Letter C

The Definition of Cal

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Cal

Abbreviation for Caliber.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Choke Tubes

Short, interchangeable cylinders, of subtly different internal tapers, that screw into a threaded recess at the muzzle of a shotgun. By inserting different choke tubes, one can alter the shot pattern thrown by the gun.

Blank

A type of cartridge for a firearm that contains gunpowder but no bullet or shot. When fired, the blank makes a flash and an explosive sound (report). Blanks are often used for simulation (such as in historical reenactments, theatre and movie special effects), training, and for signaling (see starting pistol). Blank cartridges differ from dummy cartridges and snap caps, which are used for training or function testing firearms; these contain no primer or gunpowder, and are inert.

OTM

Abbreviation for Open Tip Match.

Field Grade

A plain, functional, unembellished firearm used to hunt in rough terrain where one might prefer not to put a more expensive, deluxe grade gun at risk of damage.

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.

Toplever

A lever on a break-open gun mounted to the top of the receiver which, when pushed with the thumb (normally) to the right, operates (usually) a Scott Spindle, which in turn withdraws (usually) a Purdey Underbolt from the bites in the lumps of the barrels, allowing them to hinge downwards and the gun to open.

Checkering

A regular pattern of fine grooves cut into the surface of a stock to aid in gripping a gun. Originally done for utility only, checkering has become an art form in itself; craftsmen adorning the borders with ribbons, fleur-de-lys, floral carving, etc. The amount of coverage, the precise regularity, and the number of lines per inch indicate the quality of the work. Too-fine checkering, however, defeats the purpose of the work altogether.

Jump

The amount of change in the bore axis, measured both vertically and horizontally, while the projectile moves from the chamber to the muzzle when it is fired.

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.

Bolt

The mechanism of some firearms that holds the cartridge in place during the firing process. It must be moved out of the way to load and unload the gun; this action may be manually performed by the shooter pulling back on an exterior knob called the bolt handle and then sending it forward again, or the action may be performed by other moving parts within the firearm. When the user must move the bolt manually, the firearm is called a bolt-action firearm.

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.

DA

Abbreviation for Double Action

Laser Sight

A laser sight is an alternative sighting device which enables the shooter to quickly and accurately see where the firearm is aimed even when lighting or other conditions prevent using the gun's normal sights. Lasers may be located within the grips, hung from accessory rails at the front end of the gun, or placed within the firearm.

Stalking Safety

A safety catch fitted to a hammer gun where a sliding bar moves into a slot in the inner wall of the hammer base, locking it in place in the cocked position. The safety can then be released silently by sliding the tab, avoiding the game-startling sound of the hammer cocking.

DT

Abbreviation for Double Triggers

Slide Lock

A slang term for slide catch.

Mainspring

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

Energy

The amount of work done by a bullet, expressed in foot pounds.

Muzzle Velocity

The speed of a projectile or a load of shot at the point that it exits the muzzle of a firearm, normally expressed feet per second.