Letter A

The Definition of Adjustable Stock

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Adjustable Stock

The stock is the wooden, polymer, or metal handle of a long gun that extends from the trigger back to where the gun is braced against the shoulder. An adjustable stock is one that can be easily lengthened or shortened to fit shooters of different sizes.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Recoil Lug

A stout flange, invariably incorporated into the underside of the front receiver ring of a bolt action, and also frequently incorporated into the underside of the barrel of a heavily-recoiling rifle, which when properly bedded, transfers recoil to the stock.

Aperture Sight

Also known as peep sights, range from the ghost ring sight, whose thin ring blurs to near invisibility (hence ghost), to target aperture sights that use large disks or other occluders with pinhole-sized apertures. In general, the thicker the ring, the more precise the sight, and the thinner the ring, the faster the sight.

Primer Ring

Refers to a visible dark ring created by the primers in centerfire ammunition around the firing pin hole in the frame after much use.

Kentucky Rifle

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.

Jam

A malfunction which locks up the gun so badly that tools are required in order to fix it. Sometimes used to denote a simple malfunction, but many people make a distinction between a complete jam and a simple malfunction.

Pepperbox

An early form of muzzle-loading revolver wherein, instead of the current practice of having one barrel mated to a multi-chambered rotating cylinder, multiple joined barrels revolve together around a central axis.

Sporting Clays

A shotgun shooting sport that combines elements of skeet and trap, and that is designed to simulate field conditions.

Frizzen

The part of a flintlock action that receives the blow of the flint-tipped hammer, which then yields tiny molten fragments of steel ,sparks, which fall into the flashpan, igniting the priming charge and thence, through the touchhole, the main charge.

Every Day Carry

Term used for a firearm that a person uses as their usual daily carry gun. It is also used to describe a gun that is good for carrying concealed on a regular basis. Factors for determining an EDC may include caliber, physical size, number of rounds, accuracy and/or other factors.

Cylindro Conoidal Bullet

A hollow base bullet, shaped so that, when fired, the bullet will expand and seal the bore. It was invented by Captain John Norton of the British 34th Regiment in 1832, after he examined the blow pipe arrows used by the natives in India and found that their base was formed of elastic locus pith, which by its expansion against the inner surface of the blow pipe prevented the escape of air past it.

Rail

A feature on some guns which allows various aftermarket accessories to be attached the firearm such as flashlights or lasers. On pistols, if equipped, the rail is on the underside of the frame below the barrel. On rifles, a rain can be found above or below the barrel, with AR type rifles, the forestock can be made of rails allowing all kinds of attachments in various positions.

Bolt Thrust

The amount of rearward force exerted by the propellant gases on the bolt or breech of a firearm action or breech when a projectile is fired. The applied force has both magnitude and direction, making it a vector quantity.

Self-Opening

Attribute of a break-open gun whereby the barrels drop down simply by pressing the toplever without muscling them open manually. The Holland & Holland system utilizes a coil spring within a cylindrical housing mounted just ahead of the forward lump to urge the barrels open. The Purdey system utilizes residual energy remaining in the mainspring after the gun has been fired. Both systems enable a shooter to load more quickly when birds are coming fast.

Ballistic Fingerprint

A fired case has marks upon it that it picked up from the extractor, ejector, and breechface of the gun when the shot went off. A bullet fired through a rifled barrel also has rifling marks unique to the barrel that launched it. A record of these marks, when stored in a central database, is called a ballistic fingerprint. Some states require this record to be made by law, so that individual guns can be located from bullets or casings found at the scene of a crime.

Mortar

An artillery piece used to fire shells over short ranges at very high trajectories.

Powder

The chemical propellant which is burned to produce the hot gases which send the projectile flying downrange.

Thumb Safety

An external, manual safety which is typically disengaged with the firing-hand thumb.

Lockplate

A metal plate on which the firing mechanism is mounted on percussion and earlier firearms.

Open Sights

A common type of iron sights in which the rear sight is an open-topped U or a V or a square-notch shape and with a blade type front sight, in contrast to the closed circle commonly found in aperture sights.

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