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Firearms Dictionary of Gun Terms, Slang and Abbreviations

Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


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HMR

Abbreviation for Hornady Magnum Rimfire.

Turn-Bolt Action

A bolt action which is locked by pressing the bolt handle in and down, thereby turning its locking lugs into the receiver.

Magazine Safety

A mechanism that prevents the gun from being able to fire when the magazine is removed from the gun, even if there is still a round in the chamber.

COF

Abbreviation for Course of Fire.

Anson & Deeley Action

A type of internal hammer side by side shotgun boxlock action. It was patented in 1875 and is the essence of simplicity utilizing only two springs and three moving parts (per barrel). One of the most successful action designs ever, and still produced to this day by most SxS shotgun manufacturers.

Airgun (Air Gun)

A variety of pneumatic gun that propels projectiles by means of compressed air or other gas, in contrast to firearms, which use a propellant charge. Both the rifle and pistol forms (air rifle and air pistol) typically propel metallic projectiles, either pellets, or BBs. Certain types of air guns, usually rifles, may also propel arrows.

Biathlon

A shooting sport that combines both skiing and rifle shooting. It is the only shooting activity in the Winter Olympics. There is also a summer biathlon which involves running and shooting but it is not yet an Olympic event.

Parkerizing

A chemical phosphate process developed during the second world war to provide an economical, durable and non-reflective surface finish to military firearms.

Button Rifling

Rifling that is formed by pulling a die made with reverse image of the rifling (the 'button') down the pre-drilled bore of a firearm barrel.

Pitch

The angle of the butt of a gun in relation to the line of sight. Pitch is measured by resting the gun with its butt flat on a floor, the top of the receiver against a wall and its muzzle pointing up. The distance of the muzzle from the wall is the gun's pitch down.

Feed Ramp

An inclined, polished area on a repeating firearm, just behind the chamber, that helps guide a cartridge into the chamber when pushed forward by the closing bolt or slide.

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.

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.

Scout Rifle

A concept created by eminent gun writer Col. Jeff Cooper. A scout rifle, generally, is a bolt action carbine firing a medium power round suitable for taking large game (e.g., .308), fitted with a long eye-relief telescopic sight mounted on the barrel, and a back up set of iron sights.

Clay Pigeon

Originally, live pigeons were used as targets, but they were gradually replaced with clay disks and ultimately banned. Later clay has been replaced with more suitable raw materials.

Cocked

A state of readiness of a firearm. The hammer (or similar mechanism if there is no hammer) only needs to be released by the trigger to cause the gun to fire.

Kentucky Rifle

Usually referred to as a Kentucky Long Rifle or simply Longrifle, the Kentucky Rifle is a flintlock rifle with a long barrel and short, crooked stock. It is widely believed to be a largely unique development of American rifles that was uncommon in European rifles of the same period. The Kentucky Long Rifleis an early example of a firearm using rifling, (spiral grooves in the bore). This gave the projectile, commonly a round lead ball, a spiraling motion, increasing the stability of the trajectory. Rifled firearms saw their first major combat usage in the American colonies during the Seven Years war, and later the American Revolution in the eighteenth century.

Gas Check

A metal cup placed on the end of a lead bullet to protect the lead against the hot gases of the burning powder charge. Used in some types of firearms ammunition when non-jacketed bullets are used in high pressure cartridges, to prevent the buildup of lead in the barrel and aid in accuracy.

Slug

More correctly a "rifled slug" or "shotgun slug." An individual cylindrical projectile designed to be discharged from a shotgun. The term is often incorrectly used to mean a Bullet.

CFP

Abbreviation for Concealed Firearms Permit.

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