View Full Version : Most Influential Gun

10 Jul 05,, 08:16
What do you think is the most influential gun design in history? I'd say either the AK-47 or the Brown Bess musket. Your thoughts?

10 Jul 05,, 09:06
Ak-47 for sure but M1 Garand also had a huge influence.

10 Jul 05,, 14:23
Aks for sure.

10 Jul 05,, 17:13
AKs are certainly prolific, but I don't see any great influence on warfare there.
The brown bess was the first standardized english long arm and effectively won the british empire and helped defeat Napoleon.

In terms of real effect on warfare, the Dreyse and the 1898 Mauser also come to mind. Even though I hate to admit it, the French Lebel was the first to use smokeless powder-definitly an innovation and influence on warfare.

10 Jul 05,, 18:01
Sturmgewehr 44.

10 Jul 05,, 20:36
Remember, the STg. 44 did not majorly influence the design of te AK.
I'd say the Brown Bess, the Colt patterson, the Maxim Machine gun, and the Borchardt C-93.

11 Jul 05,, 04:54
I'm not saying it did, but the concept and general lines of the assault rifle influenced the AK and pretty much every other assault rifle after it.

The MG34/42 was also pretty influential as far as the GPMG concept is concerned.

11 Jul 05,, 06:06
The first damn handcannon...

11 Jul 05,, 06:09
True. :tongue:

11 Jul 05,, 06:32
Samuel Colts revolvers

11 Jul 05,, 07:07

The Kentucky Long Rifle.

Every single soldier today carries a rifled pistol or long gun.

Being the first rifled arm to be used in war, the Pennsylvania/Kentucky longrifle is the father of every small arm carried by every soldier everywhere in the world today.

In it's day, it was the most feared small arm on the battlefield. And rightly so.

US marksmen using KLRs were the laser guided bombs of the 18th century.

11 Jul 05,, 16:36
"The first damn handcannon..."

I'd say this thread is done.

31 Jul 05,, 00:27
look the colt is the most influentail gun hes is my like my 100 great gradpa my name is tanner tate colt :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

cottage cheese
02 Aug 05,, 15:29
What do you think is the most influential gun design in history? I'd say either the AK-47 or the Brown Bess musket. Your thoughts?

Though I'm an advocate for far better arms, the AK would definitely be it. It's everywhere- it doesn't have to be a precision tool, but it gets the job done with minimum investment of money, time and effort.

02 Aug 05,, 20:22
This is a broad topic...do you mean the gun design that influenced other gun designs, or the gun design that most influenced the course of history? In terms of history, I think the first gun that used a cartridge as opposed to a muzzleloader (I don't remember what that was, unfortunately) surely had a major impact, although that could be argued as an ammo design rather than a gun design. The first repeating rifle influenced history- particularly warfare- in a huge way. Consider how it must have felt, as a soldier, to be able to fire multiple rounds without reloading..it would have been akin to magic.
Speaking of gun design influences, the 1911 is a strong contender there- prior to the 1911, semi auto handguns were mostly junk- since the creation of this venerable pistol, many, many manufacturers have used some or all of it's action design in their own firearms.
Full auto changed history, no doubt- I imagine the first workable full auto was the Gatling gun...and with it came the concept of suppression fire. It certainly put a stop to any lingering doubts that the British method of standing line abreast and advancing...was defunct.
This is a good topic, in that it makes you ponder...but it's hard to answer with any finality. Heck, the first percussion cap firearm made flintlocks obsolete, which, in it's time, must have seemed as wondrous as a Fokker Triplane pilot contemplating an F-15. I own a couple of flintlocks, and I can't imagine trying to go to war armed with the finicky bastards! The percussion cap muzzleloader was much easier and faster to load, much more reliable, easier to handle, less troubled by dampness, and the soldier didn't have to carry two kinds of powder...and keep that powder dry. The notion of a rifle firing because of a spark, that has been caused by striking a small piece of flint...it seems amazing that the things fired as often as they did!
Another major influence was the revolving cylinder- both pistols and rifles. This falls under the category of repeating firearm, I suppose, but it must have seemed like an amazing advancement to the single shot crowd.

26 Jan 06,, 06:48
The Maxim Machine gun. It changed warfare and firearms design forever.

From the machine gun we get:

The tank-to counter the MG
The anti-tank gun
the automatic rifle
the Sub machine gun
fighter planes
the assault rifle
the list goes on and on...

27 Jan 06,, 04:05
We got planes from a machine gun?
Please show us the connection.

27 Jan 06,, 06:16
We got planes from a machine gun?
Please show us the connection.
Well, the machine gun caused the invention of the tank. Now, AIRPLANES were already invented. Before maching guns were mounted on airplanes, dogfighting was accomplished by shooting pistols at one another. Once MGs were mounted on airplanes, FIGHTER planes were born.

