single-barreled water-cooled machine gun, 1885 (Maxim gun), named for inventor, U.S.-born British engineer Sir Hiram S. Maxim (1840-1916).
1752, of a gun, "to fail in firing;" by 1893 of an internal combustion engine; see mis- (1) "badly, wrongly" + fire (v.). Perhaps the first element is miss (v.); to miss fire, of a gun, is attested by 1727. Related: Misfired; misfiring. Figurative use by 1942. The noun is attested from 1839 in reference to a gun or cannon.
in gun-making, "to cut spiral grooves in" (the bore of a gun barrel), 1630s, probably from French rifler, from Old French rifler "to scratch or groove" (see rifle (v.1)). Related: Rifled; rifling.