A.D. 1856 — N° 627
Breech-loading Repeating Guns and Rifles.
LETTERS PATENT to James Rice, of Foley Place, Surgeon, and William Rice, Lieutenant, H.E.I.C.S., for the Invention of “IMPROVEMENTS IN BREECH-LOADING REPEATING GUNS AND RIFLES.”
Sealed the 12th September 1856, and dated the 15th March 1856.
PROVISIONAL SPECIFICATION left by the said James Rice and William Rice at the Office of the Commissioners of Patents, with their Petition, on the 15th March 1856.
We, JAMES RICE, of Foley Place, Surgeon, and William Rice, Lieutenant, H.E.I.C.S., do hereby declare the nature of the said Invention for “IMPROVEMENTS IN BREECH-LOADING REPEATING GUNS AND RIFLES,” to be as follows:—
Our improvements in breech-loading repeating rifles or guns consist of a metal cylinder, which is bored to form a series of charge chambers at right angles to the axis of the cylinder, and upon the periphery of which a spiral thread is cut of such a “pitch” that a quarter revolution of the cylinder will bring one of the chambers opposite to the breech or bore of the barrel. The cylinder or charge chamber fits into a socket at the breech of the barrel; the socket is made with two plugs, which fit into and correspond with the thread on the cylinder; these plugs serve to guide the cylinder when it is caused to rotate. At the lower part of the socket is fitted a bolt acted upon by a spring; this bolt takes into a notch or recess cut in the cylinder opposite each charge chamber, and prevents the cylinder from shifting until the bolt is withdrawn by pressing a nut connected with it and fitted just above the trigger. The cylinder crosses the end of the barrel at right angles to its length, and as the charges are successively fired it passes into a tube or chamber fitted to the left hand side of the stock. The outer end of the cylinder is fitted with a cross handle by which it is rotated; and in order to protect the thread of the screw from dust it is covered with telescopic tubes, which slide one within the other as the cylinder is caused to cross the end of the barrel. Upon the upper side of the barrel is fitted a hollow rib or piece of steel, which is level with a semicircle cut in the socket; and along this rib a flush sight is taken. Below the hollow rib is fitted the sights, which may be elevated to suit different ranges. Where great accuracy of aim is required, a telescope with hair sights may be fitted to the hollow rib. A stop lock may be fitted on the socket to slide over the aperture therein, and thus prevent the cock descending upon the cap accidentally.
SPECIFICATION in pursuance of the conditions of the Letters Patent, filed 15 by the said James Rice and William Rice in the Great Seal Patent Office on the 15th September 1856.
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME, we, JAMES, Rice, of Foley Place, Surgeon, and William Rice, Lieutenant, H.E.I.C.S., send greeting.
WHEREAS Her most Excellent Majesty Queen Victoria, by Her Letters Patent, bearing date the Fifteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty-six, in the nineteenth year of Her reign, did, for Herself, Her heirs and successors, give and grant unto us, the said James Rice and William Rice, Her special licence that we, the said James Rice and William Rice, our executors, administrators, and assigns, or such others as we, the said James Rice and William Rice, our executors, administrators, and assigns, should at any time agree with, and no others, from time to time and at all times thereafter during the term therein expressed, should and lawfully might make, use, exercise, and vend, within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Channel Islands, and Isle of Man, an Invention for “Improvements In Breech-Loading Repeating Guns and Rifles,” upon the condition (amongst others) that we, the said James Rice and William Rice, our executors or administrators, by an instrument in writing under our, or their, or one of their hands and seals, should particularly describe and ascertain the nature of the said Invention, and in what manner the same was to be performed, and cause the same to be filed in the Great Seal Patent Office within six calendar months next and immediately after the date of the said Letters Patent.
NOW KNOW YE, that we, the said James Rice and William Rice, do hereby declare the nature of our said Invention, and in what manner the same is to be performed, to be particularly described and ascertained in and by the following statement:—
This Invention of improvements in breech-loading repeating guns and rifles consists in fitting to the fire-arm a metal cylinder, having a series of recesses or chambers cut or bored therein. Each chamber is intended to receive a charge, and is so made that cartridges or charges of uniform size may fit easily within it. Upon the periphery of the cylinder a spiral groove or thread is cut, the “pitch” of which is regulated so that a quarter of a revolution will bring one of the charge chambers in a line with the bore of the barrel. The cylinder or charge chamber fits into a socket at the breech of the barrel; there are two stops or studs projecting from the inside of the socket, which fit into the thread or groove of the charge chamber; these studs serve to guide the cylinder when it is rotated. At the lower part of the socket is a bolt, acted upon by a spring, each time the cylinder is turned round a quarter of revolution this bolt falls into a notch or recess cut upon the surface of the cylinder opposite to each charge chamber. This arrangement prevents the cylinder from shifting until the bolt is withdrawn, which is done by pressing a nut connected with it and fitted just above the trigger, or by the pressure of the cylinder on the bolt as it is rotated; the outer end of the cylinder is fitted with a cross handle, by which it is turned round to bring the charges successively opposite to the bore of the barrel; the cylinder crosses the end of the barrel at right angles to its length, and as the charges are fired the projecting portion of the cylinder passes into a tube fitted to the left-hand side of the stock. To prevent dust or other matters falling upon the thread or groove of the cylinder, and thereby impeding its motion, it is covered with a telescopic tube, the parts of which slide one within another as the cylinder is caused to cross the end of the barrel. Upon the upper side of the barrel is fitted a thin hollow rib or piece of steel; along this rib a flush sight is taken, and below the hollow rib is fitted a stadia for different ranges.
