This arm operates in a similar manner to the old English Snider. The breechblock is pivoted to the barrel, and moves upward and forward, leaving an opening sufficiently large to enable the cartridge to be inserted in the barrel with facility. The breech-block may then be returned into firing position, and the arm fired. A lock with an ordinary hammer is employed. This arm has been very extensively used in the United States Army. Caliber, 45; charge, 70 grains black; bullet, 405 grains. Eighty grains was the limit powder charge that could be used, as the cam latch worked loose with a greater charge. The first model had a bullet of 500 grains weight, and as a consequence kicked terribly. The barrel is of low steel. Its length is 32.6 inches; the thickness of metal at the breech is 0.297 inch; from this point it gradually diminishes (the exterior element being a slightly re-entering curve), to the muzzle where it is 0.14 inch. The rifling consists of three plain concentric grooves, 0.235 inch wide, equal in width to the lands, 0.005 inch deep, with a uniform twist of one turn in twenty-two inches. The grooves start from the center of the throat; the bottom of them is, therefore, not continuous with the surface of the chamber. The chamber extends 2.155 cm from the base of the bore, and is made slightly conical so as to facilitate the withdrawal of the cartridge case. At the mouth of the chamber a counter-bore is cut for the head of the cartridge, and a slot is cut in the barrel for the reception of the ejector.
For all around work, the author highly approves an 8-pound model of the Springfield, designed for officers. The length of .this barrel is 26 inches. The stock is checked "fore and aft" the breech, and is tipped with white metal. The rifle has a plain "buck-horn" sight on the barrel, graduated like the service-sight, and also has peep and globe sights. The globe-sight can be folded down on the barrel when its pin becomes an open front-sight, which is used with the buck-horn sight. The peep has a lateral as well as a vertical motion, and by turning the screw and loosening it, may be adjusted to counteract any deviation to the right or left. When at the bottom of the slide, the peep is adjusted for a range of 50 yards; when at the top it is adjusted for a range of 1,100 yards. The peep-sight may be folded down on the barrel either forward or backward. In the former position, the peep should be pushed to the bottom of the slide, or the hammer, in being cocked, will strike it. The globe-sight is distant from the buck-horn and peepsights 20.8 inches and 32.75 inches, respectively. The rifle has a "single-set" trigger. When set, it is a hair-trigger; when unset, it is the ordinary service-trigger, requiring a pull of about 4 pounds.
This arm is a modification of the Springfield rifle. The cam-latch and thumb piece are in one piece instead of being riveted together as in the 1870 model. It is fired by a center-lock, the main spring of which lies under the receiver, being dovetailed into it at its forward end. The firing-pin screw is replaced by a stopping, which is kept in place by the breech-block cap. In another model the lock plate is of uniform thickness, about one-half that of the 1870 model, the mainspring bolster being replaced by a screw. The shape of the hammer and of the surrounding parts are changed, so as to promote economy of manufacture and ease of manipulation.
This arm is known as the Springfield 1870 model, with alterations and additions as follows: The firing-pin guard has been removed, and the outer end of the thumb-piece slotted in the direction of the axis of the barrel. This slot receives one end of a lever, which is secured by a pin about which it may turn in a direction toward the under side of the thumb-piece. A flat spring lying in a groove in the upper surface of the thumb-piece—to which it is secured by a screw, bearing on a flat and against a shoulder on the upper extremity of the lever, returns it to position and limits its motion in the reverse direction. An arm, securely attached by the tumbler-screw to the hammer, on which a shoulder has been cut to prevent rotation, bears against the lower end of the lever and raises the thumb-piece when the hammer is brought to the half or full-cock, and thus unlocks the breech-block. A piston, pivoted to the left side of the breech-block, is surrounded by a spiral spring, the rear end of which finds a bearing on a metal plate attached to the lefthand side of the stock, the front of which is bent at right angles to the receiver. A hole through the plate admits the rear end of the piston. When the breechblock is unlocked by the cocking of the hammer the spiral spring throws up the block and extracts the empty shell. The well of the receiver has been deepened at the rear, and the lower part of the breech-pin cut away to form a channel through which the cartridges may feed from the magazine, which is in the butt-stock
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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