The first gun was invented in China around 1000 CE. It was called a “fire lance,” a tube of bamboo attached to the tip of a spear that spewed fire and shrapnel at enemy soldiers. These had a very short range, and were provided with only a single shot—a sort of rudimentary combination flamethrower/shotgun that was used primarily as a form of shock tactic. These “guns” weren’t really meant to kill, but to surprise. This technology was advanced upon by the Heilongjiang hand cannon, the world’s oldest surviving firearm, which was not attached to any lance or spear, but used a metal barrel to shoot the projectile from its barrel and through the armor of the opposing soldier.
Gunpowder allegedly made its way to Europe along the Silk Road during the first half of the thirteenth century. Germanic, Italian, English, and Spanish knights are all depicted as using hand cannons throughout the late Middle Ages. But these firearms had to be fired by touching a lit match to the gunpowder itself, a process that required a soldier’s complete attention at the moment of firing. It was only in the first half of the fifteenth century that this changed, when the Ottoman army gave matchlock arquebuses to their elite infantry units. The arquebus is the direct ancestor of our contemporary handgun, using a slow-burning cord held in a clamp to facilitate the selective ignition of the powder. This was the first firearm to give you a choice as to when to fire. From this gun comes the musket, the flintlock pistol, the breech-loading rifle, everything up to the repeating firearms of the late 19th century. These weapons hold more than one cartridge and can be fired more than once before reloading. Some repeating fire-arms require mechanical removal of the cartridge casing, via a bolt or slide, while others use either recoil or gas to prepare the weapon for the next shot. Each process involves the movement of a number of tiny parts that are intrinsic to the gun’s proper functioning.
Take an extractor, for instance, which is the part of the firearm that removes the casing from the chamber. These can be found on bolt-action, lever-action, pump-action (basically any action), semi-automatic, and fully automatic firearms, where it pulls the casing to the rear of the chamber, at which point the casing makes contact with the ejector. The ejector propels the casing from the firearm, making room for the next cartridge to be loaded. Some firearms without ejectors, use extractors to pull the casing out of the chamber far enough that the user may manually extract it. When seen outside the firearm, an extractor typically looks like a small metal pin.
At Sarco Inc., we have a number of repeating, or semi-automatic gun parts for sale. From rifles to machine guns to pistols, Sarco Inc. has what you need to assemble your own Colt or Browning. Located at 50 Hilton St in Easton, PA, our showroom stocks over 2,000 firearms—products ranging from original militaria to new commercial tactical accessories—as well as countless gun parts for sale. Since Cholly Steen III began collecting rare guns and selling them on the gun show circuit, then expanding Sarcointo arguably the largest dealer of surplus war material in the country, we have continued out family focus on rare original firearms parts, while expanding into complete firearms, commercial firearms, accessories, militaria, re-enactment accoutrements and more. We provide retail and wholesale product on both the domestic and international levels. Contact us today at (610) 250-3960 to get started with your Sarco Inc. experience. We have been serving sportsmen, collectors, dealers and brokers for 50 years! No deal is too big or too small.