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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/933

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The Favorite Weapon of Assault

The difference between the automatic rifle and the machine gun is merely a matter of size

Bv Edward C. Crossman

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��One of the many types of automatic rifles recently evolved to meet modem conditions. It weighs about twenty pounds and is operated much like an American self-loading sporting rifle

��THERE is no dividing line between a machine gun and an automatic rifle. Both types load, fire, eject the empty shell and load again by virtue of the recoil or the gases of the gun operating clever mechanism in the breech portion. They fire just as fast as the mechanism will operate as long as the trigger is held back, and the supply of ammunition is kept up, the speed varying from three hundred to six hundred shots per minute.

The American Benet-Merci^ and the British-American Lewis gun represent the common idea of the automatic rifle, both being light and rifle-like in outline. The weightier Maxim is the typical machine gun, water-cooled and rather ponderous.

The gun illustrated is even more rifle-like than either the Benet-Merci6 or the Lewis.

This gun is merely another modification of the light machine gun idea, and is not utilike our own Benet-Merci6. But where

��the mechanism of the Benet-Mercie is operated by gas borrowed from a tiny hole bored in the barrel and admitted into a regular gas-engine sort of cylinder with piston operating the gun, the weapon shown is operated much like a well known make of American sporting self-loading rifle. A backward movement of the sliding barrel unlocks the breech-bolt and permits the recoil of the powder gases in the chamber to open the breech block, eject the empty shell, cock the striker, bring a fresh cartridge into position, and compress the spring that serves to close the mechanism. Then the gun instantly fires itself again.

In both this gun and the Benet-Merci4 the cartridges are fed in by means of a flat clip holding twenty-five or thirty cart- ridges. The Lewis uses a drum with several layers of cartridges, the Maxim and Colt use a webbing belt holding two hundred and fifty rounds.

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