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Gas-operation is a system of operation used to provide energy to operate locked breech, autoloading firearms. In gas operation, a portion of high-pressure gas from the cartridge being fired is used to power a mechanism to dispose of the spent case and insert a new cartridge into the chamber. Energy from the gas is harnessed through either a port in the barrel or a trap at the muzzle. This high-pressure gas impinges on a surface such as a piston head to provide motion for unlocking of the action, extraction of the spent case, ejection, cocking of the hammer or striker, chambering of a fresh cartridge, and locking of the action. The first mention of a gas piston, used in a single-shot breech-loading rifle, was by an American by the name of Edward Lindner in 1856, though the idea was patented in Britain. In 1866 an Englishman by the name of William Curtis patented a gas-operated repeating rifle, though it was never built. In 1883-5 in addition to blowback and recoil gas operation was patented by Hiram Maxim.

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