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The Blake rifle has attracted considerable attention on account of its packet. It is a magazine rifle that by the use of the "cut off" can be used as a rapid single loader, with magazines holding seven cartridges in reserve, available as a repeater whenever the cut off is thrown in. Single loading fire can be resumed at any time, holding the remaining cartridges in packet in reserve. As a repeater the sustained rapidity of fire is probably greater than army known rifle. The distinctive feature of the system is that of the cartridges being carried in the belt or pockets in a revolving cylindrical packet, holding generally seven cartridges. These packets are charged into the magazine, which lies under the receiver and just forward of the trigger guard, in one movement and "en bloc," as if the packet were a single cartridge. The cartridges are fed into the chamber by a positive movement, dispensing with the heretofore universal magazine spring. When the cartridge packet is empty the magazine door is opened, the empty packet drops out and a full packet is recharged. An empty packet may be refilled with cartridges many times if desired; the packet weighs less than two ounces.

The rifle holds eight cartridges, one in the chamber and seven in the magazine. Two more packets may be carried in a vest, or shooting jacket, lower pocket, which would give a supply of twenty-two cartridges. If it is thought desirable to carry more cartridges, more packets may be carried in the pockets, or in loops on the cartridge belt as those now in use; the loops merely being larger. A full belt would hold fifteen packets. A belt may have a smaller number of loops, the rest of the belt being looped to carry single cartridges. The packet system is simply the last stage of the evolution of the combination of the various elements necessary to load the rifle in the minimum of time. It was not so very long ago that the powder, bullet and primer were each placed in the rifle separately; then came the metallic cartridge which made the breech loader possible, and now the packet system which makes the final success of the magazine or repeater.

The action of this rifle is very strong and simple. It is merely a hollow cylinder of steel with a handle near the rear end, which, when bolt is locked, turns down at the side of the gun, and has four locking lugs at the forward end; these lugs slide through two grooves in the receiver of the 'gun, and on the bolt being rotated lock behind four projections in the breech, constituting an interrupted screw, and is very much like the breech closing system used in heavy ordnance. The strain of the explosion is thus borne by the front of the bolt and the breech of the barrel, about half an inch in rear of cartridge, and is not transmitted through the body. The shank of the handle also locks behind a shoulder at the rear of the receiver. Few rifles have the breech closed in as strong a manner as this and can like it withstand the firing of ten excessive charges of 40 grains of Western smokeless powder, which throws a strain on the breech mechanism from four to six times as great as black powder. Smokeless powders having come into extensive use in shot guns and army rifles, it is to be expected that powder manufacturers will soon be able to furnish these powders, giving reliable results for sporting purposes.

The greater velocity, with consequent flatter trajectory, with greatly reduced recoil, make these powders very desirable. The rifle Model 1899, designed for practical use, is made in two calibers, the .30 caliber U. S. Army, and .400 caliber, both of which cartridges may be obtained of any of the cartridge companies, or, when away from civilization, at any army or naval station. The .30 caliber is supplied loaded with smokeless rifle powder, giving a muzzle velocity to the cupro-nickel jacket 220-grain bullet of 2,000 feet per second, and chamber pressure of about 20 tons per square inch. Both cartridges are supplied also loaded with 55 grains black powder and jacketed bullets, which makes a good charge for target work and small game. The .30 caliber is supplied with smokeless rifle powder and half mantled bullets with soft lead or express points. All lead bullets, alloy about 10 to 1, can also be used.

The magazine is recharged with the action closed thus allowing the last cartridge to remain in the chamber ready to be instantly fired if shooter is surprised with magazine open and fumbling for a packet. The magazine is tightly closed on the bottom at all times, keeping out dust, rain or mud if rifle is laid on the ground, or the shooter uses it lying prone. It is found, by experience in the Northwest, that the effects produced on large game by the .30 caliber express bullet is equal to that of the 45-90-330. Figure 1 shows the .400 rifle, with 30 is shown the Blake carbine, 20-inch barrel, Lyman peep sight detachable, shotgun butt.

Farrow, Edward S. American Small Arms; a Veritable Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Sportsmen and Military Men. New York: Bradford, 1904. Print.

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