Letter G

The Definition of Gunpowder

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Gunpowder

Also called black powder, gunpowder is 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. The term gunpowder also refers broadly to any propellant powder. Modern firearms do not use the traditional gunpowder (black powder) described here, but instead use smokeless powder.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


High Brass

By convention, powerfully loaded shotgun cartridges for hunting are generally manufactured with relatively longer brass end-caps than lower powered cartridges intended for target shooting. While different-sized brass bases are of virtually no consequence to the strength of the shell in relation to the steel breech of the gun itself, they do help the shooter identify the relative power of cartridges at a glance.

Half Cock

A middle position for an external hammer that effectively provides a safety function. With a firearm with non-rebounding hammers, when on half-cock, the firing pin will not rest on the firing-pin.

Naked Bullet

A bullet not covered by a metal jacket or patch.

Match Grade

A higher quality item used to increase accuracy, generally used for competition in a match. Match grade ammo and barrels are the most common improvements made to a firearm to improve accuracy for competition.

Leading

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

Break Action

A firearm whose barrels are hinged, and rotate perpendicular to the bore axis to expose the breech and allow loading and unloading of ammunition.

Monte Carlo Comb

The Monte Carlo comb came to rifles via shotgun stocks. It rises well above the ordinary comb line of the stock at the butt and tapers downward toward the point of the comb. This raised portion of the stock lifts the face of the shooter and his or her line of sight well above the standard elevation provided by the classic style. However, the same amount of drop is maintained at the buttstock. A shooter with a long neck who often has trouble getting his or her face down far enough on the comb of the regular stock benefits from the Monte Carlo style.

Round Gun

Slang term for a revolver.

Line Of Sight

An imaginary straight line from the eye through the sights of a firearm to the target.

Full Stock

A rifle or carbine with a one-piece stock extending to the muzzle. Sometimes called a Mannlicher stock, although such a term is confusing because Mannlicher Schoenauer rifles are built with both full and half stocks. Traditional in Europe for close-range woodland hunting, but not noted for extreme, long-range accuracy.

Negligent Discharge

The unplanned discharge of a firearm caused by a failure to observe the basic safety rules, not a mechanical failure of the gun.

Explosive

Any substance (TNT, etc.) that, through chemical reaction, detonates or violently changes to gas with accompanying heat and pressure.

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.

Sight Alignment

The manner in which the sights are lined up properly in front of the shooter's eye, to form a straight path to the target.

Federal Assault Weapons Ban

Part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. It produced a 10-year federal ban on the manufacture of new semi-automatic assault weapons with certian specifications. Firearms with specific features were defined as assault rifles. Including the AR-15, certain versions of the AK-47, the TEC-9, the MAC-10 and the Uzi, several of which had become the preferred weapon of violent drug gangs. The act also bans large-capacity ammunition magazines, limiting them to 10 rounds. The law did not apply to weapons that were already in legal possession.
Because this law was not renewed by congress in 2004, the ban was lifted.

Limp Wristing

A floppy, limp wrist while shooting.

Concealed

Hidden from view. A handgun is concealed when it is carried in such a manner that is unseen.

Muzzleloader

The earliest type of gun, now also popular as modern-made replicas, in which blackpowder and projectile(s) are separately loaded in through the muzzle. The term is often applied to cap-and-ball revolvers where the loading is done not actually through the muzzle but through the open ends of the cylinder's chambers.

Racking the Slide

Pulling the slide back to its rearmost position, and then letting it go forward under its own spring tension. Racking the slide loads the chamber and prepares the gun to fire in a semi-automatic handgun.