Matchlocks were an important projectile weapon during the early 1600s. Recife Subway Map These devices worked by an action that would bring a lighted match into direct contact with the priming powder. To confuse matters, matchlocks were frequently and interchangeably named arquebuses, calivers, and muskets. Because of the confusion in terms, it is not easy to determine exactly what type or style of matchlock is referred to in early accounts.
It appears that the term arquebus was also applied to a wide variety of firearms, although, at a later date, the term became associated with a wheel lock, as opposed to a matchlock. In very general terms, an arquebus would be lighter than a musket and could be fired without a rest or support. A caliver appears to have been the forerunner of our current term caliber. It also denoted a firearm that was lighter than a musket and could be fired without a support or rest.
The term musket, however, has almost always meant a heavy military firearm. At first, this would have been a matchlock, which was so heavy that a forked rest was absolutely necessary to keep the barrel steady when firing. This device would frequently weigh around 20 pounds, with a barrel of about 8 to 10 gauge (that is, the diameter of the projectile). This heavy weapon would then require up to 2 ounces of powder per charge, which thereby greatly increased the total weight carried by each individual.
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