Letter M

The Definition of Mag

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19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Scattergun

A slang term for a shotgun.

Dud

A round of ammunition that does not fire.

Headstamp

Markings impressed into the base of a cartridge case, normally identifying the maker's name, the cartridge calibre designation, and sometimes the date.

Lever Action

A type of firearm action which uses a lever located around the trigger guard area, (often including the trigger guard itself) to load fresh cartridges into the chamber of the barrel when the lever is worked.

Holster

A gun holder that may be strapped to a human body, or affixed to the inside of a pack or bag, or dropped into a pocket. A holster serves to protect the gun's mechanisms and finish, to provide security by covering the trigger so it cannot be pulled inadvertently, and to present the grip of the gun at a constant angle for easy access. Some holsters also serve to obscure the outline of the gun so it may be more easily concealed. Typically made from leather or in plastic.

Twist

The length, within a rifled barrel, required to accomplish one full rotation. 1:12 Twist, means a bullet passing down the bore would complete one revolution in twelve inches. 1:7 Twist, means a bullet passing down the bore would complete one revolution in seven inches, which makes it a tighter twist than 1:12. Different weights of bullet require appropriate rates of twist.

Holographic Weapon Sight

a non-magnifying gun sight that allows the user to look through a glass optical window and see a cross hair reticle image superimposed at a distance on the field of view. The hologram of the reticle is built into the window and is illuminated by a laser diode.

Carbine

A rifle with a relatively short barrel.

Upset Forging

A process that increases the diameter of a workpiece by compressing its length.

Trigger

The small lever on a cartridge firearm, which one pulls to cause the spring-loaded firing pin to impact the primer, causing the gun to discharge. Normally, the trigger simply connects to the sear. Pulling the trigger moves the sear out of its notch, releasing the spring-loaded hammer to strike the firing pin which in turn strikes the primer; or the coilspring-loaded firing pin directly. Other, often-Germanic systems have their own miniature lockwork which, when cocked, allows an exceedingly light trigger pull to discharge the firearm, a setting that would be perilous to carry in the field.

Backstop

Anything that will safely stop a bullet and prevent it from hitting anything else after the target is struck.

Chain Gun

A type of machine gun or autocannon that uses an external source of power to cycle the firearm.

Line Of Sight

An imaginary straight line from the eye through the sights of a firearm to the target.

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.

Pepperbox

An early form of muzzle-loading revolver wherein, instead of the current practice of having one barrel mated to a multi-chambered rotating cylinder, multiple joined barrels revolve together around a central axis.

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.

Lug

Any piece that projects from a firearm for the purpose of attaching something to it. For example barrel lugs are used to attach a break-action shotgun barrel to the action itself. If the firearm is a revolver, the term may also refer to a protrusion under the barrel that adds weight, thereby stabilizing the gun during aiming, mitigating recoil, and reducing muzzle flip. A full lug extends all the way to the muzzle, while a half lug extends only partially down the barrel. On a swing-out-cylinder revolver, the lug is slotted to accommodate the ejector rod.

Island Rear Sight

A rear barrel sight base, more articulated than having the sight simply dovetailed into the barrel, but not requiring as much gunsmithing as having it mounted onto a proper quarter-rib.

Cold Range

A condition on a shooting range that is completely safe. Any firearms at the range are on the benches, unloaded with open actions and all people have stepped away from the firing line.