The Complete World Encyclopedia of Guns: Pistols, Rifles, Revolvers, Machine and Submachine Guns Through History in 1100 Photographs by Will Fowler
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The Complete Encyclopedia of Pistols and Revolvers
The means of projectile propulsion vary according to designs, but are traditionally effected by a high gas pressure contained within a shooting tube gun barrel , produced either through the rapid combustion of propellants as with firearms , or by mechanical compression as with air guns. The high-pressure gas is introduced behind the projectile, accelerating it down the length of the tube, imparting sufficient launch velocity to sustain its further travel towards the target once the propelling gas ceases acting upon it at the end of the tube. Alternatively, acceleration via electromagnetic field generation may be employed, in which case the shooting tube may be substituted by guide rails as in railguns or wrapped with magnetic coils as in coilguns. The first devices identified as guns appeared in China from around CE By the 12th century, the technology was spreading through the rest of Asia, and into Europe by the 13th century. The origin of the English word gun is considered to derive from the name given to a particular historical weapon. Domina Gunilda was the name given to a remarkably large ballista , a mechanical bolt throwing weapon of enormous size, mounted at Windsor Castle during the 14th century.
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These were short iron or bronze tubes mounted on a long wooden post. The black powder was loaded through the muzzle. Then a stone or iron projectile was pushed into the primitive barrel through this muzzle. There was a small hole at the end of the tube, the so-called touch-hole. The powder was then ignited with a glowing chip of wood. When the charge was ignited, the pressure of the gas that was created propelled the projectile forward. It propelled the projectile in a fairly arbitrary way because the production process was not very precise in those days.