Letter V Firearms Glossary

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Varmint Gun

Usually a rifle, but not always. A small-caliber firearm or high-powered air gun primarily used for hunting non-native or non-game animals such as rats, squirrels, gophers, jackrabbits, marmots, groundhogs, porcupine, opossum, coyote, skunks, weasels, and other animals considered to be nuisance vermin destructive to native or domestic plants and animals.

VCCLEA

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. It is an act of Congress dealing with crime and law enforcement that became law in 1994. Of the sections of the bill, it included the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.

Velocity

The speed at which a projectile travels. Velocity is usually measured in feet per second or metres per second.


17 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Double-Base Powder

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

Knurled Surface

A metal surface which contains a pattern of ridges or beads.

Trigger Group

The entire collection of moving parts which work together to fire the gun when the trigger is pulled. It may include trigger springs, return springs, the trigger itself, the sear, disconnectors, and other parts.

Open Frame

Refers to a revolver frame that has no top-strap over the cylinder.

Pinfire

An early form of complete, self-contained cartridge. It included bullet, powder and ignition primer, all in one package. The primer was located towards the base of the cartridge, but completely internally. The pin, shaped like a little finishing nail, pointed on the inside end and resting on the internal primer, projected radially about a quarter-inch to the outside of the base of the cartridge. When loaded, a pinfire gun showed the tips of the pins exposed through small slots in the tops of the breech faces of the barrels. To fire, hammers fell on the pins, driving them (through the wall of the cartridge) into the internal primer.

Jacket

A metal, usually copper, wrapped around a lead core to form a bullet.

Snub-Nose

Slang word for short barreled revolver.

Grip Safety

A passive, external safety typically located on the backstrap, which must be fully depressed to release the trigger. Most 1911-pattern pistols feature a grip safety.

Multi-Barreled

A gun with more than one barrel, the most common being the double-barreled shotgun.

Cocked

A state of readiness of a firearm. The hammer (or similar mechanism if there is no hammer) only needs to be released by the trigger to cause the gun to fire.

Casehardening

A heat-treating process that incorporates carbon into the surface molecular structure of the steel, providing a hard-wearing surface without making the entire receiver brittle. The parts to be casehardened are packed in a crucible with carbon-rich media such as bone meal and charcoal, heated to bright orange, about 1800F, then quenched in bubbling oil. Also called Carbonizing.

Delayed Blowback

A self-loading firearm whose breechblock and barrel are not positively locked together, but which incorporates a mechanism which initially restricts the breechblock from moving when fired, delaying its opening.

Bandolier

A pocketed belt for holding ammunition and cartridges. It was usually slung over the chest. Bandoliers are now rare because most military arms use magazines which are not well-suited to being stored in such a manner. They are, however, still commonly used with shotguns, as individual 12 gauge shells can easily be stored in traditionally designed bandoliers.

Semi-Wadcutter

A bullet design featuring a conical extended nose, with a flat point, and a sharp edged shoulder that serves to cut a full diameter hole in the target. This design also may be found with a hollow point to facilitate expansion. A modified wadcutter bullet design with slightly sloping edges, designed to load smoothly in a semi-automatic pistol.

Casing

Also known as a Case. The envelope (container) of a cartridge. For rifles and handguns it is usually of brass or other metal; for shotguns it is usually of paper or plastic with a metal head and is more often called a "shell."

Saturday Night Special

A slang term for a small inexpensive handgun. Saturday night specials have been defined as compact, inexpensive, small-caliber handguns with perceived low quality; however, there is no official definition of "Saturday night special" under federal law, though some states define "Saturday night specials" or "junk guns" by means of composition or materials strength. Low cost and high availability make these weapons attractive to many buyers despite their shortcomings.

Topstrap

The part of a revolver's frame connecting the recoil shield to the barrel-mounting recess; adding considerable strength compared to that of early black powder Colt revolvers, and providing a base for a rear sight.

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