Letter G

The Definition of Gunpowder

Arsenal Exchange - Firearms Classifieds - Industry Directory

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


Long Colt

Although a misused term (even within the firearms industry), Long Colt is a designation for an ammunition cartrige developed by Colt mainly used for revolvers. The actual designation is Colt instead of Long Colt. The term Long Colt was originally coined to avoid confusion between the .45 Colt and .45 ACP cartridges

Armor-Piercing Ammunition

An armor-piercing shell must withstand the shock of punching through armor plating. Shells designed for this purpose have a greatly strengthened case with a specially hardened and shaped nose, and a much smaller bursting charge.

Pinfire

An early form of complete, self-contained cartridge. It included bullet, powder and ignition primer, all in one package. The primer was located towards the base of the cartridge, but completely internally. The pin, shaped like a little finishing nail, pointed on the inside end and resting on the internal primer, projected radially about a quarter-inch to the outside of the base of the cartridge. When loaded, a pinfire gun showed the tips of the pins exposed through small slots in the tops of the breech faces of the barrels. To fire, hammers fell on the pins, driving them (through the wall of the cartridge) into the internal primer.

Cheekpiece

A broad, flat, raised area on the side of a buttstock.

Trigger Jerk

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

Base Wad

The paper filler at the rear of the powder charge of the shotgun shell.

Field Grade

A plain, functional, unembellished firearm used to hunt in rough terrain where one might prefer not to put a more expensive, deluxe grade gun at risk of damage.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF, BATF, and BATFE) is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice. Its responsibilities include the investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives; acts of arson and bombings; and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. The ATF also regulates via licensing the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and explosives in interstate commerce. Many of ATF's activities are carried out in conjunction with task forces made up of state and local law enforcement officers, such as Project Safe Neighborhoods. ATF operates a unique fire research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, where full-scale mock-ups of criminal arson can be reconstructed.

Trajectory

The arc described by a projectile (or a load of shot) after it exits the muzzle of a firearm. Falling objects accelerate downwards at a rate of 32 feet per second, per second. The faster a projectile travels, the greater the distance it can cover in a given time before dropping too far. Hence, the higher the velocity of a bullet, the flatter the trajectory it will achieve.

Point of Aim

The point at which you are aiming the firearm at.

Sectional Density

The relationship between a bullet's weight and its diameter. A long bullet, such as the original 7.62x54R loading for the Mosin Nagant 91/30, will have a high sectional density and consequently greater penetration than a shorter bullet of similar construction. A shorter bullet with less sectional density will have relatively less penetration, but greater knockdown power.

Shell

An empty ammunition case.

Dud

A round of ammunition that does not fire.

Burst Mode

A firing mode enabling the shooter to fire a predetermined number of rounds with a single pull of the trigger.

Mercury Recoil Compensator

A device fitted inside the buttstock of a heavily-recoiling gun or rifle, usually containing mercury and a valve. As the gun recoils, the mercury is displaced temporarily, increasing the duration, and thus diminishing the perceived impact of the recoil. The added half-pound of weight doesn't hurt either.

Wheel Gun

Slang term for a revolver.

Quarter Master

The person who supervises stores and distributes supplies and provisions.

COM

Abbreviation for Center Of Mass.

Ejection Rod

The sliding metal dowel located at the muzzle end of a revolver cylinder. After firing, the shooter opens the cylinder and depresses the front end of the ejection rod, which forces the empty cases out of the cylinder.