Gun and Snake Alphabets Project

Tom McIntyre writes:

“Here’s a school project, if you’re game (might even work into a blog post).

“Enter my great-nephew, age 7. On a recent visit, unbidden, he asked me to create a “Snake Alphabet” (why an alphabet, I’m not sure) for him. So I did, as best as I, a non-herpetologist, could… His task is, eventually, to look up all these serpents and learn about them.

‘On the phone today, my niece, Leila, tells me that Jack, the great-nephew, has the snake alphabet taped over his bed’s headboard. And now, again without any prompting from me, he’s requested a “Gun Alphabet.”

“I have put together the following incomplete list, pasted below. I wanted to use iconic firearms, rather than simple brand names (“Mossberg” 12 gauge for M, for example, rather than Musket, which was my selection), unless the names themselves are iconic (Colt, Winchester, etc.)

“Anyway, I am sure you get the idea, here. So I am openly soliciting any firearms you graciously might think of to fill the blanks, or that you consider superior to ones already on the list. Again, maybe something you can open up to input on your blog…

“Do it for the children.”

My response, a couple of blurry illo examples, and his incomplete list follow– snakes to come, suggestions, including replacements encouraged. Anybody have an “X”?

“O; If you don’t want generics like “over and under” I would suggest Orgue de Bombardes, an “organ of cannons” or multiple cannon platform, horse drawn, used in the middle ages. The one I have a picture of has dragons on each side of the cannon mounts and shields for the gunners.

“Q: Queen Anne pistol. Geoffrey Boothroyd says these early 1700’s flintlocks “had evolved into perhaps the most attractive type of pistol ever made in this country.” Pics should be readily available — I probably have more than one source myself.

“U: Greener UNIQUE, a famous and eccentric boxlock double gun design obviously different to anyone’s eye and still occasionally used in their highest-end guns. I have a photo of a very ornate one.

“Z: I think the most interesting possibility is the rare Remington Elliot “Z” Derringer of 1861/2.

“I will cogitate some on X [Arthur?] and more vivid or specific substitutes for such as “side by side”. For instance, if you used the weird Remington Derringer, you might use something like “Darne” for D instead of the generic Derringer.”

Tom’s list (snakes later, above):

“Brown Bess,” Land Pattern .75 Caliber
Colt Paterson Revolver
Evans Repeating Rifle
Flintlock Rifle
Gatling Gun
Howdah Pistol
Infanteriegewehr M.98 Rifle
Jäger Rifle
Krag-Jørgensen .30 Army Rifle
Lee-Enfield Mk I Rifle
Nitro Express Rifle
Punt Gun
Ruger Blackhawk Single Six
Side-by-Side Shotgun
Thompson Submachine Gun
Volcanic Repeating Arms Pistol .41 Caliber, 1856
Winchester Model 70 .270 Winchester Centerfire, pre-’64
“Yellow Boy” Henry Rifle, .44 Henry Rimfire,

11 thoughts on “Gun and Snake Alphabets Project”

  1. "J" is for jezail

    "K" is for krinkov, one of the weirder weapon nicknames, etymologically. These stubby Kalashnikov variants were first used in combat in Afghanistan, and the mujahadeen there took an immediate liking to them. For reasons that are entirely unclear, they named them "Krinkov." This nickname was picked up by someone (CIA spook perhaps) and is now the accepted English nickname for ultra-stubby Kalashnikov variants. The Russian nickname is "suchka." (I'm sure Steve can translate that!)

    "X" is for X-frame revolver; the biggest (silliest) and the most powerful production revolvers.

    "Z" is for ZH-29; an early semiautomatic combat rifle made in Czechoslovakia. Used by Nationalist Chinese and Haile Selassie's bodyguards and other doomed, romatic causes of the early 20th century.

  2. For a little kid, you don't want to give him more gun than he can handle yet, so for alphabetical's sake, I'd use "Pop Gun" for "P's"(the gun I'm personally most accurate with), and of COURSE "BB Gun"(another possibility for the "B's")–the first real gun most of us ever have!

  3. I believe the nickname "yellow boy" is more commonly applied to the '66 Winchester than the Henry, although both have brass-colored receiver plates.


Leave a Comment