Military Review

One of the heirs of the rifle Henry ...

Do you seem to like the Portuguese afterwards?
And maybe with the Malays you left ...

A.A. Vertinsky

It has always been and always will be that some kind of successful construction will come into use so firmly that afterwards people will come back to it many times, sharpen it to true perfection, until, roughly speaking, it simply does not bother everyone! That is, both morally and physically will not become obsolete!

One of the heirs of the rifle Henry ...

Greek militiamen with rifles Gra 1874 of the year.

At one time like история occurred with the "Henry rifle", which was distinguished from all other rifles of its time by the presence of a barrel-mounted magazine and a bolt operated by a lever - the "Henry brace." She was advertised, she was admired, because she was also solving a question of double loading * that was very relevant at that time, but the question was, why didn’t she have a forearm? That is, in the winter you had to hold it for cold metal or do you have to wear gloves? And she could not have it because of the design features!

Henry's rifle.

There was a slot in which the bronze lever of the cartridge pusher walked. And at the top of the tube was detachable, and in the upper part was an L-shaped groove. Here it was necessary to have this lever, like in MP-40, in this groove, then lift the upper part of the tube and remove it from the hook from the bottom.

View of the Henry rifle from the muzzle during loading.

The upper part was set aside, and the lower part was filled with cartridges "backwards". And then all this had to be done in the reverse order. It is clear that lying all this could be done, but only this was inconvenient. And the lever ... as soon as it fell under the fingers of the left hand, it interfered.

Shop Henry rifle and cartridges for it.

He made his gun on the eve of the war of the North and the South and for five whole years Americans killed each other with it, but when Nelson King improved the “Henry rifle” in 1866, he installed the cartridge loading door and improved the cartridge ejection, it became even better. With loading, but not with the power and range of the rifle itself, which, as you know, despite all the efforts of Oliver Winchester, did not get into the US Army! The same can be said about other American rifles with a bolt operated by a lever: such as the Ballard, Burgess, Colt Lightning, Kennedy and Marlin. Actually, the latter didn’t really try to make rifles for powerful rifle cartridges. The exception was the same “Winchester” with its 1895 rifle of the year and the company “Savage” (or “Savage), which launched the rifle of the model 1899 of the year - with a barrel-rifle lever, a wedge gate and ... an unusual drum shop - too original for the military to look at it at all seriously.

Scheme device rifle "Savage".

However, the store under the barrel so fallen in love with the designers that with an energy worthy of better use, they continued to create weapon It is this design and, one might say, that even succeeded on this path. And not so much even in the USA itself, but in Europe, that is, across the ocean! To begin with, a 10,4-mm rifle with an under-barrel magazine for 11 cartridges was designed by Swiss gunsmith Friedrich Vetterly. In his rifle, he first implemented a simple and original principle: a drummer, cocked by turning the bolt handle, when the bolt was retracted back to the feeder, cartridges came from the magazine, and when the bolt moved forward, another cartridge was sent to the chamber. When reloading, the cartridge case was thrown away using the ejector.

The magazine was filled with cartridges, as in the 1866 sample hard drive of the year, through the side window one by one. Moreover, in addition to 11 cartridges, placed in the store, 1 could be on the feeder and 1 - in the barrel. All these 13 cartridges could be released in 40 seconds. Thus, the Vetterly rifle gave 45 shots per minute and remained the fastest rifle in Europe for ten years.

Vetterli rifle bolt and charging window.

In neighboring Austria, Fruvirta's carbine, also with a barrel-mounted magazine on 6 cartridges and two cartridges on the feeder and in the barrel, entered into service with cavalry, gendarmes and border guards. All these 8 cartridges could be shot in 16 seconds, and the 6 cartridges could be recharged with 12 cartridges!

In 1871, a rifle with a barrel-mounted magazine for 8 cartridges was launched by the firm of the Mauser brothers, thus remaking its single-shot rifle into a multiply-charged one. And the same way went the firm Mannicher in 1882 year. Interestingly, both of these rifles had the same weight - 4,5 kg and caliber - 11-mm, and the number of cartridges in the store.

In the US, the glory of Winchester did not give rest to very many. In any case, the company “Remington”, which also launched a 1880-mm caliber rifle with a barrel gantry magazine and a Vetterly type gate, tried to bypass it in 11,43 year. However, they tried the rifle, but didn’t accept it.

