A history of Fire Arms


Do What Thou Wilt
The Chinese invented gunpowder around the late 7th century

By the eleventh century, primitive Gunnes where built, simple sealed pipes shooting pebbles

The 13th century saw the first gun in Spain, The first where the shooter can actually aim. These where matchlocks which required individual lighting of a fuse. These guns where muzzle loaders, the powder loaded into muzzle, the bullet afterwards.

The 16th century saw the flintlock. A piece of flint struck a steel plate made sparks. This was the first that did not required lighting of a fuze. Again, A muzzle loader.

The 16th century also saw the wheel lock. Clock work turned a wheel that made sparks with flint. THe first pistols where wheel lock.

The 19th century saw percussion caps, patented in 1805. These where copper caps filled with mercury fulminate, and made a spark when struck. Still, muzzle loaders.

By the late 18th century, rifling was added to guns. Previously they where smoothbore, tending to be innacurate. Rifling put a twist on bullets, making them stable.

Among the guns built with percussion caps, where the duck foot, the pepper box, and the first revolvers. Duck foots had between 3-6 barrels, and with one strike of a cap all barrels where fired, again a muzzle loader. The Pepper box had six barrels, rotating along an axis, each barrel had a percussion cap. This had a tendency to ignite all 6 barrels at once, a more accurate shotgun. The first revolver had individually loaded chambers, with caps added to it.

In between 1805 and 1835, saw the development of the metallic cartridge. A brass cartridge that contained the percussion cap, powder and bullet in one.

In 1835, Samuel Colt patented the Metallic cartridge revolver. Six cartridges rotated along an axis in a chamber, with the barrel stationary.

In 1860, the first repeater was built. Designed by spencer, 7 cartridges where loaded in a resevoiur underneath the barrel, drawing the round into a chamber.

In 1864, the gatling gun was invented. Mechanically cranked, this was the first automatic gun with 250 rounds per minute. 6 barrels rotated around an axis, the rounds flowing into the chamber.

1870's saw the creation of smokeless powder, as previously black powder created huge amounts of smoke, and lots of gunk.

1881 saw the creation of the MAxim machine gun. A water cooled .30 machine gun relied on the recoil of the bullet to push the a spring that will load another round. The recoil of the bullet is the same idea used in all pistols, as well.

Before WW1 saw that all bullets where given a metal jacket. This prevented the lead from getting deformed in the resevoiur.
In 1891, the bolt action, the bolt action was truly perfected. The mosin nagant was a russian battle rifle. firing .30 caliber by 54mm rounds. For nearly 50 years, the bolt action would be supreme for all battle rifles.

In 1917, John Browning created the Gas operation system, where gas propelling the bullet was taken to push the cartridge out of the chamber, and cycle in the new round. This is to this day the dominant method for automatic weaponry.

1936, John Garrand invented the rotating bolt principle, where the recoil pushes back a bolt, which then rotates, and inertia keeps the cartridge moving, forcing it out. A spring pushes the bolt back forward, around with a new bullet.

1943 saw the invention of the intermediate cartridge. the germans wanted a cross between a pistol cartridge and a rifle cartridge, for range and accuracy, but low recoil. The assault rifle used the intermediate cartridge.

1960 saw the invention of the bull pup rifle. The bull pup is where the ammo is loaded behind the trigger, shortening the length of the gun.

The vietnam war saw the invention of the GyroJet, a special caseless ammunition which fired mini rockets, that where totally silent, recoilless, and had greater range. These guns where unreliable at close range and tended to jam because of the sophistication of the mechanism.

In the early 21st century, we see the first smart bullets, bullets that explode at a predetermined time, based on the number of rotations through the air. The first gun to take advantage of this principle was the Xm29 of the us experimental programs. 20mm projectiles from this gun had a range of about 350 yards, and could explode at command.