This rifle was popular for some time in the United States on account of its great accuracy of fire. The barrel is pivoted to the stock, the rear end being tilted up to receive the charge. A novel feature in this arm was that it employed pellets of fulminating powder placed at regular intervals between narrow strips of paper; this was coiled in a chamber in the lock, and was fed forward by the action of a wheel that was operated by the hammer in such a manner that a fresh pellet was brought on top of the nipple at each discharge. These rifles were employed to a considerable extent by the rebel sharpshooters in the American civil war. They appear, however, to have been made in the first instance as target rifles.
One valuable and a special feature of the Maynard system is, that it admits of an interchange of barrels of any length or caliber. The manner of attaching the barrel to the stock is very simple and as follows: Push the arm of the lever axis pin down and forward until it stops against the screw which holds it in place, then withdraw it as far as possible; hold the barrel in the left hand, pass the lever down through the breech-piece, hook the barrel on to the axis-screw at the front end, insert the lever axis-pin through the lever, then turn its arm back to its fastening position. No screw-driver required. To detach the barrel, place the barrel in position as for inserting the cartridge, then reverse the motions for attaching.
This is a capital gun in the field, and especially on marches through a game country, when it may be desirable to use the weapon either as a rifle or shot gun. Either barrel can be slipped into the same stock in a moment. The ammunition is peculiar. The strong brass cartridges are loaded at leisure, costing nothing but for the powder and lead, and may be used over and over again for any number of times. One can carry cartridges in his pocket, loaded with different sizes of shot, and slip in and fire any size wanted, for large or small game. The rifle in itself is confined to the central-fire ammunition in each and ajl of the calibers, excepting the .22, in which the rim-fire ammunition is used; but, by the application of a simple device, known as the Hadley firing pin, rim-fire cartridges may also be used. The device consists of a cap attached to the breech-piece by two small screws, in which is a disk with a firing-pin projecting through the cap at such a point from the center as to strike the rim of the cartridge. This disk plays freely in the cap, and is driven forward by the firing-pin in the breech-piece. To use the central-fire cartridges it is only necessary to remove the cap, change firing pins, and insert the latter.
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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