Civil War Era Weapons

Diagram of a Musket




Glossary


Barrel
The hollow cylinder of a gun through which the bullet is fired

Breech
The rear part of a gun barrel, next to the stock

Breech-loading
Weapon that requires ammunition to be inserted into a chamber that is part of the rearward portion of the gun-barrel, next to the stock

Lock
Shortened form of 'matchlock', an early device which lowered the smoldering match into the pan of gunpowder to discharge the weapon. As weapons developed, the 'lock' term was applied to later mechanisms such as the 'caplock' for percussion cap weapons.





Muzzle-loading
Weapon that requires ammunition to be inserted into the muzzle (exit end) of the barrel (or cylinder, in the case of a revolver)


Ramrod
Slender rod used to tamp ammunition down into a gun barrel

Rifling
A pattern of spiraling ridges on the inside of a barrel that grips the sides of the bullet or other projectile, causing it to start spinning around its long axis

Rifled Muskets
Hybrid weapon that had the length and muzzle-loading trait of the older musket, but the rifled barrel characteristic of later long guns

Smoothbore
Weapon with no rifling on the inside of the barrel; having a smooth-surfaced interior barrel


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