Letter W

The Definition of Wildcat Cartridge

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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.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


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.

Closed Bolt Firing System

A type of firearm in which the action is closed, with a cartridge in the chamber prior to firing. When the trigger is pressed the cartridge is fired, and the action cycles loading another cartridge into chamber and when firing is stopped the bolt remains closed and the chamber remains loaded.

High Kneeling

A shooting position in which one or both knees are touching the ground, but the shooter is otherwise erect.

LC

Abbreviation for Long Colt

COF

Abbreviation for Course of Fire.

Quaker Gun

Not really a gun at all. During the U.S. Civil War, both sides would take tree branches or tree trunks, paint them black, and position them so that they appeared to be rifles or artillery pieces. By doing so, they could fool the other side into believing that they had more artillery than they really did.

Timing

The proper adjustment of the various interrelated moving parts of a gun so that every operation works in proper sequence, such as that the two ejectors of a double gun kick out the spent cases at the same instant and with the same force.

Drop Safety

A mechanical safety that prevents a gun from firing when it is unintentionally dropped.

Damascus Barrels

Barrel tubes built up by twisting alternate strips of iron and steel around a fixed rod (mandrel) and forge-welding them together in varying combinations according to the intended quality and the skill of the maker. The rod was withdrawn, the interior reamed and the exterior filed until the finished tube was achieved. Damascus barrels may be recognized by any of a variety of twist or spiral patterns visible in the surface of the steel. Before the 20th century, barrels were typically built in this manner because gunmakers did not have the technology to drill a deep hole the full length of a bar of steel without coming out the side.

Pistol

Synonymous with "handgun." A gun that is generally held in one hand. It may be of the single-shot, multi-barrel, repeating or semi-automatic variety and includes revolvers.

Scope

A magnifying tube through which the shooter may see the target and aim the firearm. Scopes contain a reticle, commonly in the shape of a cross, which must be properly centered upon the target for accurate aim.

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.

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.

Brick

A box of ammunition roughly equal in size and weight to a brick. Most often used to describe a 500-round container of .22 Long Rifle ammunition.

Handspanner

German for Hand-Cocking or Cocker/De-Cocker. A type of action on a break-open gun or rifle where, in place of a traditional top tang safety, a somewhat more robust tab is fitted. Normally such a gun is carried in the field loaded, but with the action not cocked, an exceedingly safe condition. Then, when ready to fire, the shooter, instead of pushing a safety tab forward, pushes this larger tab forward, cocking the mainspring, making the gun ready to fire. Then, if the shot is not taken, he may simply slide this tab rearwards again, de-cocking the gun and returning it to the still-loaded, but very safe position.

Snub-Nose

Slang word for short barreled revolver.

Manual Safety

A safety which the shooter must deliberately disengage in order to fire the gun. The most common form of safety mechanism is a switch that, when set to the "safe" position, prevents a pull of the trigger from firing the firearm.

Dram

A unit of measure traditionally used for black powder shotgun charges. Today, used for smokeless powders on the basis of the new propellant's equivalent performance to that weight of black powder. Thus, a shotgun shell marked 3 - 1 1/8 would be loaded with the smokeless powder equivalent of 3 drams of black powder, and with 1 ounce of shot. 1 Dram = 1/16 ounce = 437.5 grains.

M1911

The official US military designation for the Colt .45 semiautomatic pistol adopted by the US in 1911. The gun was designed by John Moses Browning, and produced by Colt. During trials, the Browning-Colt design beat out several competing designs, including one from Savage and a .45 caliber version of the German Parabellum ("Luger"). The M1911 saw its first combat in the Philippines and then in World War I. Early use showed that it could be improved and in 1921 the M1911A1 was introduced, which featured a few changes like a reocontoured frame, shorter trigger, and a rounded backstrap. The M1911A1 remained the standard US military handgun until it was replaced in the 1980's by the Beretta M9. However, it remains very popular with civilian shooters in the US, and has been modified extensively to update it to conform to more modern theories of handgun usage.

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