Letter H

The Definition of Hammerless

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Hammerless

A firearm with a coil-spring-actuated firing pin, or with its hammer enclosed inside the action body; i.e.. no externally visible hammer.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Hang Fire

An unexpected delay between the triggering of a firearm and the ignition of the propellant. This failure was common in firearm actions that relied on open primer pans, due to the poor or inconsistent quality of the powder. Modern weapons are susceptible, particularly if the ammunition has been stored in an environment outside of the design specifications. Reloaded ammunition may also be the cause if not reloaded properly

Barrel

A tube, usually metal, through which a controlled explosion or rapid expansion of gases are released in order to propel a projectile out of the end at a high velocity. It is the tube through which the bullet or shot travels. The barrel serves the purpose of providing direction and velocity to the bullet.

Gape

The degree to which the barrel(s) of a break-open gun drop down; the size of the opening space, which should be sufficient to allow for ease of loading, unloading and properly-functioning ejection. A good gape is easier to achieve on a side-by-side than an over & under where the bottom barrel is well-enclosed by the action body.

Primer

A small metal cup that contains a tiny explosive charge that is sensitive to impact. A primer is placed in the base of a shell casing to ignite the powder of the completed cartridge. It is detonated by the striking of a firing pin in the firearm.

Creep

Sloppy movement (slack) of a trigger before the actual point of let-off.

Double-Set Trigger

Usually only found on black powder muzzle loading rifles and pistols, pulling the rear (set) trigger converts the front (main) trigger to a light, hair trigger (too light and sensitive to be carried safely in the field). While the front trigger is always at the ready, if one has the time, using the set trigger feature may allow for a more accurate long-distance shot. Operates using its own miniature firing mechanism (sear, spring and hammer) when cocked, to multiply the force of a pull on the main trigger.

WC

Abbreviation for wadcutter.

NFA

National Firearms Act of 1934. Enacted on June 26, 1934, currently codified as amended as I.R.C. ch. 53, is an Act of Congress in the United States that, in general, imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms and mandates the registration of those firearms. The Act was passed shortly after the repeal of Prohibition. The NFA is also referred to as Title II of the Federal firearms laws.
The NFA includes:

  • Requires the registration of all fully automatic firearms.
  • Requires the registration of all "sawed off" rifles and shotguns.
  • Requires the registration of firearm silencers.
  • Imposes a $200 transfer tax on the above items.

Frangible

A bullet that is designed to disintegrate into tiny particles upon impact to minimize their penetration for reasons of range safety, to limit environmental impact, or to limit the danger behind the intended target. Examples are the Glaser Safety Slug and the breaching round.

Underbolts

A sliding bar, running longitudinally through the watertable of a break-open side-by-side gun's action, with openings through which the lumps of the barrels pass when the gun is closed. Under spring tension, this bar moves forward when the opening control is released and its two locking surfaces engage complementary slots (bites) in the rear of the two barrel lumps. Originally operated by a hinged tab in front of the trigger guard. Now invariably operated by a cam from Scott's [toplever] spindle. Most modern side-by-side guns lock closed in this manner.

Trigger Bar

On a semi-automatic pistol, or any other firearm in which the trigger is at some distance from the sear, this is an intermediate piece connecting the two parts.

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.

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.

Bore

The tunnel down the barrel of a firearm through which the projectiles travel.

  • A smooth-bore firearm is one that does not have rifling on the barrel's internal surface.
  • A big-bore firearm is one that fires a large caliber.
  • A small-bore firearm is one that fires a small caliber.

Toplever

A lever on a break-open gun mounted to the top of the receiver which, when pushed with the thumb (normally) to the right, operates (usually) a Scott Spindle, which in turn withdraws (usually) a Purdey Underbolt from the bites in the lumps of the barrels, allowing them to hinge downwards and the gun to open.

Brass

The term used for the casing on modern rifle and pistol ammunition. It is usually made out of brass but can also be aluminum or steel. The casing on a shotgun shell is usually refered to as a hull

Cartridge Trap

A compartment built into the buttstock of a long gun, usually with a hinged cover, in which are drilled holes deep enough to hold several spare cartridges of the type suitable for use in the specific gun.

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.

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.