Letter N

The Definition of Necking Down

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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.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Stopping Power

A popular but imprecise term used to refer to the ability of a small arms cartridge to cause a human assailant or an animal to be immediately incapacitated when shot with it. A more precise term is be Wound Trauma Incapacitation (WTI).

External Safety

A safety lever or button found on the outer surfaces of the firearm and is accessible to the user. Enabling the external safety should prevent accidental pulling of the trigger. However, the best safety is always you.

Quaker Gun

Not really a gun at all. During the U.S. Civil War, both sides would take tree branches or tree trunks, paint them black, and position them so that they appeared to be rifles or artillery pieces. By doing so, they could fool the other side into believing that they had more artillery than they really did.

Trigger Group

The entire collection of moving parts which work together to fire the gun when the trigger is pulled. It may include trigger springs, return springs, the trigger itself, the sear, disconnectors, and other parts.

Snap Caps

Dummy cartridges with spring-loaded "primers" used to test the mechanical functioning of a firearm, particularly the trigger pulls, hammer-fall and ejector-timing of a break-open gun. It is not advisable to dry-fire a break-open gun on an empty chamber. Hardened steel parts can shatter without the soft brass primer to act as a shock absorber. Snap caps cushion the blow of the hammer and firing-pin when the use of a live cartridge would be impractical.

Key Fastener

A horizontal wedge, press-fit through the forend of a vintage gun, through a lump attached to the underside of the barrel and out the other side of the forend. To secure the forend in position. Also called a crosspin or a wedge fastener.

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.

Stripper Clip

Simple clips made of metal or sometimes plastic that hold several rounds of ammunition in a row and is used to quickly fill a magazine.

Double-Base Powder

A rapidly burning powder made by absorbing nitroglycerine into nitrocellulose (guncotton).

Laser Sight

A laser sight is an alternative sighting device which enables the shooter to quickly and accurately see where the firearm is aimed even when lighting or other conditions prevent using the gun's normal sights. Lasers may be located within the grips, hung from accessory rails at the front end of the gun, or placed within the firearm.

Double Action

An action type that when the trigger of a gun is pulled, the gun gets cocked and the hammer (or striker) is dropped. This applies to both revolvers and semi-automatic guns. On a double action revolver, when the trigger is pulled, the hammer is cocked before releasing. With a double-action semi-automatic pistol, the hammer does not have to be manually cocked (via actually pulling back the trigger or tracking the slide), the hammer (or striker) will be cocked while the trigger is being pulled. A firearm that only the hammer drops when the trigger is pulled is a single action gun.

DST

Abbreviation for Double-Set Trigger

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.

Feed Ramp

An inclined, polished area on a repeating firearm, just behind the chamber, that helps guide a cartridge into the chamber when pushed forward by the closing bolt or slide.

Globe Sight

A front sight assembly, primarily for target rifles, consisting of a tube, housing interchangeable beads and blades. The tube guards against imperfect aiming due to sight pictures influenced by reflections.

Four Rules

The four rules of firearms safety,were originally introduced in the early 1900's by various shooting education sources (with varying phrasing, but same implications), they apply every single time a firearm is handled in any way or for any reason. The NRA teaches the Three Rules of Safe Gun Handling.

Rule One: All guns are always loaded. (Treat all guns as if they are loaded, no matter what!)
Rule Two: Never point your firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy.
Rule Three: Never put your finger on the trigger unless your sights are on target (and you have made the decision to fire).
Rule Four: Be sure of your target and what is behind it.

Corto

Italian for "short." Seen as part of a cartridge designation. On some Italian manufactured guns that use .380 ACP, the designated caliber is 9mm Corto (9mm Short), which is also the same as the German 9mm Kurtz

Shooting Sticks

A pair of slender and easily-carried wooden dowels or sticks, which when held, crossed, in the fingers of the left hand while also supporting the forend of a rifle, usually shooting offhand, provides somewhat enhanced stability for a more accurate shot.

Silhouette Shooting

A handgun or rifle shooting sport in which the competitors attempt to knock over metallic game-shaped targets at various ranges.