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Richard Jordan Gatling



Richard Jordan Gatling
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.06

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cannon-sized, steam-cleaners, reloaded, ignite, devise, trigger, prime, ammunition, midst, shaft, design, propeller, inventor, obsolete, gunpowder, affair
     content words:    Richard Jordan Gatling, Richard Gatling, North Carolina, Jordan Gatling, Gatling Gun Company, Civil War, Union General Benjamin Butler, Both Union, Colt Company, New York City
Richard Jordan Gatling

By Jane Runyon
1     Do you know much about rifles? You may know that they are used to shoot bullets. They can be used to kill prey from a long distance. The hunter does not have to be face to face with what he is hunting. In war, rifles make it easier for soldiers to fire from behind some form of protection. There was one major problem with early rifles, however. Most of them shot just one round of ammunition at a time. And the process used to load that round into the rifle could be a long, drawn-out affair.
 
2     Consider these steps an early pioneer had to follow in order to fire his muzzleloading rifle just once. First he had to check the bore, or hole in the barrel, to make sure it was clear. If it was, then he would pour a measured amount of black gunpowder into the barrel. He would follow the gunpowder with a patch, or small piece of cloth. Then he would put the lead ball, or shot, into the barrel. To make sure the ball got started into the barrel, he would hit it once with a rod called a starter. To make sure that the ball was set firmly against the gunpowder, he would then use a long ramrod to reach to the end of the barrel. When the shot was set, he would prime the trigger with a small amount of flash powder or a priming cap. When all preparations were complete, he would pull back the flint trigger, which would create a spark. This spark would ignite the powder at the bottom of the barrel and fire the lead ball.
 
3     Richard Jordan Gatling decided that there had to be an easier way to fire a rifle. His curiosity and inventiveness changed the way rifles could be used. It also changed the face of war.

Paragraphs 4 to 10:
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Reading Comprehension
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