During the years of the Franco-Prussian War 1870 - 1871 the French had a particularly hard time. With a Chasspo rifle in the army, they experienced real gun hunger and were forced to use Snyder-Schneider rifle, muyel-loaded mini-rifle guns, and also Sharp, Remington, and Allen's foreign breech-rifle rifles. The last two samples turned out to be more perfect than the Chasspo system, only they were clearly not enough. Rearmament in Germany (Mauser, 1871), Bavaria (Werder, 1869), Austria (Werndl, 1867 - 1873), Russia (Berdan, 1870), England (Martini-Henry, 1871) , Italy (Wetterly, 1872) and in other states simply forced the French to adopt the new Basil Gras system in 1874. The shutter was sliding, the caliber is the same as that of the Chassepo rifle - 11-mm. Gra joined in it almost all the best achievements of weapons technology that were known by that time.

So one of the features of the shutter Gra sample 1874 year was the absence of threaded connections in it. The shutter consisted of only seven parts, and it could be disassembled without the use of tools in just a few seconds. Even with the Mosin rifle, the bolt, also consisting of seven parts, had a more complex design, in particular, had a threaded connection of a trigger with a drummer and a non-removable extractor in field conditions. The cartridge Gra had a brass bottle sleeve, the charge of powder had a weight of 5,25 g, the bullet weighing 25 g was made of pure lead and had a paper wrapper. Between the gunpowder and the bullet was placed a prosnik, consisting of wax and lamb fat. A barrel length of 82 cm reported to the bullet an initial speed equal to 450 m / s. The sight had divisions from 200 to 1800 m. The rate of fire - 30 shots per minute - was higher than that of a Mauser rifle mod. 1871. True, Gra’s rifle was scolded for the fuse, but the French themselves did not consider it a bad device. Gra rifles were produced in four models: infantry, cavalry, gendarme and choke.

The stock was made from high-quality walnut. The bayonet had a T-shaped blade with a flat back, and looked like a sword with a guard and a brass handle lined with wood. Overall, the Gra rifle was technically more advanced than the Mauser 1871 rifle of the year. It was high and the quality of its manufacture. But, despite all its high quality, it was still single-shot.

Rifle Steyr-Kropachek M1886 g. 8-mm caliber.

Meanwhile, in Austria, the major artillery Alfred Kropachek designed his own sub-barrel shop with a feed mechanism, which was specially adapted for the slide type slide. Its peculiarity was that this mechanism can be turned off by locking it with a special latch and shooting a rifle as a single-shot one.

The military at that time, most of all in the world, feared the overrun of cartridges caused by the appearance of magazine rifles, and considered such a store device to be extremely important. They say that a soldier should shoot from a multiply-charged rifle, as if from a single-shot. Well, the cartridges in the store should be kept up to the command “to open frequent fire”.

Scheme shutter and feeder cartridges rifle Steyr-Kropachek 1886,

In 1877 and 1878 tests of Kropachek, Gra-Kropachek, Krag and Gochissse shop designs began in France. As a result, the Gra-Kropachek remake magazine rifle with a barrel-mounted tubular magazine for 7 cartridges was put into service, and a total of 9 cartridges (one in the feeder and one in the chamber) could be loaded into it. The magazine was loaded through the window in the receiver on top with the shutter open, and the switch, of course, had to be opened. It was filled in one patron, which took about 20 seconds. All 9 cartridges could be fired in 18 seconds, but without aiming. The weight of the unloaded rifle was 4,400 kg. Alteration of the Gra rifles was hastily begun by French arms factories, and immediately began to enter the army.

“Our brand” is the mark of a Steyr-Kropachek rifle.

However, the progress of military affairs went so fast that already in 1884, a new model of a remaking magazine rifle, called the Gra-Kropachek 1884, was proposed at the arms factory in Chatellerault. The barrel was shortened to 75 mm, and the capacity of the under-barrel magazine was increased, so that it was now possible to load 10 cartridges into it. Weight also decreased to 4,150 kg. It was immediately decided all the other rifles urgently remake modeled on 1884, and the model 1874 - 1878. withdraw from production. But then their production was also stopped, because an even more perfect 1885 model of the year appeared - Gra-Wetterly, who simply had a canal for the cartridges instead of a metal pipe. And finally, in 1886, the Lebel 8-mm rifle was adopted by the French army, which is a slightly modified Gra-Vetterly system, all also with an under-barrel magazine, which served ... two world wars!

