Long gun

Long gun

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The term long gun is used to describe classes of firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

 and cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

 with longer barrels
Gun barrel
A gun barrel is the tube, usually metal, through which a controlled explosion or rapid expansion of gases are released in order to propel a projectile out of the end at a high velocity....

 than other classes. In small arms
Small arms
Small arms is a term of art used by armed forces to denote infantry weapons an individual soldier may carry. The description is usually limited to revolvers, pistols, submachine guns, carbines, assault rifles, battle rifles, multiple barrel firearms, sniper rifles, squad automatic weapons, light...

, a long gun is designed to be fired braced against the shoulder, in contrast to a handgun
Handgun
A handgun is a firearm designed to be held and operated by one hand. This characteristic differentiates handguns as a general class of firearms from long guns such as rifles and shotguns ....

, while in artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 a long gun would be contrasted with a howitzer
Howitzer
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent...

 or carronade
Carronade
The carronade was a short smoothbore, cast iron cannon, developed for the Royal Navy by the Carron Company, an ironworks in Falkirk, Scotland, UK. It was used from the 1770s to the 1850s. Its main function was to serve as a powerful, short-range anti-ship and anti-crew weapon...

.

Small arms


The actual length of the barrels of a long gun are subject various laws in many jurisdictions, for example by the National Firearms Act
National Firearms Act
The National Firearms Act , 73rd Congress, Sess. 2, ch. 757, , enacted on June 26, 1934, currently codified as amended as , is an Act of Congress that, in general, imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms and mandates the registration of those firearms. The...

 in the United States, which sets a minimum length of 16 inches (40 cm) for rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

 barrels and 18 inches (45 cm) for shotgun
Shotgun
A shotgun is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug...

 barrels. Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 has a limit of 18.5 inches (47 cm) for either. In addition, Canada puts a minimum fireable length for long guns with detachable or folding stocks of 26 inches (66 cm). In the United States, the minimum length for long guns with detachable or folding stocks is 26 inches (660.4 mm) with the stock in the extended position.

Examples of various classes of small arms generally considered long arms include, but are not limited to:
  • rifle
    Rifle
    A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

    s
  • shotgun
    Shotgun
    A shotgun is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug...

    s
  • musket
    Musket
    A musket is a muzzle-loaded, smooth bore long gun, fired from the shoulder. Muskets were designed for use by infantry. A soldier armed with a musket had the designation musketman or musketeer....

    s
  • blunderbuss
    Blunderbuss
    The blunderbuss is a muzzle-loading firearm with a short, large caliber barrel, which is flared at the muzzle and frequently throughout the entire bore, and used with shot and other projectiles of relevant quantity and/or caliber. The blunderbuss could be considered to be an early form of shotgun,...

    es
  • carbine
    Carbine
    A carbine , from French carabine, is a longarm similar to but shorter than a rifle or musket. Many carbines are shortened versions of full rifles, firing the same ammunition at a lower velocity due to a shorter barrel length....

    s
  • wall gun
    Wall gun
    Wall guns were large caliber smooth-bore muskets that were used in the 16th through 18th centuries by defending forces to break the advance of enemy troops. They were too heavy to be fired from the shoulder and so were usually rested on window ledges or low walls, hence the name. They were also...

    s
  • musketoon
    Musketoon
    The musketoon is a shorter barrelled version of the musket, and served in the roles of a shotgun or carbine. Musketoons could be of the same caliber as the issue musket, or of a much larger caliber, 1.0-2.5 inches . The musketoon is most commonly associated with naval use, and pirates in...

    s

Advantages and disadvantages of long guns


Almost all long-arms have front grips (forearms) and shoulder stocks, which provides the user the ability to hold the firearm more steadily than a handgun. In addition, the long barrel
Gun barrel
A gun barrel is the tube, usually metal, through which a controlled explosion or rapid expansion of gases are released in order to propel a projectile out of the end at a high velocity....

 of a long gun usually provides a longer sight plane for iron sights
Iron sights
Iron sights are a system of shaped alignment markers used as a sighting device to assist in the aiming of a device such as a firearm, crossbow, or telescope, and exclude the use of optics as in telescopic sights or reflector sights...

, providing the user with more precision when aiming. The presence of a stock makes the use of a telescopic sight
Telescopic sight
A telescopic sight, commonly called a scope, is a sighting device that is based on an optical refracting telescope. They are equipped with some form of graphic image pattern mounted in an optically appropriate position in their optical system to give an accurate aiming point...

 or red dot sight
Red dot sight
A red dot sight is a common classification for a type of non-magnifying reflector sight for firearms that gives the user an aimpoint in the form of an illuminated red dot...

 more practical than with a hand gun.

The mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

 of a long gun is usually greater than that of a short gun, making the long gun more expensive to transport, and more difficult and tiring to carry. The increased moment of inertia makes the long gun slower and more difficult to traverse and elevate
Gun laying
Gun laying is the process of aiming an artillery piece, such as a gun, howitzer or mortar on land or at sea against surface or air targets. It may be laying for direct fire, where the gun is aimed similarly to a rifle, or indirect fire, where firing data is calculated and applied to the sights...

, and it is thus slower and more difficult to adjust the aim. However, this also results in greater stability
Directional stability
Directional stability is stability of a moving body or vehicle about an axis which is perpendicular to its direction of motion. Stability of a vehicle concerns itself with the tendency of a vehicle to return to its original direction in relation to the oncoming medium when disturbed away from...

 in aiming. The greater amount of material in a long gun tends to make it more expensive to manufacture, other factors being equal. The greater size makes it more difficult to conceal, and more inconvenient to use in confined quarters, as well as requiring a larger storage space.

Shotguns are long guns that are designed to fire many small projectiles at once. This makes them very effective and easy to aim at close ranges, but with diminished usefulness at long range.

Naval long guns


In historical navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 usage, a long gun was the standard type of cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

 mounted by a sailing vessel, called such to distinguish it from the much shorter carronade
Carronade
The carronade was a short smoothbore, cast iron cannon, developed for the Royal Navy by the Carron Company, an ironworks in Falkirk, Scotland, UK. It was used from the 1770s to the 1850s. Its main function was to serve as a powerful, short-range anti-ship and anti-crew weapon...

s. In informal usage, the length was combined with the weight of shot, yielding terms like "long 9s", referring to full length cannons firing a 9-pound round shot.