Sunday, March 5, 2017

While browsing Gun Auction I ran across a Werder rifle. Really thought it was unique and as I had never seen one before, curiosity got the better of me. I did a bit of digging and came up with the following information and pictures.

It was the brainchild of a prolific Bavarian engineer by the name of Johannes Ludwig Werder. He was a specialist in production engineering and tooling design. The relatively obscure Werder rifle is a masterpiece of design, exhibiting many characteristics well ahead of its time, considering the date of its design and adoption was mid 1869. The Bavarian Military was so impressed that they were manufactured in rifle, carbine and pistol.

The Bavarian Army used these arms during the 1860's and early 1870's and they saw action against the French in the Prussian/Franco war of 1870-71. (civilian models were also manufactured)

Although similar to the Martini/Peabody family of pivoting block actions, many details show a very inventive and creative mind.

Note the double trigger. The front trigger is pushed forward to open the breech and eject the case. This allows comfortable firing from the prone position, compared to the clumsiness of a lever action like the Martini-Henry (This was a requirement of the Bavarian Staff).

The loading and safety system is the best thought-out of the period. 
The arm is loaded when the hammer is in the fired position. When a round is chambered it is captured by the breech block which is under slight spring pressure, this prevents the round from being jostled out while on horseback. 

In the half-cock (safety notch) position of the hammer, the breechblock is raised but not fully, ensuring that the floating firing pin (with rebound spring) will not hit the primer, even if the rifle is heavily jolted or bumped. Only in the full cock position is the breech block fully raised and the firing pin in line with the primer.

The entire action is a self contained assembly removable by releasing a single screw in front of the trigger guard, sliding the trigger guard backwards to unhook it and pulling the action upwards. This allows complete access to the breech end of the barrel for cleaning.

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