4 May 22
“‘Failure’” is just success in progress!”
Albert Einstein
Metallic cartridge and feeding.
Detachable, box magazines were invented by British/Canadian (later American) inventor, James Paris Lee, in the 1870s. Lee went on to design the 303 British Lee-Metford Rifle (that incorporated his detachable box magazine), adopted by the British Army in 1888, and also the short-lived 6mm American straight-pull Lee-Navy Rifle in 1895.
Lee’s contemporary, William Ellis Metford, invented the polygonal seven-groove rifle barrel, renowned for its accuracy. It was short-lived however, since hot-burning British cordite propellant quickly wore-out barrels. Thus “Metford Rifling” was soon replaced with more conventional cut-groove rifling, called (in the UK) “Enfield Rifling.”
Fixed magazines have always had an advantage over detachable magazines in that there is never an “interchangeability issue.” With detachable magazines, all have to fit into, and function in, all guns, which requires highly-controlled, sophisticated manufacturing methods. Dimensional variations will cause problems, particularly when magazines are manufactured in different nations (as any Kalashnikov-owner will tell you)!
Fixed magazines ever feed reliably, because the feed-way is built-into the rifle! However, stripper-clips and en-blocs become impractical when capacity exceeds ten rounds.
“Clips,” used to hold cartridges together as the rifle’s internal magazine (or detachable magazine) is charged, fall into one of two categories:
Mannlicher style and Mauser style
German-born Ferdinand Mannlicher is credited with inventing the “en-bloc” clip in the 1870s. In concert with his protege, Otto Schönauer, Mannlicher also patented his rotary magazine.
German-born brothers, Paul and Wilhelm Mauser, designed advanced, stripper-fed, bolt-action military rifles, culminating in the Gewehr 98, which along with its successors, well-served the German and countless other armies for the next hundred years!
Mannlicher-style (en-bloc) clips are themselves inserted (along with the cartridges they hold) into the rifle’s internal magazine. The magazine’s internal spring then progressively pushes cartridges upward into the path of the bolt. When the last cartridge is fired and the empty case ejected, the clip itself is jettisoned as well, making way for a new one to be immediately inserted.
En-bloc clips were employed with the French WWI-era RSC Rifle, as well as the earlier Berthier. The American WWII-era Garand Rifle is the best-known employer of Mannlicher en-bloc system.
Mauser-style clips merely hold a single row of cartridges in line via a clamp over the cartridges’ extractor rings (in the case of rimmed cartridges, over the entire cartridge head). The clip fits into a guide slot on the rifle just over the magazine, and cartridges are then pushed (“stripped”) into the rifle’s internal, spring-loaded magazine.
The clip itself remains on the outside and is manually discarded when the process is complete.
With Mauser-style “stripper-clips,” rimless cartridges (30-06, 8mm Mauser) are typically inserted easily and smoothly.
Conversely, when rimmed cartridges (7.62x54R Soviet, 303 British) are used with Mauser-style clips, charging the rifle’s internal magazine is typically toilsome and tedious (as any Mosin/Nagant-owner will tell you).
Many Mauser bolt-action rifles (manufactured in dozens of different nations) remain in faithful service to this day, albeit mostly superceded by autoloading rifles, at least in military service.
The same can be said for Garands, owned and treasured by countless American veterans, including me!
Fearless and intrepid design pioneers, like the Mausers, Mannlicher, Lee, Metford, Garand, Stoner, Tokarev, Kalashnikov, and countless others brought us to where we are today.
The wonderful weapons it is our privilege and honor to use this day are the product of many generations of audacious heroes, tirelessly working to advance the Art!
“You need direction, yeah you need a name
When you’re standing in the crossroads, every highway looks the same
After a while, you can recognize the signs
So, if you get it wrong, you’ll get it right next time (next time).
Life is a liar; yeah life is a cheat
It’ll lead you on and pull the ground from underneath your feet
No use complainin;’ don’t you worry; don’t you whine
‘Cause, if you get it wrong, you’ll get it right next time (next time).
You gotta grow. You gotta learn from your mistakes
You gotta die a little everyday just to try to stay awake
If you believe there’s no mountain you can climb
…if you get it wrong, you’ll get it right next time (next time)”
From “You’ll Get it Right Next Time,” written and sung by Gerry Rafferty in 1978