In 1915, almost the entire stock of Gra’s rifles — 450 thousand pieces — was sold to Russia. There were rifles Gras also in Greece. The Greeks used them on Crete during the landing of German paratroopers, and after the end of the war, the ELAS guerrillas fired from them at the British invaders.

And this is how this rifle looks in a man’s hands.

As for Kropachek himself, he didn’t remain in the loser. Since his rifle with an under-barrel store of the 1886 model of the year is also what is called “went” to work, and it turned out to be a very unusual and interesting sample of small arms, in many respects even more perfect than the French Lebel rifle. To begin with, at this time cartridges with smokeless powder appeared, and he developed this rifle just for them. Moreover, it is under the cartridges caliber 8-mm, and not 11-mm as before.

Cartridge feeder.

She received the designation Steyer-Kropachek and became a very unusual weapon also because the rifling in her trunk was designed both for a lead shell-free bullet in a paper oiled wrapper and for a bullet in a copper or tompac shell. He put his shop on this new rifle, which was produced only ... a year (all rifles contain the date 1886 year) at the Austrian Steyr factory, which to this day is distinguished by both the high quality of its products and numerous weapons innovations. It is interesting to compare the design of Lebel and Kropachek M1886. The first rifle box cut metal receiver. At the second - the bed is solid, wooden, pleasant to wear. Very conveniently located store switch in the form of a pyramid-shaped "button".

Switch store.

The rifle itself lies comfortably in the hands and does not seem heavy, although it would be necessary to “hold” for Lebel to resolve the issue of “convenience”. However, the whole wood bed, in my opinion, is always better than cutting. Especially when it comes to the rifle ...

Open rifle.

The stigma.

Yes, and where is the epigraph here, “about the Portuguese” ... After all, for some reason, he was needed ?! Yes of course! After all, these rifles then got to where? Yes, to Portugal. And the women there waving their caps on the Portuguese soldiers who, with these rifles, were sent to Portuguese colonies in Africa to shoot the lilac blacks there!

The bayonet handle to the rifle Gras.

But with the bayonet to the Gra rifle I had to meet in childhood. In addition to the hard drive of my grandfather, in the barn behind the boards there was also this bayonet, and for a long time I pretended to be a musketeer, wielding them with a sword. His grandfather was given to ... a winchester, but, naturally, he didn’t crawl on him, and he wore him around his belt. Basically chopped them brushwood. Personally, I was very surprised by his T-shaped blade. But, apparently, the French believed that it was better.

* It is known that 37000 24 was charged from 000 rifles, loaded from the muzzle and subsequently found on the battlefield at Gettysburg; in 12 000 had two charges, hammered into the barrel one on top of the other and often vice versa - a bullet under charge! In 6000 there were from three to 10 charges one on another. They even found a gun loaded 23 times in a row! One can imagine how stressful the soldiers were there, that they forgot to put on a cap, and “shot” over and over again with imaginary bullets, and at the same time did not understand that they only made an appearance of fire, and did not see and did not hear the shot itself!
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  1. D-Master
    D-Master 13 November 2015 07: 41
    Another great article about rifles. Many thanks to the author. And the rifle is excellent and its development is extremely impressive. And she fought almost all over the world:In the 1915 year, almost all of the available stock of Gra rifles - 450 thousand pieces were sold to Russia During the first world we bought everything that could shoot and was provided with cartridges. Unfortunately, their weapons were not enough. I remember back then, and from Japan, Arisaku purchased in large volumes the memorable Winchester from the United States as well as cartridges and Dupont gunpowder - literally by steamboats. But Russia did not have much choice. Alas.
  2. Walking
    Walking 13 November 2015 07: 41
    The soldiers were good, load the rifle 23 times and never once shoot, fill the full barrel with charges and do not understand this.
    1. Nikolaevich I
      Nikolaevich I 13 November 2015 08: 08
      Well ... it's not in vain that they say: garbage is war, the main thing is maneuvers! And they did not have maneuvers (that is, exercises). As they say in one poem (though about V.O.V.): Went into battle, in a day "learning" to shoot.
    2. kalibr
      13 November 2015 08: 39
      Nerves were on edge. And again ... emigrants came to the States. For a better life, no money. And then they ... wages, provisions, the army. There were whole regiments of emigrants! They were thrown into the very fire - "American melting pot in action"! So no wonder! Another thing is surprising: the same guns were found that did not fire. And those that were charged 3 times and then fired ... They weren't found, were they ?! And how many were there? Here's what it would be interesting to know and calculate.
  3. alex-cn
    alex-cn 13 November 2015 07: 50
    Thank you, I liked the article .... The question is different, but how was the issue with pointed shell shells in centrally fired cartridges in grenade launchers solved?
    Now in hunting they use bullets with a notch, but in the army? After all, even the first Mauser cartridges with their rounded front could be dangerous for the capsule.
    1. kalibr
      13 November 2015 08: 19
      You know the question is not an easy one, and I won't answer it right away, I just don't know. It is necessary to contact one of the specialists. And they are here on the site. Well, and I (the topic is really interesting!), I will try to contact someone "there" and find out.
    2. Vladimirets
      Vladimirets 13 November 2015 09: 02
      Quote: alex-cn
      After all, even the first Mauser cartridges with their rounded front could be dangerous for the capsule.