The Chap
08 Feb 06,, 03:36
Well, certainly the AK-47. But what of the "lemon squeezer" of JWB notoriety? Or for that matter the rifle that LHO used to kill JFK?

Lee Enfield and Martini-Henry built an Empire ... :rolleyes:

Not to mention the "Brown Bess". :)

08 Feb 06,, 04:52
The Mauser Gewehr 1898.

16 Feb 06,, 13:57

The Kentucky Long Rifle.

Every single soldier today carries a rifled pistol or long gun.

Being the first rifled arm to be used in war, the Pennsylvania/Kentucky longrifle is the father of every small arm carried by every soldier everywhere in the world today.

In it's day, it was the most feared small arm on the battlefield. And rightly so.

US marksmen using KLRs were the laser guided bombs of the 18th century.

not 100% sure if it was the first Rifle in combat use..I know it was used in 1777 to kill General Simon Fraser of the British army, by Timothy Murphy...it is clamed he took him out at 400-450m


Originally, rifles were sharpshooter weapons, while the regular infantry made use of the greater firepower of massed muskets, which fired round balls of calibers up to 0.75 inch (19 mm). Benjamin Robins, an English mathematician, realized that an extruded bullet would retain the mass and kinetic force of a musket ball, but would slice through the air with much greater ease. The innovative work of Robins and others would take until the end of the 1700s to gain acceptance.

By the mid-19th century, however, manufacturing had advanced sufficiently that the Brown Bess was replaced by a range of—generally single-shot, breech-loading—rifles, designed for aimed, discretionary fire by individual soldiers. Then as now, rifles have a stock, either fixed or folding, which is braced against the shoulder. Until the early 20th century rifles tended to be very long—a Martini-Henry of 1890 was almost six feet (1.8 m) in length, with a fixed bayonet—and the demand for more compact weapons for cavalrymen led to the carbine, or shortened rifle.

A rifle is a type of firearm. Typicaly, the bullet is propelled by the contained detonation of an explosive compound (usually cordite), although other means are used, such as compressed air. Such rifles are called Air rifles, and remain popular for vermin control, hunting small game and casual shooting ("plinking")


History of design

Muskets were smooth-bore, large caliber weapons using ball-shaped ammunition fired at relatively low velocity. Due to the high cost and great difficulty of precision manufacturing, and the need to load readily from the muzzle, the musket ball was a loose fit in the barrel. Consequently on firing the ball bounced off the sides of the barrel when fired and the final direction on leaving the muzzle was unpredictable. The origins of rifling are difficult to trace, but some of the earliest practical experiments seem to have originated in Europe during the fifteenth century. Archers had long realized that a twist added to the tail feathers of their arrows gave them greater accuracy. Early muskets produced large quantities of smoke and soot, which had to be cleaned from the action and bore of the musket frequently; either the action of repeated bore scrubbing, or a deliberate attempt to create 'soot grooves' might also have led to a perceived increase in accuracy, although no-one knows for sure. True rifling dates from the mid-1400s, although the precision required for its effective manufacture kept it out of the hands of infantrymen for another three and a half centuries.

Some early rifled guns were created with special barrels that had a twisted polygonal shape. Specially-made bullets were designed to match the shape so the bullet would grip the rifle bore and take a spin that way. These were generally limited to large caliber weapons and the ammunition still did not fit tightly in the barrel. Many experimental designs used different shapes and degrees of spiraling. Although uncommon, polygonal rifling is still used in some weapons today with one example being the GLOCK line of pistols.

These designs were gradually replaced with cylindrical barrels cut with helical grooves, the surfaces between the grooves being called "lands". This innovation shortly preceded the mass adoption of breech-loading weapons, as it was not practical to push an overbore bullet down through a rifled barrel, only to then (try to) fire it back out. The dirt and grime from prior shots was pushed down ahead of a tight bullet or ball (which may have been a loose fit in the clean barrel before the first shot), and, of course, loading was far more difficult, as the lead had to be deformed to go down in the first place, reducing the accuracy due to nose deformation. Several systems were tried to deal with the problem, usually by resorting to an under-bore bullet that expanded upon firing. One of the most famous was the Minié system, which relied on a conical bullet (known as a Minié ball) with a hollow at the base of the bullet that caused the base of the round to expand from the pressure of the exploding charge and grip the rifling as the round was fired. Minié system rifles, notably the U.S. Springfield and the British Enfield of the early 1860s, featured prominently in the U.S. Civil War, due to the enhanced power and accuracy. The better seal gave more power, as less gas escaped past the bullet, which combined with the fact that for the same bore (caliber) diameter a long bullet was heavier than a round ball. Enhanced accuracy came from the expansion to grip the rifling, which spun the bullet more consistently.

