The Lee has what is frequently referred to as a straight-pull
In fact, the action is more properly a camming action in which pulling
the bolt caused a the bolt to rock, freeing a stud from the receiver
unlocking the bolt. The cartridge used by the weapon was the smallest
adopted by the U.S. military up to that time.
Acut-away view of the mechanism
The ammunition used for the Lee utilized smokeless powder, offering a definite advantage over the "trapdoor" rifle. Shell casings were automatically extracted from the weapon. The extractor, however, had a tendency to fall out in battle, and if not carefully replaced, would render the rifle non-functional.
One disadvantage of the weapon was that, when the magazine still
had ammunition in it, the gun could not be used for firing single
A second problem was severe erosion of the bore because of the powder
in the weapon's cartridges.
|Action:||Straight pull bolt action rapid-fire breech-loader|
|Total length:||47.75 inches|
|Length of barrel:||28 inches|
|Rifling:||6 grooves, making one turn in 6.5 inches.|
|Ammunition:||6mm rimless, in five round clips|
|Charge:||33 grains of smokeless powder|
|Weight of cartridge:||332 grains|
|Weight of projectile:||135 grains|
|Muzzle Velocity:||2,460 feet per second at 60 feet from the muzzle. This gave the|
|weapon the ability to penetrate 3/8 inch steel boiler plate at 100 feet.|
|Bayonet:||Knife-type, 8.25" long|
Gluckman, Arcadi, United States Muskets, Rifles and Carbines. Buffalo: Otto Ulbrich Co., Inc., 1948.
Howser, Doug (Image of rifle with belt and bayonet, and image of ammuniton).
Kirkland, K. D., America's Premier Gunmakers: Winchester, New York: Exeter Books, 1989.
New York Sun, June 1898.
Schreier, Philip, "The Guns of the Spanish American War," Military Classics Illustrated (Los Angeles: Emap USA, 2001).