Letter S

The Definition of Shot Size

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Shot Size

The size of the pellets in a shotgun shell.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


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.

Parabellum

Latin word meaning "for war." It is actually the proper name of the semiautomatic pistol commonly known in the USA as the "Luger. Because of that pistol and the ammunition created for it, the common 9mm cartridge used nowadays is also known as 9mm Parabellum or 9mm Luger."

Recoil Compensator

A device fitted inside the buttstock of a heavily-recoiling gun or rifle, usually containing mercury and a valve. As the gun recoils, the mercury is displaced temporarily, increasing the duration, and thus diminishing the perceived impact of the recoil. The added half-pound of weight doesn#39;t hurt either.

Shooting Sports

There are a lot of different competitions and other games which involve firearms. These are all referred to collectively as the shooting sports.

Belt Fed

A firearm, usually (but not always) a fully automatic rifle, that uses a ammunition on a belt rather than a magazine to store the rounds that will be loaded into the gun.

Magazine Pouch

Commonly shortened to mag pouch, this is a device to hold extra magazines which fastens to the shooter's belt.

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.

Isosceles Stance

There are two basic variants of the Isosceles stance, the Traditional Isosceles and Modern Isosceles stance. In both Isosceles stances, the feet parallel pointing toward the target and are roughly shoulder width apart. Both arms are stretched almost equally forward with the gun centered forward, creating the triangular shape which gives the stance its name.

Beavertail

A large piece of curved metal at the top of the grip on a pistol which protects the user's hand from getting "bitten" by the hammer or slide. It is nearly always the top part of the grip safety commonly found on many 1911-style pistols.

Multi-Barreled

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

Berm

On an outdoor shooting range, a large pile of dirt that functions as a backstop.

Shotgun Shell

The cartridge for a shotgun. It is also called a "shell," and its body is usually made of plastic (metal shotgun shells are very rare, paper shotgun shells are extinct) with a metal head. Small shotshells are also made for rifles and handguns and are often used for vermin control.

Cut-Away

A firearm that has had numerous careful machining cuts taken in its exterior with a view to exposing and demonstrating the functioning of critical parts of its mechanism

Long Colt

Although a misused term (even within the firearms industry), Long Colt is a designation for an ammunition cartrige developed by Colt mainly used for revolvers. The actual designation is Colt instead of Long Colt. The term Long Colt was originally coined to avoid confusion between the .45 Colt and .45 ACP cartridges

Black Powder

Also known as Gun Powder. A mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate. It burns rapidly, producing a volume of hot gas made up of carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen, and a solid residue of potassium sulfide. Because of its burning properties and the amount of heat and gas volume that it generates, gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms and as a pyrotechnic composition in fireworks. Modern firearms do not use the traditional black powder described here, but instead use smokeless powder.

FPS

Abbreviation for feet per second. A term used in expressing the velocity of a bullet.

Group

A set of holes in a target left by a succession of bullets fired from the same rifle or handgun, using the same ammunition and sight setting. Fired (within the limits of one's marksmanship ability) to determine the inherent accuracy of the rifle/ammunition combination, and to aid in the proper adjustment of the sights.

Pump Action

A type of mechanism for removing a spent shell casing from the chamber of a firearm and inserting a fresh cartridge into the chamber. This type of mechanism is most commonly used in shotguns and rimfire rifles.

Headspace

The distance, or clearance, between the base of a chambered cartridge and the breech face (or bolt face) of a firearm. This is a critical dimension, particularly in high powered rifles. If there is too little headspace, the bolt will not close. If there is too much headspace the cartridge will not be properly supported in the chamber and the cartridge will expand upon firing and may rupture, blasting high-pressure gas into the action and possibly into the body of the shooter. Headspace should be .003" - .006" in a centerfire rifle. It can be checked with a set of "Go and No-Go" gauges specific to the calibre in question. (See below.) With a standard cartridge, the headspace is registered by the shoulder, with a belted cartridge, the headspace is registered by the forward edge of the belt.