Letter M

The Definition of Mercury Recoil Compensator

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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.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Yaw

The heading of a bullet, used in external ballistics that refers to how the Magnus effect causes bullets to move out of a straight line based on their spin.

Speedloader

A device used to reduce the time and/or effort needed to reload a firearm's magazine.

Ramrod

A long, slender, dowel-like tool used to force powder and shot down the bore of a muzzle-loading firearm. For hand-fired guns, normally retained in some kind of receptacle attached to the gun's barrel. Carried separately for muzzle-loading cannon.

Trigger Jerk

Yanking the trigger back abruptly, thus pulling the muzzle of the gun downward at the moment the shot fires.

Sight Alignment

The manner in which the sights are lined up properly in front of the shooter's eye, to form a straight path to the target.

Pre-Travel

Some triggers can be pulled slightly backwards before the shooter can feel any tension and before the hammer or striker begins to retract. Pre-travel is any movement of the trigger that begins before the trigger starts to engage.

Flintlock

A system of firearms ignition, in general use circa 1660 - 1825, whereby the pull of a trigger releases a sear from a notch in a spring-loaded hammer, which holding a properly knapped piece of flint, strikes a vertical slab of steel (called a frizzen) scraping off tiny molten particles of the steel, and pushing it forward causes an integral flashpan cover to open forward, exposing a bit of fine gunpowder below, which when contacted by the falling sparks, ignites and sends a flash of fire through the touchhole, into the loaded breech setting off the main charge and firing the gun. The Flintlock system was supplanted by the Percussion system around 1820.

Minute Of Angle

A 1/60th part of a degree, the unit of measure used in adjusting rifle sights. As it turns out conveniently, a minute of angle translates almost exactly to one inch at 100 yards (actually 1.047 inches), to two inches at 200 yards and three inches at 300 yards

Racking the Slide

Pulling the slide back to its rearmost position, and then letting it go forward under its own spring tension. Racking the slide loads the chamber and prepares the gun to fire in a semi-automatic handgun.

Rim

The edge on the base of a cartridge case which stops the progress of the case into the chamber.

Pull Distance

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

Beavertail

A large piece of curved metal at the top of the grip on a pistol which protects the user's hand from getting "bitten" by the hammer or slide. It is nearly always the top part of the grip safety commonly found on many 1911-style pistols.

Hand

In any mechanism, a small lever that engages a notch to actuate movement in one direction only. Specifically, a small spring-loaded lever attached to the hammer of a revolver which actuates the cylinder to advance one increment and move the next chamber into battery as the hammer is cocked.

Hinge Pin

A short cylindrical rod of hardened steel running laterally near the front of the bar of a break-open gun's action around which the barrel hook revolves when the gun is opened. Over the decades, this pin and its complimentary hook can wear and a gun can sometimes "shoot loose" or "come off the face." The proper cure for this condition is to replace the hinge pin with a new one, slightly oversized, to compensate for wear on both itself and on the barrel hook.

Suppressor

Incorrectoly sometimes referred to as a silencer, it is used to reduce the sound of a firearm's discharge. They do not actually silence most firearms but rather lower the intensity of the muzzle blast and change the sound characteristics (works similarly to an automotive muffler by disrupting and spreading out the sound waves). The possession, use, and transportation of silencers have been tightly controlled under federal law since 1934. Any device which reduces the sound of discharge by more than 2 dB is considered by the BATF to be a suppressor.

Forcing Cone

In a shotgun barrel, A tapered area a few inches from the breech end, providing a transition between the chamber (approximately the diameter of the outside of a shotgun shell) to the bore proper (approximately the diameter of the inside of a shotgun shell). The forcing cone provides the transition between the exterior and the interior diameters of the cartridge. Older shotguns usually have more abrupt forcing cones suitable for then-current thick-walled paper shells with fibre wads. Newer shotguns usually have more gradual, longer forcing cones suitable for thinner modern plastic shells with obturating plastic shot-cup wads.

Sear

The part of the trigger mechanism which holds the hammer or striker back. Pressure on the trigger causes the sear to release the hammer or striker, allowing it to strike the firing pin and discharge the weapon.

Jam

A malfunction which locks up the gun so badly that tools are required in order to fix it. Sometimes used to denote a simple malfunction, but many people make a distinction between a complete jam and a simple malfunction.

Shotgun Shell

The cartridge for a shotgun. It is also called a "shell," and its body is usually made of plastic (metal shotgun shells are very rare, paper shotgun shells are extinct) with a metal head. Small shotshells are also made for rifles and handguns and are often used for vermin control.

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