Название: Firearms: The Definitive Visual Guide Серия: DK Издательство: Dorling Kindersley Год выпуска: 2014 Формат: PDF Страниц: 322 Язык: русский Размер: 71,2 Mb
Throughout their history, firearms have had a profound effect on human activity. Created to wage war, guns soon provided a means for hunting and defending life and property. They also helped sustain traditions of target shooting that began with bows and arrows. The first firearms appeared in China in the Middle Ages. At the time, gunpowder was already being used to create explosives. The Chinese discovered that by putting some of this powder, and a projectile, into a metal tube, and then igniting the powder, they could propel the projectile with enormous force. So, as far as we can tell, the first guns were born. While the earliest guns were artillery pieces, portable handguns were not far behind. Personal arms would never be the same again. For several centuries, guns remained simple metal tubes, loaded at the muzzle and firing spherical balls of lead or stone, propelled by burning gunpowder. At first, they were fired manually by smouldering match-cord, but later, mechanical devices called locks ignited the powder, freeing the hands to concentrate on aiming. Matchlocks, and then wheellocks and flintlocks, made guns quicker and simpler to fire. The 19th century was the greatest period of advance in the development and manufacture of firearms in their entire history. Muskets developed into rifles, smoothbore artillery evolved into rifled weapons, gunpowder was replaced by smokeless powder, and muzzle-loading gave way to breech-loading. Fulminates – compounds that exploded when struck – were discovered, and for the first time, guns would fire reliably even in the rain. Fulminates would eventually be incorporated into self-contained metal cartridges, loadable in an instant from magazines. Arms manufacturers such as Samuel Colt pioneered technologies for mass-producing guns with precision-made interchangeable parts, creating a blueprint for how firearms would come to be manufactured. The turn of the 20th century saw the almost universal adoption of repeaters, self-loading pistols, and machine-guns. With evolving firearms technology, military tactics also changed forever. Firearms development has consistently pushed the limits of available manufacturing technology and spurred the creation of new materials. Modern manufacturers utilize materials such as plastics and pressed steel to build guns using computer-controlled production processes. Today’s designs still owe much to earlier periods. Many modern revolvers, pistols, and rifles are rooted in the genius of their 19th century designers. This book provides a fascinating visual survey of firearms, from their earliest forms until the present day. It celebrates the inspiration of great firearms designers and also the traditional craft skills which are still vital for the creation of fine sporting guns.