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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-09-11, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
Engindeer
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Default etymology of "boltgun"

The mind wanders and wonders...

What is the meaning behind the word 'bolt' in boltgun / bolter?

I found these various definitions:

1. A bar made of wood or metal that slides into a socket and is used to fasten doors and gates.
2. A metal bar or rod in the mechanism of a lock that is thrown or withdrawn by turning the key.
3. A fastener consisting of a threaded pin or rod with a head at one end, designed to be inserted through holes in assembled parts and secured by a mated nut that is tightened by applying torque.
4.
a. A sliding metal bar that positions the cartridge in breechloading rifles, closes the breech, and ejects the spent cartridge.
b. A similar device in any breech mechanism.
5. A short, heavy arrow with a thick head, used especially with a crossbow.
6. A flash of lightning; a thunderbolt.
7. A sudden or unexpected event: The announcement was a veritable bolt.
8. A sudden movement toward or away.
9. A large roll of cloth of a definite length, especially as it comes from the loom.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bolt

I can't grasp exactly which is the most fitting, but the most likely is probably 'bolt' as in 'crossbow bolt' - a metal arrow.

But then, the bolter shells aren't arrows - they're caseless rocket slugs!

What do you guys think?

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