Letter I

The Definition of Igniting Charge

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Igniting Charge

The charge used to ignite the propelling charge.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


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.

Battery

Most firearms do not have literal batteries. But a firearm is said to be in battery when the breech is fully closed and locked, ready to fire. When the breech is open or unlocked, the gun is out of battery and no attempt should be made to fire it. A semi-automatic is out of battery when the slide fails to come all the way forward again after the gun has fired, making it dangerous or impossible to fire the next round. This condition can be created by a misfeed, a dirty gun, weak springs, the shooter's thumbs brushing against the slide, riding the slide, or any of several other causes.

Base Wad

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

Mag

Slang word for Magazine.

Howdah Pistol

Normally, a break-open, double-barrel, side-by-side pistol of large calibre, used by a maharaja when hunting tiger on the back of his elephant (in the howdah, the basket compartment in which he sits). The howdah pistol is the weapon of last resort in case the tiger tries to join him in the howdah.

Holdopen Toplever

A catch built into the receiver of a break-open gun to keep the toplever in its extreme right position when the barrels are removed. This device makes it slightly easier to remount the barrels. As the barrels are mounted and the breech closed, the barrels contact some kind of release pin (marked with the arrow) and the toplever automatically returns to the center locked position. Because, however, it requires a separate act to find and to depress this tiny tab to re-center the toplever on a broken-down gun, this feature may be irritating when trying to put a gun away in its case.

Duelling Pistols

Single shot pistols, of a design originating in England, in vogue circa 1770 - 1850, built necessarily in pairs, either of flintlock or percussion ignition, usually finely made and cased together with loading accessories. Dueling pistols tended to be lighter and sleeker than their contemporary service pistols. They tended to have smoothbore (or sometimes secret, scratch-rifling), octagon (or octagon-to-round) barrels around nine or ten inches long of some form of damascus steel, bores just over a half-inch, ramrods, rudimentary sights front and rear, single-set triggers, roller-bearing frizzens and curved grips integral with full or half-stocks. They were usually of high quality construction, sometimes with silver furniture, but normally of relatively plain decoration.

Ammunition

The "packaged" components that are needed in order to fire in a case or shell holding a primer, (which produces the spark) a charge of propellant (gunpowder) and a projectile (bullets, slug or pellets.) Sometimes called "fixed ammunition" to differentiate from the individual components placed separately in muzzleloaders. A single unit of ammunition in modern firearms is called a cartridge. The units of measure for quantity of ammunition is rounds. There are hundreds of sizes of ammunition, examples include .223 Remington, 9mm Luger, 30.06, .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .50 Browning Machine Gun (BMG). The ammunition used must match the firearm.

Knuckle

The curved, forward end of the bar of a break-open firearm's action, about which the mounted forend iron revolves downward. This area should be kept lightly greased to avoid galling the bearing surfaces.

Reticle

A matrix of dots, posts or lines, visible inside a rifle's telescopic sight, normally adjustable via exterior knobs for windage and elevation. After careful adjustment at a known range, the shooter aims the rifle by superimposing this matrix onto the target. With good estimation or range, cooperation from the wind, a clear eye and a steady hand, he may have a reasonable expectation of hitting his target.

Tap, Rack, Bang

The slang term for the procedure to clear a misfeed. To clear a misfeed, tap the base of the magazine firmly to be sure it is properly seated, rack the slide to eject an empty case or feed a new round, and assess to be sure your target still needs shooting. If it does, pull the trigger to create the bang.

Articulated Front Trigger

A spring-loaded hinged front trigger on a dual trigger side by side or over under shotgun, built to cushion its impact on one's trigger finger as the gun recoils when the rear trigger is pulled.

Musketoon

A musket shortened for cavalry use.

Reactive Targets

Targets that do something when you hit them, such as fall over, burst, send up smoke, or make a noise.

Lock

The firing mechanism of a a muzzle-loading weapon. In breech-loading firearms, the lock is the firing mechanism and breech-sealing assembly.

Takedown

A firearm that can be separated into (at least) two subassemblies in order to make a shorter package than when put together, without tools. There is no specific requirement regarding how this disassembly must be accomplished; the mechanical design is up to the creativity of the maker. This arrangement allows for more convenient transportation of a firearm, but with rifles, where the action normally separates from the barrel, usually at a small sacrifice in accuracy. Takedown firearms can also be called take-apart firearms. Good examples of a takedown guns are the Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown or the TNW Aero.

Low Kneeling

A shooting position in which one or both knees are touching the ground and the shooter is as low as possible.

Youth Stock

A short stock, often ideally sized for teenagers, average-sized adult women, and small-statured adult males.

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.

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