The Kammerlader, or "chamber loader", was the first Norwegian breech loading rifle, and among the very first breech loaders adopted for use by an armed force anywhere in the world. A single shot black powder rifle, the kammerlader was operated with a crank mounted on the side of the receiver. This made it much quicker and easier to load than the weapons previously used. Kammerladers quickly gained a reputation for being fast and accurate rifles, and would have been a deadly weapon against massed ranks of infantry.
The kammerlader was introduced in 1842, and it is thought that about 40,000 were manufactured until about 1870. While the first flintlock breech loading rifles, such as the Ferguson, were launched decades before 1842 Norway was the first European country to introduce breech loaders on a large scale throughout its army and navy, although the United States had been the first in the world with the M1819 Hall rifle. The kammerladers were manufactured in several different models, and most models were at some point modified in some way or other.
The kammerladers were phased out as more modern rifles were approved for use. They were either modified for rimfire cartridges, sold off to civilians or melted for scrap. Rifles sold to civilians were often modified for use as shotguns or hunting firearms. Today it is hard to find an unmodified kammerlader, and collectors often pay high prices for them.
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