Letter M

The Definition of Matchlock

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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.

Matchlock

A black powder muzzleloading firearm action which relies upon a serpentine or S-shaped piece of metal to hold a smoldering match. By pressing the lower end of the serpentine, the upper end holding the burning match contacts the priming powder in the pan.


18 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Tang

The recurved top part of a semi-automatic handgun's grip at the point where it meets the slide. On long guns, the tang is the top strap used to screw the receiver to the stock.

Necking Down

Shrinking the neck of an existing cartridge to make it use a bullet of a different caliber. A typical process used in the creation of wildcat cartridges.

Armor-Piercing Ammunition

An armor-piercing shell must withstand the shock of punching through armor plating. Shells designed for this purpose have a greatly strengthened case with a specially hardened and shaped nose, and a much smaller bursting charge.

Bolt Action

A type of firearm action in which the guns's bolt is operated manually by the opening and closing of the breech (barrel) with a small handle. As the handle is operated, the bolt is unlocked, the breech is opened, the spent shell casing is withdrawn and ejected, the firing pin is cocked, and finally a new round/shell (if available) is placed into the breech and the bolt closed.

Adjustable Stock

The stock is the wooden, polymer, or metal handle of a long gun that extends from the trigger back to where the gun is braced against the shoulder. An adjustable stock is one that can be easily lengthened or shortened to fit shooters of different sizes.

Leading

Fouling of a firearm bore by metal particles from bullets adhering to the metal surface caused by heat or friction.

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.

Carbine

A rifle with a relatively short barrel.

HMR

Abbreviation for Hornady Magnum Rimfire.

Jacket

A metal, usually copper, wrapped around a lead core to form a bullet.

Crosshairs

The cross-shaped object seen in the center of a firearm scope. Its more-proper name is reticle.

Overbore Capacity

Is that combination of caliber, barrel length, bullet weight, and case volume which does not allow the complete burning of the charge of ballistically correct powder within the volume of case and barrel.

Butt

The rear end of a rifle or shotgun. (The portion that rests against the shoulder.)

Speed Strip

A flat piece of rubber which holds revolver cartridges preparatory to loading them into the revolver's cylinder. Similar to a moon clip

Propellant

The substance which imparts movement to the projectile in a firearm. In a firearm, usually powder. In an airgun the propellant is air or Co2

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.

Receiver Ring

The portion of the receiver which is threaded so the barrel can be attached to it.

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.

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