Letter B

The Definition of Black Powder

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Black Powder

Also known as Gun Powder. A mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate. It burns rapidly, producing a volume of hot gas made up of carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen, and a solid residue of potassium sulfide. Because of its burning properties and the amount of heat and gas volume that it generates, gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms and as a pyrotechnic composition in fireworks. Modern firearms do not use the traditional black powder described here, but instead use smokeless powder.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Double Feed

A malfunction in which the spent case fails to eject from a semi-automatic firearm and blocks the chamber. As the fresh round is brought forward it cannot enter the chamber. It is cleared by stripping the magazine from the gun, racking the slide several times to eject the spent case, and then reloading.

Grip

The portion of the stock (on a rifle) or frame (on a pistol) gripped by the trigger hand.

Pistol Grip

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

Long Recoil

A semi-automatic pistol in which the barrel and breechblock are locked together for the full distance of rearward recoil travel, after which the barrel returns forward, while the breechblock is held back. After the barrel has fully returned, the breechblock is released to fly forward, chambering a fresh round in the process.

Eye Relief

The distance that equates the exit pupil size of a rifle scope's ocular lens to the entrance pupil of the user, in order to achieve the largest, unvignetted view. This distance must be sufficient to ensure that the ocular rim of the scope does not lacerate the shooter's eyebrow upon recoil. And, the scope should be positioned so that eye relief is suitable when the rifle is comfortably mounted.

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.

Minute Of Angle

A 1/60th part of a degree, the unit of measure used in adjusting rifle sights. As it turns out conveniently, a minute of angle translates almost exactly to one inch at 100 yards (actually 1.047 inches), to two inches at 200 yards and three inches at 300 yards

Cable Lock

A cable with a padlock at the end. It is threaded through the action of the firearm rendering the gun safe and useless until the lock is removed.

Mortar

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

Sight Alignment

The manner in which the sights are lined up properly in front of the shooter's eye, to form a straight path to the target.

Failure To Extract

A semi-automatic firearm malfunction in which the extractor fails to move the empty case out of the way as the slide travels back. A failure to extract often causes double-feed malfunction.

Port

An opening. The ejection port is the opening in the side of a semi-auto from which spent cases are ejected.

Holdopen Toplever

A catch built into the receiver of a break-open gun to keep the toplever in its extreme right position when the barrels are removed. This device makes it slightly easier to remount the barrels. As the barrels are mounted and the breech closed, the barrels contact some kind of release pin (marked with the arrow) and the toplever automatically returns to the center locked position. Because, however, it requires a separate act to find and to depress this tiny tab to re-center the toplever on a broken-down gun, this feature may be irritating when trying to put a gun away in its case.

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.

Neck

The forward portion of a bottlenecked cartridge case. Also the portion of a rifle chamber in which the neck of the cartridge case rests.

Slide Lock

A slang term for slide catch.

Magazine Pouch

Commonly shortened to mag pouch, this is a device to hold extra magazines which fastens to the shooter's belt.

Scope Blocks

A pair of small dovetailed steel bases, screwed usually one to the barrel and one to the front receiver ring of a rifle, to accept mounts for target scopes such as the Unertl where the scope is allowed to move forward in the rings under the recoil of the rifle and which typically carry the windage and elevation adjustments in the mount.

Follower

A smooth, sometimes contoured plate, within a magazine, at the top of a spring, across which cartridges slide when being loaded into a chamber.

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