Letter I

The Definition of Improved Cartridge

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Improved Cartridge

A wildcat cartridge that is created by straightening out the sides of an existing case and making a sharper shoulder to maximize powder space. Frequently the neck length and shoulder position are altered as well. The caliber is NOT changed in the process.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Arsenal

An established place where firearms and ammunition are stored, repaired, or manufactured. The term is misused by the media to mean more than one firearm or any quantity of ammunition, as in "they found an arsenal."

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.

Safe

A firearm is said to be on safe when its safety is engaged and off safe when it is ready to fire.

Hair Trigger

A trigger that breaks from an extremely light touch.

Shoulder

To bring the butt of a long gun's stock to the shooter's shoulder, preparatory to firing the gun.

Co-Witness Sighting

Co-Witness Sighting is the use of any iron sight mounted onto a rifle that is fitted with an optical sight as a primary sighting system. They come in two basic configurations, fixed or flip-up. The idea is that if you align your red dot and your iron sights you have a backup aiming system on the gun.

External Safety

A safety lever or button found on the outer surfaces of the firearm and is accessible to the user. Enabling the external safety should prevent accidental pulling of the trigger. However, the best safety is always you.

Follow Through

Holding the trigger to the rear after the shot has fired, until the sights are back on target, at which time the trigger is released.

Wildcat Cartridge

A wildcat cartridge, or wildcat, is a custom cartridge for which ammunition and/or firearms are not mass-produced. These cartridges are often created in order to optimize a certain performance characteristic (such as the power, size or efficiency) of an existing commercial cartridge. Developing and using wildcat cartridges does not generally serve a purpose in military or law enforcement; it is more a hobby for serious shooting, hunting, gunsmithing and handloading enthusiasts, particularly in the United States. There are potentially endless amounts of different kinds of wildcat cartridges: one source of gunsmithing equipment has a library of over 6,000 different wildcat cartridges for which they produce equipment such as chamber reamers.

Knurled Surface

A metal surface which contains a pattern of ridges or beads.

Dummy Round

An inert ammunition-shaped object, used in practice to simulate misfeeds and other malfunctions and also used in dry fire practice. Unlike a blank, a dummy round contains no charge at all. A snap-cap is a type of dummy round.

Pull Distance

The distance the trigger must travel before it reaches the break point and fires the gun.

Trigger Lock

A locking device, usially a clable with a padlock that you put on a firearm to render it unable to be fired buy running it through the magazine well and out the ejection port.

Silhouette Shooting

A handgun or rifle shooting sport in which the competitors attempt to knock over metallic game-shaped targets at various ranges.

Varmint Gun

Usually a rifle, but not always. A small-caliber firearm or high-powered air gun primarily used for hunting non-native or non-game animals such as rats, squirrels, gophers, jackrabbits, marmots, groundhogs, porcupine, opossum, coyote, skunks, weasels, and other animals considered to be nuisance vermin destructive to native or domestic plants and animals.

Out of Battery

A semi-automatic is said to be out of battery when the slide fails to come all the way forward again after the gun has fired. 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.

Passive Safety

Any safety, internal or external, which functions apart from the shooter's conscious control. Grip safeties are one example of a passive external safety.

Muzzle Brake

An attachment to or integral part of the barrel that redirects some of the pressurized gas that propelled the bullet out the muzzle to the sides and possibly rearwards from the direction of the bullet travel. This reduces the recoil of the firearm.

Recoil Pad

A soft appendage, usually of some kind of rubber, often fitted to the butt end of a shoulder-mounted firearm to reduce the sensation of recoil. A recoil pad has the additional benefit of being less vulnerable to damage than a checkered wood butt or a brittle horn or plastic buttplate.

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