Designed between 1911 and 1918, the Fusil Mexico was an unusual design by Rafael Mendoza, one of Mexico’s more prolific arms designers (he was also responsible for the Mendoza light machine gun in the 1930s). Intended for military use, the Fusil Mexico was a manually operated rifle that used a type of slide action instead of a traditional bolt.
To cycle the action, the barrel end of the rifle was rotated clockwise, and pushed forward. The rotation unlocked the bolt, and sliding the barrel would eject the fired round and chamber a new one from the fixed magazine. The idea behind the design is that this would allow rapid fire more easily than a bolt action without the shooter dismounting the gun, as well as allow simpler disassembly and cleaning of the weapon.
The Fusil Mexico was chambered in 7×57 Mauser (a standard caliber for the Mexican military at the time), and had several interesting features in addition to its unusual action. As shown in the patent cutaway drawings, a small plunger connected to the magazine follower was exposed behind the trigger guard to give the shooter a counter of the ammunition remaining in the magazine. The magazine loading port was also atypical, being located in the side of the stock like a lever-action rifle of the time. Finally, the rear sight was an interesting curved sliding affair, and without and range gradations (this is probably due to the experimental nature of the rifle). As with other Mexican arms of the period, the Fusil Mexico was fitted to take a Mauser type bayonet.
This Fusil Mexico surfaced for sale at a recent gun show (download the gallery in high resolution)
US Patent #1,294,295 (R. Mendoza; Rifle; February 11, 1919)