John Harris Hall

hi vented the Hall rifle

Born—Portland, Maine, Jan. 21. 1778 Died—Moberly, Mo., Feb. 26, 1841

John H. Hall was born of a family prominent in Maine politics. After attending public school in Portland, he was apprenticed as a boatbuilder in nearby Yarmouth. Naturally inventive, he designed a new sloop with a flat bottom and exceptionally deep keel. A stock company was formed to finance the construction of a vessel named the Yankee to be built according .to his design. The ship never returned from its maiden voyage, and it was generally believed that the keel caused it to founder. This apparently terminated Hall's shipbuilding.

About the time of the Yankee disaster, Hall applied for a patent on a breech-loading firearm which he had invented with help from William Thornton, the Washington architect. The patent was granted in 1811. Hall's system involved a pivoted breechblock which contained both the lock mechanism and the chamber. It could be tipped up to load, then locked down in position with a spring catch. It was a simple mechanism but was subject to a somewhat excessive leakage of gas and flame from the joint between the barrel and chamber and a tendency for the catch lever to gall at its shoulders.

Hall ofTered his invention to the government and produced a quantity of rifles for test purposes. Most of these were probably made at Hall's shop on Richardson's Wharf in Portsmouth. Finally, the United States decided to adopt the new rifle as an official arm, and in 1819 production began in the National Armory at Harpers Ferry with Hall to supervise production.

Hall designed the machinery for making the rifle on an assembly line basis with completely interchangeable parts. These machines were installed at Harpers Ferry, and his guns represent the first American-made firearms with complete interchangeability. though others such as Whitney and North had made significant strides in that direction earlier. Both rifles and carbines were manufactured on the Hall system at the Armory and under private contract for some 25 years, first with flintlocks and later with percussion. As such they were the first breech-loaders formally adopted and issued in quantity as a standard military arm.

In 1840 Hall went to Missouri to be with his son.—Harold L. Peterson

Remington Model 540X

Illustrations by JOHN F. FINNEGAN Text by LUDWIG OLSON

The Remington Model 540X cal. .22 bolt-action target rifle introduced in 1969 is an outstanding performer. Although this single-shot arm chambered for the .22 long rifle cartridge weighs only about 9 lbs. complete with sling and iron sights, it is easily capable of firing 1" 10-shot groups at 100 yds. with match ammunition.

An important reason for this rifle's fine performance is its high-quality, 26" medium-weight barrel which is full floating in the fore-end. The bore is rifled by a modern hammer-forging process that gives a very smooth finish.

Some other important reasons for the fine performance are secure lock-up of the bolt and extremely fast lock time of only 1.4 milliseconds. The locking system consists of six lugs arranged on the bolt body in three series of two each. These engage shoulders in the bridge of the thick-walled, machined steel receiver.

The separate, non-rotary bolt head carries twin extractors and the firing pin. A

Rifle Pin Striker

safety (35) completely forward beyond "F" marking on receiver (33), and remove bolt assembly from rifle.

bolt plug screwed into the rear end of the bolt body retains the striker mechanism and serves as a gas shield. Another feature that helps protect the user is that the front edge of the bolt head is beveled slightly to permit gas escape sideward through the ejection port. This is an excellent feature since rimfire case heads sometimes burst, especially when firing high speed ammunition.

A nylon plastic loading tray in the receiver bottom guides the cartridge into the chamber without deforming the bullet. The thumb-operated safety is on the right side of the action. When engaged, it locks the trigger mechanism but not the bolt. It is thus possible to remove a live round from the chamber with the trigger mechanism locked.

Like many other modern rifles, the trigger mechanism of the Model 540X is adjustable for weight of pull, sear engagement. and overtravel. It is necessary to remove the stock for access to the adjustment screws. The manufacturer recommends that no adjustments be made in sear engagement and overtravel as these were adjusted properly at the factory.

Patents Bolt Action Takedown

2 Unscrew takedown screws (48), and remove stock assembly (43) from barreled action.

Sighting equipment consists of a Red-field No. 75 micrometer aperture rear sight and No. 63 globe front sight with interchangeable inserts. The barrel is drilled and tapped for scope blocks, and the receiver is grooved for clamp-on scope mounts. Height of sight line for metallic sights is the same as for target telescope sights. The rifle was available with or without iron sights.

The one-piece birch stock has a cheek-piece. full pistol grip, shelf for the right thumb, and a wide groove behind the grip to give clearance for the palm of the hand. A full-length accessory rail in the bottom of the semi-beavertail fore-end adapts the rifle for use with a handstop-swivel block and palm rests.

Another desirable feature is a buttplate adjustable for length of pull, vertical movement. and right or left cant. These adjustments are made easily with an Allen wrench furnished with the rifle. Length of pull is adjustable from approximately 12%" to 15'/2".

In 1975. the Model 540X rifle was replaced by the Model 540XR which features an improved stock designed especially for position shooting. ■

John Harris Hall Patent

3 Clamp bolt plug (7) in a padded vise. While pushing cocking piece (15) rearward into bolt plug with a punch or screwdriver, unscrew bolt body assembly (5) from bolt plug, and remove striker assembly (45). Clamp striker (44) in a padded vise, drive out striker cross pin (46) with a punch, and remove cocking piece, striker washer (47), and mainspring (30). Use caution since cocking piece is under spring pressure. Drift out bolt assembly pin (4), and separate bolt head (6) from bolt body assembly. Use small screwdriver to pry extractor spring off bolt head, and remove firing pin (20) and extractors (17) (18). Reassemble in reverse.

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Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Deer hunting is an interesting thing that reminds you of those golden old ages of 19th centuries, where a handsome hunk well equipped with all hunting material rides on horse searching for his target animal either for the purpose of displaying his masculine powers or for enticing and wooing his lady love.

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