DEVELOPMENT OE THE AMERICAN BEEECHLOADING
The Spencer Rifle
The American breech loading rifle in a practical form dates from the closing years of the Civil War. Previous to that time many models of breechloaders had been invented, and some were being manufactured in an experimental way, but they had attracted little attention. However, the needs of a great war could not fail to stimulate mechanical ingenuity to the utmost, and the result was that while many freak weapons were produced, others were of such sterling design that in a modified form they are in use to this day. At the close of the Rebellion certain regiments of our troops were armed with Henry, Sharps, and Spencer rifles, the two former making a great reputation for themselves as sporting weapons in the succeeding years.
The manufacture of the Spencer rifle was early discontinued and no description of that arm seems necessary here. The Sharps and the Henry, however, developed side by side, and for many years divided the popular approval of the American sporting public.
Neither of these weapons was ever used by the army to any great extent subsequent to the War, for the military service soon adopted a special weapon of its own, but big game hunters were quick to see the advantages of a breech loading mechanism with its fixed ammunition, and in a very few years such arms had entirely replaced every description of muzzleloader.
Askins, Charles. Rifles and Rifle Shooting. New York: Outing, 1912. Print.
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