Letter M

The Definition of Mortar

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Mortar

An artillery piece used to fire shells over short ranges at very high trajectories.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Back Action

A sidelock action where the mainspring is mounted rearward towards the butt. The back action is often used in double rifles where the need for strength requires as little steel as possible be removed from the bar of the action.

Polygonal Rifling

A type of gun barrel rifling where the traditional lands and grooves are replaced by "hills and valleys" in a rounded polygonal pattern, usually a hexagon or octagon. Polygons with a larger number of edges provide a better gas seal in relatively large diameter polygonally rifled bores.

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."

Optical Sight

Usually a telescopic firearm sight.

Touchmark

A craftsman's signature stamp, discretely placed to identify his work.

Rim

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

Erosion

The wearing away of a barrel's metal surface by a bullet or shot charge or by the heat of powder gases.

Wheel-Lock

An early firearm mechanism in which a wheel with serrated edges is wound against the tension of a strong spring and spins against a piece of iron pyrite, sending a shower of sparks into the pan to ignite the charge.

Hornady Magnum Rimfire

A type rimfire rifle cartridge developed by the ammunition company Hornady. .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire (4.527mmR), commonly known as the .17 HMR, was developed in 2002. It descended from the .22 Magnum by necking down the .22 Magnum case to take a .17 caliber (4.5 mm) bullet.

Skeet

A shotgun shooting sport in which the competitors attempt to break aerial targets directed toward them or crossing in front of them from different angles and elevations. It is an Olympic shooting sport.

Ballistics

The science of cartridge discharge and the bullet's flight. Internal ballistics deals with what happens inside of a firearm upon discharge. External ballistics is the study of a projectile's flight, and terminal ballistics is the study of the impact of a projectile.

Eye Dominance

Although we have two eyes for depth perception and for spare parts, there is a natural tendency for one eye (the master eye) to take precedence over the other, regardless of the relative visual acuity of each eye. It is a fortunate condition when the eye on the side of the shoulder where one is comfortable mounting a gun is also the dominant eye.
To test for eye dominance:

Pick out a small object several feet away. With both eyes open, center your right index finger vertically over the object. Close your right eye. If your finger appears to jump to the right, you are right eye dominant. Then open your right eye and close your left eye. If your finger remains in position in front of the object, you have confirmed your right eye dominance. Alternatively, if in the above test, upon closing your right eye your finger remains in position covering the object, you are left eye dominant. If you close your left eye instead and your finger appears to jump to the left you have confirmed your left eye dominance.
Eye dominance problems can be treated with
1. A severely-cast, crossover stock to bring the dominant eye in line with the gun's line of sight, 2. A patch over the dominant eye, or just a small piece of frosty Scotch tape on shooting glasses intercepting the dominant eye's line of sight, 3. Fully or partially closing the dominant eye, or 4. Learning to shoot from the dominant-eye shoulder.
While less convenient, methods that retain the use of both eyes better preserve the ability to perceive depth in three-dimensional space, a great benefit in wingshooting.

Pinfire

An early form of complete, self-contained cartridge. It included bullet, powder and ignition primer, all in one package. The primer was located towards the base of the cartridge, but completely internally. The pin, shaped like a little finishing nail, pointed on the inside end and resting on the internal primer, projected radially about a quarter-inch to the outside of the base of the cartridge. When loaded, a pinfire gun showed the tips of the pins exposed through small slots in the tops of the breech faces of the barrels. To fire, hammers fell on the pins, driving them (through the wall of the cartridge) into the internal primer.

Negligent Discharge

The unplanned discharge of a firearm caused by a failure to observe the basic safety rules, not a mechanical failure of the gun.

Manual Safety

A safety which the shooter must deliberately disengage in order to fire the gun. The most common form of safety mechanism is a switch that, when set to the "safe" position, prevents a pull of the trigger from firing the firearm.

Shotgun

A smooth bore long gun that shoots a group of pellets called shot instead of bullets. Depending on the bore size and the size of the pellets there may be from less than 10 to two hundred or more pellets in a single shotgun cartridge. Shotguns are designed for shooting moving targets (such as flying birds or running rabbits) at close range.

X-Frame

The frame designation that Smith and Wesson uses for their extra large framed revolvers like the S&W Model 500 and S&W 460XVR

Cocked

A state of readiness of a firearm. The hammer (or similar mechanism if there is no hammer) only needs to be released by the trigger to cause the gun to fire.

Mortar

An artillery piece used to fire shells over short ranges at very high trajectories.

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