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see small armssmall arms,
firearms designed primarily to be carried and fired by one person and, generally, held in the hands, as distinguished from heavy arms, or artillery. Early Small Arms

The first small arms came into general use at the end of the 14th cent.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an individual, multifiring, rifled handgun with a revolving cylinder-type magazine; designed to hit live targets at a maximum distance of 50 m.

The trigger mechanism of the revolver is connected to the mechanism that revolves the cylinder—when the hammer is cocked or the trigger squeezed, the cylinder turns so that the next bullet lines up with the revolver barrel. The matchlock and flintlock cylinder revolvers of the 16th to 19th centuries in which the cylinder was turned by hand did not become widespread. A practical solution for combining the trigger mechanism and the revolving cylinder was found and implemented in the revolver models of Collier, Marietta, and Shierk from 1810 to 1830. In 1835, S. Colt of the United States invented the percussion-type revolver with an improved percussion slide, which was adopted by many armies.

In the second half of the 19th century the Colt revolver was replaced by revolver models with quick-firing metallic fixed rounds and cylinder capacities of from four to 12 rounds. Revolvers were classified as military, police, civilian, and sport guns. The Russian Army adopted the Smith & Wesson 1871, 1874, and 1880 revolver models, which in the late 19th century were replaced by the Nagant 1895 model. With the appearance and development of automatic pistols, military revolvers were gradually declared obsolete by armies in the first half of the 20th century.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The pair of horizontal angles between three points, as observed at any place on the circle defined by the three points; this is the one situation in which such angles do not establish a fix. Also known as swinger.
A firearm with a cylinder of several chambers so arranged as to revolve on an axis and be discharged in succession by the same lock.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Weighing 18 ounces, the six shot wheel gun can be a handful when using +P ammunition.
Having given up on finding a pristine S&W Model 63 at a reasonable price, I broke down and bought a brand new S&W 617, which is a 4" stainless K-frame, .22 rimfire, ten-round wheel gun with adjustable sights, Hogue grips, a full-length ejector shroud, muzzle heavy/jump-free, built like a masonry sanitary facility, great DA/SA trigger and a ball to shoot.
So now, with the addition of S&W's big bore wheel gun, shooters can have the best of both worlds.
Although my sanity is often questioned, I do in fact get great glee from taking and using the 4" factory-lettered and fully engraved wheel gun on a regular basis; and it would not be a hunting story without using a Model 2--so why not use a cool one?
Some of the most popular are the 3" barreled K-Frame Smith & Wesson wheel guns in round-butt configuration.
If I'd been attending the first SHOT Show to follow Elmer Keith's development of the .357 and .44 Magnum cartridges the same might have been said of wheel guns. Once the dynamics of the immortal Elmer's new rounds had created a rising public demand for revolvers to discharge them, a little grass was allowed grow beneath the feet at Ruger and Smith & Wesson to design, develop, and bring forth revolvers capable of delivering the promised performance of both magnums.
"The J-frame Smith & Wessons are consistently very popular here," Morgan explained, noting that Ruger LCRs and Taurus and Charter Arms small-frame wheel guns are also steady sellers.
I was inspired to write this article by "Wheel Guns Are Real Guns" ("Guns & Loads," August 2008).
Perhaps fans of wheel guns and high-velocity handgun cartridges need none.