Letter N

The Definition of Neck

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Neck

The forward portion of a bottlenecked cartridge case. Also the portion of a rifle chamber in which the neck of the cartridge case rests.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Long Recoil

A semi-automatic pistol in which the barrel and breechblock are locked together for the full distance of rearward recoil travel, after which the barrel returns forward, while the breechblock is held back. After the barrel has fully returned, the breechblock is released to fly forward, chambering a fresh round in the process.

Pitch

The angle of the butt of a gun in relation to the line of sight. Pitch is measured by resting the gun with its butt flat on a floor, the top of the receiver against a wall and its muzzle pointing up. The distance of the muzzle from the wall is the gun's pitch down.

Checkering

A regular pattern of fine grooves cut into the surface of a stock to aid in gripping a gun. Originally done for utility only, checkering has become an art form in itself; craftsmen adorning the borders with ribbons, fleur-de-lys, floral carving, etc. The amount of coverage, the precise regularity, and the number of lines per inch indicate the quality of the work. Too-fine checkering, however, defeats the purpose of the work altogether.

Buttplate (Butt Plate)

A plate which covers the butt. Some steel buttplates have trap doors covering a recess for storage of cleaning equipment.

Machine Gun

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

Slide Catch

Sometimes also known as a slide lock, slide release or slide lever. On a semi-autmatic gun, the lever or catch that holds the slide open (after the last round is fired or when racking an empty gun). Typically they are located on the left side of the frame about mide barrel. Some of the newer semi-automatic pistols have an internal slide lock. Even though on pistols with an external slide catch, you can push down on the lever to release the slide, it should never be used in such a manner. The proper way to release the slide is to rack the slide.

Trigger

The small lever on a cartridge firearm, which one pulls to cause the spring-loaded firing pin to impact the primer, causing the gun to discharge. Normally, the trigger simply connects to the sear. Pulling the trigger moves the sear out of its notch, releasing the spring-loaded hammer to strike the firing pin which in turn strikes the primer; or the coilspring-loaded firing pin directly. Other, often-Germanic systems have their own miniature lockwork which, when cocked, allows an exceedingly light trigger pull to discharge the firearm, a setting that would be perilous to carry in the field.

Safety Lug

An extra flange behind the bolt handle, at the rear of a bolt action receiver (notably the Mauser Model 1898), which uses the bolt handle as an extra locking surface in the extremely unlikely event of forward bolt lug failure.

Rifling

Spiral grooves formed into the bore of a gun barrel, which cause the bullet to spin upon firing, thus stabilizing it much like a thrown football. Rifling may be cut, swaged, or forged into the barrel.

Grooves

The cut-away, concave portions of the rifling inside the barrel of a firearm discharging a single projectile.In other words, the lower portion of rifling.

Double Tap

Two shots fired in rapid succession. Generally without getting a new sight picture on the target. If the second shot is fired after a second sight picture is captured it may instead be called a controlled pair.

Percussion Cap

A small metal explosive-filled cup which is placed over the nipple of a percussion firearm. As the cap is struck by the hammer, it explodes and sends a flame through the flashhole in the nipple to the main powder charge.

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.

Stovepipe

Failure of a spent case to completely eject from a semi-automatic firearm. The case usually stands on end while lodged in the ejection port.

Muzzle Velocity

The speed of a projectile or a load of shot at the point that it exits the muzzle of a firearm, normally expressed feet per second.

Touch Hole

A small orifice at the breech end of the barrel of a muzzle-loading firearm through which the exploding priming charge is conducted from the flash pan to the main charge.

Heavy Trigger

A trigger that requires a lot of pressure to pull it past the break point. Rifles tend to have considerably lighter triggers than handguns, and even a heavy rifle trigger is often lighter than a light handgun trigger.

SxS

Abbreviation for Side-By-Side.

Doll's Head

A rib extension on a break-open gun, ending in a circular or semi-circular shape in plan (resembling the head of a doll), mating into a similarly-shaped recess in the top of the receiver, designed to resist the tendency of the barrels to pull away from the standing breech when firing. Because an action's centerpoint of flexing when firing is at the base of the standing breech, not at the hingepin, a passive doll's head extension makes an effective extra fastener, even without additional mechanical locks operated by the opening lever.