Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Lindner Breech Loading System

M-1841 Conversion
The Lindner breech loading system was invented by Edward Linder of New York, who received US Patent #23,378 on March 29, 1859 for his design. The patent covered his breech loading design, which used a rotating bolt to lock and unlock the breech, allowing the breech plug to tilt up for loading. The system was unique and somewhat cumbersome, but it was the forerunner concept of a rotating bolt with interrupted lugs, which would be the basis of design for almost every bolt-action rifle developed. 

The breech was unlocked rotating the handle to the left 180 degrees. This unlocked the lugs and allowed the spring loaded breechblock to pivot upwards, exposing the chamber for the insertion of the paper cartridge compatible with the standard .58 caliber paper cartridge used in the standard muzzle loading rifle-muskets.

Lindner had no manufacturing experience so he turned to the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company of Manchester, NH to build his guns and conversion systems.

Lindner acquired his first U.S. Ordnance Department order for 400 of the carbines on November 6, 1861. The guns were specifically ordered for issue to the 1st Michigan Cavalry Regiment.
A second order was placed on November 4, 1862 and on January 9, 1863 the second Linder order were delivered, totaling 501. These were subsequently issued to the 8th West Virginia Mounted Infantry.

By the middle of 1863, Sharps carbines were becoming plentiful in the field, and Spencer rifles and carbines were becoming more readily available so the U.S. Ordnance Department made no further purchases.

Lindner Carbine

Lindner at this point in time began promoting his breech system for upgrading muzzleloading rifles.

The state of Massachusetts contracted with the firm of Allen & Morse of Boston, MA to use the Lindner system to convert 100 Robbins & Lawrence M-1841 “Mississippi Rifles” for their state militia. 

The alteration consisted of removing a rear section of barrel forward of breech and replacing it with a rotating sleeve of Lindner’s patent which would now attach to the newly machined breech with the original bolster & nipple from original configuration that now pivots to accept a combustible cartridge. The original tang is replaced by a larger unit and a heavy floor plate is added, forward of trigger guard, at base of stock to support the rear of the barrel.

While Linder’s system was only marginally successful in America, the Springfield Armory National Historic Site indicates that approximately two and a half thousand Austrian carbines were converted to the Lindner system bt Amoskeag Manufacturing around 1860 and the system was adopted by the Royal Bavarian Army in the 1860/61. Pictured below.

Overall, even though the design was somewhat innovative, it was actually already obsolete in an era when self contained metallic cartridges were becoming the obvious choice over percussion ignition ammunition for cavalry carbines.