Letter H

The Definition of Hammer

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Hammer

The part of the gun that strikes either the firing pin or the round directly when the trigger is pulled then detonates the primer of the load and discharges the gun. Hammers may be external or internal. On a striker fired gun (a gun without a physical hammer) the firing pin is considered the hammer since it releases directly when the trigger is pulled.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Trigger Break

The point at which the trigger allows the hammer to fall, or releases the striker, so that the shot fires. The ideal trigger break is sudden and definite. "Like a glass rod" is the cliche term shooters use to describe the ideal crisp, clean break.

Metallic Cartridge

A cartridge with a metallic case. (Early cartridge cases were made of linen, paper, etc.)

Hornady Magnum Rimfire

A type rimfire rifle cartridge developed by the ammunition company Hornady. .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire (4.527mmR), commonly known as the .17 HMR, was developed in 2002. It descended from the .22 Magnum by necking down the .22 Magnum case to take a .17 caliber (4.5 mm) bullet.

Port

An opening. The ejection port is the opening in the side of a semi-auto from which spent cases are ejected.

Loaded Chamber Indicator

A mechanical device that protrudes from the gun when a round is in position ready to be fired, giving a visual and tactile indication that the gun is loaded.

Cross Dominant

This means a shooter who is right-handed but left-eyed, or left-handed and right-eyed.

Jacket

A metal, usually copper, wrapped around a lead core to form a bullet.

Mauser Action

The premier bolt action, whose design by Paul Mauser coalesced in 1898, and from which were derived the Springfield 1903, the Winchester Model 70 and many others.

Locking Lugs

A series of projections on the bolt of a firearm designed to fit into corresponding slots in the receiver to lock the action in closed position for firing.

Topstrap

The part of a revolver's frame connecting the recoil shield to the barrel-mounting recess; adding considerable strength compared to that of early black powder Colt revolvers, and providing a base for a rear sight.

Laser Sight

A laser sight is an alternative sighting device which enables the shooter to quickly and accurately see where the firearm is aimed even when lighting or other conditions prevent using the gun's normal sights. Lasers may be located within the grips, hung from accessory rails at the front end of the gun, or placed within the firearm.

Snap Caps

Dummy cartridges with spring-loaded "primers" used to test the mechanical functioning of a firearm, particularly the trigger pulls, hammer-fall and ejector-timing of a break-open gun. It is not advisable to dry-fire a break-open gun on an empty chamber. Hardened steel parts can shatter without the soft brass primer to act as a shock absorber. Snap caps cushion the blow of the hammer and firing-pin when the use of a live cartridge would be impractical.

Collapsible Stock

A stock on a long gun that can be shoved into itself to shorten it, either for storage or to make the gun fit shooters of different sizes.

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.

Over-Under

Can also be spelled Over/Under, OverUnder or Over and Under. A firearm (most commonly a shotgun) with two barrels that are vertically aligned with each other, one on top of the other.

Reflector Sight

A generally non-magnifying optical device that has an optically collimated reticle, allowing the user to look through a partially reflecting glass element and see a parallax free cross hair or other projected aiming point superimposed on the field of view. Invented in 1900 but not generally used on firearms until reliably illuminated versions were invented in the late 1970s (usually referred to by the abbreviation "reflex sight").

Trigger Control

Not putting your finger on the trigger until your sights are on target, then pulling the trigger smoothly, and following through by realigning the sights before allowing your finger to come off the trigger.

Wad

A felt, paper, cardboard or plastic disk that is used in a shotshell. Also in muzzle loading, a piece of cloth used to seal the bullet in the barrel. It's purpose and function is the same as a shotgun wad.

Long Rifle

Typically used in the .22 caliber cartridge designation .22 Long Rifle, which is abbreviated .22LR.

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