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Most important firearm innovation

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by SwordRapier, Nov 2, 2008.

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  1. SwordRapier

    SwordRapier Member

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    I have been a student of history so this sort of thing interests me. With the exception of gunpowder, what is the most important invention in firearms history? And, why do you feel that way?
     
  2. ants

    ants Member

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    With the exceptions of gunpowder and the gun, the most important invention is the metallic cartridge.
    Without it, repeaters would never be possible.
     
  3. Treo

    Treo member

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    Not so, there were several BP repeaters Louis L'amour mentions his character Jubal Sackett carrying two in "Jubal Sacket"

    To answer the question probably the day JMB's parents met
     
  4. Kind of Blued

    Kind of Blued Member

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    Honestly, I think "America" or "the Second Amendment" might be the answer. :) Sure they're not "fiream innovations", but if it wasn't for the discovery and founding of America, as well as the establishment of the freedom for industrious, forward-thinking citizens to own firearms, I think we'd be living 50-100 years in the past today.

    Unless I'm mistaken, a blackpowder revolver is a repeater in that you can fire more than one shot without reloading.

    Nevertheless, I'd say that the metallic cartridge is right near the top if not there.

    Barrel rifling is an innovation which could give it a run for it's money.
     
  5. Big Boomer

    Big Boomer Member

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    Nope, the history channel says it's rifling!
     
  6. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    Definitely rifling, followed closely by metallic cartridge ammunition.
     
  7. alistaire

    alistaire Member

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    1) 2nd Amendment
    2) metalic cartidge

    The History Channel can say what they want, but a smoothbore is adequate at self defense ranges.
     
  8. HB

    HB Member

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    #1. Smokeless powder
    #2. Rifling
    #3. Metallic Cartridges (or maybe this took us in the wrong direction :scrutiny:)


    HB
     
  9. Crunker1337

    Crunker1337 Member

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    I say self-contained ammunition.
     
  10. ojh

    ojh Member

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    One should think something that is so important that it's an essential part of almost every firearm, antique or modern.

    All firearms use gunpowder in one form or another. So I would say gunpowder is the most important innovation.

    Trigger-controlled firing mechanism is also pretty important, because it makes possible to aim and fire the gun at the desired moment. But crossbows have it also, so it is not unique for firearms.
     
  11. Treo

    Treo member

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    Quoted directly from the OP

    The OP is six lines long guys, is it that hard to read and understand?
     
  12. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    That's a great question; sort of like the question of the chicken and the egg. It could almost be argued that they're all interconnected in a way, and that each one compliments the others in terms of the whole weapons delivery system. Another interesting aspect of this question is what was, and still is to some degree, the driving force behind such innovations, like barrel rifling, metallic cartridges, smokeless powder, and so on. Most of these design breakthroughs have come about primarily for military application, and their demands for more efficient and more capable weapon systems. Think of all the weapon designs out there that were pretty much market driven, that is to say, there was a government contract waiting for someone who could build the better mousetrap, so to speak. The fact that these designs might find their way to the civilian market would have been secondary to the bigger payoff of the lucrative government bid. So perhaps the greatest, and most driving innovation in firearms history, has been the rise in power of a nationalistic military industrial complex throughout our world history.
     
  13. ojh

    ojh Member

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    Seems to be for me :( sorry. So, I'll say it's the trigger then.
     
  14. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    The chinese? (Inventers of gun powder...)
     
  15. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    The Glock :neener:
     
  16. -v-

    -v- Member

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    Primers. Without them metallic cartridges would be nothing more then single-use powder horns, and forget about any semblance of multi-shot firearms.
     
  17. Limeyfellow

    Limeyfellow Member

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    I would have to say the trigger.

    Before the trigger, you would set a fuse with a smoldering ember, quickly put the musket to the aimed position and wait for the gunpowder charge to go off.

    A proper trigger that set off the mechanism, allows you to aim the rifle first and fire it while still on target and usually at just the right time. You can also decide not to fire, instead of the 5-10 second delay you got with the fuse that was going to go off, like it or not.

    This is probably followed by rifling, breech loading weaponry, and the self contained ammunition.
     
  18. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    Self -contained, rigid case, centerfire cartridges. (Neither pinfire nor rimfire cartridges are truly reliable, and repeating arms could not have worked with metal foil or paper cartridges, although these were technically self contained.)
     
  19. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

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    Hmmm... Trigger mechanisms predate firearms, so I'll disclude them.

    Rifling - important, yes, but nearly 50% of firearms manufactured today lack rifling.

    On the other hand, discluding deliberately anachronistic firearms used for historical purposes or expanding hunting seasons/tags, effectively 100% of firearms today are fixed cartridge breech loading.

    Gunpowder? True gunpowder, the combination of charcoal, sulfer, and saltpeter(potassium nitrate), is used today more in fireworks than guns.

    Even said deliberately anachronistic pieces often use a smokeless/lower smoke substitute. By the same token, most also use percussion caps. Primers enabled fixed cartridges, with metallic mostly winning out.

    So, oddly enough, I'd almost rate the percussion cap/primer over even that of gunpowder in importance.
     
  20. Curator

    Curator Member

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    I'm with -V-. I think primers or primer compound is the most significant. Making sparks with flint and steel or carrying a burning match cord is a real PITA. Primers or at least percussion caps made the breech loader practical and allowed for self-contained metallic cartridges.
     
  21. ants

    ants Member

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    Rimfire don't use primers

    And according to SAAMI, more .22 rimfire is consumed than any other single type of cartridge in the world.

    Perhaps Curator is right to nominate 'priming compound' rather than primers or percussion caps.
     
  22. Cannonball888

    Cannonball888 Member

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    Exreme Shock ammo
     
  23. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    It's the combination of all 4 that have left cartridges pretty much unchanged for 100 years. Primers, metallic case, rifling, and smokeless powder. Since all of these problems have been solved, the technology has remained static. Other innovations like caseless ammo or electronic primers haven't been successful.

    Other things to consider, high quality optics. Good scopes made it much easier for a regular guy to hit targets hundreds of yards out. Sabots are the next evolution of using energy, particularly in tank guns. While not exactly new, Gatling guns solve the problem of automatic guns reaching the limit of how fast you can fire with only one action. I'll give credit to Browning for the locking lugs on the 1911, I doubt he was the first to figure out how to stop a pistol from cycling until the bullet has left the barrel, but I'm pretty sure he made it the most practical and reliable, setting up other designers to evolve the idea. The striker-fired pistol seems to be taking a long-term hold.

    Neither America nor the Second Amendment originated anything having to to with the right to bear arms.
     
  24. jakk280rem

    jakk280rem Member

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    O.k. That's just not funny. I offer another vote for the reuseable metalic cartridge.
     
  25. JoeSlomo

    JoeSlomo Member

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    IMO, the invention of rifling is the most significant contribution to firearms.

    Prior to the advent and adoption of rifled barrels, fire arms were not much more than an extension of the sling, long bow, or cross bow. As archers and slingers were best used in mass formations to concentrate their projectiles, so were early fire arms.

    The fire arm did not live up to it's potential until the mass availability of rifled barrels occurred.

    While advances in bullets, and cartridges are significant contributions, without rifling, they would simply be used to send inaccurate rounds down range in greater quantities.
     
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