Correct Rifle Terminology in the 18th Century

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Research by Robert I. McCann

From:

“A riffle Gun and what belongs to her”

Wallace Gusler, Muzzle Blasts January 2003 (The gunsmith that made the Williamsburg gunsmithing program.)

Joe and I both liked the article and in a discussion, Joe said that we ought to get it out to the members so that we could talk right in the dog and pony show!

Rifle Rifle Gun – as opposed to other guns

Smooth Rifle smooth bore rifle gun – a fowler built to look like a rifle

Hammer Cock – it looked like a pecking cock when fired

Frizzen Hammer

Lock Lock

Stock Stock

Barrel Barrel

Fowler Smooth bore gun or Round bore gun

Musket Musket, Firelock

Lands and grooves Lands and Furrows (this is great!)

Touch hole Touch hole

Breach plug Breach screw or Breach Pin

Back of barrel Breach

Butt stock Breach (of the stock) – you get the meaning from context

Stock drop Bend (of the stock)

Muzzle Muzzle

Front sight Fore sight

Rear sight Hind sight

Caliber Balls to the pound – this was important for ciphering the lead needed to cast ball

Octagonal Barrel Squared Barrel – “Part squared and part round”

Rifle gender Feminine – Her

Finish Blued – yes, browning was just coming into favor in our period – 1780

Barrel loops Loops

Wedges, keys Draw loops, Sliding bolts

Length Feet and inches, not just inches

Now from The Kentucky Rifle by John G. Dillin, page 43, are the balls to the pound for various calibers.

Balls to the pound Caliber

12 .75 – Brown Bess

16 .69 – Charleville

20 .62 – smooth gun

26 .58 – rifle gun

30 .54 – rifle gun

34 .52 – rifle gun

38 .50 – rifle gun

56 .45 – rifle gun

95 .38 – rifle gun

These are approximate, the density of lead varies and these take into account patching.

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