Letter C

The Definition of Collateral Damage

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Collateral Damage

Damage that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Shotgun Shell

The cartridge for a shotgun. It is also called a "shell," and its body is usually made of plastic (metal shotgun shells are very rare, paper shotgun shells are extinct) with a metal head. Small shotshells are also made for rifles and handguns and are often used for vermin control.

Thumb Safety

An external, manual safety which is typically disengaged with the firing-hand thumb.

Cordite

A family of smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom from 1889 to replace gunpowder as a military propellant. Like gunpowder, cordite is classified as a low explosive because of its slow burning rates and consequently low brisance. The hot gases produced by burning gunpowder or cordite generate sufficient pressure to propel a bullet or shell to its target, but not enough to destroy the barrel of the firearm, or gun.

Misfire

The condition of a cartridge not firing when an attempt to fire it is made. It can be caused by either a defective cartridge or a defective firearm. The term is frequently misused to indicate a Negligent Discharge of a firearm.

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.

Trigger Jerk

Yanking the trigger back abruptly, thus pulling the muzzle of the gun downward at the moment the shot fires.

Dram

A unit of measure traditionally used for black powder shotgun charges. Today, used for smokeless powders on the basis of the new propellant's equivalent performance to that weight of black powder. Thus, a shotgun shell marked 3 - 1 1/8 would be loaded with the smokeless powder equivalent of 3 drams of black powder, and with 1 ounce of shot. 1 Dram = 1/16 ounce = 437.5 grains.

Open Frame

Refers to a revolver frame that has no top-strap over the cylinder.

Underbolts

A sliding bar, running longitudinally through the watertable of a break-open side-by-side gun's action, with openings through which the lumps of the barrels pass when the gun is closed. Under spring tension, this bar moves forward when the opening control is released and its two locking surfaces engage complementary slots (bites) in the rear of the two barrel lumps. Originally operated by a hinged tab in front of the trigger guard. Now invariably operated by a cam from Scott's [toplever] spindle. Most modern side-by-side guns lock closed in this manner.

Dum-Dum

A bullet designed to expand on impact, increasing in diameter to limit penetration and/or produce a larger diameter wound. The two typical designs are the hollow point bullet and the soft point bullet. Expanding bullets were given the name Dum-dum, or dumdum, after an early British example produced in the Dum Dum Arsenal, near Calcutta, India by Captain Neville Bertie-Clay in the the mid-1870s. Modern sef-defensive, JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point), ammunition are based on the original dum-dum ammunition design and principles.

Kick

Slang for Recoil.

Knuckle

The curved, forward end of the bar of a break-open firearm's action, about which the mounted forend iron revolves downward. This area should be kept lightly greased to avoid galling the bearing surfaces.

Ambi

Short for the word Ambidextrous. Meaning that a feature of a firearms can be used by either hand, for example ambi-safety, ambi slide catch or ambi mag release.

Action

The working mechanism of a firearm involved with presenting the cartridge for firing, and in removing the spent casing and introducing a fresh cartridge. For example some of the most common types of Actions are single, double, bolt, lever and pump.

Kentucky Rifle

Usually referred to as a Kentucky Long Rifle or simply Longrifle, the Kentucky Rifle is a flintlock rifle with a long barrel and short, crooked stock. It is widely believed to be a largely unique development of American rifles that was uncommon in European rifles of the same period. The Kentucky Long Rifleis an early example of a firearm using rifling, (spiral grooves in the bore). This gave the projectile, commonly a round lead ball, a spiraling motion, increasing the stability of the trajectory. Rifled firearms saw their first major combat usage in the American colonies during the Seven Years war, and later the American Revolution in the eighteenth century.

Short Trigger

A trigger that doesn't have to travel very far before it reaches the break. In a 1911 semi-auto pistol, a short trigger is a different part than a long trigger, and (in addition to providing less motion) it features a shorter reach which may be of benefit to a small-handed shooter.

Crosshairs

The cross-shaped object seen in the center of a firearm scope. Its more-proper name is reticle.

Grip

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

Benchrest

A device used (usually set on a counter) to support a shooters arms and/or hands to help make steadier shots.

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