Gun barrel

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As a gun barrel or tube which is running a heavy gun, a gun or a gun , referred to as lower limit, a caliber of 20 mm can be adopted.


The rear part of the barrel is referred to as the chamber, cartridge chamber or charge space, it holds the bullet or grenade or the projectile and the propellant charge . The front part is the floor path part. It is used to guide the projectile . In between is the transition cone . The bore of the pipe is called the soul , its longitudinal axis the soul axis .

Development, manufacture, designs

Early lock designs by Armstrong and Whitworth (right)
Pipe cross-sections, from left: smooth pipe, drawn pipe, (A: field dimension, B: tensile dimension), pipe with polygon profile

The barrel of muzzle-loading guns has a smooth, cylindrical inner wall; the barrel of cannon barrels also has the same diameter. In howitzers and mortars , the chamber is usually cylindrical or conically tapered.

For the manufacture of the tubes of early guns, wrought iron rods were arranged in a tube shape and held together by shrunk-on rings. Smaller caliber bar ring guns were often breech-loaders; the chamber, containing powder and bullet, was wedged behind the barrel.

These tubes were later replaced by those made of cast bronze , cast iron and cast steel. After the mid-19th century, advances in metallurgy allowed forging to be used. To increase the stability of the gun barrel steel rings were ring gun or steel jackets (jacket pipe) to the inner core tube shrunk or suitably raised. A technique used in England was to wrap the pipe with steel wire. The tube corresponds to the caliber of the bullet and guides it during the shot. In order to enable the loading of muzzle-loading cannons, which appeared in the second half of the 19th century, with trains, the profile of the projectile must be adapted to that of the barrel. In modern guns, the tube can be exchanged.

Today guns, with the exception of grenade launchers , are breech-loaders. With these, the lock is attached in the rear, reinforced tube part. It is usually designed as a wedge lock or a screw lock . In the case of machine cannons that emit series fire , the breech is attached to the barrel extension in the same way as machine guns .

Modern gun barrels can have trains or be smooth-barreled. With smooth barrel cannons, the bullet stabilizes itself by means of a suitable construction. With rifled barrels, the guide ring of the bullet is pressed into the transition cone (between the cargo space and the bullet path part) and when the shot is fired, the bullet is set in rotation by the twist of the pulls.

With recoilless guns , the barrel is open at the rear, the breech only serves to block the case. The recoil on the system generated by the acceleration of the projectile is balanced or reduced by the powder gases flowing backwards.

Consequences of wear

Gun barrels wear out. The ammunition causes abrasion on the inner surface of the barrel. The hot and chemically aggressive exhaust gases can also attack the surface.

For these reasons, many guns have a divisible barrel: the barrel is composed of two or three part-barrels. The rear barrel (where the bullet starts) wears more than the front. Production-related restrictions or advantages can also be the reason for assembling a pipe from several partial pipes. Examples:

  • the 80 cm cannon (E) , also known as the DORA gun
  • the Paris gun (21 cm caliber; extraordinary range of about 130 kilometers; shot at Paris in 1918)
  • the 8.8 cm FlaK 18/36/37 ("eight-eight", an anti-aircraft gun in caliber 8.8 cm, built over 20,000 pieces)
    • The first version was the FlaK 18. It had a one-piece barrel
    • The improved "FlaK 36" received a three-part barrel
  • Depending on the ammunition, different tubes were used in the 8.8 cm FlaK 41 : initially five-part (for brass sleeves), later four (for tempered steel sleeves) and one-piece tubes (for non-tempered steel sleeves).


  • Peter Batfield, Guns at Sea , Hugh Evelyn Ltd, London 1973
  • Walter Betschmann, Armament and Equipment of the Swiss Army, Artillery I , Stocker and Schmid AG, Dietikon-Zurich 1980, ISBN 3-7276-7009-6
  • Walter Stutz, Armament and Equipment of the Swiss Army, Artillery II , Stocker and Schmid AG, Dietikon-Zurich 1977, ISBN 3-7276-7010-X
  • Walter Betschmann, Armament and Equipment of the Swiss Army, Artillery III , Stocker and Schmid AG, Dietikon-Zurich 1984, ISBN 3-7276-7059-2