There are certain functions performed by, and certain important conditions to be fulfilled in, the construction of the different portions of a small arm. The barrel is by far the most important part of a firearm, its office being to concentrate the force of a charge of powder on a projectile, and give it proper initial velocity and direction; for these purposes, and for the safety of the firer, it should be made of the best material and with the greatest care. In determining the exterior form, it is not only necessary to give such thickness to the different parts as will best resist the explosion effect of the charge, but such as will prevent it from being bent when subject to rough usage. Weight, to a certain extent is necessary to limit recoil, to give steadiness to the barrel in aiming, and to prevent it from "springing" in firing. The latter defect generally arises from bad workmanship, whereby there is a greater thickness of metal, and consequently less expansion on one side of the bore than on the other. In some sporting rifles the barrel weighs from 12 to 15 lbs.
Farrow, Edward S. American Small Arms; a Veritable Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Sportsmen and Military Men. New York: Bradford, 1904. Print.
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