Firearm

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== Types of Firearms ==
 
== Types of Firearms ==
 
* '''Muzzel Loader:''' The earliest firearms were loaded by cramming powder, wadding, and projectile(s) down the barrel of the weapon from the front. Various subtypes appeared as trigger mechanisms improved over time.  
 
* '''Muzzel Loader:''' The earliest firearms were loaded by cramming powder, wadding, and projectile(s) down the barrel of the weapon from the front. Various subtypes appeared as trigger mechanisms improved over time.  
**'''Handgonne/Firelance:''' The first firearms developed consisted basically of a small metal (or in the very earliest instances, bamboo) tube that was sealed off at one end with a hole drilled on its backside on a wooden handle. These first appeared during the Song Dynasty in [[China]] and began appearing in Europe around the 1300s. They were fired by putting a burning stick or wick into the drilled hole.  Handgonnes were inaccurate and mainly used for their intimidating effect (especially against horses), though they did have good armor penetration and were successfully used against Knights by the Hussites during the Hussite wars (July 30, 1419 – May 30, 1434).
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**'''Handgonne/Firelance:''' The first firearms developed consisted basically of a small metal (or in the very earliest instances, bamboo) tube that was sealed off at one end with a hole drilled on its backside on a wooden handle. These first appeared during the Song Dynasty in [[China]] and began appearing in Europe around the 14th century. They were fired by putting a burning stick or wick into the drilled hole.  Handgonnes were inaccurate and mainly used for their intimidating effect (especially against horses), though they did have good armor penetration and were successfully used against Knights by the Hussites during the Hussite wars (July 30, 1419 – May 30, 1434).
 
**'''Arquebus/Matchlock:''' A more refined version of the Handgonne, an arquebus has a mechanism which brought a flaming wick (sometimes referred to as a match) to the powder to fire (often no more complex than an S-shaped bar bolted to the side of the weapon) to make it easier to fire, load and allow a greater degree of control. Maximum range was about 100 meters and these weapons, rate of fire was limited to at best three or four rounds per minute (which would remain constant for muzzle loaders). As such Arquebuses were most effective when fired in volleys by soldiers in tight formation. Arquebus-armed soldiers often used special staves as gunrests in the field. Arquebuses would remain the most common type of firearm from the mid 15th to the mid 17th century due to their simplicity of manufacture.  
 
**'''Arquebus/Matchlock:''' A more refined version of the Handgonne, an arquebus has a mechanism which brought a flaming wick (sometimes referred to as a match) to the powder to fire (often no more complex than an S-shaped bar bolted to the side of the weapon) to make it easier to fire, load and allow a greater degree of control. Maximum range was about 100 meters and these weapons, rate of fire was limited to at best three or four rounds per minute (which would remain constant for muzzle loaders). As such Arquebuses were most effective when fired in volleys by soldiers in tight formation. Arquebus-armed soldiers often used special staves as gunrests in the field. Arquebuses would remain the most common type of firearm from the mid 15th to the mid 17th century due to their simplicity of manufacture.  
 
**'''Wheel-lock:''' Wheel-locks use a spring-driven wheel grinding against a flint to generate a shower of sparks to ignite the powder. These had several advantages over arquebuses (they did not require a wick to be lit before firing and could be fired in the rain), but were more expensive and maintenance intensive, needed to be wound up before firing and was mostly used by cavalrymen.
 
**'''Wheel-lock:''' Wheel-locks use a spring-driven wheel grinding against a flint to generate a shower of sparks to ignite the powder. These had several advantages over arquebuses (they did not require a wick to be lit before firing and could be fired in the rain), but were more expensive and maintenance intensive, needed to be wound up before firing and was mostly used by cavalrymen.

Revision as of 03:03, 14 June 2013

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