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Bush Fighting. Illustrated by remarkable actions and incidents of the Maori war in New Zealand.

Objections to the "Martini," by an eminent Gunmaker

page 324

Objections to the "Martini," by an eminent Gunmaker.

1st. Dangerous from being necessarily always at cock when loaded, and giving no indication that it is so. Is raised to cock without thought on part of the user, and yet depends for safety on his unceasing vigilance and care; being a self-cocking gun it does not provide a self-acting safety. It is also dangerous from the uncertainty of the pull, which is sometimes so light that the least pressure on the trigger, or jar of the gun, will send it off.

2nd. Its inferior lock. The lock of an ordinary gun has been so perfected that friction is almost absent. Its elastic mainspring is finely-proportioned to bear the strain equally on all its parts and hung on the plate, so as to be entirely free from it in working, and so connected with the tumbler that its force is greatest when striking the blow, and least when for the purpose of the pull it should be. In the Martini this is all reversed. Its simple spiral spring is coiled round the strikes, causing a grating friction on every coil, and is so connected with tumbler that its least force is exerted when, for the purpose of ignition, it should be greatest, and vice versâ, when for the sake of the pull it should be least.

The spring of an ordinary gun exerts a pressure of 16 lbs. when down, and only 10 lbs. when up, whilst that of the Martini has a pressure of 20 lbs. when down, and 30 lbs. when up. This great weight and friction is unnoticed from the great length of lever used, but the effect on the pull still remains, making it impossible to give the scear a firm hold in bent, and so causing the pull to wear out faster. Again, in an ordinary gun lock raising the cock brings up the spring and tumbler, and allows the page 325scear to drop into the bent and remain there till removed by a pull of the trigger. But this is not so with the Martini, as the scear is dropped into the bent when spring is only partly back, and is required to supply the necessary resistance to force the excessive spring the remaining distance. This contrivance is one great cause of its irregular pull, the pull being lighter or heavier according to the force and manner of closing the lever; and then how it must injurethe form of the scear and bent, especially when either of them are softer in temper than they should be, and certain to break them if too hard.

The introduction of a new limb called a tumbler rest (what else is the scear) is an acknowledgment by the makers of the weakness of this part of their gun. But this additional limb is no improvement, as, although it may save the scear from breaking, it further decreases the firmness of the pull, rendering the attainment of the pull still more difficult. For example, say a pull of 6 Ibs. is required, with the ordinary gun you have one bent and one scear to adjust so as to give the requisite weight. But with this new invention you have practically three scears and three bents to adjust, so that they act in unison and have the weight fairly distributed amongst them. To sum up, the power to make the pull of the Martini good is diminished one-third by the absence of the ordinary trigger, and still further by the excessive weight of the spring at cock; and then what chance remains of making it has to be divided by three, and this excessively weak pull is expected to hold its own, not only whilst sustaining the weight of the spring at cock, but whilst that spring is violently forced against it.

3rd. It recoils more than the ordinary gun, and this is due to the form of what is called the shoe, which has been page 326constructed without studying the amount of strain it would have to bear. It is open top and bottom, its sides consisting simply of two thin plates (1/8 inch), necessarily placed wide from centre of charge and weakened by their great length (3 inches).

It is impossible for good shooting to be made with an irregular pull and excessive recoil.