Italian inventors, like those of every other nation in Kuropc, felt as a matter of national pride that their military forces should be armed with an automatic machine gun that was not only designed but fabricated in their own coun-tly'
In 1901 Giuseppe Perino, officer in charge of the Italian artillery factory in Rome, designed a machine gun that must still be admired todav
for its many advanced features.
The Italian Government, coining to the conclusion that it had a superior arm, immediately placed it in confidential status. Only a few at a time were built and experimented with, until it was felt the weapon was improved enough to compete with well-known machine guns.
In 1908 the government conducted a secret trial to compare the Perino with the Maxim. The test revealed that the Perino had a higher rate of fire than the latter, and that when water boiled in the jacket from prolonged bursts, the liquid could be changed during continued operation in the Italian gun but not in the other.
The mechanism was also found to be of simpler construction and was far easier to handle in the field, although it weighed 50 pounds without mount.
The most objectionable feature noted by the examining board was the delay caused by the need for manual removal of empty cartridge cases from the strips before they could be reloaded. This was an odd complaint since it wras a by-product of one of the best and most unique methods of feeding to be found at this early date. 1
Metal travs holding 25 rounds of 6.5-mm
cartridges were fed into the gun from left to right. The ammunition box held five such trays or clips. The weapon fed the trays one at a time from the bottom of the ammunition container. In this manner it was easy for the gunner's assistant to keep the box full by laying loaded ones on top of the stack. It also allowed a sustained fire as long as the gun functioned. A loaded tray followed immediately behind the ejection of an expended one from the right side of the weapon with the empty brass reclipped in the tray. In this manner of feeding, no metal link or fabric belt was required and no case ejection chute was necessary, since the empty case was placed back in the tray after being extracted from the chamber.
To fire the Perino, a clip or tray of ammunition is inserted in the feed opening on the left side. This is done only when the bolt is in bat-tery, and secured by the pivot lock that is fastened to the barrel extension and engages the locking grooves on both top and bottom of the bolt.
The charging handle is then pulled smartly to the rear. When it reaches its full rearward stroke, a sear engages the bolt recess and holds it in the cocked-bolt position. This movement also indexes a round in position to be chambered. Upon pulling the trigger, the sear releases the bolt, which is then driven forward by the stored energy of the barrel-return spring. The bolt does not strip the round, as in most other machine guns of this type, but pushes it out of the clip into the chamber. It actually passes over the top of the clip where the cartridge was formerly held.
When the round is chambered, it is fired by inertia after the bolt is securely locked. After firing, the barrel, barrel extension, and bolt are locked together until the barrel pressure has reached a safe operating limit. At this point the unlocking lug of the lock engages a cam in a fixed receiver and pivots the lock to free the bolt from the barrel.
At the instant the bolt is freed, the cocking device, consisting of a two-forked lever pinned to the barrel extension, strikes a fixed stop in the bottom of the receiver. Further recoil of the
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