      Theoretically, yes, in practice the cartridge had a fairly small mass and, accordingly, inertia and energy, which was not enough for an "effective" strike on the primer, IMHO, although there were such cases. In smooth-bore semi-automatic machines with a tubular magazine, this is more dangerous, because the cartridge itself is heavier, cases of explosions of cartridges in stores when using bullets with a nose protruding beyond the edge of the sleeve or a bullet dangling in the sleeve are not so rare.
      1. gross kaput
        gross kaput 13 November 2015 14: 31
        Quote: Vladimirets
        Theoretically, yes, practically the cartridge had a fairly small mass and, accordingly, inertia and energy

        After the start of the export of the Izhmashev weapon to the US civilian market (saiga carbines), the Yankees suspended the export of weapons until the problems with inertial pricking of the capsule with an impactor were corrected upon retooling, the American commercial capsule was much softer than our military and when retrieving a commercial cartridge with a soft capsule there could be an inertial pricking a spring-loaded drummer appeared on the saigas. Well, the mass of the AK striker is much less than the mass of the rifle cartridge. so draw your own conclusions.
        1. Vladimirets
          Vladimirets 13 November 2015 17: 00
          Quote: gross kaput
          After the start of the export of Izhmashevsky weapons to the US civilian market (saiga carbines), the Yankees suspended the export of weapons until the problems with inertial tipping of the capsule by the striker during correction were corrected

          Don’t you find that we are talking about different things?
          Quote: gross kaput
          American commercial capsule is much softer than our military

          Not only the military, but also the so-called civilians.
          Quote: gross kaput
          Well, the mass of the AK striker is much less than the mass of the rifle cartridge. so draw your own conclusions.

          Only the mechanics of pruning are different, in AK pruning is when the cartridge is sent to the chamber, and in the semiautomatic devices in the store.
          1. Major_Vortex
            Major_Vortex 13 November 2015 17: 56
            In addition to the mass of the drummer, there is also the speed of its movement. An easy and quick drummer may not only pierce the capsule, in some cases even pierce the capsule through.

            In underbarrel stores, cartridges equipped with pointed bullets with a hard nose are not used. Either blunt or with a soft tip at the end of the bullet. So they are fighting. Equipping an under-barrel tubular magazine of such a rifle with inappropriate shooter cartridges does this at your own peril and risk.
            For modern central battle cartridges with pointed bullets, solid arms companies, in principle, do not produce rifles with similar magazines, while those that produce recommend recommending such magazine rifles with special cartridges.
          2. gross kaput
            gross kaput 13 November 2015 18: 37
            Quote: Vladimirets
            Don’t you find that we are talking about different things?

