movement is accelerated by the spring, A, acting against a knife-edge projection on the trough, T; in the upper position of the trough, the spring acts upon one face of the angle, and upon the other face when in the lower position.
On closing the breech, the bolt pushes the cartridge into the chamber, and when the handle is locked down to the right, a part of the bolt presses against a stud, and thus depresses the trough to be ready to receive another cartridge from the magazine.
The magazine can be cut off and the rifle used as a single loader by pushing forward a thumb-piece on the right side of the shoe. The effect of this is that, on turning down the handle to lock the bolt, the latter does not act on the stud to depress the carrier, so that no fresh cartridges are fed up from the magazine.
FIG. 10.--LEE MAGAZINE GUN
There is a projection, Z, on the fore part of the carrier, which keeps the next cartridge from leaving the magazine while the trough is in the upper or loading position. A supplementary cartridge stop, R, pivoted at P and having a spring, L, underneath it, acts in conjunction with Z in retaining the cartridges in the magazine, and especially in preventing more than one at a time from passing out into the carrier when the latter is depressed; it also retains the cartridges in the magazine tube while the latter is being filled.
This arm (see Fig. 10), which occupied the place of honor in the report of the American "Board on Magazine Guns," embodied two new principles of considerable importance, viz., the central position of the magazine, and having it detachable with ease, so that two or more magazines can be carried by the soldier.
The breech action of the Lee does not materially differ in design from other bolt rifles, except that the bolt is in two pieces only--the body, or bolt proper, and the hammer or cocking-piece. The firing pin, or striker, is screwed into the hammer; the spiral main spring, which surrounds the striker, is contained in a hollow in the body. The handle is placed at the rear end of the bolt, and bent down toward the stock, so as to allow the trigger to be reached without wholly quitting hold of the bolt. The extractor is so connected with the bolt head as not to share the rotation of the latter when the handle is turned down into the locking position. When the handle is turned up to unlock the bolt, the hammer is cammed slightly to the rear, by means of oblique bearings on the bolt and hammer, so as to withdraw the point of the striker within the face of the bolt. This oblique cam action also gives great power to the extractor at first starting the empty cartridge case out of the chamber.
The magazine, M, is simply a sheet iron or steel box of a size to hold five cartridges, but there seems no reason why it should not be of larger dimensions. It is detachable from the rifle, and is inserted from underneath into a slot or mortise in the stock and in the shoe, in front of the trigger guard. A magazine catch, C, just above the trigger guard, engages in a notch, N, in the rear of the magazine, the projection, L, first entering a recess prepared for it in the shoe. There is a magazine spring, D, at the bottom of the magazine box which pushes the cartridges up into the shoe. The point of the top cartridge is pushed into the projection, L, and this keeps the lower cartridges in their places in the box while the latter is detached; when the magazine is inserted in the rifle, the withdrawal of the bolt causes the top cartridge to be slightly drawn back, so that it is now free to be fed up into the shoe by the magazine spring, D.
There is a later pattern of magazine, which has its front face quite plain, with no projection, L, as the magazine catch was found sufficient to hold the box in its place. To prevent the cartridges being pressed out of the magazine before the latter is inserted in the rifle, there is a strong spring placed vertically in one side of this box, the curved upper end of which bears upon the top cartridge; when the magazine is in its place in the shoe, this side spring is so acted upon that it ceases to hold down the cartridges in the box.
To use the rifle as a single loader, formerly the magazine had to be detached, when a spring plate in the shoe, which is pushed aside by the insertion of the magazine, starts back into its place and nearly fills the magazine slot, so as to prevent cartridges falling through to the ground when fed into the chamber by hand. The later pattern, however, has two notches on the magazine for the catch, C, to engage in. When the magazine is inserted in the slot only as far as the upper notch, the rifle can be used only as a single loader, but on pressing the box home to the second notch, the magazine immediately comes into play.
The magazine can be released from the slot by an upward pressure on the lower projecting end of the magazine catch, C, which is covered by the trigger guard.
This rifle is precisely similar in principle to the Lee, the chief difference being that the magazine is permanently fixed in its slot underneath the shoe, and in front of the trigger guard. The cartridges are inserted from above. There is a stop by means of which the cartridges can be prevented rising up into the shoe, and which forms a sort of false bottom to the slot in the latter, so that the arm can be used as a single loader.
The bolt action is the same as the Lee, but the box magazine is attached to the right side of the shoe, instead of being underneath, as in that rifle. When the magazine is raised to its higher position, the cartridges pass successively into the shoe by the action of gravity alone, and are thus pressed home into the chamber by the closing of the bolt.
A number of the Lee-Burton and improved Lee rifles are now being manufactured for issue to the troops, in order to undergo experimental trials on an extended scale.
Several other magazine rifles have the box central magazine, but placed in different positions as regards the shoe and the axis of the bore. In the original pattern of the Jarman (Sweden and Norway), the magazine is affixed to the upper part of the shoe, inclined at a considerable angle to the right hand (see vertical cross section, Fig. 11). Here the operation of gravity obviates the necessity of a magazine spring, but the magazine was found to be very much in the way and liable to be injured. It has therefore been replaced by a magazine underneath the barrel, as in the Kropatschek and other rifles.--Engineering.
(To be continued.)