Letter P

The Definition of Primer

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Primer

A small metal cup that contains a tiny explosive charge that is sensitive to impact. A primer is placed in the base of a shell casing to ignite the powder of the completed cartridge. It is detonated by the striking of a firing pin in the firearm.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Wildcat Cartridge

A wildcat cartridge, or wildcat, is a custom cartridge for which ammunition and/or firearms are not mass-produced. These cartridges are often created in order to optimize a certain performance characteristic (such as the power, size or efficiency) of an existing commercial cartridge. Developing and using wildcat cartridges does not generally serve a purpose in military or law enforcement; it is more a hobby for serious shooting, hunting, gunsmithing and handloading enthusiasts, particularly in the United States. There are potentially endless amounts of different kinds of wildcat cartridges: one source of gunsmithing equipment has a library of over 6,000 different wildcat cartridges for which they produce equipment such as chamber reamers.

Fulminate Of Mercury

A highly sensitive explosive used as a primer compound.

Multi-Barreled

A gun with more than one barrel, the most common being the double-barreled shotgun.

Picatinny Rail

A metal bar, available in a variety of lengths, with a continuous row of Weaver-like scope mount base slots, which when attached to a firearm, allow convenient attachment of a variety of sights, lights, slings, bipods and other accessories designed to fit this standard system.

Musket

A Muzzleloading long gun which has a completely smooth bore and is intended to fire a single projectile rather than a collection of shot.

Pistol Grip

The handle on a pistol. Can also refer to a vertical grip behind the trigger on a rifle.

Muzzle Brake

An attachment to or integral part of the barrel that redirects some of the pressurized gas that propelled the bullet out the muzzle to the sides and possibly rearwards from the direction of the bullet travel. This reduces the recoil of the firearm.

Follower

A smooth, sometimes contoured plate, within a magazine, at the top of a spring, across which cartridges slide when being loaded into a chamber.

Speed Loader

A device used to load magazines or revolver cylinders quicker than by hand.

Rim

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

Cartridge Overall Length

This is the maximum overall length the cartridge can be (and is expected to be) in order to function properly in magazines and the mag well of a bolt action rifle.

Inertia Firing Pin

A firing pin which moves freely forward and backward in the breechblock.

Misfire

The condition of a cartridge not firing when an attempt to fire it is made. It can be caused by either a defective cartridge or a defective firearm. The term is frequently misused to indicate a Negligent Discharge of a firearm.

Bore Axis

An imaginary line which runs right down the center of the handgun's barrel and out though the back end of the gun. A handgun may have a high bore axis, with the imaginary line running out into space well above the shooter's hand. Or it may have a low bore axis, with the imaginary line running either straight through the shooter's hand or just skimming the surface slightly above her hand. A high bore axis tends to create greater perceived recoil and more muzzle flip when firing the gun than does a low bore axis.

Projectile

A bullet or shot in flight after discharge from a firearm.

Blank

A type of cartridge for a firearm that contains gunpowder but no bullet or shot. When fired, the blank makes a flash and an explosive sound (report). Blanks are often used for simulation (such as in historical reenactments, theatre and movie special effects), training, and for signaling (see starting pistol). Blank cartridges differ from dummy cartridges and snap caps, which are used for training or function testing firearms; these contain no primer or gunpowder, and are inert.

Magazine Follower

Same as Follower. A plate, mounted to the top of a spring, inside a magazine, over which cartridges may slide smoothly as they are guided into the chamber of a repeating firearm.

Articulated Front Trigger

A spring-loaded hinged front trigger on a dual trigger side by side or over under shotgun, built to cushion its impact on one's trigger finger as the gun recoils when the rear trigger is pulled.

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.

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