SPENCER RIFLE
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SPENCER RIFLE

SPENCER RIFLE




      

SPENCER RIFLE


SPENCER RIFLE

This arm is both a magazine and a single breech loader, seven cartridges being placed in a magazine in the butt which are thrown forward into the chamber as required. The breech-block is a sector pivoted beneath the level of the barrel, and retreating backward and downward, it exposes the rear of the bore for the insertion of the cartridge. The trigger guard forms the lever for moving the breechblock. This is probably the first magazine rifle that ever had an extensive use as a military arm. A large number of these rifles were issued to the northern troops in 1863 and 1864.

The action of this arm is very simple. When the chamber is closed, the point of the foremost cartridge rests against the earner-block. When it is opened, which is done by depressing the lever-guard, this cartridge is pushed forward. By raising the lever-guard the cartridge is carried around and pushed into the mouth of the chamber which is firmly closed by the breech-block. The extractor is a flat lever, attached to the left side of the carrier-block, and withdraws the empty case by pressing against the under side of the rim. Another small lever, called the guide, falls into the space occupied by the carrier-block, and forms an inclined plane, up which plane the empty case moves to clear the piece. A key has been introduced into this arm, by which the supply of cartridges can be cut off or let on at pleasure, and enables the soldier to reserve all the cartridges in the magazine for an emergency. When the magazine is locked, the piece can be loaded directly from the cartridge-box, as a simple breech-loader. The operation of this key is simply to prevent the carrier-block from falling so far as to uncover the magazine; at the same time it falls far enough to uncover the chamber for the insertion of a cartridge by hand.

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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