Handguns appeared in XIII-XIV centuries, but for a long time it served as a complement to the cold steel. Many years passed before guns became useful for infantry weapons all, and only at the beginning of the XVIII century flintlock smoothbore musket with a bayonet, the gunman rounded bullets finally ousted peak. However, even then the handguns was far from perfect: the muskets were heavy and cumbersome muzzle-loading and have a small rate (about one shot per minute). In 1807 the Scot Forzich invented a gun lock, which causes inflammation of detonating shot composition from hitting the steel pin. It was a huge step forward, as the flintlock gave 30% misfires even in dry weather. In 1815, an Englishman invented the Egg copper caps, filled with a mixture of gunpowder and hunting hypochlorous potassium. In 1821 Wright coined copper caps, filled with explosive mixture. However, all of these innovations can not increase any rate of musket or killing power of his shot.
Meanwhile, at the end of the XV century it appeared the first rifles in Germany - rifle. Trunks guns began to supply within the grooves, which accumulate dirt after burning gunpowder. These grooves, the invention of which is credited in 1480 Tsolneru from Vienna, went first axis parallel to the gun. Approximately in 1630 was empirically established that the bullet in the barrel which imparted a rotary motion, it flies much further and gets much more accurate than a bullet fired from a shotgun. To report a rotation pool, rifling inside the barrel began to attach a helical shape. Since the inner bore has turned into some kind of nut. However, these important advantages of the rifle, the accuracy and long range, accompanied by very tangible disadvantage because plugging a bullet in the barrel bore through the screw thread was tedious and difficult operation. As a result, even an experienced shooter could do with a rifle not a single shot in five minutes. Because of this, for two centuries rifle remained unsuitable for widespread use in the army, especially in the XVIII century, when all the battle sometimes a crucial part of the fire lines deployed. In addition, to speed up loading, rifle supplied is too short barrel, and it is not old enough for the bayonet. All this time, the rifle remained almost exclusively on hunting weapons.
Naturally there arose the problem: how to combine advantages of the rifle easy loading shotgun? First, we try to do a bullet slightly smaller diameter than the internal bore. This is easily the bullet passed through the rifling, but the resulting gap has an extremely detrimental effect - during a shot through him with the force of breaking through gases, the bullet is not getting enough initial velocity, and useful quality rifles were lost in many ways. French officer Delvin came up with a way to fix this inconvenience, changing the shape of a bullet. In 1828 he designed the rifle with the bolt in the breech, narrower than the entire trunk. First of all, during the loading in the bolt pour gunpowder behind him rolled into small diameter bullet than the bore; reaching the edge of the chambers, it could not be passed on and remained on the ground, resting on its edge, a few strokes on a ramrod hammer was enough to drive a soft lead bullet in the rifling and expand its diameter so that it is provided closely fitting to the wall trunk. At the first trial found the greatest disadvantage of this system - from bullet strikes lose their spherical shape, and makes a few flattened, lost helical rotation, giving it a thread, and thus significantly decreased shooting accuracy. Then Devlin decided to completely abandon the spherical bullets and offered to do their elongated (cylindrical-conical). This invention has been particularly important. Delvin rifle itself and not widespread, but the shape of the bullets found them proved to be extremely successful and soon everywhere ousted former spherical. Indeed, elongated bullet had many advantages over the round: passing at the time of the shot through the rifling, it began to rotate around its longitudinal axis and flew the sharp end forward. With this air friction it was much less than that of the spherical bullets of the same diameter. She flew on and had a much flatter trajectory. At the same time elongated bullet is better included in the barrel, which reduces the slope and depth of cut. With significantly more weight than the spherical bullets, such a bullet flew out of the barrel at the same speed. In other words, the killing power rifle bullet charged Devlin, has increased markedly, and it remained the same caliber.
Another idea Devlin - to the effect that the bullet must change its diameter has once reached the end of the barrel - was also used, but in a more rational way. The main disadvantage of Delvina rifle lay in the fact that after the bullet flattening part engages its edges of the circular protrusion the chambers, and this weakened the power of the shot. French Colonel Thouvenin in 1844 figured out how to avoid this inconvenience. He removed the chambers and the projections made bore, just as before, the same along its entire length. In the center of the bolt, the locking bore, it has strengthened the short, sturdy steel rod or pin, around which lay down pours gunpowder. During charging, the bullet, which had a smaller diameter than the bore, easy ramrod was run by rifling. At the end of the barrel, it fell on the alert, was heard wide and fits snugly to the walls of the barrel, and the expansion was much more correct than the rifle Delvina. In a short time Thouvenin rifle is widely used, until the end of the 40-ies of the XIX century it had adopted not only in France, but in many states of Northern Germany. Soon, however, it turned out that this rifle also has major drawbacks: the effort that had to make the soldiers in order to flatten the bullet, was very large, and when shooting with the knee or lying down, and it was still very uncomfortable. The rifle had a strong impact, also made it difficult to check the barrel clean and often broke down.
