This rifle, model 1892 with some improvements, is the present arm of the United States Army. It is not American, but was invented by Captain O. Krag, Director of the Royal Manufactory of Arms at Kongsberg, Norway, and Mr. E. Jorgensen, Kongsberg, Norway, and is made by the government under royalty with them of one dollar for each rifle manufactured. The author does not consider this arm in the same class with several superior American rifles, is dissatisfied with results, and is entirely convinced that it is unfit for service work. The United States Ordnance Board complacently boasts that it is one of the best in the world, and that its accurate range is 2000 yards. Expert riflemen have demonstrated that the cartridge provided for the Army is unreliable at half that range. Experience has shown that the judgment of Ordnance Boards is not to be depended upon, and that the best test of arms is the work of expert marksmen on the range. Great Britain a few years ago discovered through its National Rifle Association that its ammunition was almost worthless, and this, too, after it had passed the inspection of the ordnance experts of the government, who pronounced it perfect. The participants in the Bisley meeting said it was defective and dangerous, and a few hours after the meeting was opened it was proved so, necessitating its withdrawal and being called back from Great Britain's dependencies, where it had been sent for service.
As this rifle is not American, the author will not make a detailed description of it; but will refer the reader to the Government booklet on "The Description and Management of the United States Magazine Rifle and Carbine." From this all desired information may be gleaned. The contradictory left drift is explained, clear as mud, by a statement that the "passage of the ball through the bore deflects the barrel, causing it to shoot to the left.'' The reasons for this anomaly are many, and the main causes and their effects are given. The bolt is supported only on the right of the bore. The recoil is not met symmetrically by the mass, but to the left of the center. The overhanging ounces of bolt handle and magazine set up a double whip action seconding the impetus given by the left thrust of the bolt at discharge. The motion given to the barrel by the different forces acting upon it is extremely difficult to analyze. In practice, recoil starts the piece backward in prolongation of the bore initially; this is met by the resistance of the shooter's shoulder, and the under hang of the stock at a point averaging 4 inches below the axis of the bore. The inertia of the muzzle holds it momentarily still while the barrel buckles at the weakest point. The forward travel of the ball emphasizes the rebound. The left thrust of the right hand bolt lugs and overhang on the right of the piece contribute a left whip simultaneously aided by the spiral vibration and wave action set up by the torque of the ball impinging against and passing through the sharp pitch rifling. This last effect is cumulative as the ball starts at o and reaches 2,000 feet per second at the muzzle. We have one force exerted in the plane of fire; recoil. Another an upward whip from the recoil being met 4 inches below the axis of bore. A left whip from the right hand support of the bolt and overhanging parts on the right of the recoil lines, while the spiral vibration alters and blends the effect of all.
These compound motions will inevitably bell the muzzle. The bullet at a revolution of 144,000 times a minute has enough gyrostatic stability to act as an anvil which will bruise away that edge of the barrel presented against it at the final flip in the war dance of complex flexures. Plug tests for truth of bore so far have found tight and loose spots of greater or less degree as well as some bell muzzles; no perfect barrel has yet been found. The stock is ridiculously weak under the magazine. On account of the peculiar magazine system, no packet or charger can be practically used.
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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