The role of Class Characteristics of rifling in firearms identification has already been explained and discussed at some length. Because of the paucity of reliable information concerning rifling characteristics as they actually exist in guns, rather than in manufacturers' specifications, and because no reliable information was available for guns of many makes and models it seemed worth while to make a comprehensive series of measurements of all the makes and models of hand guns that could be obtained for study.
The results of these measurements are presented here in tabulated form. The methods whereby the data were obtained have already been described in the chapter on Instrumentation. A very large number of the guns that were obtained from various sources had rifling in such poor condition as to make acceptable measurements impossible, and consequently these were not measured. This accounts for the fact that there are many photographs of guns for which there are no reported measurements. In some cases where the condition of the rifling was not as good as desired comment has been made under Remarks.
Since many models were produced over a considerable number of years, during which there may have been changes in rifling practice, and because of the fact that many manufacturers did not follow their own specifications closely, it was clearly desirable that a number of specimens (as many as possible, in fact) be measured to get a more true picture. It will therefore be noted that for some makes and models many measurements were made, whereas for others measurements for only one specimen appear in the tables. The reason for this difference, of course, is accessibility-for some of the rarer guns one is fortunate to secure even a single specimen in which the rifling is in sufficiently good condition to measure. In cases where data for a single specimen are found in the tables it must not be concluded that all of the guns of the same make, model, and caliber would give identical data. All that can safely be said about such guns is that the particular specimen which was measured had the reported measurements. Another specimen, and this is particularly true for the cheaper and less well made guns of Spanish and Belgian origin, might have quite different rifling. Some early American manufacturers, for example, the Forehand Arms Co. and Hopkins and Allen, also changed their practices in a capricious manner. Each of these firms produced revolvers which bore specific model names in which different specimens varied as to direction of twist, number of grooves, and degree of twist. On the other hand, the better modern manufacturers both here and abroad are as a rule more consistent, and though changes are made from time to time they are less frequent and are probably made with what is considered good reason. As has been stated earlier, the quality of workmanship in the guns now made in Spain is much improved, since the number of manufacturers has been reduced to three for automatics and to two for revolvers. And the same can be said for Belgium since the small shops have practically disappeared.
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