Letter S

The Definition of Smokeless Powder

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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.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


LDA

Abbreviation for Light Double Action

Rail Mount

Any type of accessory that can be attached to a firearm's rail.

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.

Flinch

To jerk a firearm off target inadvertently in the instant of firing in timid anticipation of recoil. Commonly caused by learning to shoot with a gun more powerful then they are ready for.

Gloaming Sight

A second, folding or pop-up front sight bead of larger than usual size, perhaps not as accurate as a normal fine bead, but easier to see in the gloaming (twilight) or dawn.

Squib

An underpowered powder charge, usually caused by a fault in cartridge loading, often insufficient to expel a projectile from the muzzle of a firearm. If such a blockage is not cleared, the next attempted shot could cause the barrel at least to bulge, and very possibly to burst.

Half Moon Clip

A Moon Clip that hold enough rounds to load only a portion (usually half capacity) of a revolvers cylinder.

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.

Folding Stock

A long gun stock that may be doubled over for conveniently compact storage.

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 .

Stalking Safety

A safety catch fitted to a hammer gun where a sliding bar moves into a slot in the inner wall of the hammer base, locking it in place in the cocked position. The safety can then be released silently by sliding the tab, avoiding the game-startling sound of the hammer cocking.

Overshoot

A term used in artillery to indicate a projectile impact beyond the designated target.

Suppressor

Incorrectoly sometimes referred to as a silencer, it is used to reduce the sound of a firearm's discharge. They do not actually silence most firearms but rather lower the intensity of the muzzle blast and change the sound characteristics (works similarly to an automotive muffler by disrupting and spreading out the sound waves). The possession, use, and transportation of silencers have been tightly controlled under federal law since 1934. Any device which reduces the sound of discharge by more than 2 dB is considered by the BATF to be a suppressor.

Riot Gun

A popular term for a short barreled repeating shotgun as frequently used in law enforcement and personal protection.

Bang Stick

A specialized firearm used underwater that is fired when in direct contact with the target.

Recoil

The tendency of a firearm when fired to move backwards, and a little upwards as a reaction to the force of the projectile moving down the barrel. As Newton says, to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. The mass of the firearm provides some inertia to counteract the momentum of recoil. What remains is absorbed by at the shoulder or the hand. The heavier the gun, the less the recoil. The more powerful the cartridge, the more the recoil.

Centerfire (Center Fire)

A cartridge with its primer located in the center of the base of the case.

Racking the Slide

Pulling the slide back to its rearmost position, and then letting it go forward under its own spring tension. Racking the slide loads the chamber and prepares the gun to fire in a semi-automatic handgun.

Base Wad

The paper filler at the rear of the powder charge of the shotgun shell.