The Single-shot Rifle
The single-shot gun, as you will gather from its name, has to be loaded every time a shot is fired. The action of an ordinary single-shot rifle is shown in Fig. 17. Now let's see how this gun works, and so we'll start at the beginning and suppose that you have just slipped a cartridge into the firing chamber; this done you close the finger lever which pushes the breech-block back over the chamber, and to fire the gun all you have to do is to pull the hammer back to full-cock and pull the trigger.
Having fired the gun the empty cartridge of course still remains in the firing chamber; when you push the finger lever down the breech-block is pulled down with it and this shoves the hammer back to half-cock, which means that the sear catches in the lower notch of the hammer.
When the trigger is in this position it can't be pulled, hence the hammer is locked and the gun can't go off prematurely; this scheme of locking the hammer was one of the first real safety devices that was applied to guns, and it is a good one.
At the same time the finger lever is pushed down the extractor slides forward and pulls the cartridge out of the chamber a little way, when you can pull it all the way out with your fingers. Now slip a new cartridge into the chamber, and you are ready to fire again.
The firing mechanism of this and all other guns is fitted in the breech-lock or bolt and is formed of a pin, called a firing-pin, which slides through it. When the hammer strikes the outside of the breech-block it drives the firing-pin up against the cartridge and so explodes it.
Collins, A. Frederick. Shooting, for Boys,. New York: Moffat, Yard and, 1917. Print.
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