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April 26, 2006

Gun Pr0n. The Needlegun.

Ain't done any in a while - and found out that a lot of the milbloggers *like* the gun pr0n, even if they don't comment on it. They mentioned its absence.

French Chassepot needlegun

This is the French response to the German Dreyse Needlegun of the mid-to-late 1860's - the Chassepot. It fired a linen cartridge with the primer cap being in the base of the bullet. To fire, the bolt pushed it's way into the linen cartridge and when fired, the needle pushed through the rest of the way to fire the cap and ignite the powder.

Linen cartridge for the Chassepot needlegun

These rifles don't use the now-common locking lugs to seal the breech. Early versions of the Chassepot rifle used leather washers to seal the breech. This rifle has what's left of the later rubber gasket. There was always leakage and the rifle was *not* popular with the troops. The pins were prone to breakage, becoming brittle from the heat of firing, always annoying in the heat of a firefight. In the photo below, you can see both the rubber seal and the protruding needle.

Bolt of French Chassepot Needlegun

The needleguns were all transitional rifles as the arms merchants learned how to make brass cartridges - a subject already covered in this space.