THE NEWTON HIGH POWER RIFLE
from The American Rifle by
This is a bolt action rifle, quite similar to the Mauser
rifle, but with a number of important improvements which fit it more particularly
for sportsman's use. It is essentially a sportsman's weapon intended for
large game shooting. It differs from the Mauser in the following points:
Instead of having solid locking lugs at the head of the bolt, the
Newton has lugs of the interrupted screw type, quite a little stronger
than the solid lugs, but more liable to accumulate dirt. The safety is
placed on the side of the sleeve instead of on top, and more readily operated
than is the Mauser type. Then in the safe position the thumb piece stands
vertical, and is moved to ready by turning it to the rear so that it stands
45 degrees below the horizontal. The bolt handle turns well down at the
side of the stock and is more refined in shape. The bolt stop is very ingeniously
arranged and is operated by the front trigger. Pulling
the trigger to the rear when starting to open the bolt operates the stop
so that the bolt can be withdrawn completely from the receiver.
The magazine floor plate is hinged at the front end, and
retained in position by a spring stud in rear. When the floor plate is
open it acts as a screw-driver for the front take-down screw. Turning the
floor plate around unscrews this screw. The tang screw in rear of the trigger
guard is then unscrewed and the stock and magazine separate from the barrel
and receiver, permitting the rifle to be packed in small space. Provided
the screws are always kept screwed up very tight, this method of take-down
is not open to the same objections as all other methods of take-down, as
it is really only a removal of the stock.
The rifle has double set triggers that are much more reliable
than those usually seen. The regular length of barrels is 24 inches. The
whole arm is well proportioned, well balanced, and light.
The Newton rifle is adapted to the
.22-. .256-, .3O-, and -35-caliber Newton high-power cartridges, and to
the .3O-caliber Model 1906 cartridge. These are all cartridges of very
high intensity, and of extremely high velocity. The magazine will hold
but three of the .30 and .35 Newton cartridges, and five of the others.
The rifling is what is known as segmental, a modification
of the English Metford rifling, the corners of the lands and grooves being
rounded instead of square. The rifling cutter is made with its edge ground
on an arc of a circle having a shorter radius than that of the bore. The
advantages that the manufacturers claim for this system of rifling are
far greater ease of cleaning, greater durability, increased accuracy, and
less strain on the bullet jackets in firing. I will acknowledge the first
and last advantages, but I am not so sure of the durability. There would
seem to be more liability of the bullet to ride up on the inclined surface
of the rounded lands, and thus to increase the friction.
The stock is of very good shape and design, and has a
well-shaped pistol grip. The butt plate is of steel, not^ checked to prevent
slipping and is not placed on the stock at the right angle, the measurement
from trigger to toe being greater than the distance from trigger to heel,
and in consequence there is a tendency for the butt to slip down on the
shoulder during rapid fire.
It takes considerable time to perfect a new arm so that
it is as satisfactory as can be made, considering the design. It is a very
rare thing to find that a new arm, assembled entirely from the inventor's
design, will work satisfactorily at the start. A long time, sometimes as
much as a year, must be devoted to smoothing down, finding the weak parts
and rectifying them, and making the arm thoroughly reliable in every respect.
Thus the large arms companies usually keep a new arm in their shops for
a number of months to thoroughly standardize it before they put it out
to the trade. All this takes capital and experienced workmen, which a concern
just starting seldom has. The new concern must start to realize on their
capital as soon as possible. Thus the Newton Arms Company seems to have
been obliged to place some of their product on the market before it was
thoroughly standardized. As a consequence we find that many of their earlier
rifles may require considerable smoothing off and adjustment before they
will operate satisfactorily. It is of course to be expected that as the
firm and its workmen gain more experience these faults in standardization
will be corrected. In fact I have before me now (March, 1918) a rifle which
has just come through the factory in which this seems to have been
done, as it works smoothly and easily, handles its cartridges correctly,
and the parts seem to be in proper adjustment.
In regard to accuracy of the various cartridges, the reader
should refer to these particular cartridges in Chapter XI. Up to
the time of going to press the Newton Arms Company have not completely
developed their .22 Newton and ,35 Newton Cartridges.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THE NEWTON HIGH POWER RIFLE
These rifles are of the bolt
action magazine type and may be used either as a single loader or a magazine
To use as a single loader raise
the bolt handle, which cocks the arm; draw the bolt handle to the read
checked by the bolt stop; place a cartridge on the magazine
follower in front of the bolt or push it forward into
the chamber; push the bolt forward and turn it down into
place. The gun is then loaded, cocked and ready to fire.
To use as a magazine rifle withdraw
the bolt to its full length ntil checked by the bolt stop; fill the magazine
with cartridges by placing them in the magazine throat
in front of the bolt and pressing them down until caught
by the magazine throat. Clips, the same used in
the US Springfield army rifle may be used with the .22-caliber,
256 Newton and .30 USG cartridges, and in such case place
the clip in the clip-way, press down with the thumb
on the upper cartridge and the entire clip full of cartridges
strips down into the magazine. Pushing the bolt forward
into position and turning down the bolt handle will then
remove the upper cartridge from the magazine into the
chamber and the rifle is ready for firing. If desired
to carry a full magazine as well as the rifle loaded, after the
magazine is filled press another cartridge upon the upper
cartridge in the magazine, pressing the fifth cartridge
down sufficiently far that it clears the bolt, and the
bolt will then shove the extra cartridge into the chamber. This
leaves the magazine completely filled and a loaded cartridge
in the barrel.
