Claxton Firing Mechanism

Of the other firing mechanisms that appeared soon after the stimulus of war, the most notable was the Claxton. This weapon consisted of two ride barrels placed side by side 011 a framework in such a manner that the pair of the barrels were always in alinement with the two sliding breech mechanisms. This temporarily formed a double-barrel breech-loading rifle that operated by the manipulation of a pump handle located between the two breech actions.

The handle was worked by one man, while another fed the cartridges by hand into a short magazine feeder. Rapidity of fire was governed by the physical ability of the soldier to work the handle to and fro.

The gun could be mounted on a carriage somewhat like the Ager, and with the same kind of shield arrangement to protect the operator. This device was of ingenious construction in that it gave full protection to the gunner and still allowed freedom of action in operating and servicing the weapon.

The various officers and military representa tives who attended the tests and demonstrations, conducted by the producers of the Claxton weapon, were not impressed by its performance. According to the general opinion, it was of too frail a construction. The manual feeding was far from positive and had a tendency towards an erratic rate of fire. The whole procedure was slowed until (SO rounds a minute was considered maximum.

The weapon was invented by F. S. Claxton, son of Alexander Claxton, a well-known American naval officer. After the weapon failed to receive the interest expected, young Claxton took his invention to France and introduced it to the French service. The same weakness in construction was noted in France. It was later taken to England and manufactured by the Guthrie & Lcc Explosive Arms Co., and is sometimes erroneously known as the Guthrie and Lee. Records of its actual tise are very limited. However, its mechanism was revised by a Scandinavian engineer and after much refinement was popularized two decades later as an original European design.

Guthrie And Lee Machine Gun
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