Bush Fighting. Illustrated by remarkable actions and incidents of the Maori war in New Zealand.
Description of the "Duval-MacNaughton" Rifle
Description of the "Duval-MacNaughton" Rifle.
Barrel.—Is made of steel, 450 bore, and rifled with seven segmental grooves having a spiral of one turn in twenty-one inches. The grooves are recommended to be made as shallow as they can be made compatible with distinctness; also that they should not touch on each other at the edges, but that a small strip of the barrel (or land) should be left between the grooves, say 1/32 inch. broad, which acts as an effectual check on any irregularity in rifling.
Breech Shoe.—Is made of a mild steel, and in one piece: it has a gap on the top (as in the "Martini"), in which the breech block works, and also one on the right side through which the parts forming lock and action are inserted; the latter gap is closed by a plate which is securely hold in page 321place by one screw. The shoe is fastened to the stock by two solid straps above and below the small.
Action.—The parts composing the action are cock or tumbler, swivel, piston, sliding tumbler, extractor, breech block, trigger, mainspring, trigger spring, and five nails. Instead of the various parts pivoting on nails as usual, they pivot on solid pillars or pivots.
Stock.—Has a jag for cleaning screwed into butt; otherwise as usual.
Advantages claimed for the "Duval-MacNaughton" Rifle.—In claiming advantages for the "Duval-MacNaughton" Rifle we must necessarily draw a comparison with some other weapon on a similar system, and one the merits of which are widely known. Let us, therefore, take for comparison the "Martini-Henry," it being well known and having been selected from a number of competitors as the future rifle of the British army. The advantages of the "Duval-MacNaughton" over the "Martini-Henry" are considered to be as follows, viz.:
Simplicity and cheapness in Manufacture.—The rifle can be machine-made throughout and thoroughly interchangeable. The parts composing the action are strong, simple, and few.
Facility for cleaning and inspecting from the rear.—This is effected by having the breech block hung on the points of two screws, and a deep groove cut through the hinge or knuckle of block; thus cleaning from the rear, we avoid the risk of allowing the fouling to get down in front of block as in the Martini-Henry, Snider, &c, and about extractors, these being placed in a rifle where dirt can least be tolerated, and where it will most readily interfere with the free working of the action.
Mainspring.—Instead of the spiral spring as used in the page 322"Martini-Henry," and which is very generally condemned by practical men, there is retained the trusted and time-honoured V-spring nearly as used in a common lock.
Pull off.—The fickle pull off in the "Martini-Henry" is considered one of its greatest faults, and until now has defied remedy. In the new rifle, again, the old principle of tumbler and scear is adhered to, with the result of a perfectly equal and agreeable pull off.
Extracting power.—Is an accelerating motion, beginning with a strong, slow leverage to start the cartridge case, and finishing with a jerk; the power being so nicely balanced that the operator at pleasure can land the cartridge on the block just clear of the barrel, or pitch it clear over the elbow.
The facility with which this rifle can be taken to pieces and cleaned, or can be opened for cleaning, and at the same time be quite ready for use in case of surprise.—Although we read in the report of the late "Small Arms Committee" that the "Martini-Henry" may be taken to pieces and put together again by any intelligent soldier in a few minutes, we hear that in practice this is very far from being the case, but that considerable difficulty is experienced in putting together the rifle after having taken it separate. The present rifle, on the other hand, may be opened for cleaning and understood by any soldier in one minute, and at the same time (when open) is quite good for firing, which, we believe, is quite a novel feature in rifles.
Piston.—Is of one piece, strong and simply made, and requires no piston spring, the first movement of the cock upward withdrawing it within the block. In the "Martini-Henry" a frequent complaint is made of the piston breaking, or getting staved up in consequence of its having to page 323take the full blow of the mainspring when snapping the rifle without a cartridge case. In this rifle we have a large, flat surface on the front of cock striking against a similar surface on body, and together making a most excellent snapping face, and one which may be used without detriment to the arm.
Rapidity,—-There being one motion less required in loading and firing the "Duval-MacNaughton" than the "Martini," it is obvious that a greater number of shots may be fired in the same time.
The "Duval-MacNaughton" rifle having a visible cock—which also acts as lever—is considered to be a great advantage, as any one may tell at a glance whether the rifle is at low, half, or full-cock; it also enables the operator to lower the lock from full-cock to half-cock, as in an ordinary rifle lock.
A second pattern of this rifle is made with an additional tumbler, which is actuated by the cock, and makes it possible to fire with the breech open or shut at pleasure.
The best method of manipulating the "Duval-MacNaughton" rifle is to hold it at the position of "ready," place the palm of right hand on the cock, the fingers to the right side underneath the rifle, with thumb to left side; squeeze the hand sharply together; this opens the breech, ejects the spent cartridge case, and leaves the rifle at full-cock ready for loading.
The lever by which the breech is opened being above the small or handle of the stock can easily be grasped by the right hand without relinquishing the hold on the rifle, a feature which adapts it for cavalry, with whom the left hand is fully engaged with the reins.