Another important area of development was the way rounds were stored and used in the weapon. The Spencer repeating rifle was a breech-loading manually operated lever action rifle, that was adopted by the United States and over 20,000 were used during the Civil War. It marked the first adoption of a removable magazine-fed infantry rifle by any country. The design was completed by Christopher Spencer in 1860. It used copper rim-fire cartridges stored in a removable seven round tube magazine, enabling the rounds to be fired one after another, and which, when emptied could be exchanged for another.

As the bullet enters the barrel it screws itself into the rifling, a process which gradually wears down the barrel, and more rapidly causes the barrel to heat up. For this reason machine-guns are equipped with quick-change barrels which can be swapped every few thousand rounds, or, in earlier designs, were water-cooled. Modern stainless steel barrels for target rifles are much harder, and so wear far less, allowing tens of thousands of rounds to be fired before accuracy drops, unlike older carbon steel barrels, which were more limited, to around 1,000 shots, before the extreme accuracy faded. (Many shotguns and small arms have chrome-lined barrels to reduce wear and enhance corrosion resistance. This is rare on rifles designed for extreme accuracy as the plating process is difficult and liable to reduce the effect of the rifling.) Hardened armor-piercing bullets produce wear rapidly, which necessitates that they are encased in softer metal or Teflon.

Over the 19th century, bullet design also evolved, the slugs becoming gradually smaller and lighter. By 1910 the standard blunt-nosed bullet had been replaced with the pointed, 'spitzer' slug, an innovation which increased range and penetration. Cartridge design evolved from simple paper tubes containing black powder and shot to sealed brass cases with integral primers for ignition, whilst black powder itself was replaced with cordite, and then other smokeless mixtures, propelling bullets to higher velocities than before.

The increased velocity meant that new problems arrived, and so bullets went from being soft lead to harder lead, then to copper jacketed, in order to better engage the spiraled grooves without being "stripped" in the same way as a thread would be if subjected to extreme forces.

Rifles were initially single-shot, muzzle-loading weapons. During the 18th century, breech-loading weapons were designed, which allowed the rifleman to reload whilst under cover, but defects in manufacturing and the difficulty in forming a reliable gas-tight seal prevented widespread adoption. During the 19th century, multi-shot repeating rifles using lever, pump or linear bolt actions became standard, further increasing the rate of fire and minimizing the fuss involved in loading a firearm. The problem of proper seal creation had been solved with the use of brass cartridge cases, which expanded at the point of firing and effectively sealed the breech while the pressure remained high, then shrinking back slightly to allow for easy removal. By the end of the 19th century, the leading bolt-action design was that of Paul Mauser, whose action—wedded to a reliable design possessing a five-shot magazine—became a world standard through two world wars and beyond. The Mauser rifle was paralleled by Britain's ten-shot Lee-Enfield and America's 1903 Springfield Rifle models, both of which were copied from Mauser's origninal design.

The advent of mass, rapid firepower and of the machine-gun and the rifled artillery piece was so rapid as to outstrip the development of any way to attack a trench filled with rifle and machine-gun equipped soldiers. The nightmare hell of the Great War was to be the greatest vindication and vilification of the rifle as a military weapon. By the Second World War military thought was turning elsewhere, towards more compact weapons.

Experience in World War One led German military researchers to conclude long-range aimed fire was less significant at typical battle ranges of 500m. As mechanisms became smaller, lighter and more reliable, semi-automatic rifles, including the M1 Garand, appeared. WW2 saw the first mass-fielding of such rifles, which culminated in the Walther MKb-42, the first assault rifle, one of the most significant developments of the 20th century army.

By contrast, civilian rifle design has not significantly advanced since the early part of the 20th century. Modern hunting rifles have fiberglass stocks and more advanced recoil pads, but are fundamentally the same as infantry rifles from 1910. Many modern sniper rifles can trace their ancestry back for over a century; the Russian 7.62 x 54 mm cartridge, used in the front-line SVD Dragunov, dates from 1891.

