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

Igniting Charge

The charge used to ignite the propelling charge.

Gas Vent

A passage built into a firearm to allow the safe conduct of unexpected gas, as from a pierced primer, to minimize damage both to the gun and to the shooter.

Closed Bolt Firing System

A type of firearm in which the action is closed, with a cartridge in the chamber prior to firing. When the trigger is pressed the cartridge is fired, and the action cycles loading another cartridge into chamber and when firing is stopped the bolt remains closed and the chamber remains loaded.

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.

Terminal Ballistics

A sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior of a projectile when it hits its target.

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.

Underhammer

A type of lock in which the hammer pivots in a vertical arc, striking the nipple on the underside of the barrel. Since the nipple's flash channel goes straight into the powder at the breech end of the barrel, ignition time is very fast. For this reason, and because it gets the hammer out of the way, underhammer locks are commonly used on muzzleloading benchrest rifles which are used for target shooting, and where accuracy is the goal.

Three Rules

The NRA teaches the Three Basic Rules of Safe Gun Handling. There are additional rules, but these are the three that if any two are followed, nobody will be hurt. However, obviously, all three should always be followed.

Rule One: ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
Rule Two: ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
Rule Three: ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
The NRA established these three rules in 1871. They were created to be easy to understand and remember, ensuring the highest possible level of firearm safety.
See also The Four Rules

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.

Bersa

A firearms manufacturer located in the city of Ramos Mejia in Argentina. The company was founded in the mid-1950s by Italian immigrants Benso Bonadimani, Ercole Montini and Savino Caselli, all of them mechanical engineers with experience working for Beretta. Bersa is most famous for their Bersa Thunder .380 pistols and the Thunder Ultra Compact Pro Pistols (available in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 acp). The full size Thunder combat (Thunder 9) pistol is the standard sidearm of the Argentina Armed Forces, Buenos Aires Provincial Police and several other law enforcement agencies in South America. The company is well known among firearm enthusiasts for producing high quality guns at reasonable prices and it spends little money on advertisement. Lifetime warranty coverage is provided to the original owners. They are strong and well built, nicely engineered, accurate, visually appealing and very reliable.

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.

Parkerizing

A chemical phosphate process developed during the second world war to provide an economical, durable and non-reflective surface finish to military firearms.

Over-Under

Can also be spelled Over/Under, OverUnder or Over and Under. A firearm (most commonly a shotgun) with two barrels that are vertically aligned with each other, one on top of the other.

Grip

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

Snap Shot

A quick shot taken without deliberate aim.

Cannelure

A groove or indention around the circumference of a bullet. Its purpose is to permit the cartridge casing to be crimped tightly against the bullet shank to hold it firmly to the casing. A groove or indention around the circumference of a bullet. Its purpose is to permit the cartridge casing to be crimped tightly against the bullet shank to hold it firmly to the casing.

Chapman Stance

The Chapman stance uses the same push-pull tension which defines the Weaver, but instead of both elbows being bent, the gun side elbow is held straight and locked in place. Assuming a right-handed shooter, the right arm is punched straight out, while the left elbow is bent and the left hand pulls back to provide tension. As a result of this change, Chapman gets its stability from both muscle and skeletal support. This makes it a little more friendly than Weaver for those who lack upper-body muscle strength.

Curio and Relic

Firearms which are of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than is associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons. To be recognized as curios or relics, firearms must fall within one of the following categories:

  1. Firearms which were manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof;
  2. Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and
  3. Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event. Proof of qualification of a particular firearm under this category may be established by evidence of present value and evidence that like firearms are not available except as collector's items, or that the value of like firearms available in ordinary channels is substantially less.
A special Curios or Relics license is available from the BATF, which allows collectors to buy eligible firearms in interstate commerce.

Doglock

The lock that preceded the 'true' flintlock in both rifles and pistols in the 17th century. Commonly used throughout Europe in the 1600s, it gained popular favor in the British and Dutch military. A doglock carbine was the principal weapon of the harquebusier, the most numerous type of cavalry in the armies of Thirty Years War and the English Civil War era.

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