            Absolutely not, and in both cases we are talking about inertial pricking, and in the case of an incomplete magazine, the speed and energy of the cartridge will be much higher than that of the drummer during retraction, just try to imagine the process taking place in such a magazine at the time of the shot, if any a great desire, you can calculate the energy in either case, although if you take AK and cartridge 7,62X39 for the rest of the equals, the mass of the cartridge, the recoil momentum, the speed of the moving parts is known, if I have a desire I can weigh the AK drummer in the evening.
            PS so that it would be clear what kind of overloads affect the details of the weapon at the time of the shot, you can look at the optical sights which for rifle calibers are usually designed with the possibility of overloads up to 800 G.
  4. alex-cn
    alex-cn 13 November 2015 08: 31
    There was just information that it was the pointed bullet and central ignition that "killed" the under-barrel magazine. So far, the only explanation for me is that the conical sleeve "laid" the cartridge at an angle and the bullet did not rest against the primer. To some extent this can be seen in the drawing, but still ...
    1. kalibr
      13 November 2015 08: 34
      Yes, most likely it is, but I will not undertake to say 100% "this is so".
    2. figwam
      figwam 13 November 2015 10: 36
      Quote: alex-cn
      There was just information that it was the pointed bullet and central ignition that "killed" the under-barrel magazine. So far, the only explanation for me is that the conical sleeve "laid" the cartridge at an angle and the bullet did not rest against the primer. To some extent this can be seen in the drawing, but still ...

      The problem of the underbarrel magazine is also that when firing the rifle's centering constantly changed, so experienced shooters did not charge more than two, three rounds.
      I agree that the conical cartridge case lay at an angle and did not abut the capsule.
      1. alex-cn
        alex-cn 13 November 2015 10: 46
        I’ll honestly say that I ran from the MC-17-21 for 12 years, charged 5 rounds each, and used to shoot the entire store, but I never remembered about the change in centering.
        Although yes, many write about it ...
        Buddy owner of a snipe with an elongated magazine. "centering? And this, forget it!"
        1. kalibr
          13 November 2015 12: 55
          Yes, here you are right! I also read many times about changing the centering. But ... an experienced shooter, muscles ... familiar. Doesn’t any 200-300 r compensate for this automatically? And in fact, the hard drives with the grenade shop and the marlins are still being produced ... In them, the centering of the 12-15 cartridges is not affected. You know, there are a lot of myths, including gunsmiths!
          1. figwam
            figwam 13 November 2015 17: 48
            Quote: kalibr
            I also read many times about changing the centering. But ... an experienced shooter, muscles ... habitual. Doesn’t it automatically compensate for some 200-300 g?

            With each subsequent shot, the barrel will throw stronger. the mass of weapons in the front will decrease and the muscles will not be able to get used to it.
        2. figwam
          figwam 13 November 2015 17: 44
          Quote: alex-cn
          I’ll honestly say that I ran 17 years with the MC-21-12