In firing if it is desired to use a set trigger first
draw the rear trigger backward until it catches. A very light touch
on the front trigger will then serve to discharge the
weapon. If the rear trigger be not drawn back pressing the front
trigger fires the weapon the same as with a single trigger
The use of the safety. The safety is located on a shaft
at the upper rear right hand corner of the sleeve, the shaft
going transversely through the sleeve. When in firing
positmn the safety is to the rear and pointing 45 degrees
below the horizontal. When carrying the rifle at safe
turn the safety leaf into a vertical position. The proper position
can be felt as there is a spot on the shaft which is
engaged by a poppet. In this position the firing pin is locked back
and the bolt is locked against rotation. To permit the
bolt to rotate while the firing pin is locked move the safety
forward until it is 45 degrees above the horizontal where
another stop can be felt as engaged by the poppet. This
permits free rotation of the bolt yet the
firing pin is locked.
For carrying in a scabbard or where the safety is exposed
to undue danger of being accidentally moved, push the
safety leaf forward until it- points directly ahead.
In this position the bolt handle is locked against rotation and the
firing pin locked. The safety can be brought from this
position back to the firing position either by completing the
rotation past the lower side of the bolt or by reversing
the movement by which it was put on.
To remove the bolt from the arm turn up the bolt handle
and draw backward on the bolt, at the same time pressing
backward on the front trigger. The backward pressure
on the front trigger causes the forward portion of the sear to
rise up and engage a detent finger on the lower side
of the bolt stop, which is located under the rear receiver bridge.
This prevents the bolt stop from rising and permits withdrawing
the bolt completely from the rifle. This pressure on
the trigger and consequent action of the sear must be
applied before the bolt stop has entered mto the notch of the
lower side of the bolt, as the trigger has no power to
draw the bolt stop down, once it has risen, but merely holds it
down if caught before it has risen at all.
To take down the arm for carrying press in the magazine
floor plate catch immediately in front of the trigger guard
until it releases the rear end of the magazine floor
plate, which is thrown down by the pressure of the magazine spring;
swing the floor plate, which is pivoted in the front
receiver screw nut, down to its lower position, and, using it as a
lever, unscrew the nut off the front receiver screw and
the barrel will unhook and barrel and receiver together tip
upward and off the stock, leaving the guard with trigger
mechanism, magazine, etc., with the stock. Press the forearm
screw nut up into the guard forging at its front end
until it is flush, then press the magazine floor plate up close against
the magazine until it is caught by the magazine floor
plate catch. The rifle is then ready for the case.
To dismount the bolt cock the rifle by raising the bolt
handle and turning it down again into place. Turn the safety up
and forward until at an angle of 45 degrees in front
of the perpendicular. This will permit the bolt handle to rotate while
the firing pin is locked. Raise the bolt handle and withdraw
the bolt completely from the rifle. The sleeve may then be
unscrewed from the bolt by rotating it from left to right,
as it is a left hand screw.
To dismount the sleeve: Remove the bolt and remove the
sleeve from the bolt as above stated. Throw the safety back
to the firing position, which is to the rear and 45 degrees
below the horizontal, which relieves the strain on the main spring.
Rest the point of the firing pin upon some hard substance
and press the sleeve forward, thus compressing the main spring
until the V-shaped projections on the sides of the firing
pin nut are clear of their seats in the cocking head. Unscrew the
firing pin nut from the rear end of the firing pin. This
separates the firing pin, main spring, cocking head and firing pin nut
from the sleeve proper.
To dismount the safety mechanism: Having dismounted the
sleeve as last above described, turn the leaf of the safety
until it projects directly to the rear and pull it out
to the right. The sleeve locking bolt with its spring and the poppets bearing
against the safety and rear end of the bolt, with their
springs, may then be pushed out with a match or other small drift.
To remove the guard fore/ing: Unscrew the rear receiver
screw immediately to the rear of the trigger guard and the front
guard screw and this forging may then he either drawn
out from the bottom or pushed down from the top.
To remove the rear tang from the stock: tFirst remove
the rear receiver screw, then unscrew the rear tang screw running
from the center of the pistol grip cap into the rear
end of the rear tang until it is free of the tang, then press upward on
end of this screw and it will force the rear tang upward
and out of ids seat in the stock.
To remove the extractor from the bolt remove the bolt
from the rifle. Turn the extractor around to that side of .the holt
which is to be left when the bolt is in position and
to the bottom when it is being withdrawn. This will free the jaw of the
extractor from the groove next the bolthead. Push the
extractor forward and it will slide off the bolt.
To assemble the rifle reverse the operations of dismounting.