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From The Great War 1914-1918

A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves ("rifling") cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile (for small arms usage, called a bullet), imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the orientation of the weapon. When the projectile leaves the barrel, this spin lends gyroscopic stability to the projectile and prevents tumbling, in the same way that a properly thrown American football or rugby ball behaves. This allows the use of aerodynamically-efficient bullets (as opposed to the spherical balls used in muskets) and thus improves range and accuracy. The word "rifle" originally referred to the grooving, and a rifle was called a "rifled gun." The word "rifle" is now used for any long hand-held aimed device activated by a trigger, such as Air rifles and the Personnel halting and stimulation response rifle. Rifles are used in warfare, hunting and shooting sports.

Typically, a bullet is propelled by the contained deflagration of an explosive compound (originally black powder, later cordite, and now nitrocellulose), although other means such as compressed air are used in air rifles, which are popular for vermin control, hunting small game, formal target shooting and casual shooting ("plinking"). Formerly, rifles only fired a single projectile with each squeeze of the trigger. Modern rifles are capable of firing more than one round per trigger squeeze; some fire in a fully automatic mode and others are limited to fixed bursts of two, three, or more rounds per squeeze. Thus, modern automatic rifles overlap to some extent in design and function with machine guns.[1]

Rifles used by the British Empire in WWI

  • Arisaka Type 30
  • Arisaka Type 38
  • Elephant gun
  • Enfield P1914
  • Farguhar–Hill P1918
  • Lee–Metford Mk I and Mk II
  • Lee–Speed No. 1 and No. 2
  • Magazine Lee–Enfield Mk I
  • Mauser–Verqueiro M1904[2]
  • Marlin M1894
  • Martini–Enfield Mk I and Mk II
  • Martini–Henry Mk IV
  • Remington Model 14-1/2
  • Remington Rolling Block M1901
  • Ross Mk III[3]
  • Short Magazine Lee–Enfield Mk I, Mk II and Mk III
  • Snider–Enfield Mk III
  • Winchester M1886
  • Winchester M1892
  • Winchester M1894
  • Winchester M1895
  • Winchester M1907

References / notes

  1. Rifle. Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Accessed 23 April, 2017.
  2. Used by South African units.
  3. Used by Canadian units.

Glossary of words and phrases

The above term is listed in our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of Great Britain during the Great War. Included are trench slang, service terms, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. These words and phrases are contemporary to the war, which is reflected in the language used. They have been transcribed from three primary sources (see Contents). Feel free to expand upon and improve this content.
Browse other terms: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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