The name of the Ku Klux Klan is supposed to derive its name from its similarity to the sound of a rifle being cocked!
The phrase "Lock, stock and barrel" refers to something in its entirety, the whole thing - in the same way that a complete gun has a lock, a stock and a barrel.
High quality drawing paper is often referred to as cartridge paper - before brass cartridges gunpowder and a ball were wrapped in paper of high quality for ease of loading the single shot muzzle loading guns.
Did you know that when America opened Japan to the world in 1853, amongst the gifts presented to the Japanese representatives were: 15 Hall's rifles, 3 Maynard's muskets, 12 cavalry swords, 20 army pistols, 2 carbines, cartridge boxes and belts containing 120, cartridges, 2 telegraph instruments, a model steam locomotive and tender, a passenger car and rails, 4 volumes of John James Audubon's Birds of America and 1 barrel of whiskey for the Emperor.
Harry Brearley, chief metallurgist, of Thomas Firth & Sons of Sheffield, England, created Stainless Steel in 1913 while developing wear resistant steel for rifle barrels for the British Government.
The world’s largest bore gun ever to be built fired a 3 feet diameter hollow cast iron ball weighing around 1 tonne and containing 215kg (400lbs) of gunpowder to a range of 2.4 kilometres (1.5 miles). It was designed by Robert Mallett, a civil engineer, and survives at Fort Nelson.
Until the appearance of the Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum revolver, made famous by “Dirty Harry”, the most powerful handgun in the world was the “Mars” pistol. Developed in England between 1895 and 1906 by Hugh Gabbett-Fairfax; it had specially designed high velocity ammunition and a complex mechanism to handle it. However, the Royal Navy found during testing at Portsmouth in 1902 that firing it was such an unpleasant experience that they decided once was enough and never wanted to fire it again!
At the siege of Sebastopol during the Crimean War, the British fired approximately 10,000 tonnes of iron shot at the fortress; in addition the French fired 510,000 round shot, 236,000 howitzer shells and 350,000 mortar shells – a total of around 43,000 tonnes of iron! This is about the same weight as 4 Eiffel Towers.
The longest-range gun ever built was used by Germany in the final months of World War I. It fired a 100kg (220 lb) projectile to a range of 122 kilometres (75 miles). Its speed when it left the muzzle was 1500 metres (5000 feet) per second and it reached a maximum height of around 40 kilometres (25 miles) above the surface of the earth. It travelled around 6 times faster and 4 times higher than an average transatlantic passenger jet.
It was customary for a man to walk with a lady on his left so that his right arm - his sword arm - was left free.
The standard Lee Enfield rifle, as used by the British Army in both world wars, fired a bullet which left the muzzle at a speed of 720 metres (2,362 feet) per second and which spun at 144,000 revolutions per minute - that is half the speed of the average dentist’s drill and 45 times faster than the crankshaft in an average car traveling at 110 kilometres (70 miles) per hour.
Because of the weight and speed of the bullet fired from a Colt .45 auto its impact would be equivalent to being hit by a brick travelling at 140 miles per hour.
A bullet fired from a gun, parallel to the ground, and an identical one dropped from the same height simutaneously, will both hit the ground at exactly the same time.
In ancient India high class courtesan women were expected to master fencing with a sword and the staff.
The Mauryan kings were guarded by women trained in the use of the sword and the bow.
Bhutala Sri Vira Udaya Marthanda Varma the ruler of Travancore, kept a corp of 300 female archers.
The Nizam of Hyderabad raised two battalions of 1000 women each for his war against the Marathas in 1795. They were taught French drill and fought at the battle of Khurda.
The most famous 19th century female warrior was the Rani of Jhansi who recruited female gunners and troopers. She was often seen in the palace gardens controlling her horses with the reins between her teeth and a sword in each hand.
On the 30 Sept 1999 the Royal Armouries discovered the world's earliest known galvanising of iron on some 17th Century Indian armour.
The expression "Flash in the Pan" originates with the misfire of a flintlock or similar gun which had loose priming powder in a pan. This powder, when ignited, was supposed to fire the main charge inside the barrel through the vent or touch hole. Sometimes however, this was not achieved. The powder in the pan flashed off but the powder in the barrel remained unfired. Hence, a misfire, not the expected achievement - a flash in the pan.
"Going off Half cocked" originates as a shooting term also. Many older guns usually have a form of safety so that when the hammer is only pulled back half way, the trigger is locked and the gun is supposed to be unable to fire. Sometimes however a fault developed and the gun could be fired by accident and before proper aim has been taken and the intended target is in sight. Like making a decision or taking action before all the factors have been considered.