Winchester rifles?
May 24, 2006 10:48 AM   Subscribe

What is the tube under the barrel of an old Winchester rifle. Image &

Was it just a bar used to stabilize the barrel? Did it have any mechanical function in the rifle? Is it still used?

(I'm asking about the rifles seen in Westerns.)

posted by OmieWise to Technology (7 answers total)
Best answer: It's the magazine. Bullets are pushed past a spring-loaded door on the side of the receiver, to fill up that tube. another spring in the tube pushes them back so one is always ready to get jacked into firing position..
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:53 AM on May 24, 2006

What kind of loading mechanism does the gun have?

There's two reasons I know of for the tube. One is if it's a semiautomatic or autoloader; then that's the magazine, where shells are kept until they're loaded into the breech. If it's a muzzle-loader, then the ramrod was stored there. The picture doesn't show enough of the gun for me to tell...

In some automatic guns that are gas-operated, like the M-16, that tube is the gas expansion chamber.
posted by SpecialK at 10:56 AM on May 24, 2006

Here is a diagram.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:56 AM on May 24, 2006

Best answer: As Kirth Gerson already pointed out it is a magazine. In modern rifles they generally use some sort of box magazine, however there are still many that use a tubular, under the barrel setup.

Shotguns are the most common modern varients.

The reason they went out of favor relate to the fact that in the magazine, the tip of one bullet is pressed against the primer of the one in front of it. Occasionally one bullet could set off the one in front of it, usually tearing out the side of the magazine and rendering the gun inopperable.

Because of the shape of shotgun shells, they do not put pressure on primer of the shell in front of them and thus don't really suffer from this problem.
posted by quin at 11:24 AM on May 24, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, I never thought of it being the magazine. I don't know why not since it's obvious that those guns have one.
posted by OmieWise at 11:27 AM on May 24, 2006

Side-question: Is that second tube ever just used for esthetic reasons? To give the gun a certain shape, even if it doesn't actually do anything?
posted by Hildago at 3:28 PM on May 24, 2006


not that I have ever seen
posted by Megafly at 5:43 PM on May 24, 2006

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