Rifle-calibre Maxim Gun
Its rate of firing—770 shots a minute—is at least three times as rapid as that of any other machine gun. It has only a single barrel, which, when the shot is fired, recoils a distance of three-quarters of an inch on the other parts of the gun. This recoil sets moving the machinery which automatically keeps up a continuous fire at the extraordinary rate of 12 rounds a second. Each recoil of the barrel has therefore to perform the necessary functions of extracting and ejecting the empty cartridge, or bringing up the next full one and placing it in its proper position in the barrel, of cocking the hammer, and pulling the trigger. As long as the firing continues, these functions are repeated round after round in succession. The barrel is provided with a water jacket, to prevent excessive heating; and is so mounted that it can be raised or lowered or set at any angle, or turned horizontally to the left or to the right. The bore is adapted to the present size of cartridges; and the maximum range is eighteen hundred yards. The gun can therefore be made to sweep a circle upwards of a mile in radius.
Nordenfelt-Palmcrantz Gun mounted on Ship's Bulwark
Machine guns have succeeded one another with extraordinary rapidity, and a gun seems only to be adopted in order to be superseded. Thus we have had during the last few years a series of these weapons bearing the names of Gatling, Gardner, Nordenfelt, and Maxim,
Gatling Gun on Field Carriage
These weapons are, as part of the regular equipment of armies, quite modern, though the idea of binding together a quantity of barrels and then discharging them at once, or with great rapidity one after another, is not altogether novel. Sometimes, instead of a number of barrels, one only is required, and the cartridges are discharged from short barrels or chambers which are brought in turn into position with the longer one.
Gardner Two-Barrel Machine Gun, on cone mounting, for Naval use. Weight of gun 103 lbs; of mounting 153 lbs. ; calibre .045 ; rapidity of fire, maximum, 680 shots per minute
Gardner Five-Barrel Machine Gun, on portable tripod, adapted for Naval use. Weight of gun 235 lbs; of mounting 134 lbs. ; calibre .045 ; rapidity of fire, maximum, 1200 shots per minute