There are many types of magazine guns. 1. Those in which the magazine is a tube below the barrel, as in the Winchester. 2. Those in which the magazine is in the stock, as in the Spencer, Meigs, and others. 3. Those in which the magazine is a separate piece attachable to the gun when required, as in the Lee. The cartridges are fed automatically into the chamber of the barrel, by the manipulation of the breech mechanism. It is only necessary to close the breech when the arm is ready to fire. This obviates the necessity of Handling and charging each cartridge, besides preventing the considerable loss of ammunition, occasioned by dropping cartridges while transferring from the cartridge-box to the arm, which, in the excitement of rapid firing, are seldom recovered or saved. The principal objection offered to magazine guns is that their use causes a wasteful and unnecessary expenditure of ammunition. The same argument was largely used, when only a few years ago, the merits of breech versus muzzle-loaders, were being discussed, and is as weak now as then.
No valid reason can be given why, other essentials being equal, the same men should not aim as well, firing rapidly, as slowly sighting requires the same time, whatever may be the time used in loading; and if increasing the time expended between the firing of one shot and sighting for the next, increases the effectiveness of the man, it follows, that to shoot accurately, a certain amount of the time must be wasted in operations other than aiming the weapon—a theory that could hardly be sustained.
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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