Letter A

The Definition of Action

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Action

The working mechanism of a firearm involved with presenting the cartridge for firing, and in removing the spent casing and introducing a fresh cartridge. For example some of the most common types of Actions are single, double, bolt, lever and pump.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Burst Mode

A firing mode enabling the shooter to fire a predetermined number of rounds with a single pull of the trigger.

Comb

The top of a gun's stock, where a shooter rests his cheek when mounting a gun. As it is the top of the stock that determines the position of one's eye, and one's eye is the rear sight on a shotgun, the position of the comb is very important in determining the proper fit of a shotgun.

Short Recoil

A semi-automatic pistol in which the barrel and breechblock are locked together for only a short distance of rearward recoil travel, at which point the two are uncoupled, the barrel is stopped and the breechblock continues rearward, extracting the spent casing from the chamber. Upon returning forward, the breechblock chambers a fresh round and forces the barrel back into its forward position. Most modern recoil operated semi-automatic pistols use short recoil.

Ammunition

The "packaged" components that are needed in order to fire in a case or shell holding a primer, (which produces the spark) a charge of propellant (gunpowder) and a projectile (bullets, slug or pellets.) Sometimes called "fixed ammunition" to differentiate from the individual components placed separately in muzzleloaders. A single unit of ammunition in modern firearms is called a cartridge. The units of measure for quantity of ammunition is rounds. There are hundreds of sizes of ammunition, examples include .223 Remington, 9mm Luger, 30.06, .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .50 Browning Machine Gun (BMG). The ammunition used must match the firearm.

Takedown

A firearm that can be separated into (at least) two subassemblies in order to make a shorter package than when put together, without tools. There is no specific requirement regarding how this disassembly must be accomplished; the mechanical design is up to the creativity of the maker. This arrangement allows for more convenient transportation of a firearm, but with rifles, where the action normally separates from the barrel, usually at a small sacrifice in accuracy. Takedown firearms can also be called take-apart firearms. Good examples of a takedown guns are the Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown or the TNW Aero.

Trigger Break

The point at which the trigger allows the hammer to fall, or releases the striker, so that the shot fires. The ideal trigger break is sudden and definite. "Like a glass rod" is the cliche term shooters use to describe the ideal crisp, clean break.

Tang

The recurved top part of a semi-automatic handgun's grip at the point where it meets the slide. On long guns, the tang is the top strap used to screw the receiver to the stock.

Gas Vent

A passage built into a firearm to allow the safe conduct of unexpected gas, as from a pierced primer, to minimize damage both to the gun and to the shooter.

Clicks

A unit of adjustment for a sight.

Pigeon Gun

A double-barrel shotgun, with relatively tight choke boring and a relatively high-combed stock used for shooting live pigeons (euphemistically known as flyers) which normally rise when released. To better absorb recoil, a pigeon gun is normally heavier than a field gun as one shoots heavy loads and walks only a little. Because of the inevitable expense of this shooting discipline, pigeon guns are often built to a high standard of quality and reliability in deluxe grades with highly figured walnut stocks and fine engraving.

Silhouette Shooting

A handgun or rifle shooting sport in which the competitors attempt to knock over metallic game-shaped targets at various ranges.

AK

AK stands for Avtomat Kalashnikova (Kalashnikov rifle when translated into English). When someone says "an AK" they are usually referring to the AK-47 rifle which was originally designed in Russia by Mikhail Kalashnikov.

Integral Lock

A built in lock that may prevent the firearm from being fired.

Damascus Barrels

Barrel tubes built up by twisting alternate strips of iron and steel around a fixed rod (mandrel) and forge-welding them together in varying combinations according to the intended quality and the skill of the maker. The rod was withdrawn, the interior reamed and the exterior filed until the finished tube was achieved. Damascus barrels may be recognized by any of a variety of twist or spiral patterns visible in the surface of the steel. Before the 20th century, barrels were typically built in this manner because gunmakers did not have the technology to drill a deep hole the full length of a bar of steel without coming out the side.

Model 70 Type Safety

A small lever mounted to the cocking piece of a Winchester Model 70 rifle, rotating on a vertical axis from front (Fire), halfway back (Safe, but allowing bolt movement), and fully back (Bolt and firing pin locked Safe). While, like the Mauser, commendable for locking the firing pin instead of just the trigger, its fore and aft movement is both easier to operate and it allows lower mounting of telescopic sights, reducing parallax between the line of sight and the line of the bore and increasing the range of distances for which the scope may be reliably sighted-in.

Jacket

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

SMLE

Abbreviation for Short Magazine Lee Enfield. The standard British Army rifle from around 1895 to 1957.

Doughnut Pattern

A shotgun pattern with a hole in the middle generally caused by the interference of the top wad.

Beavertail

A large piece of curved metal at the top of the grip on a pistol which protects the user's hand from getting "bitten" by the hammer or slide. It is nearly always the top part of the grip safety commonly found on many 1911-style pistols.

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