Letter S

The Definition of Snap Caps

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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.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Monte Carlo Comb

The Monte Carlo comb came to rifles via shotgun stocks. It rises well above the ordinary comb line of the stock at the butt and tapers downward toward the point of the comb. This raised portion of the stock lifts the face of the shooter and his or her line of sight well above the standard elevation provided by the classic style. However, the same amount of drop is maintained at the buttstock. A shooter with a long neck who often has trouble getting his or her face down far enough on the comb of the regular stock benefits from the Monte Carlo style.

BUG

Abbreviation for 'Back Up Gun'

Double-Set Trigger

Usually only found on black powder muzzle loading rifles and pistols, pulling the rear (set) trigger converts the front (main) trigger to a light, hair trigger (too light and sensitive to be carried safely in the field). While the front trigger is always at the ready, if one has the time, using the set trigger feature may allow for a more accurate long-distance shot. Operates using its own miniature firing mechanism (sear, spring and hammer) when cocked, to multiply the force of a pull on the main trigger.

Gas Operated

The superheated air created by burning powder. A gas-operated firearm is one that uses the energy from these superheated gases to work the action in semi-automatic and automatic guns.

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.

Pellet Gun

An air gun that shoots a skirted pellet.

Yaw

The heading of a bullet, used in external ballistics that refers to how the Magnus effect causes bullets to move out of a straight line based on their spin.

Snubby

Slang word for short barreled revolver.

Eye Relief

The distance that equates the exit pupil size of a rifle scope's ocular lens to the entrance pupil of the user, in order to achieve the largest, unvignetted view. This distance must be sufficient to ensure that the ocular rim of the scope does not lacerate the shooter's eyebrow upon recoil. And, the scope should be positioned so that eye relief is suitable when the rifle is comfortably mounted.

Casing

Also known as a Case. The envelope (container) of a cartridge. For rifles and handguns it is usually of brass or other metal; for shotguns it is usually of paper or plastic with a metal head and is more often called a "shell."

Shoulder

To bring the butt of a long gun's stock to the shooter's shoulder, preparatory to firing the gun.

Magazine Loader

A mechanical device to make it easier to fill magazines using less hand strength and without hurting one's fingertips or thumbs.

Snap Shot

A quick shot taken without deliberate aim.

Necking Up

Expanding 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.

AE

Abbreviation for Arsenal Exchange or ArsenalExchange.com. Example in a sentence is "Have you seen the latest postings on AE?
AE is also the abreviation for Action Express. .50 Action Express (.50 AE) is a large caliber handgun cartridge. It was developed in 1988 by Evan Whildin of Action Arms.

Explosive

Any substance (TNT, etc.) that, through chemical reaction, detonates or violently changes to gas with accompanying heat and pressure.

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.

Checkered Butt

Checkering, applied to the otherwise-unfinished butt end of a gunstock.

Grip Safety

A passive, external safety typically located on the backstrap, which must be fully depressed to release the trigger. Most 1911-pattern pistols feature a grip safety.