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A repeating rifle is a single barreled rifle containing multiple rounds of ammunition. These rounds are loaded from a magazine by means of a manual or automatic mechanism, and the action that reloads the rifle also typically recocks the firing action. The term repeating rifle is most often applied to weapons in which the next cartridge is loaded by a manual action, as opposed to self-loading rifles, in which the force of one shot is used to load the next.

Repeating rifles were a significant advance over the preceding breech loaded single-shot rifles when used for military combat, as they allowed a much greater rate of fire. One of the first repeating rifles was the Henry rifle. It shot more accurately and to greater distances than the musket.

Contents

Early repeater

Manual mechanism

Revolver action

While some early long guns were made using the revolver mechanism popular in hand guns, these did not have longevity in the marketplace. Although the revolver mechanism was fine for pistols, it posed a problem with long guns: without special sealing details, the cylinder produces a gas discharge close to the face when the weapon is fired from the shoulder, as all long guns were.

Bolt action

The bolt closes the breech end of the barrel and contains the firing pin. The bolt is held in place with a lever that fits into a notch. Moving this lever out of the notch will release the restraint on the bolt, allowing it to be drawn back. An extractor removes the spent cartridge, which is then ejected through the lever slot. A spring at the bottom of the magazine pushes up the reserve rounds, positioning the topmost between the bolt and the chamber at the base of the barrel. Pushing the bolt lever forward chambers this round and pushing the lever into the notch locks the bolt and enables the trigger mechanism. The complete cycle action also resets the firing pin. The Mauser rifle of the late 19th and early 20th centuries is the most famous of the bolt action types, with most similar weapons derived from this pioneering design, such as the M1903 Springfield and the Karabiner 98 Kurz rifle (abbreviated often as kar98k). The Russian Mosin-Nagant rifle, the British Rifle, .303, Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield (SMLE), and the Norwegian Krag-Jørgensen are examples of alternate bolt-action designs.

Marlin Model 1894C lever-action carbine in .357 Magnum caliber

Lever action

In a classic lever-action firearm of the Henry-Winchester type, rounds are individually loaded into a tubular magazine parallel to and below the barrel. A short bolt is held in place with an over center toggle action. Once closed, the over center action prevents opening solely by the force on the bolt when the weapon is fired. This toggle action is operated by a hand grip that forms part of the trigger guard. When operated, a spring in the tubular magazine pushes a fresh round into position. Returning the operating lever to the home position chambers the round and closes the breach. An interlock prevents firing unless the toggle is fully closed. The famous Model 1873 Winchester is exemplary of this type. Later lever-action designs, such as Marlin leverguns and those designed for Winchester by John Browning, use one or two vertical locking blocks instead of a toggle-link. There also exist lever-action rifles that feed from a box magazine, which allows them to use pointed bullets.

Pump action

With a pump-action firearm, the action is operated by a moveable fore-end that goes backwards and forwards to eject, extract, and chamber a round of ammunition. One example of a pump-action rifle is the Remington Model 7600 series pump-action rifles and carbines

Falling block action

The rifle, Krag-Petersson is only example. The Krag-Petersson rifle is loaded by tubular magazine.

Automatic mechanisms

Blowback

In "blowback" operation, the bolt is not actually locked at the moment of firing. To prevent violent recoil, in most firearms using this mechanism the opening of the bolt is delayed in some way. In many small arms, the round is fired while the bolt is still travelling forward, and the bolt does not open until this forward momentum is overcome. Other methods involve delaying the opening until two rollers have been forced back into recesses in the receiver in which the bolt is carried.

Gas operated

In a gas-operated mechanism, a portion of the gases propelling the bullet from the barrel are extracted and used to operate a piston. The motion of this piston in turn unlocks and operates the bolt, which performs extraction of the spent cartridge and via spring action readies the next round. Almost all modern military rifles use mechanisms of this type.

Recoil operated

In some small caliber weapons, the bolt is not restrained but is relatively heavy and held against the breech by a spring. The gas pressure in the cartridge and the weapon recoil acts to push the bolt back, but owing to inertia this action does not significantly cause loss of gas pressure until after the bullet has left the barrel. Subsequent action is similar to that of the gas operated mechanism. This type of action is simple and inexpensive to manufacture, but is limited in the power it can handle, so it is seen on small caliber weapons such as machine pistols and submachine guns.

Magazine designs

See also








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