Letter B

The Definition of Base Wad

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Base Wad

The paper filler at the rear of the powder charge of the shotgun shell.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Boresight (Bore Sight)

Crude adjustments made to an optical firearm sight, or iron sights, to align the firearm barrel and sights. This method is usually used to pre-align the sights, which makes zeroing (zero drop at XX distance) much faster.

Pump Action

A type of mechanism for removing a spent shell casing from the chamber of a firearm and inserting a fresh cartridge into the chamber. This type of mechanism is most commonly used in shotguns and rimfire rifles.

Duelling Pistols

Single shot pistols, of a design originating in England, in vogue circa 1770 - 1850, built necessarily in pairs, either of flintlock or percussion ignition, usually finely made and cased together with loading accessories. Dueling pistols tended to be lighter and sleeker than their contemporary service pistols. They tended to have smoothbore (or sometimes secret, scratch-rifling), octagon (or octagon-to-round) barrels around nine or ten inches long of some form of damascus steel, bores just over a half-inch, ramrods, rudimentary sights front and rear, single-set triggers, roller-bearing frizzens and curved grips integral with full or half-stocks. They were usually of high quality construction, sometimes with silver furniture, but normally of relatively plain decoration.

Pan

The small dished container located on the side or top of a matchlock, wheel-lock or flintlock forearm used to hold the priming powder charge.

NFA

National Firearms Act of 1934. Enacted on June 26, 1934, currently codified as amended as I.R.C. ch. 53, is an Act of Congress in the United States that, in general, imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms and mandates the registration of those firearms. The Act was passed shortly after the repeal of Prohibition. The NFA is also referred to as Title II of the Federal firearms laws.
The NFA includes:

  • Requires the registration of all fully automatic firearms.
  • Requires the registration of all "sawed off" rifles and shotguns.
  • Requires the registration of firearm silencers.
  • Imposes a $200 transfer tax on the above items.

Can

Slang term for a firearm sound suppressor.

Mainspring

A strong spring which activates the striker or hammer of a firearm.

SP

Abbreviation for soft point

Gape

The degree to which the barrel(s) of a break-open gun drop down; the size of the opening space, which should be sufficient to allow for ease of loading, unloading and properly-functioning ejection. A good gape is easier to achieve on a side-by-side than an over & under where the bottom barrel is well-enclosed by the action body.

Cartridge Overall Length

This is the maximum overall length the cartridge can be (and is expected to be) in order to function properly in magazines and the mag well of a bolt action rifle.

Monoblock Barrels

A method of building a pair of barrels where the entire breech end of both barrels and the lumps together are machined from one solid piece of steel. The barrel tubes are then fitted separately into this monoblock and the ribs attached. Often identifiable by a distinctive ring around the barrels about three inches in front of the breech end. The favored jointing method of the Beretta company. An incorrect euphemism for sleeved barrels.

Boattail

The tapered rear end of a bullet. This design is used to increase ballistic efficiency at long range.

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.

Trajectory

The arc described by a projectile (or a load of shot) after it exits the muzzle of a firearm. Falling objects accelerate downwards at a rate of 32 feet per second, per second. The faster a projectile travels, the greater the distance it can cover in a given time before dropping too far. Hence, the higher the velocity of a bullet, the flatter the trajectory it will achieve.

Pistol Grip

The handle on a pistol. Can also refer to a vertical grip behind the trigger on a rifle.

Down Range

The area of a gun range where firearms are pointed when they are fired. The area of the range forward of the firing line.

Riot Gun

A popular term for a short barreled repeating shotgun as frequently used in law enforcement and personal protection.

Sight Radius

The distance between the rear sight and the front sight. As a longer lever provides greater mechanical advantage, the greater the distance between the two sights, the more inherently accurate they will be.

Internal Trigger Lock

A internal locking device built into a firearm, usually operated with a key, to render it unable to be fired. A good example of a internal trigger lock are the ones found on the semi-automatic pistols manufactured by Bersa.