Having given an outline of the nature of our Invention, we will proceed to describe the same, with the assistance of the Drawing which accompanies and forms a part of this Specification.
Fig. 1 is a longitudinal section of a portion of a gun or rifle, sufficient to shew the application of the improvements thereto.
Fig. 2 represents an external view of the gun, drawn to a scale one -half the real size; the other Figures are drawn full size.
Fig. 3 represents a plan of the improvements.
Fig. 4 is a longitudinal elevation of the cylinder or charge chamber. A is the stock of the gun; B, the barrel, which is of the ordinary construction, either rifled or smooth bore; C is a hollow metal ring or socket through which the cylinder or charge chamber passes; D, D, are projecting studs or guides, which fit into the groove formed on the outer surface of the cylinder or charge chamber; E is a bolt or stop, which fits into recesses or notches made at regular distances on the surface of the charge chamber; this bolt is pressed upward by a spring F, and is released by pressing the knob G; I is the cock or hammer; I, the trigger; K, the scroll guard.
Fig. 3 represents a plan of the central portion of a gun, shewing the position of the charge chamber, and the tube fitted to receive it as the charges are successively fired. The charge chamber is shewn detached from the gun a Fig. 4. L is a metal cylinder, having the spiral thread or groove M cut or otherwise made thereon; N is a series of chambers bored through the cylinder at right angles to each other; the diameter of these chambers corresponds with the bore of the barrel; O, O, are notches or recesses, into one of which the bolt E springs each time the cylinder is turned a quarter of a revolution, which is done by means of a cross handle P; Q, is a telescopic tube made to slide one within another at every quarter rotation of the cylinder L; R is a tube into which the cylinder L passes as the charges are fired; S is a thin metal rib extending; from the socket C along the barrel B; beneath the ribs a ladder sight T, for long ranges, may be fitted; s^1, s^1, are holes for attaching a telescope when required; u^1, u^1, are eyes by which the stock is secured to the barrel; V is a cleaning rod; W, a trap for holding a jag, sponge, & c.; X is a bolt to lock the hammer H at half-cock and prevent it descending on the cap. The barrel may be made either smooth or rifled in the bore; in the latter case I prefer the rifling to take one complete turn in three feet. The ball I prefer to use is shewn at Fig. 5, which represents a ball made upon a plan designed by Colonel Jacob.
Fig. 6 represents a spherical belted ball for short ranges.
Fig. 7, a Jacob’s conical ball, with a zinc or iron point, for long ranges.
Fig. 8 represents a hollow ball or shell, the cavity of which is intended to be 35 filled with detonating powder. The chambers N of the cylinder having been filled with cartridges, the end is to be inserted into the socket C, so that the studs D, D, take into the groove of the screw M; the cross handle P is grasped with the right hand, and the cylinder turned a quarter of a revolution; this action brings one of the chambers opposite to the end of the barrel, the bolt E taking into one of the notches O with an audible click. When the charge has been fired the bolt E is released from the cylinder by the lateral pressure of the cylinder caused by the action of the hand in turning the cross handle P. 5 By the rotation of the cylinder another cartridge is brought in a line with the barrel, and so on throughout the series. When the last charge is fired the knob G is pressed upward, in order to unwind or withdraw the cylinder for re-loading or cleaning. The end of the stock is well hollowed out to allow of a firm rest against the shoulder, and prevent the gun slipping down when the 10 charges are fired in succession without removing it from the shoulder.
Having described the nature of our Invention, and the manner of carrying the same into practical effect, we wish it to be understood that we do not con fine ourselves to the precise arrangement of the mechanical details of the parts forming our improvements in guns and rifles, as the same may be varied without departing from the Invention; but what we claim and desire to secure under the herein-before in part recited Letters Patent is, the improvements in breech-loading guns or rifles, consisting in the application of a cylinder or charge chamber, constructed and arranged substantially in the manner herein-before described and shewn, or any mere modification thereof.
In witness whereof, we, the said James Rice and William Rice, have hereunto set our hands and seals, this Fifteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty-six.
JAMES RICE, (L.S.)
WILLIAM RICE. (L.S.)
Patent Office, 89, Chancery Lane.