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Posted: 10/27/2006 8:16:49 AM EST
Which was the first?
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 11:37:30 PM EST
Hiram Maxim had designs as early as 1885 for both recoil and gas operated semis.

He received a British patent in 1891 for a rifle he made. It bled gas from a port near the muzzle and operated a piston. Since he was busy with belt-fed MGs at the time, he didn't do any further development of the rifle.

Browning and Von Mannlicher both designed several semi's at the time that used both recoil and gas traps, but Maxim was the first IIRC.

Link Posted: 10/28/2006 3:45:17 AM EST
I honestly have no idea what it was called, but I know the US had a machine gun that was gas operated and used a lever instead of a piston, mounted to the bottom of the action, to cycle.

I don't know when it was made either, but I think it was in the 1880s or 1890s.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 6:31:42 AM EST
That was the 1896 Colt MG, often called the "Potato Digger" because the gas caused a lever to swing down in an arc, and then spring pressure returned it. If it was too low to the ground, it would dig a hole.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 7:47:30 AM EST

Originally Posted By dar48:
That was the 1896 Colt MG, often called the "Potato Digger" because the gas caused a lever to swing down in an arc, and then spring pressure returned it. If it was too low to the ground, it would dig a hole.


John Moses Browning (Peace be upon Him) took a winchester rifle and drilled a hole in the barrel and attached a lever to the hand lever to make it work. This was his proof of concept for the potato digger. This would be the first gas operated rifle I ever heard of.

The 1896 was the first production gun. I would bet there were several experimental guns other than Brownings (PbuH) out there before that.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:24:41 AM EST

Originally Posted By DanishM1Garand:

SNIP
The 1896 was the first production gun. I would bet there were several experimental guns other than Brownings (PbuH) out there before that.


I agree totally. I was just identifying the time and model of the MG mentioned earlier. The Russians and French were also doing some experimentation, but these really didn't get off the ground until the late 1890s-early 1900s.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 10:56:28 AM EST
Wow, and I thought it was the SVT, or M1 Garand.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 4:33:29 PM EST

Originally Posted By Chris_1522:
I honestly have no idea what it was called, but I know the US had a machine gun that was gas operated and used a lever instead of a piston, mounted to the bottom of the action, to cycle.

I don't know when it was made either, but I think it was in the 1880s or 1890s.


Browning design 1895 Colt MG AKA potatoe digger
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 6:44:25 PM EST
those were all MGs, the thread title said rifle. if you are lookng for the first shoulder fired gas operated rifle that would be the mexican "Mondragon" (spelling?). IIRC it is around that same time frame in 7x57 mauser.

ETA: a quick google search says it was adopted by mexico in 1908, so had to have been designed a little earlier.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 12:15:14 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/29/2006 12:17:14 AM EST by Ross]
Browning's started experimenting with gas operation in the 1889. The rifle operated off the lever, that he later used on the Colt 1895 Potato Digger was actually the second rifle he modified. The first one operated off of muzzle blast, though it would still be gas operated technically. Either way though, he was still a couple years behind Maxim.

The Mexican Mondraon was developed by a Mexican Army officer. It had some good features, like a 10rd box mag, etc. and some actually saw combat With German aircrew in WWI spotting planes before planes were normally armed. Small lots had been made in Switzerland.

However the first semi-auto rifle to see combat was the French St Etienne. The French started experiments in 1894 and eventually developed the St. Etienne. Gas-operated, rotating bolt, box mag, with the oprod running exposed down the side of the gun. Not to reliable with all the mechanicals exposed down the side, but it was the first to see combat, doing so in WWI.

1900 represents the year that many experimentals jumped on after the basic ground-breaking work had been done by Maxim, Von Mannlicher and Browning. After the true geniuses showed how it could be done, by 1900-1910 the Italians, Germans, Sweedes, Japanese, Danes, French, Mexicans, and several American compaines had semi-auto rifles. They were both recoil and gas operated, about half and half. Some worked and some were hidieous.

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