Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/166

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

The cost of a single discharge thus exceeds five hundred dollars. But this is not all. So great is the wear and tear of each discharge PSM V51 D166 Sectional diagram of gun barrel expansion.pngSectional Diagram, showing compression of tube and extension of hoops after assemblage of the component parts of a gun. upon the hundred and fifty rounds the gun becomes unfit for further use until it is relined by the insertion of a new rifled tube within the original tube, the old rifling having been removed. The gun will then stand two hundred and fifty more rounds. Assuming six hundred rounds for the entire life of the gun, each round thus costs one hundred dollars in wear and tear, in addition to the five hundred dollars' worth of material used in loading. Such a gun as this is but single small element in the cost of a modern war. Several of them, besides a number of smaller guns, are usually placed on every large armor-clad battle ship. The cost of this with its equipment mounts up into millions of dollars. Nevertheless, it has been necessary to coin into our language the word "jingo," to designate the bragging noncombatant who clamors for war because of the fancied stimulus which it is supposed to give to patriotism and prosperity. On comparing this gun with the largest Parrott rifle of thirty years ago we see that its length is more than three times, its weight nearly five times, and its cost thirteen times as great. For the cast-iron Parrott gun the charge of powder weighed about one tenth as much as the projectile. For the modern steel gun this ratio is raised to one half, with corresponding increase of destructive energy.