Letter M

The Definition of Machine Gun

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Machine Gun

A fully automatic firearm that rapidly fires multiple rifle-caliber shots with a single pull of the trigger.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Riot Gun

A popular term for a short barreled repeating shotgun as frequently used in law enforcement and personal protection.

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.

Dry Fire

To pull the trigger and release the hammer of a firearm without having a cartridge in the chamber.

Pull Distance

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

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.

Sporting Firearm

Any gun that can be used in a sport.

Birdshot

A type of shotgun ammunition which uses very small pellets with individual projectiles of less than .24" in diameter designed to be discharged in quantity from the shotgun. The size of the shot is given as a number or letter-- with the larger number the smaller the shot size. It is so named because it is most often used for hunting birds. The finest size generally used is #9 which is approximately .08" in diameter and the largest common size is #2 which is approximately .15"

Optical Sight

Usually a telescopic firearm sight.

Gun

A firearm.

Light Double Action

A double-action semi-automatic firearm which is designed to have a much lighter trigger pull than is usual for a double action.

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.

Metallic Cartridge

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

Mag

Slang word for Magazine.

Airgun (Air Gun)

A variety of pneumatic gun that propels projectiles by means of compressed air or other gas, in contrast to firearms, which use a propellant charge. Both the rifle and pistol forms (air rifle and air pistol) typically propel metallic projectiles, either pellets, or BBs. Certain types of air guns, usually rifles, may also propel arrows.

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.

Quarter Master

The person who supervises stores and distributes supplies and provisions.

Smokeless Powder

The propellant powder used in modern ammunition. It is not an explosive, but rather a flammable solid that burns extremely rapidly releasing a large volume of gas. Commonly called "gunpowder" and usually made from nitrocellulose, or nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin. It is classified as a "Flammable Solid" by the Department of Transportation.

Doughnut Pattern

A shotgun pattern with a hole in the middle generally caused by the interference of the top wad.

Semi-Automatic

A firearm designed to fire a single cartridge, eject the empty case and reload the chamber each time the trigger is pulled. It uses the energy from the fired shot to eject the empty case and feed the next round into the chamber.