Letter H

The Definition of Heel

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Heel

The top of the butt-end of a gun stock.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Skeet

A shotgun shooting sport in which the competitors attempt to break aerial targets directed toward them or crossing in front of them from different angles and elevations. It is an Olympic shooting sport.

Wadcutter

A bullet designed with a full diameter flat point. It is primarily used in target competition because it cuts a clean round hole in paper targets that aids in scoring the target.

Matchlock

An early system of ignition for muzzle-loading firearms where a priming charge is loaded into a flashpan with a separate, manually-operated cover. To fire, the cover is opened and then a slowly smoldering wick, held in the nose of the curved arm, is lowered by means of a lever (precursor to a trigger) to ignite a priming charge which then ignites the main propellant charge inside the barrel.

Self-Opening

Attribute of a break-open gun whereby the barrels drop down simply by pressing the toplever without muscling them open manually. The Holland & Holland system utilizes a coil spring within a cylindrical housing mounted just ahead of the forward lump to urge the barrels open. The Purdey system utilizes residual energy remaining in the mainspring after the gun has been fired. Both systems enable a shooter to load more quickly when birds are coming fast.

X-Bolt

A bolt-action designed by Browning firearms. The x-bolt action features a short 60° bolt lift. So it is fast cycling and allows working the bolt quicker without the scope getting in the way.

Lever Action

A type of firearm action which uses a lever located around the trigger guard area, (often including the trigger guard itself) to load fresh cartridges into the chamber of the barrel when the lever is worked.

Range Finder

A device used to determine the range to a target. Many range finders work by bouncing a laser beam off the target or nearby object and measuring the time for the reflection to arrive back at the instrument. It is also possible to use various passive optical devices such as a mil-dot telescopic sight.

Rimfire

Helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis. This spin serves to gyroscopically stabilize the projectile, improving its aerodynamic stability and accuracy.

Mortar

An artillery piece used to fire shells over short ranges at very high trajectories.

Chamber Throat

This is the area in the barrel that is directly forward of the chamber, which tapers to the bore diameter.

Stutzen

German for a short rifle or carbine.

Damascus Barrels

Barrel tubes built up by twisting alternate strips of iron and steel around a fixed rod (mandrel) and forge-welding them together in varying combinations according to the intended quality and the skill of the maker. The rod was withdrawn, the interior reamed and the exterior filed until the finished tube was achieved. Damascus barrels may be recognized by any of a variety of twist or spiral patterns visible in the surface of the steel. Before the 20th century, barrels were typically built in this manner because gunmakers did not have the technology to drill a deep hole the full length of a bar of steel without coming out the side.

Smooth Bore

A barrel without rifling. Smooth bore barrels are commonly used in shotguns and in large bore artillery that fire fin stabilized projectiles.

OFF

Oregon Firearms Federation. OFF is a Pro-Gun rights group based in Oregon and was founded in 1998.

Nipple

A small metal tube extending through the breech of a percussion firearm through which the flame passes from the percussion cap to fire the powder charge.

Snub-Nose

Slang word for short barreled revolver.

Monoblock Barrels

A method of building a pair of barrels where the entire breech end of both barrels and the lumps together are machined from one solid piece of steel. The barrel tubes are then fitted separately into this monoblock and the ribs attached. Often identifiable by a distinctive ring around the barrels about three inches in front of the breech end. The favored jointing method of the Beretta company. An incorrect euphemism for sleeved barrels.

Mushroomed Bullet

A description of a bullet whose forward diameter has expanded after penetration.

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.