Bore diameter and caliber

The term caliber („nominal caliber" would be a more proper term) refers to the diameter of the bore of a rifle, revolver, or pistol. It is not used in the case of shotguns, with the exception of the little .410. Actually it is a rather general term, as it does not, except in a few cases, actually describe the diameter of the bore. For example, taking data from a single manufacturer, the specified bore diameters at the muzzle for Colt automatic pistols and revolvers (as of 1945) are given in Table 2. From the values given in this table (which are typical) it is clear that the terms „.32 cal.," „.38 cal.," and, especially, „.44 cal." are not precise terms, since they often differ markedly from the actual bore diameters.

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