(Welsh gwn, a gun.)
CANNONS AND RIFLES.
Armstrong gun. A wrought-iron cannon, usually breech-loading, having an iron-hooped steel inner tube. Designed by Sir William Armstrong in 1854, and officially tested in 1861.
Enfield rifles. Invented by Pritchett at the Enfield factory, adopted in the English army 1852, and converted into Snider breech-loaders in 1866.
Gatling gun. A machine gun with parallel barrels about a central axis, each having its own lock. Capable of being loaded and of discharging 1,000 shots a minute by turning a crank. Named from the inventor, Dr. R. J. Gatling.
Krupp gun. A cannon of ingot steel, made at Krupp's works, at Essen, in Prussia. Lancaster gun. A cannon having a slightly elliptical twisted bore, and a conoid (2 syl.) projectile. Named from the inventor.
Minié rifle. Invented in 1849, and adopted in the English army in 1851. Named after Claude Minié, a French officer. (1810-1879.)
Snider rifle. Invented by Jacob Snider. A breech-loader adopted by the British Government in 1866. Whitworth gun. An English rifled firearm of hexagonal bore, and very rapid twist. Constructed in 1857. Its competitive trial with the Armstrong gun in 1864. Named after Sir Joseph Whitworth, the inventor (1803-1887).
Woolwich infant (The). A British 35-ton rifled muzzle-loading cannon, having a steel tube hooped with wrought-iron coils. Constructed in 1870. (See Brown Bess, Mitrailleuse, etc.)
A breech-loading gun. A gun loaded at the breech, which is then closed by a screw or wedge-block.
Evening or sunset gun. A gun fired at sunset, or about 9 o'clock p.m.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894