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Mondragon (Rifle)

Louis

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The MONDRAGON was a Mexican battle rifle and the world's first automatic rifle. It was designed by Mexican general Manuel Mondragón and was the first fully automatic firearm able to be operated by a single rifleman.

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Mondragon began his work in 1882 and patented the weapon in 1887. It was gas-operated with a cylinder and piston arrangement, now very familiar but unusual at the time, and rotating bolt, locked by lugs in helical grooves in the receiver; it was also possible to operate it as a simple straight-pull bolt action. The caliber was 7mm (.284 in) Mauser and the rifle was available with either an 8-round or 20-round box magazine, or a 100-round drum magazine (for variants produced after 1910).

The Mondragon rifle was known for its stopping power and for being very accurate when used as a semiautomatic firearm but suffered from high recoil and poor accuracy when fired on full automatic. In 1910, a light machine gun variant with a heavier barrel and a redesigned mechanism to improve full automatic accuracy coupled to a 100-round drum was manufactured for the Mexican military.

The first versions of the rifle had trouble working in muddy and moist environments, German troops using the Mondragon rifle in Western Europe had difficulties with the rifle jamming while used in trench warfare. Although they did not function well in the thick moist mud and dirt of Central Europe, they proved to work well in hot and arid climates such as the North of Mexico.

Because of the instability leading up to the Mexican Revolution, few facilities in Mexico were able to mass-produce it and those that could were not able to shut down their assembly plants for the required retooling time needed to initiate production of the new rifles. Mondragon attempted to interest a U.S. firm.- He then turned to Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG), of Neuhausen am Rheinfall, who agreed to manufacture the rifle. In 1901, the first rifles were shipped to Mexico and issued to the army as the Fusil Mondragon Modelo 1900 with an 8 round magazine. In 1908, during the Mexican Revolution, a completely Mexican manufactured version was again issued to the Mexican Army as the Fusil Porfirio Diaz Sistema Mondragon Modelo 1908 this time with the 20 round magazine. By 1910 adequate facilities were completed in the Mexican cities of Veracruz, Ciudad Juarez, Guanajuato, Guadalajara and Mexico City where they were produced until 1943.

With World War I, Germany bought the remainder of SIG's stock that had not been sent to Mexico (which was about 3,000 of the 5,000 rifles), issuing them to the infantry, where they proved highly susceptible to mud and dirt in the trenches (a problem familiar even to less complex bolt action rifles such as the Ross).

In the early 1930s, the Mexican government decided it could make a profit trying to market the weapon on the international stage. At the time the Mondragon was still quite advanced, with its only true rival being the BAR. It was sold to many Mexican allied nations including Chile, Brazil, Peru, and the Republic of China. The Weimar Republic and later Nazi Germany purchased rights to license manufacture the weapon along with Austria and Japan. Japan however, manufactured less than five thousand.

A number of examples rifles made their way into the Lithuanian Army by World War II.

Specifications
Weight 4.18 kg (9 lb 3oz) empty
Length 1105 mm (43.5 in)
Cartridge 7 x 57 mm Mauser
Caliber 7x57mm Mauser
Action gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 750 - 1400 rounds/min depending on variant
Muzzle velocity 710 m/s (2300 ft/s)
Effective range 200 m to 550 m sight marks
Maximum range 900m (984 yd)
Feed system 8 round box, 10 round box, 20 round box, 30 round drum, 100 round drum.-
 
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Whoa, Kind of neat looking... Interesting how they thought it would be a good idea to keep it in a standard rifle form. (without handles i guess is what i'm trying to say)
 
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