In 1849, Captain Minya suggested improvements, which avoids these disadvantages. He found that if in the pool make a hole, the gas produced during firing, seeks to expand the walls of the cavity as to make it adhere to the trunk and enter the rifling. On the reduction of an idea of Minya it was built in its entirety. He removed the pin at the bottom of the bore, and restored the original simplicity of the rifle, which is different to the Delvina and Thouvenin. But in the pool began to drill conical recess from the base. At the moment of firing it expands and lies flat against the walls of the barrel. The effect achieved by this simple improvement, were striking: a new rifle was charged as easily as the smoothbore musket, but was much better than the old rifles, surpassing its range and accuracy of fire. Therefore Minya rifle was the first rifles, which received a general circulation in Europe. This is to a large extent also contributed to the fact that all the old smoothbore muskets using a very simple alteration could be converted into a rifle, usable Minya bullets. For example, in Prussia in less than a year they were made in the rifling of 300 thousand old muskets. Following France rifle Minya in various local versions have adopted in England, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, and later in Russia.
However, by the time the rifle Minya received such a great success, has already appeared invention, guide the development of a firearm in a completely different way. While others have tried to change the shape of a bullet, without changing fundamentally the most rifles device (it was still shompolnye gun, muzzle-loading), the Prussian gunsmith Draize worked on the creation of an important supplement to the rifle - he created a seal. The advent of the era of the gate was in the military, and Draize on the right has the glory of one of the greatest engineers in the history of military equipment. Although we can not say that the idea of this device is wholly owned by him, it was the first time he found the solution of complex engineering problems - made rifle, is charged with breech. Many Draize predecessors on this path (the first attempts to create a gate dating back to the Middle Ages) failed primarily because they do not have at their disposal a high-precision machine tools. After connection release with the barrel must be durable and withstand the enormous pressure of powder gases. However, the valve must move easily and quickly set in place. In other words, he could only work with the smallest tolerances in the event of a normal-sized parts - no more than a thousandth of a millimeter. For a long time these difficulties seemed insurmountable, and only the technical capabilities of the XIX century allowed to adequately resolve them. In this sense, the rolling shutter was the brainchild of his time. However, what Draize had at their disposal a high-precision lathe, in no way detracts from his fame as the inventor of the device, which remains to this day the most important accessory of any firearms.
The first step to creating a new rifle Draize did back in 1828, when came up with the so-called unitary cartridge for smooth-bore needle gun. This immediately allowed to increase its rate. Prior to this charging process includes a lot of different operations: falling asleep gunpowder, bullets pushing, installing pistons. Draize invented to put the powder charge, the bullet and primer in a paper envelope - sleeve. The loading then came down to just two operations: extraction of spent cartridges and nesting cartridge in the barrel. Breaking sunk in Draize gun produced a needle penetrating through a hole in the breech.
In 1836 Draize crowned his many years of work creating needle-rifle with the sliding shutter, which is charged with breech. Designed their gate is a cylindrical box screwed to the breech, in which the piston back and forth moving. Inside the piston-shutter as freely moving solid needle, which played the role of the drummer.
When you open the shutter should first push back the needle c. Then turn the lever to the left d shutter and move it back - then opened the through hole (the cartridge window) where to put the cartridge. Then, the shutter was set in place (the holder shall be sent to the bore) and turned it on again. Lever d got into a special recess in the wall of the box, and the gate locked tight bore. Production of weapons cocked was a simple needle is pulled back c. At the same time he is cocking, retaining springs in the firing position. When you press the trigger a spring mechanism down, the needle with force pierced in the cartridge and inflamed capsule. Thus, with the introduction of the shutter charging guns has been reduced to five simple movements that can be done in any position, even on the move. In 1840, needle rifle Draize already was adopted by the Prussian army. However, widespread needle gun received only twenty years later - at the time of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. Their use has led to a radical change in the tactics of the battle. In place of the serried columns detailed circuit came everywhere.
The creation of the needle gun huge step has been made in the development of small arms, which only then began to take its modern form. However, Draize rifle had its drawbacks: quickly getting damp paper cartridges, the needle was quite vulnerable part of the engine and broke. These disadvantages have been eliminated after the introduction of the 70-ies of the XIX century, a unitary cartridge with a metal sleeve and a capsule, which is ignited by hitting the striker.