Needle gun


Needle gun
Dreyse needle gun, model 1865.

A needle gun is a firearm that has a needle-like firing pin, which can pass through the paper cartridge case to impact a percussion cap at the bullet base. A needle gun with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves ("rifling") cut into the barrel walls is also called needle rifle.

Contents

Pauly needle gun

A diagram of a needle-gun cartridge, showing the paper cartridge case, the sabot, and acorn-shaped bullet.

The first experimental needle gun was designed by Jean-Samuel Pauly, a Swiss gunsmith.

In Paris in 1808, in association with French gunsmith François Prélat, Pauly created the first fully self-contained cartridges:[1] the cartridges incorporated a copper base with integrated mercury fulminate primer powder (the major innovation of Pauly), a paper casing and a round bullet.[2] The cartridge was loaded through the breech and fired with a needle. The needle-activated central-fire breech-loading gun would become a major feature of firearms thereafter.[3] The corresponding firearm was also developed by Pauly.[1] Pauly made an improved version which was protected by a patent on 29 September 1812.[1] The cartridge was further improved by the French gunsmith Casimir Lefaucheux in 1836.

In 1809 Pauly employed the German Johann Nikolaus von Dreyse who would later become the inventor of the famous Dreyse rifle.

Dreyse needle gun

Dreyse mechanism, model 1865.

The first mass-producted needle gun was invented by the German gunsmith Johann Nikolaus von Dreyse, who, beginning in 1824, had conducted multiple experiments, and in 1836 produced the first viable breech loading gun model using a complete cartridge .

The early Dreyse needle guns were smooth-bore. Later Dreyse guns adopted by the Prussian army were rifles using self-contained combustible cartridges holding oblong lead balls held in a papier-mache "sabot".

From 1848 onwards the new weapon was gradually introduced into Prussian service. The Dreyse rifle became widely used during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 when it played a decisive role at the Battle of Sadowa.

Doersch and von Baumgarten needle gun

This Model 1861 rifle was an improvement of Dreyse rifle by Johannes Doersch and Cramer von Baumgarten. They shortened the needle mechanism and moved the handle to the rear of the bolt. The rifle was officially adopted in the principality of Schaumburg-Lippe. More than one thousand rifles were produced until the principality was forced to join to the German Empire in 1871.

Carl needle gun

In 1865, Johannes Friedrich Christian Carl (also known as Carlé or Karl), a ship- and insurance broker of Hamburg, patented a needle gun which was an improvement of Dreyse gun. Sohs (Zons), a Hamburg citizen, participated in designing and development of it.

The Carl system was officially adopted by the Russian Empire in 1867. Only 215,500 Carl rifles were manufactured in Russia, because a short time later, the needle rifles were replaced by rifles with metal cartridges such as Berdan rifle.

Chassepot needle gun

Chassepot gun, with cartridge.
The comparison of Dreyse and Chassepot cartridges

The Chassepot was named after its inventor, Antoine Alphonse Chassepot (1833–1905), who, from 1857 onwards, had constructed various experimental forms of breechloader, and the rifle became the French service weapon in 1866. In the following year it made its first appearance on the battlefield at Mentana on 3 November 1867, where it inflicted severe losses upon Giuseppe Garibaldi's troops. It was reported at the French Parliament that "Les Chassepots ont fait merveille!", or loosely translated: "The Chassepots have done wonderfully!" The undisguised truth is that the heavy cylindrical lead bullets fired at high velocity by the Chassepot rifle inflicted wounds that were even worse than those of the earlier Minié rifle.

In the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871) it proved greatly superior to the German Dreyse needle gun, outranging it by 2 to 1.

The Chassepot used a combustible paper cartridge holding an 11mm (.43 inch) round-headed cylindrical lead bullet. An inverted standard percussion cap was at the rear of the paper cartridge and hidden inside. It was fired by the Chassepot's needle (a sharply pointed firing pin) upon pressing the trigger.

Carcano needle gun

Carcano Fucili di Fanteria Modello 1860/67 needle gun developed by Salvatore Carcano, an Italian technician. This rifle was operated by pulling a cocking knob on the back of the action, retracting the needle and allowing the bolt handle to be lifted. It was adopted in 1867 in Italy.

The Carcano Modello 1868 needle fire rifle had very few differences from the 1860/1867 model.

References

  1. ^ a b c Chemical Analysis of Firearms, Ammunition, and Gunshot Residue by James Smyth Wallace Page 24 [1]
  2. ^ Firearms by Roger Pauly p.94
  3. ^ A History of Firearms By W. Y. Carman p.121

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Needle gun — Needle Nee dle (n[=e] d l), n. [OE. nedle, AS. n[=ae]dl; akin to D. neald, OS. n[=a]dla, G. nadel, OHG. n[=a]dal, n[=a]dala, Icel. n[=a]l, Sw. n[*a]l, Dan. naal, and also to G. n[ a]hen to sew, OHG. n[=a]jan, L. nere to spin, Gr. ne ein, and perh …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • needle gun — noun : a rifle of the later 19th century having a needle shaped firing pin which upon penetrating a paper, oiled linen, or oiled silk cartridge passes through the powder charge to detonate the cap loaded at the base of the bullet * * * needle gun …   Useful english dictionary

  • needle-gun — needˈle gun noun A gun in which the cartridge is exploded by the impact of a spike • • • Main Entry: ↑needle …   Useful english dictionary

  • NEEDLE-GUN —    a breech loading gun, the cartridge of which is exploded by a needle …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • needle gun — n. gun loaded at the breech with a cartridge that carries its own fulminate which is exploded by inserting a slender needle into it …   English contemporary dictionary

  • needle gun — noun a firearm that has a needle like firing pin …   Wiktionary

  • Needle gun (disambiguation) — Needle gun or needlegun may refer to: Needle gun, a military breechloading rifle, named after its firing pin. Needlegun, a firearm that fires small fin stabilized metal darts Needlegun scaler, a hydraulic or pneumatic tool used to remove rust and …   Wikipedia

  • Dreyse needle gun — Needle gun Type Bolt action Place of origin …   Wikipedia

  • Needle — may refer to: Contents 1 Crafting 2 Botany 3 Geography 4 …   Wikipedia

  • Needle — Nee dle (n[=e] d l), n. [OE. nedle, AS. n[=ae]dl; akin to D. neald, OS. n[=a]dla, G. nadel, OHG. n[=a]dal, n[=a]dala, Icel. n[=a]l, Sw. n[*a]l, Dan. naal, and also to G. n[ a]hen to sew, OHG. n[=a]jan, L. nere to spin, Gr. ne ein, and perh. to E …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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