Letter R

The Definition of Revolver

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A repeating firearm in which the ammunition is held in a multi-chambered cylinder, which is rotated to bring each chamber in line with the barrel. Most revolvers are handguns, although shoulder-fired arms have been made using this sort of mechanism.

19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know

Bore Snake

A bore snake is a tool used to clean the inside (bore) of the barrel of a gun. It resembles a short section of rope with a smaller, weighted cord attached to one end to help feed the bore snake through the barrel. A bore snake often has one or more integrated brushes to help clean the barrel, and may also be used to apply lubricant. It is an alternative to using a cleaning rod and patches to clean the barrel of a gun. Bore snakes are made in different sizes for different calibers and gauges of guns.


The substance which imparts movement to the projectile in a firearm. In a firearm, usually powder. In an airgun the propellant is air or Co2


Is a failure of the next round to completely enter the chamber. Misfeeds and failures to feed are very similar, a failure to feed is a round that never even leaves the top of the magazine, while a misfeed is a round that leaves the magazine but does not enter the chamber.

Double Feed

A malfunction in which the spent case fails to eject from a semi-automatic firearm and blocks the chamber. As the fresh round is brought forward it cannot enter the chamber. It is cleared by stripping the magazine from the gun, racking the slide several times to eject the spent case, and then reloading.

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.

Magazine Safety

A mechanism that prevents the gun from being able to fire when the magazine is removed from the gun, even if there is still a round in the chamber.

Slug Gun

Slang for a shotgun which is set up specifically to fire a slug (a large, single projectile) rather than shot (multiple projectiles contained within a single shell).

Gas Check

A metal cup placed on the end of a lead bullet to protect the lead against the hot gases of the burning powder charge. Used in some types of firearms ammunition when non-jacketed bullets are used in high pressure cartridges, to prevent the buildup of lead in the barrel and aid in accuracy.

Close Quarters Combat

a type of fighting in which small units engage the enemy with personal weapons at very short range, potentially to the point of hand-to-hand combat or fighting with hand weapons such as swords or knives.

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.

Trigger Slap

An uncomfortable sensation caused by the trigger springing back into the shooter's trigger finger while firing.

Smokeless Powder

The propellant powder used in modern ammunition. It is not an explosive, but rather a flammable solid that burns extremely rapidly releasing a large volume of gas. Commonly called "gunpowder" and usually made from nitrocellulose, or nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin. It is classified as a "Flammable Solid" by the Department of Transportation.

Rifle Bedding

A process of filling gaps between the action and the stock of a rifle with an epoxy based material.

Breech Pressure

The amount of rearward force exerted by the propellant gases on the bolt or breech of a firearm action or breech when a projectile is fired. The applied force has both magnitude and direction, making it a vector quantity. This is also known as Bolt Thrust on firearms that are Bolt Action


A concave, semi-cylindrical surface cut into the forward lump of a barrel set of a break-open firearm which revolves about the hinge-pin when the gun is opened.

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.

Needle Gun

A needle gun is a bolt-action firearm (the first known type of bolt action rifle) that has a needle-like firing pin, which can pass through fully self-contained (paper) cartridge case to strike a percussion cap at the bullet base. The first experimental needle gun was designed by Jean Samuel Pauly, a Swiss gunsmith, in 1812. The first mass-produced needle gun was invented by the German gunsmith Johann Nicolaus von Dreyse, who, beginning in 1824, had conducted multiple experiments, and in 1836 produced the first viable breech loading gun model using a complete cartridge .


System of measurement for the internal bore diameter of a smooth-bore firearm based on the diameter of each of that number of spherical lead balls whose total weight equals one pound. The internal diameter of a 12 gauge shotgun barrel is therefore equal to the diameter of a lead ball weighing 1/12 pound, which happens to be .729" (Or in British: Bore.) The Gauge/Bore system is also used, by convention, to describe the internal barrel diameter of large-bore, 19th century, English, single-shot and double-barrel rifles.


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