Letter C

The Definition of Cover Hold

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19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


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

Bandolier

A pocketed belt for holding ammunition and cartridges. It was usually slung over the chest. Bandoliers are now rare because most military arms use magazines which are not well-suited to being stored in such a manner. They are, however, still commonly used with shotguns, as individual 12 gauge shells can easily be stored in traditionally designed bandoliers.

Leading

Fouling of a firearm bore by metal particles from bullets adhering to the metal surface caused by heat or friction.

Extended Top Tang

A display of gunmaking skill with a possible benefit of strengthening the wrist of a heavily-recoiling rifle, whereby the top tang of the action is made extra long, shaped and inletted into the top of the buttstock, extending along the top of the wrist and up over the comb. Popularized by Holland & Holland and adopted by several of the finest contemporary riflemakers in the USA.

Zero

A firearm is said to be "zeroed in" when its sights have been adjusted so that the bullet will hit the center of the target when the sights are properly aligned upon the center of the target. The farthest distance from a firearm at which the bullet's path and the point of aim coincide. This term is also used to mean the process of insuring that the sights of a firearm are properly aligned so that where they indicate the bullet will strike is in fact where it strikes.

Touchmark

A craftsman's signature stamp, discretely placed to identify his work.

Gun

A firearm.

Field Gun

A shotgun, generally stocked to shoot where it is pointed and of relatively light weight because one often carries it a great distance for upland birds, the consequent recoil not being an important factor because one actually shoots it very little.

Frontstrap

Front, metal, part of a handgun's grip, which together with the backstrap, provides a mounting frame for the grip panels.

Percussion Cap

A small metal explosive-filled cup which is placed over the nipple of a percussion firearm. As the cap is struck by the hammer, it explodes and sends a flame through the flashhole in the nipple to the main powder charge.

Touch Hole

A small orifice at the breech end of the barrel of a muzzle-loading firearm through which the exploding priming charge is conducted from the flash pan to the main charge.

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.

Receiver Ring

The portion of the receiver which is threaded so the barrel can be attached to it.

Trigger Slap

An uncomfortable sensation caused by the trigger springing back into the shooter's trigger finger while firing.

Trap Gun

A shotgun, often with only a single relatively-long barrel, with relatively tight choke boring and a relatively high-combed stock used for shooting clay pigeons in the game of Trap, where the birds are launched at least 16 yards ahead, usually rising and going away from the shooter at relatively low angular velocity. To better absorb recoil, a trap gun is normally heavier than a field gun because one shoots a lot but walks only a little.

Primer Pocket

The counter bore in the center of the base of a centerfire cartridge casing in which the primer assembly is seated.

Six Gun

A slang term for a revolver that holds siz rounds. Usually referring to cowboy style revolvers.

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.

Gloaming Sight

A second, folding or pop-up front sight bead of larger than usual size, perhaps not as accurate as a normal fine bead, but easier to see in the gloaming (twilight) or dawn.