Letter K Firearms Glossary
Usually referred to as a Kentucky Long Rifle or simply Longrifle, the Kentucky Rifle is a flintlock rifle with a long barrel and short, crooked stock. It is widely believed to be a largely unique development of American rifles that was uncommon in European rifles of the same period.
The Kentucky Long Rifleis an early example of a firearm using rifling, (spiral grooves in the bore). This gave the projectile, commonly a round lead ball, a spiraling motion, increasing the stability of the trajectory.
Rifled firearms saw their first major combat usage in the American colonies during the Seven Years war, and later the American Revolution in the eighteenth century.
A horizontal wedge, press-fit through the forend of a vintage gun, through a lump
attached to the underside of the barrel and out the other side of the forend.
To secure the forend in position. Also called a crosspin or a wedge fastener.
The tendency of a bullet to tip in flight and hit a target sideways, leaving a distinctly oblong hole.
This destabilization of the spinning bullet in flight is typically caused by a bullet weight inappropriate
for the rate of twist of the rifled barrel, an out-of-balance bullet or its having nicked an impediment such as a blade of grass, in flight.
The curved, forward end of the bar of a break-open firearm's action, about which the mounted
forend iron revolves downward. This area should be kept lightly greased to avoid galling the bearing surfaces.
A metal surface which contains a pattern of ridges or beads.
German for "short." Seen as part of a cartridge designation. On some German manufactured guns that use .380 ACP, the designated caliber is 9mm Kurtz (9mm Short), which is also the same as the Italian 9mm Corto
13 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know
A sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior of a projectile when it hits its target.
An air gun that shoots a skirted pellet.
A small lever mounted to the cocking piece of a Mauser 98 action (and its copies such as the Springfield 1903),
rotating on a longitudinal axis from left (Fire), up to the top (Safe, but allowing bolt movement), and over to
the right (Bolt and firing pin locked Safe). While commendable for locking the firing pin instead of just the trigger,
its up-and-over arc of operation requires a scope to be mounted awkwardly high.
Paul Mauser is not to be blamed; when his safety was developed, telescopic sights were in such infancy as not to be worthy of mainstream consideration.
A specialized facility designed for firearms practice.
A shotgun, generally stocked to shoot where it is pointed and of relatively light weight because one often carries it a great distance for upland birds,
the consequent recoil not being an important factor because one actually shoots it very little.
Short, interchangeable cylinders, of
subtly different internal tapers, that screw into a threaded recess at the muzzle of a
shotgun. By inserting different choke tubes, one can alter the shot pattern thrown by the
A shotgun pattern with a hole in the middle generally caused by the interference of the top wad.
A type of steel round shot fired from air rifles. The name originated from the size of steel balls used in a shotgun of the same size (.177 caliber). In a 12 guage shotgun shell using BB size shot, there will be typically 90 BBs in a shell
A firing mode enabling the shooter to fire a predetermined number of rounds with a single pull of the trigger.
The correct technical term for the ability of a projectile to incapacitate an animal or human shot with a firearm. Incorrectly called Stopping Power.
Slang word abreviation for Ammunition.
A cartridge with a metallic case. (Early cartridge cases were made of linen, paper, etc.)
A small single-shot or multi-barreled pocket pistol. Derringers (spelled with two Rs) are called that because of the original desinger and anmufactuturer of that
type of gun, Henry Deringer. To get around copyright infringment other designers and manufacturers spell the name with two Rs.
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