Going great guns

John Huntjens: I am looking for the origin of the phrase 'going great guns'.

Frank Pierce: The term was in use in the US Navy in the 1880's referring to the major-caliber deck guns. These were colloqually and officially referred to as "the Great Guns" The appending of the word "great" is interesting. A direct quote from a diary of the period: "Today we test the Great Guns."

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