Mondragon Rifle (Fusil Mondragon) Semi-Automatic Service Rifle
The Mexican Mondragon Rifle was one of the first self-loading service rifles adopted for frontline military service.
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The Mondragon Rifle became one of the first semi-automatic service rifles to be adopted in quantity by a major military force as well as one of the first to see combat service anywhere in the world - this during a period when the standard service rifle was a manually-actuated bolt-action long gun. The rifle received its name from its designer - Manual Mondragon (1859-1952), a general serving in the Mexican Army from 1880-1914. Mondragon began work on a new automatic rifle concept in 1882 and was granted its patent in 1887. The weapon would go into see combat action in the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), World War 1 (1914-1918), the 2nd Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), World War 2 (1939-1945), the Ecuadorian-Peruvian War (1941), the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950), the Korean War (1950-1953), and the Vietnam War (1955-1975).
The driving principle behind the revolutionary Mondragon Rifle was its use of a gas-cylinder operation (tapped from the barrel) which drove a piston and featured a rotating bolt with locking lugs and a grooved receiver. Such a design was ahead of its time in a world where trust was still placed in the proven yet cumbersome manual bolt-action. Another unique facet of the rifle - and this instilled into its design by governing authorities who mistrusted such automated mechanical functions in weaponry - was that the automatic system could be disconnected from the bolt and allow the rifle to be fired as a standard, "straight-pull" bolt-action weapon. The Mondragon Rifle was chambered to fire the 7x57mm Spanish Mauser cartridge to which the base rifle was produced with an eight round box magazine.