History of use

Muskets were used for rapid, unaimed volley fire. The average conscripted soldier could be easily trained to use them. The (muzzle-loaded) rifle was originally a sharpshooter's weapon used for targets of opportunity and sniper fire. During the Napoleonic Wars the British 95th Regiment (Green Jackets) used the rifle to great effect during skirmishing. Because of a slower loading time than a musket they were not taken up by the whole army. The adoption of cartridges and breech-loading in the 19th century was concurrent with general adoption of rifles. In the early part of the 20th century, soldiers were trained to shoot accurately over long ranges with high-powered cartridges. World War 1 Lee-Enfields rifles (among others) were equipped with long-range 'volley sights' for massed fire at ranges of up to a mile (1600 m) - individual shots were unlikely to hit, but a platoon firing repeatedly could produce an effect similar to light artillery or a machine gun - but experience in WW1 showed that long-range fire was best left to artillery and machine guns.

Up to, during, and after WW2 it has become accepted that most infantry engagements took place at ranges of less than 500 meters; the range and power of the large rifles was 'overkill'; and the weapons were heavier than the ideal. This led to Germany's development of the 7.92x33mm Kurz (short) round, the MKb-42, and ultimately, the assault rifle. Today, an infantryman's rifle is optimised for ranges of 300 meters or less, and soldiers are trained to deliver individual rounds or bursts of fire at these ranges. Accurate, long-range fire is the domain of the sniper and of enthusiastic target shooters. The modern sniper rifle is generally capable of accuracy better than one arcminute (300 μrad).

In recent decades large-caliber anti-material sniper rifles, typically around .50 (12.7 mm) caliber cartridges, have been developed. The US Barrett M82A1 is probably the best known such rifle. These weapons are typically used to strike critical, vulnerable targets such as radar antennae or the jet engines of enemy aircraft. Anti-materiel rifles can certainly be used against human targets, but the much higher weight of rifle and ammunition, and the massive recoil and muzzle blast, make them impractical for such use. The Barrett M82 is credited with a maximum effective range of 1800 meters (1.1 mile).

16 Feb 06,, 14:47
Mauser. The basis for just about every bolt action rifle ever made. A bolt action in the hands of a skilled shooter can do a lot of damage.

17 Feb 06,, 22:45
Pistols I'm somewhat partial to the 1911 it has influenced most semi autos built since then.

In long arms in the 1850-s breechloading singleshots became fairly popular... These lead to the Henry which was the first successful repeating rifle. Mausers bolt action also was very important. I've no clue which gun first use the delayed blowback but I've got to look at that.

I argue against the AK as in and of itself it isn't an invoative rifle system and wasn't at the time it was developed every peice of it is used on other guns. It is a successful gun system but thats due mainly to its cost and ease of purchase than anything inherantly supperior about the weapon.

17 Feb 06,, 23:33
That and its reliability and ease of use by illiterate conscripts or militiamen.

18 Feb 06,, 02:43
not 100% sure if it was the first Rifle in combat use.

It was.

18 Feb 06,, 04:01
Mauser. The basis for just about every bolt action rifle ever made. A bolt action in the hands of a skilled shooter can do a lot of damage.

I beat you to it. :cool:

24 May 08,, 05:50
"The good people of this world are very far from being satisfied with each other and my arms are the best peacemakers."
--Sam Colt, 1852

This is a wonderful topic for discussion. I would like to make a case for the 1840 Paterson Colt, because its production, with the brilliant innovations of Elisha King Root, ushered in the modern era of mass production of complex machinery using interchangeable parts. Many other innovators (notable, Whitney and Pratt) cut their teeth in the Colt factory before setting out to found their own companies. The Colt repeater irrevocable changed the balance of power in the Great Plains Indian Wars. An Plains Indian warrior could fire approximately 20 arrows per minute. Before the introduction of the Colt repeating pistol, a gun could only be fired 1-2 times per minute. The Colt provided the Texas Rangers and others with a weapon that could be fired as rapidly, with greater accuracy and more hitting power than the superb archers of the Indian tribes. Captain Samuel Walker of the Texas Rangers wrote a letter to Samuel Colt on Nov. 30, 1846, in which he praised the new invention:

"The pistols which you made...have been in use by the ‘Texas Rangers’ for three years...[and are]the only good improvement I have ever seen...[In the] summer of 1844, Col. J.C.Hayes, with fifteen men, fought about 80 Comanche...Without your pistols we should not have had the confidence to undertake such daring adventures"
--Samuel Walker, 1846

I know that this debate cannot be "won" in any definitive sense. But, I think the Colt repeating pistol deserves serious consideration as "most influential gun". Now, if you had said "most influential weapon", I would have had to vote for "Little Boy"!

24 May 08,, 15:11
Scully thank you for joining World affairs board, I am glad you are reading back articles and getting a feeling for people and theway they think and post. I would like to caution against ressurecting threads that have been entombed for 2 years it doesn't reflect well on the new guy.