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Wheellock, the wheel gun was the first portable firearm to employ the striker, replacing the fuse, to communicate fire to the office. It was specifically developed for heavy cavalry forces (Reiter) in gravitating lands around the Holy Roman Empire (Germany, Italy, and Burgundy) in the sixteenth-century beginnings.
Gun triggered by flint wheel was, in fact, the first gun model ever made. Compared to today’s portable firearms, it was a very cumbersome object (up to 50 cm in total length) and from the heavy ammunition (iron balls or large caliber lead).
The ignition mechanism, constituted by a steel drum, provided with an internal coil spring that is tended by means of a key. The tambourine was supported by two columns and held in place by a tooth that was the trigger, Freed from the tooth tambourine turned quickly on himself, rubbing the pyrite or flint, held down by a dog, he dropped in the middle of the cup, or pelvis. The rubbing gave rise to sparks that ignited the powder. The handle, almost straight initially, then gradually more curved, closed end by a massive pommel to ensure better grip to the shooter, normally fitted with the gauntlet, and facilitate the extraction of the weapon. A pin secured the pommel to the football body. The success of the wheel guns pushed European gunsmiths to use its ignition mechanism for the muskets.
The excessively high costs, however, never allowed the massive production of new muskets wheel. Guns coexisted wheel well with the old matchlock muskets until the introduction in flint and stone to hammer not replaced both previous triggering mechanisms in the late seventeenth century. Since the last decades of the sixteenth century, they were developed specific gun models in the wheel which attempted to overcome the limits of the “single shot” typical of the first firearms. The approach of dealers, mainly Italians and Germans, was twofold.
Wheellock, the wheel gun was the first portable firearm.
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