Letter C

The Definition of Cast Off

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Cast Off

An offset of a gun stock to the right, so that the line of sight aligns comfortably with the right eye while the butt of the stock rests comfortably on the right shoulder. Almost all right-handed shooters benefit from a little castoff and most custom built guns are made this way. The only question is how much. The castoff of a gun is about right when, with the gun comfortably mounted, the front bead lines up with the center of the standing breech.
A stock offset to the left, for shooting from the left shoulder is said to be

Lever Action

A type of firearm action which uses a lever located around the trigger guard area, (often including the trigger guard itself) to load fresh cartridges into the chamber of the barrel when the lever is worked.

Elevation

The setting on the sights of a firearm that controls the vertical placement and the altitude above mean sea level. This is important for long range precision shooting because the air density changes with elevation and affects the path of the bullet.

Nipple

A small metal tube extending through the breech of a percussion firearm through which the flame passes from the percussion cap to fire the powder charge.

Stock

The back part of a rifle or shotgun, excluding the receiver.

Furniture

Generally refers to the stock and fore-end of a rifle. Can sometimes also be applied to any detachable accessories like a flashlight.

Forend

One of the three major dismountable components of a break-open gun (the others being the barrel(s) and the action/buttstock) which secures the barrels to the receiver, often houses the ejector mechanism, and for some, provides a handle for the one's secondary hand.

Ear Muffs

Hearing protection that completely covers both ears and is usually attached to a headband.

M1911

The official US military designation for the Colt .45 semiautomatic pistol adopted by the US in 1911. The gun was designed by John Moses Browning, and produced by Colt. During trials, the Browning-Colt design beat out several competing designs, including one from Savage and a .45 caliber version of the German Parabellum ("Luger"). The M1911 saw its first combat in the Philippines and then in World War I. Early use showed that it could be improved and in 1921 the M1911A1 was introduced, which featured a few changes like a reocontoured frame, shorter trigger, and a rounded backstrap. The M1911A1 remained the standard US military handgun until it was replaced in the 1980's by the Beretta M9. However, it remains very popular with civilian shooters in the US, and has been modified extensively to update it to conform to more modern theories of handgun usage.

Single Shot

A firearm that is only capable of holding one shot at a time. Each round must be loaded into the chamber manually by hand before each shot.

Magazine Follower

Same as Follower. A plate, mounted to the top of a spring, inside a magazine, over which cartridges may slide smoothly as they are guided into the chamber of a repeating firearm.

Wound Trauma Incapacitation

The correct technical term for the ability of a projectile to incapacitate an animal or human shot with a firearm. Incorrectly called Stopping Power.

Straddle Floorplate

A hinged plate covering the bottom of a rifle magazine and extending rearward on either side of the triggerguard. This design allows it to be more securely fastened for one more imperceptible step towards total reliability.

Snap Caps

Dummy cartridges with spring-loaded "primers" used to test the mechanical functioning of a firearm, particularly the trigger pulls, hammer-fall and ejector-timing of a break-open gun. It is not advisable to dry-fire a break-open gun on an empty chamber. Hardened steel parts can shatter without the soft brass primer to act as a shock absorber. Snap caps cushion the blow of the hammer and firing-pin when the use of a live cartridge would be impractical.

Patch Box

Covered compartment in the buttstock of a muzzle-loading rifle used to carry patches or other small items.

LFX

Abbreviation for Live Fire Exercise

Long Gun

Another term for rifle.

Hammer Bite

The action of an external hammer pinching or poking the web of the operator's shooting hand between the thumb and fore-finger when the gun is fired.

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.

Rimfire

Helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis. This spin serves to gyroscopically stabilize the projectile, improving its aerodynamic stability and accuracy.