Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


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Bolt Thrust

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.

Inletting

The process of carving out recesses in wooden stocks with precision, using gouges, chisels and scrapers to accept the steel components of a firearm.

Extended Top Tang

A display of gunmaking skill with a possible benefit of strengthening the wrist of a heavily-recoiling rifle, whereby the top tang of the action is made extra long, shaped and inletted into the top of the buttstock, extending along the top of the wrist and up over the comb. Popularized by Holland & Holland and adopted by several of the finest contemporary riflemakers in the USA.

Ejection Rod

The sliding metal dowel located at the muzzle end of a revolver cylinder. After firing, the shooter opens the cylinder and depresses the front end of the ejection rod, which forces the empty cases out of the cylinder.

FOPA

Firearm Owners' Protection Act of 1986. It is a United States federal law that revised many provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968. It bans civilian ownership of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986. Firearms made and registered before that date are not affected. The law limits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from inspecting gun dealers more than once a year, with follow-up inspections allowed only The law also specifically forbids the government from creating a national registry of gun ownership.

Stovepipe

Failure of a spent case to completely eject from a semi-automatic firearm. The case usually stands on end while lodged in the ejection port.

Electronic Firing

The use of an electric current to fire a cartridge, instead of a percussion cap. In an electronic-fired firearm an electric current is used instead to ignite the propellant, which fires the cartridge as soon as the trigger is pulled.

Shot

In shotgunning, multiple pellets contained in the shell and sent downrange when the shotgun is fired.

ACP

The abbreviation for Automatic Colt Pistol. It is commonly used to designate specific calibers, particularly those which were originally designed by John Moses Browning for the Colt Firearms Company which are a type of rimless pistol cartridge designed mainly for use in semi-automatic pistols. The most common ACP calibers are .25 ACP, .32 ACP, .380 ACP and .45 ACP.

Recoil Operation

Recoil operation is an operating mechanism used in locked-breech, autoloading firearms. As the name implies, these actions use the force of recoil to provide energy to cycle the action.

Firearm

A firearm is a portable gun (pistol or rifle), being a barreled weapon that launches one or more projectiles often driven by the action of an explosive force.

Reflector Sight

A generally non-magnifying optical device that has an optically collimated reticle, allowing the user to look through a partially reflecting glass element and see a parallax free cross hair or other projected aiming point superimposed on the field of view. Invented in 1900 but not generally used on firearms until reliably illuminated versions were invented in the late 1970s (usually referred to by the abbreviation "reflex sight").

Ammunition

The "packaged" components that are needed in order to fire in a case or shell holding a primer, (which produces the spark) a charge of propellant (gunpowder) and a projectile (bullets, slug or pellets.) Sometimes called "fixed ammunition" to differentiate from the individual components placed separately in muzzleloaders. A single unit of ammunition in modern firearms is called a cartridge. The units of measure for quantity of ammunition is rounds. There are hundreds of sizes of ammunition, examples include .223 Remington, 9mm Luger, 30.06, .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .50 Browning Machine Gun (BMG). The ammunition used must match the firearm.

Boresight (Bore Sight)

Crude adjustments made to an optical firearm sight, or iron sights, to align the firearm barrel and sights. This method is usually used to pre-align the sights, which makes zeroing (zero drop at XX distance) much faster.

Sleeved Barrels

An economical method of bringing new life to a damaged pair of barrels, regardless of their original method of jointing. The ribs are removed. The barrels are cut off 3" - 4" from the breech end and discarded. The bores of the remaining breech-end are reamed out oversize. New tubes are fitted down into the original breech section and filed down to fit flush. The original ribs are then replaced. Sleeving is considerably less expensive than building a completely new set of barrels. Much of the time required to build a set of barrels is concentrated in the fitting of the breech end to the receiver; this work is salvaged through sleeving. Sleeving can be recognized by a pair of circumferential lines around the barrels a few inches from the breech; the more invisible, the finer the job. A sleeved gun should always be identified as such amongst the proof marks, and if done in England must be properly reproofed. Photo Sleeving is not the same thing as Monoblocking.

Self-Opening

Attribute of a break-open gun whereby the barrels drop down simply by pressing the toplever without muscling them open manually. The Holland & Holland system utilizes a coil spring within a cylindrical housing mounted just ahead of the forward lump to urge the barrels open. The Purdey system utilizes residual energy remaining in the mainspring after the gun has been fired. Both systems enable a shooter to load more quickly when birds are coming fast.

Single Action

An action type that when the trigger is pulled, the only thing the trigger does is drop the hammer (or striker). This applies to both revolvers, semi-automatic and automatic guns. On a single action revolver, the gun must be manually cocked before it can be fired. With semi-automatic and automatic guns that are single action, the only thing the trigger does is drop the hammer, striker or firing pin onto the cartridge. Then the firearm is cocked again when from the recoil of the fired round. A firearm that the gun is cocked and the hammer drops when the trigger is pulled is a double action gun.

Die

A piece of tooling used to form a sequence of uniform parts through the use of heat and/or pressure; especially, in firearms terminology used to form brass cartridge cases accurately to their correct size for reloading.

Choke Tubes

Short, interchangeable cylinders, of subtly different internal tapers, that screw into a threaded recess at the muzzle of a shotgun. By inserting different choke tubes, one can alter the shot pattern thrown by the gun.

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."

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