Showing posts from August, 2012

History of Firearms (timeline)

1232 - The Chinese who invented gunpowder (black powder) first used it in a weapon - gunpowder filled tubes aka rockets.

1364 - First recorded use of a firearm - shooter lit wicks by hand that ingnited gunpowder that was loaded into the gun barrel.

1400 - Matchlock guns - first mechanically firing of guns. Wicks were now attached to a clamp that sprang into gunpowder that was placed in a "flash pan".

1509 - Wheel lock guns - wicks were replaced the wheel lock that generated a spark for igniting the gunpowder.

1630 - Flintlock guns - the flintlock did two things mechanically, it opened the lid of the flash pan and provided an igniting spark.

1825 - Percussion-cap guns invented by Reverend John Forsyth - firing mechanism no longer uses flash pan, a tube lead straight into the gun barrel, the tupe had an exposive cap on it that exploded when struck

1830 - Back action lock

1835 - Colt revolver - first mass-produced, multi-shot, revolving firearms

1840 - Pin-fire cartridges

1850 - Shotgun…

Basic Gun Terminology

ACTION: The working mechanism of a firearm. Various types of actions exist, including single-shots, multi-barrels, revolvers, slide or pump actions, lever-actions, rolling blocks, bolt-actions, semi-automatics and fully automatics.  The action is the moving parts of a firearm that allow loading, firing, unloading and the ejection of the spent case.

AIRGUN: The airgun is not a firearm but a gun that uses compressed air or carbon dioxide (CO2) to propel a bb or pellet. Examples: BB gun, pellet gun, CO2 gun.  They typically come in .177 and .22 calibers.

AMMUNITION: This generally refers to the assembled components of a complete cartridge or round. i.e., a case or shell holding a primer, a charge of propellant (gunpowder) and a projectile (bullets in the case of handguns and rifles, multiple pellets or single slugs in shotguns). Muzzle loading firearms are loaded by individual component and that is not considered to be ammunition per se.  In addition, a muzzle loader is considered to be…


Primer - is any igniter used to initiate the burning of a propellant.Small arms cartridges are classified as centerfire or rimfire depending on the location of the primer.In centerfire cartridges,the primer is located in the center of the base of the cartridge case.There are two types of primers for metallic cartridges,Boxer and Berdan.American centerfire rifle and pistol cartridges have boxer primers,(blazer ammunition is the exception)A boxer primer consists of a brass or gilding-metal cup,a pellet containing a sensitive explosive,a paper disk and a brass anvil.These component parts  are assembled to form a complete primer.The boxer primer  has a single large flash hole in the bottom of the case.

     European  metallic cartridges traditionally are loaded with Berdan primers.The Berdan primer differs from the American boxer primer in that it has no integral anvil.Instead,the anvil is built into the cartridge case and forms a projection in the primer pocket.Berdan primer…


Headstamp is the markings on the buttom of a cartridge case designed for a firearm.It usually tells who manufactured the case.The headstamp is punched into the base of the cartridge during manufacture.If it is a civilian case,it often also tells the caliber.If it is military,the year of manufacture is often added.  

 The letters and numbers stamped into the face of a cartridge case or shotgun shell to identify its caliber or gauge.

     Virtually all cartridge cases have headstamps on their bases.The headstamp is a series of letters,numbers,symbols,and/or trade names.They are either imprinted or embossed on a cartridge case head for identification purposes.Civilian cartridges are usually marked with the initials or code of the manufacturer,as well as the caliber.Military cartridges are usually marked with the manufacturers initials or code plus the last two numerals of the year of manufacture.The caliber may be designated as well.American military match ammunition has the w…