Letter C

The Definition of Cylinder

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Cylinder

The part of a revolver that holds cartridges in separate chambers radially around a central hingepin. The cylinder revolves as the handgun is cocked, , either to the left or to the right depending on the gun maker's design, bringing each successive cartridge into position, and locked into alignment with the barrel for firing.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Island Rear Sight

A rear barrel sight base, more articulated than having the sight simply dovetailed into the barrel, but not requiring as much gunsmithing as having it mounted onto a proper quarter-rib.

Brady Law

Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 mandates background checks of gun buyers in order to prevent sales to people prohibited under the Gun Control Act of 1968 legislation. Requires checks to be performed through the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Records of who has been checked are not preserved because federal law prohibits the creation of a national registry of gun ownership. Sales by unlicensed private sellers who are not engaged in gun dealing as a business are not subject to the checks under federal law, though they are required by some states.

Ball

Originally used to describe the spherical projectile used in black powder firearms, now also used to refer to a fully jacketed bullet of cylindrical profile capped with a round nose

Trigger Scale

A specialized type of hanging scale designed to test trigger pull weight.

Velocity

The speed at which a projectile travels. Velocity is usually measured in feet per second or metres per second.

Short-Stroking

On a pump-action firearm, being too gentle with the fore-end and either not pulling it all the way back at the beginning of the stroke, or not shoving it all the way forward at the end of the stroke. Which may result in the old case or shell failing to eject and a misfeeds, or the gun will not fire when the trigger is pulled. The term is used most often to refer to pump-action shotguns, but it is possible to similarly short-stroke any type of firearm which requires the user to manually cycle the action (lever action rifles, for example).

Mainspring

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

Internal Trigger Lock

A internal locking device built into a firearm, usually operated with a key, to render it unable to be fired. A good example of a internal trigger lock are the ones found on the semi-automatic pistols manufactured by Bersa.

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.

Hood

Front sight hood. A hollow cylinder fitted to a rifle's front sight ramp, both to protect the delicate front sight bead from impact, and to shade it from oblique sunlight which could have the effect of altering the sight's apparent position.

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.

Magna

Smith & Wesson term for a revolver grip design introduced in the 1930s where the top of the grip extends higher than it had in earlier configurations, to provide a more comfortable hold.

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.

Upset Forging

A process that increases the diameter of a workpiece by compressing its length.

Crisp Trigger

A trigger that breaks (to release the hammer) easy.

Crane

A swing-out arm on a revolver, to which the cylinder is mounted when opened facilitates loading and cleaning.

Rimless

A cartridge in which the base diameter is the same as the body diameter. The casing will normally have an extraction groove machined around it near the base, creating a "rim" at the base that is the same diameter as the body diameter.

Double Action

An action type that when the trigger of a gun is pulled, the gun gets cocked and the hammer (or striker) is dropped. This applies to both revolvers and semi-automatic guns. On a double action revolver, when the trigger is pulled, the hammer is cocked before releasing. With a double-action semi-automatic pistol, the hammer does not have to be manually cocked (via actually pulling back the trigger or tracking the slide), the hammer (or striker) will be cocked while the trigger is being pulled. A firearm that only the hammer drops when the trigger is pulled is a single action gun.

Drift

The departure of a bullet or shot charge from the normal line of flight. This can be caused by wind or the unbalanced spinning of the bullet.