          Well, you shoot at 50m, not at 500m.
          And minus the under-barrel magazine, these are the cases when, due to a defect in the cartridge or for other reasons, a bullet could fall out and powder would pour out, which would entail jamming the magazine with subsequent disassembly and cleaning in combat conditions, I'm not talking about mechanical damage.
          1. Massik
            Massik 13 November 2015 17: 59
            At 500m wink Try to somehow get away with at least 300 from one shot.
  5. gross kaput
    gross kaput 13 November 2015 14: 14
    The underbarrel magazine killed several moments at once, let's try to figure it out, the root cause was not, as is commonly believed, the sharpness of the bullets - we look closely at the same Winchester - two models appear almost simultaneously - 1894 with the underbarrel magazine and 1895 with the middle, but before the appearance of ammunition with pointed almost 10 years still remain with bullets, the main point in my opinion is this: the under-barrel magazine had an advantage in more rounds of ammunition but the caliber. 30-30 in the under-barrel magazine M 1894 6 pieces were placed one cartridge of 65 mm, the model 1895 was created primarily for a cartridge of 30-40 with a long cartridge of 80 mm and .236 Navy of the same length, it is easy to calculate that the capacity of the M1894 hard drive tube for cartridges 30-40 will be only four pieces (or for fans exact number 4,85 cartridge), i.e. the underbarrel magazine loses its only advantage over the middle - capacity, as a result, the practical rate of fire from rifles with middle magazines becomes more than with the underbarrel since the magazine's capacity is equivalent but you can charge it with clips much faster. Well, the appearance of pointed bullets only finished off the grenade launchers, for in spite of all the technical tricks (of which at the turn of the 19-20th century a dozen and a half appeared both in patents and in metal), the probability that a bullet’s nose will hit the capsule is big enough when the arms are shaken. So even the modern rifled Remington pump 7600 made on the groove of the classic smooth-bore has a detachable middle magazine and the tube there plays the role of only the forend.
    1. alex-cn
      alex-cn 13 November 2015 14: 48
      Well, this reason is quite possible. I’m more hunting than that ... and I saw the torn underbarrel store at the MC live.
  6. gross kaput
    gross kaput 13 November 2015 16: 10
    However, a solid wood bed, in my opinion, is always better than a split bed. Especially when it comes to the rifle ... From a practical point of view, a solid wood stock on a serial weapon is not buzzing, only if the iron is deposited in the wood individually, then it will in no way yield to systems with a split stock. The fact is that iron in unapplied wood often has backlash, this can be both initially and during operation, for example, as a result of wood shrinkage or an increase in gaps as a result of a large number of shots (in Russian speaking - "fragility"). As an example, we can cite SVT - one of the standard sores of Sveta, the separation of the first shot in a series, and no matter how connected with pollution (there is such a concept among high-precisionrs - a "contaminating shot" when a bullet from a clean barrel breaks off from all subsequent ones, that's for -to exclude the gap before the test series, make one or two shots) or with warming up - the reason is the displacement of the iron in the stock after the first shot, and the subsequent shots fall as expected, but it is worth shaking the rifle and again the gap. In SKS and Mauser 98, bumpiness manifests itself in a sprawling heap, these are the samples on which I personally had to fit a tree and, accordingly, specifically see with my own eyes how the planting of iron affects the accuracy. Rifles with a split stock are devoid of this drawback, since there the butt is rigidly attached to the receiver and in order to loosen it, one must try very hard. Although wood is certainly more pleasant for the eyes and hands than metal.
    1. kalibr
      13 November 2015 18: 18
      Very interesting! Thanks! I didn't know that! Although ... from the institute's bench I have an instructor diploma (!) In shooting sports and even a category. Here's how! It's time to "show off"! And although we fired a lot of small cars, and we were taught that it is necessary to smoothly pull the trigger and so on, we were not told about this, I remember this very well. They did not speak at school either, where, from the 9th grade, they had taught them both to shoot and to interrogate prisoners in English. There was a military translation course for 2 years.
      1. gross kaput
        gross kaput 14 November 2015 21: 38
        Quote: kalibr
        I didn’t know this!

        And many do not know about this, usually the maximum they know is that the trunk, if possible, should not come into contact with the tree, until they collide as necessary, I had to face it for the first time, 10 years ago, when I changed the shoes of the SKS with a broken stock, since by that time I already realized that the "Russian approach" is far from always zer gut (when a Russian person opens the operating instructions, it means he has already broken it) opened the SCS repair manual - and stupidly ofigel - much more space is allocated to the process of replacing and fitting the box than such a responsible operation as a replacement for the larva. In general, the first time it did not work, then I already found out that if the trees are new, then before filing the dowel, it is imperative to also settle the iron in the bed (with the assembled carbine without a dowel, hit the back of the butt on the floor several dozen times through a rubber mat - this is how the wood is compacted in those in places where it is compacted naturally as a result of recoil, only in the natural course of events there is a backlash, and with preliminary nailing, the dowel is already sharpened exactly to size.) I think it is clear that with gross production, no one will get out like that, 10 cm per hundred square meters shoots, then it will go
  7. Rurikovich
    Rurikovich 13 November 2015 19: 49
    I liked the article very much good
    In fact, rifles have not lost their relevance today - optics makes such a weapon indispensable at long-range (for small arms) combat distances.
    Plus hi
  8. Robert Nevsky
    Robert Nevsky 13 November 2015 20: 33
    Interesting article, thanks!
  9. moskowit
    moskowit 13 November 2015 22: 09
    Damn, what a punishment, I read and admire, I read and know. Indeed, who could think of a slot and a lever without having ever seen a rifle with their own eyes. Only in movies and in pictures. Thanks!!!
  10. bloommave
    bloommave 15 November 2015 23: 21

  11. bloommave
    bloommave 15 November 2015 23: 27