AskDefine | Define gunmetal

Dictionary Definition

gunmetal n : a type of bronze used for parts subject to wear or corrosion (especially corrosion by sea water)

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. an alloy of 88% copper, 10% tin and 2% zinc, originally used for making guns
  2. a dark grey colour

Alternative spellings

Extensive Definition

Gunmetal is a type of bronze – an alloy of copper, tin, and zinc. Originally used chiefly for making guns, gunmetal was superseded by steel. It is called red brass in America. Gunmetal is resistant to corrosion from steam and salt water, and is thus suitable for valves, pump parts and steam fittings.
Gunmetals produced for different purposes vary slightly in composition. In some cases, the alloy may be composed only from copper and tin, or from copper, tin, and lead. It has many uses in industry, and is used for statues and various small objects, e.g. buttons. U.S. Government bronze specification G is a gunmetal composed of 88% copper, 10% tin, and 2% zinc. U.S. Government bronze specification H is composed of 83% copper, 14% tin, 3% zinc, and 0.8% phosphorus.
Gunmetal can also mean steel treated to simulate gunmetal bronze. Brushes made of this metal are used in machinery.
Gunmetal is also a name for a shade of matte gray/silver, also known as "machine finish".

Other uses

The British Victoria Cross, the highest award for military valour, is said to be made using metal from a cannon captured at the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War, and is supposedly made of gunmetal.


gunmetal in Danish: Gunmetal
gunmetal in Japanese: 砲金
gunmetal in Norwegian: Gunmetall
gunmetal in Polish: Spiż
gunmetal in Swedish: Kanonmetall
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