Caliber

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caliber

[′kal·ə·bər]
(ordnance)
The diameter of a projectile or the diameter of the bore of a gun or launching tube; for example, a caliber .22 cartridge has a diameter of approximately 0.22 inch (5.6 millimeters).
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Caliber

 

the diameter of the bore of a firearm and also the diameter of a shell (bullet); one of the basic measures of the power of a firearm. Caliber is determined by measuring the inside barrel diameter for a smoothbore gun, the distance between opposite ribs for a rifled gun, and the maximum cross section for shells (bullets). Tapered-bore guns have inlet and outlet calibers.

A scale with the diameters of stone and cast-iron (shot) balls was first developed in Nuremberg in 1540. In Russia, Peter I established his own unit of measurement—the artillery pound— a cast-iron ball with a diameter of 2 inches weighing 115 zolotniks (approximately 480 grams). On the basis of this artillery pound a scale was created for smoothbore artillery, in which a 3-pound ball corresponded to a caliber of 2.8 inches (70 mm) and a 12-pound ball corresponded to a caliber of 4.7 inches (120 mm). Caliber was first designated in linear measures (inches and lines) in Russia in 1877, including a 3-inch cannon, 6-inch cannon, and 3-line rifle.

The calibers of all types of modern weapons are usually designated in millimeters. The length of a gun barrel in artillery is more often expressed in caliber—the length of the gun barrel is equal to as many calibers as the number of times the bore diameter goes into the barrel length. The caliber of smoothbore hunting rifles is expressed by the quantity of round pellets, equal in mass and diameter, which are cast from 400 grams of pure lead and go into the gun bore without play. For example, if 12, 16, 20, or more pellets are cast, then the caliber of these guns will be expressed by the gauges 12, 16, 20, and so forth, respectively.

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

caliber

The nominal internal diameter of a pipe. In contrast, the outside diameter is specified for brass and copper tubing and for brass and copper pipe of other than iron-pipe sizes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.