Firearms Definitions You Need To Know

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Captive Ramrod

A rod, for loading and/or cleaning a muzzle-loading firearm (usually a pistol) that is permanently connected to the gun by some sort of swivel, so as to be easily utilized, but never lost.

Brass

The term used for the casing on modern rifle and pistol ammunition. It is usually made out of brass but can also be aluminum or steel. The casing on a shotgun shell is usually refered to as a hull

Stance

How the shooter positions her body while shooting. The three most widely used handgun stances are Weaver, Isosceles and Chapman stance.

Cover Hold

Sometimes also known as cover-up hold. A sight picture of when the center of the target is completely covered by the front sight when the sights are properly aligned. Also see center hold and six o'clock hold.

Die

A piece of tooling used to form a sequence of uniform parts through the use of heat and/or pressure; especially, in firearms terminology used to form brass cartridge cases accurately to their correct size for reloading.

Match Grade

A higher quality item used to increase accuracy, generally used for competition in a match. Match grade ammo and barrels are the most common improvements made to a firearm to improve accuracy for competition.

Double-Base Powder

A rapidly burning powder made by absorbing nitroglycerine into nitrocellulose (guncotton).

Right To Bear Arms

The unalienable right of all of the people, stated in the Second Article of The Bill of Rights, to possess and use personally owned firearms for sport, recreation, personal protection, and the defense of the nation.

Ear Plugs

Hearing protection that fits inside the ear canal.

Fixed Ammunition

A complete cartridge of several obsolete types and of today's rimfire and center-fire versions

Trigger Jerk

Yanking the trigger back abruptly, thus pulling the muzzle of the gun downward at the moment the shot fires.

X-Frame

The frame designation that Smith and Wesson uses for their extra large framed revolvers like the S&W Model 500 and S&W 460XVR

Mirage

A tendency for layers of air of different temperatures near the warm ground to cause refraction in the line of sight and disturbance of the perceived point of aim.

Flintlock

A system of firearms ignition, in general use circa 1660 - 1825, whereby the pull of a trigger releases a sear from a notch in a spring-loaded hammer, which holding a properly knapped piece of flint, strikes a vertical slab of steel (called a frizzen) scraping off tiny molten particles of the steel, and pushing it forward causes an integral flashpan cover to open forward, exposing a bit of fine gunpowder below, which when contacted by the falling sparks, ignites and sends a flash of fire through the touchhole, into the loaded breech setting off the main charge and firing the gun. The Flintlock system was supplanted by the Percussion system around 1820.

Parabellum

Latin word meaning "for war." It is actually the proper name of the semiautomatic pistol commonly known in the USA as the "Luger. Because of that pistol and the ammunition created for it, the common 9mm cartridge used nowadays is also known as 9mm Parabellum or 9mm Luger."

Ogive

A type of curve represented by the curved section of a bullet between its bearing surface and its tip.

Automatic

A type of firearm which, utilizing some of the recoil or some of the expanding-gas energy from the firing cartridge, cycles the action to eject the spent shell, to chamber a fresh one from a magazine, to cock the mainspring and to fire again. Such a firearm will fire continuously as long as the trigger is held back, until the magazine is empty. A machine gun. A firearm thus activated, but which shoots only one bullet with each separate pull of the trigger, while often erroneously referred to as "automatic" is properly termed Semi-Automatic.

Percussion Cap

A small metal explosive-filled cup which is placed over the nipple of a percussion firearm. As the cap is struck by the hammer, it explodes and sends a flame through the flashhole in the nipple to the main powder charge.

LMG

Abbreviation for Light Machine Gun

Trap

A game of competitive clay pigeon shooting on a formally designed layout. In plan view, one launching machine is located 16 yards in front of a straight line, firing rising targets perpendicular to and away from that line. Five competitors shoot five individual targets at each of five stations along that line. Although each target is presented at slightly randomized vectors, trap emphasizes generally a single type of shot, outgoing and rising, and targets are broken at generally longer ranges than Skeet.

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