The word 'Gun'

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by WHSmithIV, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. WHSmithIV

    WHSmithIV Well-Known Member

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    Gun is truly a word I don't understand. Firearm - yep, understand that one. Rifle - yep, understand that one too. Pistol - yep, no problem. Shotgun... well, borderline. I think a better name could be used - 'scatter rifle' for instance.

    Gun... well, I do NOT own guns. I own firearms. I only own a m1911 pistol and a Marlin lever action 30-30 rifle. My rifle I get meat with. The word 'gun' is ugly to me.

    Granted, I guess I'm a little prejudiced because I'm ex-military, still.. my firearms are not 'guns'
  2. wv hillbilly

    wv hillbilly Well-Known Member

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    what the heck is a gunnie sargent then:confused:
  3. carver

    carver Moderator

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  4. hardluk1

    hardluk1 Member

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    Allways seems clear to me.
  5. H-D

    H-D Active Member

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    Scatter rifle ? Why would you call it that ? All the shotguns I have that "scatter" are smoothbore not "rifled" shotgun= a gun that shoots shot . As for the term "gun" its the media that is trying to make it a dirty word . I hate the term "assault rifle" .
  6. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Apparently you don't understand rifle.

    The original large hollow tube used for throwing rocks at the enemy by the explosion of the Chinese powder was a "gonne".

    Later they made gonnes smaller and put a stick on them, so they could be carried and used by one man. These were called "hand gonnes".

    Several centuries later, it was accidentally found that if grooves were cut into the interior of the barrel of a "gonne" (now spelled "gun"), the bullet could be sent more accurately. This new invention was called rifling, and the gun using it was called a "rifled gun". That was, over the years, changed to just "rifle".

    There were now four types of guns. There was the smoothbore military shoulder arm - the musket. There was the smoothbore hunting gun used for wild birds on the wing - the fowling piece. There was the rifled hunting gun (until the invention of the Minie Ball, the rifle was too slow to reload to be of use by most militaries of the world, and the accuracy was unneeded by the methods of warfare of the time) - the rifle gun. There was the small gun that did not have a stock and was shot one-handed - the pistol, or hand gun.

    Notice that everyone used a gun of some sort, except the military, which used a musket. The military must have its own terms for everything

    Gradually the "rifled gun" just became a "rifle" and gun was, more and more, only used for smoothbores, by the ones that "claimed to know". The common people, however, still called them all guns, since they have been guns since they were invented.

    The "fowling piece" became a "shotgun", since it was smoothbore (therefore, a "gun") and fired "shot" (a bunch of small pieces of lead, instead of one solid projectile).

    Guns, at the time (both smoothbore and rifled), were measured as to size by the method of weighing lead spheres that would fit the bore. This method is still in use today. Shotgun gauges are like this. 12 solid lead balls, the diameter of the bore of a 12 gauge shotgun, weigh a pound. 16 solid lead balls the diameter of a 16 gauge weigh a pound, 20 the diameter of a 20 gauge weigh a pound, etc. So you might buy a rifle that was advertised as being "20 to the pound" or "32 to the pound". Eventually they stopped doing that with rifled firearms and measured the diameter of the projectile.

    Comes the War Between the States, and, thanks to the invention of the Minie Ball, which allowed a rifle to be loaded quickly, the Union army was armed with Rifled Muskets. They still used muskets, because they were still the military and must use their own terms, and if you were so stupid or careless as to call your musket a gun, you were chastised and punished. Since these new guns were rifled, they were measured by bullet diameter.

    Artillery, all through this time, has stayed pretty much the way it started. Hollow tube stopped at one end, throwing a round projectile down a smooth bore, by the explosion of powder. Someone got the bright idea that, if rifling a musket made it more accurate at distance, maybe it will work for a cannon. It did. And, just like with the personal guns, smoothbores were measured by weight (4-pounder, 6-pounder, etc), while the rifled ones were measured by diameter (3-inch gun, a 6-inch gun, etc).

    By the turn of the 20th Century, the military had quit using muskets of any kind, and were just using rifles. Since the only smoothbores (guns) they still used were cannon, they decided that "gun" would only refer to cannon. And, since cannon are crew-served, "guns" are all "crew-served" weapons. Comes the Gatling Gun. The machine gun. Still crew-served. So it fits as a gun. Notice that, even though they are rifled, no one calls them the M2 Browning Heavy Machine Rifle. You never hear about the M60 Light Machine Rifle.

    The thing that many people do not seem to realize is that, for the most part, we are not in the military. We do not sleep in a rack, live in a barracks, eat in a mess and urinate in a latrine. So why should we refer to all our guns as weapons and none of our guns as guns?

    As for that Wiki article. I don't know how accurate the rest of it is. I stopped after the first couple of sentences. When the first thing it says is "A gun is a crew served weapon" - no. In the Army, maybe. But not in the civilian world.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  7. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member

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    Dang Alpo, that was like reading the history of the gun. I guess I knew or have read most of what you just posted but I don't think I have ever seen it in such a short, accurate, easy to understand presentation. That was really well done. Thank you. Maybe we should nick name you the "Professor".
  8. JohnHenry

    JohnHenry Well-Known Member

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    "This is my rifle .... this is my gun
    this one's for shooting, this one's for fun"

    Some of us can draw a mental picture of this little poem .
  9. geds

    geds New Member

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    Nice summary Alpo! I have heard pieces separately but never had put it all together either!
  10. Brass Tacks

    Brass Tacks New Member

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    machine gun

    gunsmith

    Guns and Ammo Magazine

    gun control

    gun cases

    gun rack

    gun safe

    gun fire

    gun boat

    gun ship

    gun powder

    gun man

    gun shot wound

    gun runner

    gun slinger

    gun shot residue

    Have Gun Will Travel

    Fastest Gun Alive

    gun walking
  11. Old Grump

    Old Grump New Member

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    I always loved the name Gunilda, never ask a question like that when a hobbyist etymologist is in the house. I was going to give the Oxford English dictionary version but I would have had to type that out and the on line etymological dictionary is easier to cut and paste. :D
  12. 22WRF

    22WRF Well-Known Member

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    The rank of Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps was established by the Navy personnel act of March 3, 1899 (30 Stat. L., 1009) reflecting the duties of Marines in ship's detachments.

    Here is pic of our Ships Company 3" 50 Cal Marine Gun Crew (LKA 116, 1972, Nam)
    [​IMG]
  13. cutter

    cutter New Member

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    :yeahthat:
  14. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    Arghhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Everyone run!!!! He said "GUN"!!!!! ;)
  15. Curtis R

    Curtis R New Member

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    being former military i love my guns
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