The Breech Mechanism of a Gun
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The Breech Mechanism of a Gun

The Breech Mechanism of a Gun




      

The Breech Mechanism of a Gun


The Breech Mechanism of a Gun

The breech-mechanism comprises the principal parts that are peculiar to arms loading at the breech. The functions of these parts are the opening, closing, and locking of the breech, firing the charge, and removing the empty cartridge shell. These are the objects for the accomplishment of which the different systems are variously contrived, and with which alone they are concerned, the most important conditions to be fulfilled in the arrangement of this mechanism are: 1st. The number of parts should be as few as possible, and all should be of the simplest construction. 2d. The strength and union of the parts should be such as not only to resist repeated discharges, but the bursting of a cartridge case, which sometimes occurs from defective material or workmanship. 3d. The locking of the breech-block should not only be secure, but all the parts by which it is effected should work freely without sticking. 4th. The parts should be so arranged that the hammer cannot strike the firing-pin until the breech-block is properly locked. 5th. The hammer should not necessarily rest on the firing pin when the piece is carried loaded. 6th. The breech should be unlocked without the hammer being brought necessarily to full cock. 7th. The working parts should, as far as possible, be covered from dust and water. 8th. The extractor should be so arranged as to require no cuts or openings in that part of the chamber which surrounds the body of the cartridge case.

The lock is the machine by which the charge in the cartridge is ignited. Those of the present day belong to the percussion class, in which fire is produced by a blow upon the fulminating powder, contained in the cartridge case. Locks are divided into side and center locks, depending upon the position occupied in the stock; each of these may be either front action, wherein the mainspring is in front of the tumbler, or back-action, where the spring is in rear of the tumbler. The mortise, which forms a bed for the lock of the latter construction, seriously affects the strength of the stock at the handle, and for this reason the front-action lock is generally preferred for all arms, except revolvers. The conditions to be fulfilled in the construction of a lock are simplicity, strength, certainty of action, and freedom from such accidental motion of the parts as might produce explosion of the charge in the barrel.

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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